Dr Who services planned for Welsh church

A Welsh priest/Dr Who fan is planning Who-themed services to attract the young 'uns:
St Paul's Church, in Grangetown, Cardiff, was used as a location for an episode of the first series of Doctor Who starring the ninth Doctor played by Christopher Eccleston.

And parish priest, Father Ben Andrews, 32, says he loves the cult TV show so much he thought a themed evening would go down well with the youngsters.

He said: "I love the series and it has such a great following that we couldn't resist doing something for young people on a Dr Who theme.

"We will be looking at the idea of Jesus as a Lord of time and showing who Jesus was and the different images of him throughout time.

"We will try and get some Dr Who props in to try and make it as lively as possible."

Link (Thanks, Jennifer!)


  1. Separation of church and state was a great starting point. Now how about separation of church and Dr. Who?

  2. I just sent this e-mail to the parish.

    Re: Doctor Who Service

    I wanted to tell you that I am shocked and appalled by the plans to host a “Doctor Who”-themed service.

    It is entirely, entirely inappropriate for the church to use Doctor Who in it’s services. “Doctor Who” is a message of hope and a triumph of brains and goodness over brawn and evil. The character of the Doctor is the embodiment of good and fights evil, only resorting to violence when necessary.

    I’m deeply disheartened that you’ve chosen to besmirch “Doctor Who,” cheapening it as a marketing ploy for your religion, to indoctrinate the young while they are naive and impressionable.

    The character of the Doctor is one that empowers, encourages children to think critically for themselves, and to ask questions even if the answers aren’t easy. The character of Jesus discourages critical though and to trust in him even when no answers to questions are forthcoming.

    I think you have completely missed the point of Doctor Who. Please postpone this event until you’ve done some soul-searching. I recommend picking up some Tom Baker-era DVDs, sitting down to watch them, and giving it a good long think.

    — Brian Boyko
    — Austin, Texas, U.S.

  3. Interesting story.

    I wonder if the believers of this church are so tollerant to the change, because religeous people tend to be conservative and reserved.

    I guess this DR.Who theamed service is not going to win any new religion followers anyway.

    Yours Sincrely.

  4. I am shocked by many of the reactions here.

    I think it’s a marvelous idea, and will most definitely attract children to the church.
    If it’s in England as bad as it is in The Netherlands, church-attendance is going down.
    And ANY initiative to stop that trend and get more youth in churches should be applauded.
    I wish more churches would be so forward thinking!

    To Brian Boyko, why are you opposed to this, other than that you see this merely as a ‘cheap marketing ploy’? You are judging merely on a blurb, you have no idea in what way they actually will incorporate Doctor Who into the service.
    I’m sure it will be done to capture the imagination of the children and to teach them the word of God.

    Disclaimer, I used to go to church, but haven’t for a long time, because I think the message the churches here in NL are giving is old and not from this time. I could only wish more churches would pick up on modern times.

    To put something into perspective, a few years back our local church organized a youth-service. A service set up entirely by the local (church-going) youth, and it was the most attended service of the year (apart from Christmas). The church was packed, there were people standing in the back, because there were no more seats available.
    What they did was get a younger minister to lead the service, and have music in forms of a small band (made of church-goers). It was the talk of the town, and got more people in the church. Services after that were also attracting more visitors than before it. (And some of them stayed)

    If it helps get more people interested in religion, I don’t see the harm in this.

  5. To Brian Boyko:

    I think you’re over-simplifying and generally having a knee-jerk reaction here.

    There’s a rising brand of militant atheism that reacts with a general lack of civility to even the spectre of religion. To me, that’s just as ugly as Christians who claim that Atheists are bad parents or aren’t capable of being good citizens (see the famous statements of George HW Bush), it’s generalization from either side that only serves to widen the gap.

    I’ve seen Christians and Atheists find common cause in humanist movements and outreach. Like the Jews who marched with Martin Luther King or the Christians who supported Gandhi, some principles go beyond faith, culture and belief. In essence, the why of what you do is not important. If someone donates time at our soup kitchen because they hold to a jeffersonian deism or because they believe their treasure lies in heaven or simply because they like the smile on someone’s face, it doesn’t matter.

    You don’t need to see another person’s beliefs and practices degraded so that your own are raised up.

  6. To Madjo:

    Er, allow me to explain, Madjo.

    Some people believe that religion is not a force for good in this world. I’m one of them.

    I think the trend in church attendance going down is a very, very good thing for society, and for individuals.

    You said that, “If it helps get more people interested in religion, I don’t see the harm in this.”

    To me, getting more people interested in religion IS the harm in this.

  7. Wow – got you talking didn’t we?! Glad that healthy debate and disagreement is still alive and well! It’s ironic, mind, that people who think of the Church as ‘intolerant’ and ‘indoctrinating’ should be so intolerant towards the Church and its members and be quick to say what we should and shouldn’t do! Even to the point that natural extermination (thought that was a good word in light of the debate/theme!) by dwindling out thorugh discouragement!
    By the way, part of the point of the service is to get people critically thinking about who Jesus is! That’s good, isn’t it? Rather than blindly accepting? Anyway, many thanks for your comments – all written (I hope) and certainly read (by me, anyway!) in a good spirit!
    Fr Dean Atkins, Cardiff (and one of the organisers!)

  8. The programme Doctor Who – Classic Who (1963-1989, 1996) and the continuation Nu-Who (2005+) – has quite a lot say about religion.

    The 2006 and 2007 seasons in particular have been quite philosophical on this subject.

    Readers of Boing Boing may be interested in this link:

    Click here for link to various thoughts on the topic of Doctor Who and religion (this will be added to every Saturday, for the next few weeks.)

    If you are American and worried about spoilers in the above link (the 2007 Season is in the middle of being broadcast in the USA,) I’m beginning tomorrow with the 2006 Season. (Although the 2007 Season will appear soon.)

  9. Okay, fair enough Brian, I appreciate the explanation. And now also understand your post.

    My history in religion isn’t a overly good one either, but I don’t see it as an evil force. It doesn’t have to be a tool for dumbing people down and remove their critical thought. :)

    I was baptised as a Protestant, went to a Catholic school and have a few Muslim friends. But I’m not really a believer in any form of those categories…

    I agree that there are people that use faith as a blunt weapon to pound it into people, but in my experience, that’s just a minority. (Although they can indeed be very pushy)

    As long as ‘the church’ doesn’t claim that the Bible (or whatever holy book they follow) is the only truth in life, and as long as they let people come to their own conclusions, (which many churches around here seem to do) I really can’t see the harm in it.

    I understand from what you said that you have had different experiences with religious people, and I can understand where you come from. But know this, not everyone is the same. :)

  10. Why shouldn’t they claim their book is the truth? Lots of other people claim that for their own books.

  11. And now tonight’s (Sept. 14, 2007) Doctor Who episode on the Sci-Fi Channel is sponsored by “The People of the United Methodist Church!”

    It’s a conspiracy!

  12. I know that America is slightly behind us Brits with Doctor Who episodes – the episode Blink was just broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel (mentioned by Samurai above.)

    What do you think – a possible THIRD Hugo in a row for writer Steven Moffat?

    Keep watching – the next episode is brilliant too.

    By the way, following my comment #17 –
    article now up (click for link.)

  13. (Following the above comment by me – note that because of the way comments are processed on Boing Boing, my earliest comment SEPTEMBER 14, 2007 1:03pm is now not numbered #17. The comment number has changed. Just thought I’d mention that to avoid any confusion.)


    Doctor Who is great.

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