Letter: A plea to save Sion College library

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Sir: When we, the Council of Churches Together in South London, met recently we heard with some grief of the proposed dismantling of Sion College library, an institution of antiquity and a priceless - though, sadly, underpublicised - asset for all the churches in Greater London.

Founded at a time of great religious division, a division which we now seek to reconcile, Sion College was for too long hampered by a restrictive charter that placed unfair burdens on a dwindling body of overworked City of London clergy who furnish its Court.

We understand the horrendous financial burden it has born since the Second World War; we regret that, through fear of failure in the market environment, the governing body did not take more courageous steps to "sell" its unique institution, which has provided an intimate and user-friendly environment for busy clergy and lay people to make their contribution to religious scholarship in the necessarily short burst of time available to them; and we appeal to those with access to funds who have the intellectual health of the Christian community as a priority to consider what they can do, even at this 11th hour, to ensure the integrity of the library on one site.

Yours faithfully,

Charles Henderson, Roman Catholic Area Bishop for south-east London; Richard Craig, Anglican Ecumenical Officer for south London; Douglas McBain General Superintendant, Metropolitan Area, Baptist Union, and 17 others

London, SE3

25 June