Sir Henry Wood, the founder of the Proms, London’s legendary classical music festival, is buried there, but the church has decided to oust the classical musicians who rehearse and perform in its space after having gone evangelical. In The Telegraph:
Now part of a network founded by evangelical church Holy Trinity Brompton, St. Sepulchre Without Newgate Church, in Holborn, central London, will stop taking bookings from the classical musicians which have relied on it as a rehearsal and concert venue for many years.
The church became part of the evangelical group, which is known for its youth-friendly rock-band style of worship, in 2013.
Now classical groups are no longer welcome to rehearse and perform there – and resident choristers say they are “concerned that it will become a worship choir with drums and keyboards”.
The church became part of the evangelical HTB group, which is known for its rock-band style of worship and described by some higher church conservatives as ‘happy clappy’, in 2013.
Composer John Rutter, a living legend himself, points to a recent change of leadership as having influenced the decision, according to the Telegraph:
He said the timing of the decision was “significant” because of the retirement of the former Bishop of London Richard Chartres earlier this year. His successor has not yet been appointed.
…and says the church has betrayed the musicians:
“That flies in the face of the Anglican tradition.”
…Mr Rutter said that [priest in charge the Reverend David] Mr Ingall was “betraying the community that he purports to serve. He didn’t have to take the job at the musicians church if he doesn’t like musicians.”
“The Church of England needs all the friends it can get. It shouldn’t be making enemies – it’s un-Christian,” he added.
“Churches are and should be busy places where all can walk through the door and all are welcome. That’s my feeling but it’s obviously not his feeling.”
A petition had gathered nearly 1,900 signatures as of August 14.
John Rutter image above from JohnRutter.com.