Bothenhampton church left silent after choir bust-up

DISHARMONY: Holy Trinity Church

REVIEW: The Rev Andrew Evans

First published in News Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Photograph of the Author by

HOLY Trinity Church in Bothenhampton will be giving up something unusual for Lent – its choir.

According to team rector, the Rev Andrew Evans, trouble has been brewing for ‘a considerable time’ and he’s ordered a period of review until after Lent.

Meanwhile, two of the choir members have resigned and all remaining members have written to him saying personality clashes and lack of consultation and communication were the root of the dissension.

Rev Evans said: “We are having a period of review as to what the future of the choir will be.

“There have obviously been some difficulties over a long period of time which have needed to be reviewed.

“We are hoping in due course the choir will be able to reform.”

He said everyone involved would be part of the review, from the organist to the choir and the congregation.

He added: “I wouldn’t as team rector take action like this unless I considered the situation to be serious and in need of resolution.”

Colin Sparkes had been a member for 30 years before his recent resignation.

He said there had been personality clashes and a lack of consultation over the appointment of organist the Rev Peter Aves.

Mr Sparkes said: “We are all very upset about it.” He said all 10 choir members signed the letter to the vicar. The letter said: “There has been a clash of personalities that could have been overcome but it is not the sole reason why two members have resigned.

“Your duty of care should extend to the choir which has been deeply affected by the situation.

“It is regrettable that the choir was not included in any consultation with you and Holy Trinity mission partners.

“We feel the lack of consultation and communication is the main reason for any tension experienced by the choir.

“Discussions and decisions taken by the organist and the clergy and imposed on the choir by written note with no verbal discussion whatever is unacceptable and has never happened before.”

The letter goes on to say some choir practices have been ‘really very uncomfortable’.

Mr Sparkes said the choir has represented the church at the Salisbury dioceses choir festival and members intend to hold up this tradition in June whether or not the choir has been reinstated.

Mr Sparkes added: “It is very sad and a lot have taken it very much to heart and some have lost sleep over it. The word consultation is missing from everything and that has what has upset most people.”

In a letter read out to the congregation by the Rev Evans he said the situation with the choir was ‘unacceptable’.

He said: “ I have a duty of care I have come to the conclusion that the Lent period of reflection is necessary for the choir.

“With a heavy heart I believe it is necessary for the choir to cease taking part in worship.”

Rev Aves, was unavailable for comment.

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