Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Telegraph: Cathedral bans popular hymn Jerusalem

(Ed: Best reason I've come across for singing it, though I do remember Colin Buchanan, when he lectured us in liturgy, pointing out that Jerusalem was probably the only hymn in the English language whose first verse consisted entirely of rhetorical questions to which the answer is "No".)

Jerusalem, one of the country's best-loved hymns and the favourite of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, has been banned from services at one of Britain's foremost churches.

The verses, which were written by William Blake more than two centuries ago, cannot be sung by choirs or congregations at Southwark Cathedral because the words do not praise God and are too nationalistic, according to senior clergy.

Last week the Dean of Southwark, the Very Rev Colin Slee, advised guests at a private memorial service that the hymn would not be sung because it was "not in the glory of God".

A spokesman for the Diocese of Southwark disclosed that the Dean had not allowed the verses to be sung during services for some time.

"The Dean, on common with all other cathedral deans, has the authority to decide what material is used in liturgy in the cathedral," he said.

"The hymn Jerusalem is often used on national occasions, although rarely in Southwark, even on such occasions.

"The Dean of Southwark does not believe that it is to the glory of God and it is not therefore used in private memorial services." Read more
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