From Miss Eileen Fallick, Newport:

I WAS surprised and upset at reading the article in My View, by Catherine James entitled “Dearly beloved, eyes down, let us play” (CP, Weekender 21-09-18), in which she was aiming to bring down a Christian service of worship to the level of a game of bingo.

There will have been many committed Christians reading this article for whom a service of worship is a special and sacred time. When it came to mocking the Communion, which Christians observe following our Lord’s command “Do this in remembrance of Me”, and then going on to mention “a crown, not of thorns” referring to Christ’s crucifixion, I fell it was nothing short of blasphemy.

Many people read the County Press which is to give us the local news, together with other items of interest and entertainment.

I do not think the paper should be used for people to ridicule what others are doing, particularly in the area of Christian belief.

I was extremely surprised the editor agreed to something like this being published, as it would have been offensive to many and would not have given the County Press a very good name.

Editor’s footnote: The article was intended as a light-hearted look at bingo, which for some has almost taken the place of religion. Apologies to anyone who was offended.

Temple of Strangers

From Phaedra J. Kelly, Ryde:

Catherine James’s exploration of the Bingo cult (Weekender 21-09-18) was almost anthropological, and puts one in mind of the Cargo Cult on the Thousand Islands, but it was also rather saddening that many people have given up on established religion.

But it does have its virtues and it is something which the human animal has never before been without. That unification of community under a common cause, of rite of passage and ritual intent upon making a portal to God.

It does afford us helpful endorphins to the brain, a certain hope, subjective to each in turn, as long as the consciousness is properly aimed, and while the lunatic fringes of religion do get wider press, the real and quieter originals are not so threatening, but very beneficial.

I wonder how many Jews we have here, because I have discovered that we have no synagogue, yet the Judean faith has a lot of ritual throughout the year, and all they have is a meeting room in Newport, somewhere near the mosque.

What I have always hoped to build is a Temple of Strangers; a big, round building in the shape of a Shamanic Nierika, with the western end for the Judeo/Christian churches and temples and the east for the mosque and synagogue, the centre for nature faiths and the south and north for humanists.

It would of course have a circular garden around it, where all could convene in fine weather for discussion, and the rule would be general amnesty, peace and an option for total unity.

That might create a mutual respect between the faiths, and those who find themselves unable to believe.

No one would be without a place to go, no one would be banished or excluded. Even Bingoists!

But it’s a dream and we have all had those, and in some instances seen where they end. If enough people think this is a good one, it will happen.