Vicars tackle councillors

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:39 25 May 2010

OUTRAGED village vicars will tackle the parish council members who banned the 100-year tradition of prayers.

Rev Mike Slade revealed his new plan at a Winscombe and Sandford Parish Council meeting last week.

OUTRAGED village vicars will tackle the parish council members who banned the 100-year tradition of prayers.

Rev Mike Slade revealed his new plan at a Winscombe and Sandford Parish Council meeting last week.

He proposed to take it in turns with other members of the clergy to deliver a prayer in the public participation allotted time before each monthly parish meeting.

The move follows the council's decision in October to end the tradition of saying a prayer before each meeting.

This sparked a controversial dispute between the clergy and the council, with Rev Slade trying to reintroduce the prayer.

Addressing the parish councillors he said: "One of the excuses given for stopping prayers was that people didn't want to lead them, or found it difficult because they couldn't do it and praying would challenge their integrity.

"So why not leave it to the professionals?

"As far as I am aware all the local clergy are prepared to take it in turns to come here for the full meetings and offer prayers."

Rev Mary Burgess of the Lynch Chapel in Winscombe also wrote to the parish council asking them to reinstate the prayers, but she was given an abrupt reply, according to Rev Slade.

He said in the meeting: "Can you imagine how people feel when they receive a letter which completely ignores the questions they have raised?

"People feel hurt and ignored and it shows discourtesy and contempt to those who have bothered to write.

"Mary Burgess wrote to you again on January 14, asking the same question again. I ask you now to respond to her letter and the specific point she raises.

"The standard letter just will not do."

Rev Slade went on to call on Christian counsellors to put their names to a letter requesting the matter be discussed at the next full meeting of the council.

He will lead a special civic service in June to mark the new chairman of North Somerset Council taking up office and will also start in his position of Chaplin.

He added: "I don't always agree with North Somerset Council but on this particular occasion I think you should follow their good example."

Chairman Archie Forbes thanked the Rev for his comments and said a letter would be going out shortly.

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