Peter Clawson’s Grantham Journal column: Ill-feeling in church

Peter Clawson.
Peter Clawson.
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As a former choirboy and lapsed worshipper at Grantham Parish Church, I felt ashamed at proceedings during the pre-election hustings there, and hope it hasn’t set a precedent for future events.

Before the opening I tabled a question asking everyone to respect the fact that we were in a house of God.

Unfortunately, my plea fell on deaf ears even before the rector could read it out, which he chose not to, and the first thing I heard was an expletive unrepeatable here by a member of the audience.

Slip of the tongue, I thought, hoping for better things to come, and so it seemed as each candidate outlined his or her ‘raison d’etre’ with only a modicum of being, ‘economic with the truth’ and little interruption.

Ill-feeling appeared to have been calmed by the sort of influence St Wulfram’s had on me during my youth.

But then it started. Firstly what I would call harmless if disrespectful banter; then blasphemous shouting which sent any hope of true respect out of those beautiful stained glass windows.

Cries of: ‘Liar!’ and other distasteful comments drowned out the speakers and the whole affair threatened to descend into chaos until the rector intervened in no uncertain terms and the atmosphere became one of grudging acceptance again.

But for the life of me, I cannot help but be disgusted that such an obviously sacrilegious event could be held in such a welcoming venue as the church! Afterwards several members of the congregation - sorry, mob - agreed with me, but when I asked the rector why the hustings had been held there and why my own plea had not been used, the only answer was a shrug of the shoulders.

Me? Had I been Jesus, which of course I am not, I would certainly have been tempted to turn the candidates’ table and chairs over and run everyone out of the hallowed building!