There was a chilling moment in the Easter sermon in my north London church on Sunday. “The collection this Easter will partly be spent on family-friendly changes to the church,” said the priest.
My heart froze. In the modern church lexicon, “family-friendly” can only mean one thing: ripping out the pews. Indeed, on further investigation, that is exactly what is going to happen; if only to a few pews at the back of the church, which will duly be torn out.
Most forms of church modernisation are, in fact, euphemisms for ruthlessness. In my church, the guitar-strumming priest has largely done the charming organist out of a job. He allowed her to play along to only one of the three hymns – the only good, familiar one that Easter Day, in fact, Thine Be the Glory – while he banged out impenetrable, happy-clappy dirges that no one in the congregation knew the words to.
A new report has just revealed that the Church of England faces a shortage of new organists, with fewer than four per cent of churches having an organist under 30. Churches are turning to backing tracks, despite 96 per cent of them having perfectly good organs.
The report did not refer to the wilful ignorance and egomania of modern priests who prefer the sound of their own guitars to the ancient, enchanting strains produced by the superior musician sitting at the organ.
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