Village churchwarden banned from wearing crucifix
A Suffolk village churchwarden has been told she can no longer wear her crucifix necklace in case it upsets people from other faiths.
Mary Barry, who has been an active parishioner at St Warren Parish Church in Little Brimmer for 47 years, was said to be “terribly upset” by the ruling.
Vicar The Rev Evan Elpuss has insisted that the exciting new world of diverse cultures means his followers and church volunteers need to be careful about offending others.
But Mrs Barry, 79, points out that no person of alternative faith has ever been into parts of deepest rural Suffolk like Little Brimmer, which is near Stowmarket.
She has promised to appeal to the local bishop, claiming the crucifix is simply a sign of her devotion to her religion, and not anything to be considered inflammatory to others.
“I am a Christian, but I am also extremely tolerant of people with other beliefs. So why should I be banned from wearing a crucifix that my late husband bought me for our 25th wedding anniversary? It makes me sad and angry.”
One villager, who asked not to be named, said: “We all feel the vicar has gone a little too far. Mrs Barry is a very sweet lady who will do anything for anyone. It seems a little ironic that a churchwarden cannot wear the cross.”
Mrs Barry has reluctantly removed her necklace until the bishop has heard her appeal, but she hopes to have won her case in time for the busy Easter period.
She is a popular figure in St Warren’s, where she regularly lays out the hymn books for church services, and even mows the grass in the graveyard once a week as part of her duties.