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Vicar faces investigation after placing children’s furniture in chapel

Vicar faces investigation after placing children’s furniture in chapel

A Church of England rector could be barred from ministry depending on the outcome of a parishioner complaint after she placed children’s furniture in the 12th-century chapel. From The Telegraph:

Kevin Sims, 67, who has been attending the St Mary the Virgin Church for 20 years, said: “I definitely do not feel the number of children warrants it. My main issues are for aesthetic reasons and reasons of demand.”

Sims fears the addition of the furniture, which was intended to create a space for young attendees, is the start of a slippery slope. Sims says that the report filed by the Reverend Lynda Klimas, rector of St. Mary the Virgin Church (who cannot comment on the situation) was misleading.

For example, he says a report filed to them said the furniture would be “in keeping” with its surroundings – which he highlights it clearly is not.

He also says the rector referred to it as a “children’s area” despite clear signage indicating it is the ‘Lady Chapel’.

Mr Sims said: “For the Rector to state that this sacred space in church is not a chapel beggars belief and is manifestly untrue.

“My main concern isn’t with the furniture itself, although I did highlight I don’t think it is keeping and there aren’t enough children for it.

“This process relies on being truthful in what they are doing.”

The next steps lie with the diocese:

The bishop of the diocese must now decide whether or not to confront the rector who brought the children’s seating area.

If this happens she could receive punishment from a rebuke to removal from her position.

Other parishioners are not as concerned as Mr. Sims:

…despite Mr Sims stating he knows of “at least four” other parishioners who agree with him, other members of the congregation have welcomed the child-friendly space.

A fellow churchgoer said: “I have never heard so much ridiculous fuss about a tiny little table and chairs. It’s lovely to see young children welcomed into the church and given a place to sit quietly and play.”

 

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Mary Anne Chesarek

For the purposes of full disclosure, I am 71 and have no children. I do think Mr. Sims' reaction is over the top, but I wonder if we know the whole story. Did the vicar consult lay leaders or discuss her plans with the congregation, or did she just spring it on them? Are the children placed separately from their families because they have a role to play in a children's sermon, or in the service or is this just the Nursery in the Nave? I am in favor of children being present in the service, but they need instruction and supervision to benefit from it. They won't become active members simply by osmosis.

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Michael John Smith

And we wonder why people don't go to church! Let the children come and celebrate the gift that they are to the future if the church and to the world. Long live the vicar!

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Stephen Voysey

Good grief! I get the historic value of venerable churches, but for heaven's sake, the purpose of the building is to be a holy place for everyone seeking it. An "edifice complex" is a pathway to spiritual death, which I have learned over 40 years in parish ministry. Welcome all!

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Rachel Morris

'Suffer the little children to come unto me'
I think that says everything about God's position on this!
Children are the worshippers of the future, the furniture will come and go, let's ensure they come and stay.

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Darrow Woods

I remember something about "suffer the little children to come unto me", which is a far cry from "let's be childish and complain about the furniture".

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