Sir, – A member of my immediate family is one of the young people who were members of the recently sacked bell-ringers at York Minster.
During their time there, they have been welcomed by the rest of the team and not only grown in their ringing ability, but also developed many friendships.
I have dared to hope that this young person would also be able to grow in their Christian faith that our family has always tried to nurture.
Disappointingly, this is what that young person has learnt from the actions of the Dean and Chapter of York Minster over the past few days:
That it is acceptable to mislead people to achieve a desired outcome.
That even when your untruth is discovered it is better to try to justify it than apologise.
That it is acceptable to punish many innocents for the (so far) unproven misdeeds of one individual.
That in the face of overwhelming support for those you have wronged it is acceptable to make no effort to correct the situation you have created.
That freedom of speech is unwelcome if it does not support your own position, and should be punished.
That it is better to build walls of division than extend the hand of reconciliation.
We are called to be Christ-like in our Christian faith. We are called to love, forgive, and reconcile with others, irrespective of where any fault may exist. We are called to show grace and mercy to all.
While many simply love to hear them rung, church bells serve as a reminder to all that God is here, and that many follow their call to worship Him.
The current silence of the bells of York Minster serves only to remind us that God may be so easily excluded from our daily lives.
It is all the sadder that this situation has resulted from the actions of such senior figures in the Church of England; and yet the opportunity still exists for them to remedy this, and correct the surely unintended messages above that they have thus far conveyed.
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