I see that the Pope did the Radio 4 Thought For The Day today. This is clearly a big news story but I have to say that I beat him to it by at least 13 years (the memory is a little hazy).
Mine was at Word Alive, a conference for students (in those days) and I was nominated by the people I worked for (UCCF) because I had played around at student radio at one time. Looking back it was a tremendous risk on their part, not sure how playing the Milltown Brothers on university radio was any help for the task in hand.
So it came to pass that I had a carefully scripted and timed Thought for the Day recorded live in front of several thousand people at The Gaiety Theatre, Skegness as part of the student celebration. A nerve wracking experience that took way longer than it should. I remember the director telling us we weren't saying 'Amen' correctly at the end of the prayer so he recorded doing it lots of different ways. We also had to record a period of silence in case the Queen Mother or someone similar died overnight, before the broadcast went out.
UCCF representing students from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, we had representatives from each nation doing the prayers and the splendid Geoff Baker led the worship. The theatre has since been demolished and Butlins (did I mention this was where we were?) have redeveloped the site.
We still go to the conference, now New Word Alive, located in North Wales, and now open to all. It's a positive oasis in the calender and an annual event that we prioritise in the calender every year. Does the whole family the world of good.
Actually, as I write this I realise that I didn't really do Thought for the Day at all, it was Morning Service. The Pope wins after all. But has he ever done Morning Service in Skegness?
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