A vicar has decided to remove the famous hymn 'Onward, Christian Soldiers' from a service on Remembrance Sunday, over concerns it will offend non-Christians.
Vicar that banned ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ from Remembrance Sunday service receives ‘unpleasant’ messages
The Reverend Steve Bailey of St Peters Church in Oadby told the BBC that he had been “troubled” by "unpleasant" messages after the decision was made to replace the hymn with ‘All People That On Earth Do Dwell’.
Reverend Bailey had also told the BBC that the change was made in order to sound “fresh” however, members of the Oadby Royal British Legion social club had decided to boycott the service because of this. The decision to change the hymn was criticised, saying that it was done to avoid offending non-Christians.
However, Reverend Bailey said the outcome was made in agreement with the branch of Royal British Legion in Oadby, which is different to the social club.
The vicar, who has been a part of the service for seven years, said: "The church and myself have since received unpleasant communications.
"The choice of hymns and prayers will be made each year to meet the needs of the time."
Ian Thorpe, vice-chairman of the social club, said some members were unhappy because Onward, Christian Soldiers had been sung "nearly every year".
"There have been phone calls of an ugly nature [to the vicar] - that was never anybody's intention," he said.
"We've agreed to go with this year's order of service, as the vicar wishes, but they've agreed to meet early next year to discuss the order of service for the Centenary."
The Diocese of Leicester said: "The Remembrance parade and service... will be a time to honour the fallen and remember the horror of war.
"The Church and Royal British Legion in Oadby will continue to work together in the coming years to ensure that this remains a deeply relevant, fresh and dignified occasion.”