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Adam Tomlinson

Adam Tomlinson, BBC Radio York's Sunday programme presenter, interviewed the Hon. Secretary about the development of this website on the 20 July 2003 programme

AT: The Churches Together website is gradually becoming more than just a list of churches in the Harrogate, but apparently very few are aware of its presence and purposes. To correct all that is Humph Baker who joins me on the line from Churches Together in Harrogate: Humph, good morning!
HJB: Good morning Adam!
AT: Just explain the reason behind the website
HJB: It was set up up by the past president of Churches Together last year simply to provide a list of churches but when they asked me to take over the website in February/March of this year we realised that we could do an awful lot more with it. We could make a lot of what's going on in Harrogate more accessible to people via the web.
AT: So its as simple as that. Who are you aiming it at?
HJB: Well, everybody! It's not just aimed at people who go to church. There are events pages in there including Harrogate Festival events so its a wide-ranging thing.
AT: Archbishop William Temple said that the church is the only organisation there for the non-members - so by putting a list of churches on it you're hopeful of getting people who don't go to church to give them some sort of church angle.

HJB: Absolutely and again part of the way we're doing this is trying to describe different churches in a way that the people out in the street will understand rather than just church people.
AT: You said in the beginning that, I suppose that the easiest way of doing it would be to list the churches that fall under the umbrella of churches together in Harrogate but it's got to be more than that. When you started to take it over, what sort of things in the back of your mind: "well hang on a minute, this website could become a really very very important tool?"
HJB: Well, first of all, we thought news would be vital, a list of events would be vital, but to make it very accessible it's got to be describing what's going on in everyday terms rather than just churchy terms. People inside churches maybe understand the differences between an evangelical or charismatic or whatever but people outside churches don't know that language - they hear it on the news and say that's beyond me. So I've been trying to develop a method or way of making anything that goes on in church more understandable to the everyday person.
AT: Do you ever see it getting to the point where people could access it on a Sunday morning and feel as though they don't necessarily have to go to church because they can get what they want on the website?
HJB: Hey Adam you've already thought of what we may be doing in a few years time. We've been discussing web-casts for what's going on in churches even. But I dunno, what you're doing on Radio North Yorkshire is pretty good anyway. I've enjoyed this morning's show no end - it's been an absolute cornucopia of delight!
AT: And I've got to say that no money has passed hands for that comment! There's a particular section which from our point of view that we're very interested in: the section "I'm looking for..." [a Sunday Service]. This is new and eventually it's going to provide a means for non-church goers hopefully to fund a church but by radio station. Just explain how this is going to work. This is fascinating.
HJB: I thought you'd like this one. Adam, it's again it's looking at musical styles. Today you've been playing Tchaikovsky, Rossini, Reggae and now we've had rock opera. Most churches in Harrogate seem to provide music of maybe a Radio 3 or Radio 4 style. And we're looking at which church provides which musical style. Whether or not you like rock or a more serious classical music you'll be able to choose it by going to the website and saying "my preference is Radio 4". At that point the computer, being a computer, will list the churches that provide a Radio 4 mix of music and talk and whatever. If you're a radio 2 fan, or a local radio fan, Radio North Yorkshire fan, again the computer will list churches where that type of music, that type of mix, that type of chat and so on is available.
AT: I've got to ask you, do you think that people, when they go to church and they're sitting there for the morning service for whatever time they go, do they sit and analyse that carefully and clearly the style of music they're taking part in?
HJB It's quite funny: I called on some friends at a local church recently about twenty minutes after the service had started and there was somebody standing outside, greeting people as they were coming in. I asked her why she was outside and she said that well it's a bit too happy clappy for me this morning so I'm standing outside welcoming people. That made me smile; I then said to her "Do you listen to Radio 4?" And she looked at me with shock and surprise and a great big smile and said "How did you know?!". It is funny that people do have a preference and something that is too seriously classical is too much for some on a Sunday morning but fine on a Thursday afternoon or whatever it is.
AT: Because music has changed dramatically over the past few years from a church point of view hasn't it?
HJB: Oh absolutely, yes, there's a church in Harrogate where the orchestra play the whole service, but it's exactly the same music as the previous Sunday where the service is sung by a terrific choir and played on the organ and again it's the same music but done in a different style. Again, it's meeting a different need.
AT: We'll follow this with great interest. And let's hope that the music we play between 6 and 9 on a Sunday morning is the hopefully on this music station exactly what people want on a Sunday morning. Humph, thanks for joining us. Just for people who are on line, what's the web address?
HJB: Go to www.harrogate.co.uk/churchestogether all one word. [2008 onwards: www.ctharrogate.org.uk]
AT: Dead easy. Humph, thanks for joining us this morning
HJB Adam, lovely to speak
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