Letter: 'Jerusalem: counterblast from Scotland's green and pleasant land

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The Independent Online
Sir: Hymns interceding for the nation do have their place, but the words of "Jerusalem" are wholly irrelevant in a Scottish context (Letters, 1 May).

As a student training for the Ministry in the Church of Scotland, I warmly welcome the proposals of the Kirk's Panel on Worship to replace the 1973 Church Hymnary (Third Edition) with a new hymn book. The CH3 has proved an inadequate source, the result being that many congregations still use the 1927 Revised Church Hymnary supplemented by contemporary works such as Mission Praise. The primary purpose of hymn singing is to praise the living God, not for self-gratification, tradition or nostalgia.

I was dismayed by the offensive tone of Lord Broadbridge's letter. I have never heard the noble Lord speak, but there is a possibility that his accent is weird, amusing or even incomprehensible to Scottish ears. If a European Union commissioner were to make such comments about England, there would no doubt be an outcry from the Eurosceptics; meanwhile Scotland has had to endure an appalling Conservative government unelected by Scots and the uncouth mutterings of legislators in the House of Lords elected by nobody.

The Church of Scotland, given its Presbyterian system of church government, with congregational Kirk Sessions, 49 area Presbyteries and the annual General Assembly each with authority in their own areas, is a model of democratic federalism. Maybe such familiarity is a reason why a federal Europe and a federal Britain (including a Scottish Parliament) is attractive to many Scots.

Matthew Z Ross

Edinburgh

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