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Church is asked to stop asking congregations to stand and kneel

woman in a wheelchair in church
woman in a wheelchair in church Image credit: st-michaelis.de

Vicars have told the Church they must stop asking congregations to ‘all stand’ and ‘all kneel’ because it excludes people with severe physical disabilities.

They are also requesting for prayer books to be rewritten so the language is inclusive.

A Christain charity has criticised the ‘woke’ comments saying 'sensitivity' and 'fear' is 'changing words and traditions that have been understood for centuries'. 

The suggestions were voted on at the Church of England’s national assembly, General Synod, after they were raised by Rev Timothy Goode, from Southwark.

Goode said he made the suggestions so the church could update its services by 'removing some of the barriers which disabled people, clergy and lay, face,’ after questions were submitted in writing to Synod to 'request that the Faith and Order Commission and the Liturgical Commission to consider how out liturgies might be made more inclusive to disabled people.'

But the move has been slammed by a number of churchgoers and religious groups.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, told MailOnline: 'Are we becoming so fearful and sensitive that we are prepared to do away with words and traditions that have always been properly understood within their context?

'These words and actions mark reverence and tradition in a particular Christian service. By these words no one would ever mean to discriminate on the grounds of disability, rather they would always accommodate. 

'For centuries people have understood this. Everyone in the services respects those that are unable to kneel or stand.' 

The Bishop of Exeter, the Right Rev Robert Atwell, said it would take ‘hours and hours’ to make necessary edits to prayer books and it would be a ‘nightmare’ to carry out.

He added:  'There's already flexibility in the interpretation of rubrics dictating posture, such as the requirement in the prayer book for a person to kneel when receiving Holy Communion.'

At the end of Wednesday’s Synod (July 13) the Church tweeted: 'Business being concluded, Synod is duly prorogued by the Archbishop of York, and ends in prayer. It will meet again in Westminster between 6-14 Feb 2023.'

Rev Timothy Goode’s suggestions will be reviewed at a later date.