Questions about town and parish councils
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So as you all know Remembrance Sunday/day is an important part of our country as is with other countries as we remember the fallen. Our village has never had this in the community at least not supported by the parish council. So the local church has been doing this. The minister is a RAF veteran, and quite a few of the congregation are also veterans. Last year, with no consultation the parish council installed a memorial bench the day prior to the Sunday when the church had already advertised a service. This year they have now installed a statue and stated that the parish council don't want any religious input..I have looked on the British Legion website which states it is a ceremony which unites people of all backgrounds, including those of a faith background. I'm just wondering if we are the only community that doesn't recognise this. They also put both the bench and statue at a dangerous corner..outside someone's house..rather than on the village green where there would be more space for people to gather. Any advise would be welcomed.
by (340 points)

3 Answers

0 votes
Are there no minutes from the parish Council available ? Bit shocked they have suddenly just installed anything without any mention in the minutes etc ? Seems to lack in transparency.

Our Parish Council along with many others I imagine takes the lead on the run up to day with orgnanising the the day with the fully support of the British Legion and the Church at the preperation meetings. We have to put in for a road closure. Fortunatley we have a war memorial as a point of focus and remembrance.
by (2.9k points)
Just to clarify, the bench which was installed last year, was literally installed the day before remembrance Sunday, having had the meeting the wednesday before..and that was the first i had heard about it. The parish council have shown no intrest in it in previous years, so it seems a bit odd they waited till we were in a cost of living crisis, and have not invited local veteran's to take part..all the veterans i know in the village find the location of the bench and statue to be very dangerous as it is very close to a bend in the road. I find it odd they decided it was a good idea to have something on at the same time as a service for the same thing was already advertised last year. This year the church will have a service at 10am so they can join with the parish council at 10.45..but i just feel it is odd our parish council doesn't actually consult with anyone other than who is in there inner circle. Even the events committee which is actually called an events part(who now organize events on behalf of the council)y, no one outside of the Council or the WI was invited or asked if they would be intrested in joining this committee either. When i challenged them about the issues of lack of communication instead of seeing any reason they said to me that no one should have a monopoly on it. But it seems to me that's exactly what they are doing which is quite sad. I don't have an issue with us having a bench or a statue, I just feel the way they have gone about it is out of order, and during a cost of living Crisis of all times to suddenly show an interest in something they have never shown an interest in. They said in the parish council meeting that there would be no religious input, i've been to plenty were religion was included were a local minister would be asked to say a prayer for those currently in conflict as well as the families of those that have lost loved ones. Though the council have put on their leaflet that the church will be providing tea and coffee, so they are not entirely discriminating against the church but i just find it all a bit odd. I don't feel it honours veterans if we have separate events in the community at the same time, and it certainly doesn't honour them if none of the veterans have been asked to take part. All it's seemingly going to is 2 school children reading a poem and someone playing the last post...I did cheekily point out to the council who said they did no religion that when it came to the death of the queen which they also didn't give support regarding the book of condolences that they specifically requested us to say God save the King.
There would be minutes but i have found quite often they don't get uploaded on time or put on the noticeboard, i have got to the point were i have had to challenge them about that we have found they don't always record questions either..but we only find out if our question has been recorded sometimes 2 months the moment there website is down for maintenance which is unfortunate.
0 votes
The holding of remembrance for those who gave their lives in conflicts is traditionally been supported by The Royal British Legion in conjunction with the church of England and other Christian bodies. Regardless of personal opinions we are still a predominantly Christian nation. The organising of the event is supported by the giving of prayers for those who fell.

A well run unbiased PC would of course be aware and respond to the wants and needs of the community that elected them. After all that is their primary duty to their community. To do this they MUST communicate with that community as fully and by whatever means at their disposal. In my experience PC's seldom take a leading roll in the organisation and control of Remembrance Day but can support it in whatever way they feel fit in line with what their community want. They are after all the servants of the people not the controllers of them. Something our governments seem to have lost sight of.
by (27.1k points)
This is the issue sadly, as a council they are not supposed to show bias, but last year when the Queen died, they asked the church to hold a thanksgiving service, and didn't attend themselves(it was their request the church in question wouldn't normally hold an evening service due to the age of the congregation) They said they wouldn't attend because religion doesn't reflect the community(their words) They then expected everyone to say God save the King(a bit of a contradiction) They have never shown an interest in supporting Remembrance day in the past and has been left to the church to organize. They have consistantly been invited along but have been "busy" and have waited till we are in a cost of living crisis to pay for both a bench and a statue..I don't disagree with having it, but it's just the general attitude of the parish council who sadly are showing bias, though it needs to be said it's not the whole council but specific people who are just making it difficult, they said how we shouldn't have a monopoly on remembrance, but then suggested we should get (village name)Parish Council on the statue..they fortunately didn't go ahead with putting parish council on it. But to me, it sounds like they are just doing it to look important rather than having actual respect. All it's going to be at the public memorial is a poem and the last post followed by 2 minutes of silence, meaning those that want some religious/faith input will get a shorter service than usual. The church couldn't go to the bench last year because of the lack of communication on the council's part meaning we were divided. One of the veterans is also a former councilor and has always taken part at the church one but he hasn't been asked to take part in the one at the me i feel veterans should be asked if they would like to take part(providing they are able to). No veteran in the village has actually had communication with the events committee/parish council.
0 votes
There seems to be two issues here:  one about the role of the parish council in Remembrance Day and the second about the bench and statue.
Firstly, like Mentorman's parish, the British Legion lead on arrangements for Remembrance Day but the council support this and take part in a parade from the local church to the war memorial (although not all councillors attend the church service and that is their choice -  not all our councillors are Christian).  Other councils may handle this differently but it should reflect the population they serve.
As far as the bench is concerned, interestingly we also installed a bench in the not too distant past which is a memorial bench for all of those who lost their lives during the various conflicts.  It is seen as a place of quiet reflection (and has a plaque saying as such) but is away from the Church in acknowledgement that grief is not solely a Christian or religious matter.  We didn't consult with any specific group but our meetings at which it was discussed were open to the public and clearly advertised in the usual way.  There have been no complaints and to be honest, the cost wasn't that great considering our overall budget.
by (19.4k points)
The 2021 census identified that for the first time those of secular belief outnumber those with religious ones. The more recent National Social Attitudes Survey confirmed the with only 15% identifying as Anglican.  So are we a Christian country? Clearly not.

There is a distinction between Acts of Remembrance and Sunday Remembrance Services. The latter are often organised by the local Church and are rightly Christianity based.
Acts of remembrance, often held on 11th of 11th and the Royal BritishLegion as Custodians of Remembrance, recommend that they be secular in recognition of the diversity of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who wish to commemorate this. In my village both services are organised according to Anglican practices, forcing those of secular belief to participate in practices with which they disagree or lose the ability to commemorate fallen family or friends.

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