Last week I received a phone call from a writer for our local paper. He wanted to know what sort of reaction the church had to some events happening in the larger church, specifically the defection of two dioceses from The Episcopal Church (our national body). Were we talking about it, and what were we saying?
I told him frankly that we weren’t talking about it because we were busy focusing on mission and ministry. I could tell by his silence that he was a little confused. I went on to explain to him the events of the last several years for Epiphany so that he would have a context for understanding why we weren’t focused on national issues of controversy. I could hear him scribbling at the other end of the phone, and exercised caution with my choice of words. I had not answered the phone with any expectation that a conversation would ensue with a journalist, or that it would end up in print. But it did!
The next morning I had an email from a friend saying she hadn’t had a chance to read the article yet, but congratulations! I emailed back, “what article?” She, in turn, replied, “the one in the paper.” Okay, well, duh. I subsequently learned that my chat with the journalist had, in fact, become an article in our local paper.
The article contained a slew of factual errors, and though the quotes from me were “accurate,” they’d been edited and didn't reflect the content or context in a way that made any sense. I hate when that happens. No one else noticed, of course, and those with whom I talked later thought it was a great article and wonderful exposure for Epiphany. We’ll take it!
Now to get back to the business of growing the church. Can't count on the newspaper to do it all for us!