Queen praises Songs

29 September 2011

by Ed Beavan

THE Queen has praised BBC TV’s Songs of Praise on its 50th anni­versary, which will be marked by a special show from Alexandra Palace in London, to be broadcast on Sunday (Features, 16 September).

The celebratory edition, which was recorded last Sunday, includes performances by the singers Andrea Bocelli, Katherine Jenkins, Beverley Knight, and LeAnn Rimes. The Queen contributed a con­gratulatory message to the concert programme, saying that Songs of Praise “deliv­ered hope, comfort and joy to millions”, and is a “trad­itional and much-loved part of our Sundays”. She described its longevity as a “remarkable achieve­ment”.

Writing in the Radio Times, the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, said that Songs of Praise offered “a powerful and poign­ant source of examples” of Christian values. Furthermore, in “our celebrity-obsessed age it un­ashamedly tells the endless story of God’s interventions in the lives of everyday people.”

He called for the programme to remain on mainstream television, because to “confine its message to the pulpit, or sideline it into a niche television channel, would be to treat Christian values as if they were a private hobby of little concern to the rest of society”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury also praised the programme, de­scrib­ing it as “one of the best known institutions in British television, and one of the best loved”.

Dr Williams said that he looked forward to Songs of Praise’s providing “many more years of service to the people of this country, the churches of this country, and the glory of God”.

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