A vicar has banned the rousing Onward Christian Soldiers hymn from a Remembrance Sunday service ‘in case it offends non-Christians’.
Furious members of a Royal British Legion club are now planning to boycott the service at St Peter’s Church in Oadby, Leicestershire after the Reverend Steve Bailey banned the hymn.
Participants march into the church to the traditional hymn at the end of the service every year.
But RBL members claim this year the vicar vetoed the hymn because people at the service would not necessarily be Christian.
Pete Green, chairman of the Oadby Royal British Legion club, said: ‘It is absolutely unbelievable. I have been going to Remembrance Services in Oadby since 1967, and Onward, Christian Soldiers has been sung ever year apart from one.
‘That was a few years ago, when another vicar tried to ban it. There was uproar then, and there is uproar now.
‘I’m disgusted, to be honest. As a result of the vicar’s decision I’m refusing to enter the church. I’m just going to lay a wreath.
‘We had hoped he might change his mind, but he is adamant it won’t be sung. He has refused point-blank. He says it is because we live in a multi-faith society – but people of all faiths serve in the British military, and have died for this country in wartime.
‘We also have many different religions within our 400 members here, and no-one has ever complained to me about it. The whole thing is quite upsetting really.’