Lincoln's Inn removes 'explicitly Christian' wording of saying graceAugust 10, 2023
Lincoln’s Inn accused of ‘abandoning’ tradition after removing ‘explicitly Christian’ wording of saying grace in order to be more inclusive – centuries after it was founded on chapel site
- Lincoln’s Inn has opted to ban saying grace before meals in order to be inclusive
- It is one of the four Inns of Court to which all England & Wales barristers belong
Lincoln’s Inn is facing accusations of abandoning its Christian tradition after it ended the practice of saying grace before meals.
The decision to remove the ‘explicitly Christian’ wording was made in order to appear ‘more inclusive’.
It follows a statement by the Law Society vowing to reevaluate its ‘purpose, relevance and diversity’ for the modern age, The Telegraph reports.
Anne Sharp, under treasurer at Lincoln’s Inn, said it was common practice among many religions to have a moment of reflection before group meals.
Hosts will instead ‘give thanks’ at meal times.
She said: ‘This is not political correctness gone mad, and it is not being driven by younger members. Other members didn’t feel comfortable so we are trying to be a little more thoughtful.
Lincoln’s Inn is facing accusations of abandoning its Christian tradition after it ended the practice of saying grace before meals (Pictured: Great Hall of Lincoln’s Inn)
Lincoln’s Inn is the largest of the four Inns of Court in London – the professional associations to which all barristers in England and Wales must belong
‘Giving thanks’ instead of ‘saying grace’ – what’s the difference?
Lincoln’s Inn has decided to dispense with saying grace before meals, and instead give thanks.
The traditional Christian blessing goes: ‘Lord God, Heavenly Father, bless us and these Thy gifts which we receive from Thy bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.’
In its place will be: ‘In this moment of silence, let us give thanks for all that we are about to receive and for the company of this Honourable Society.’
‘The language traditionally used was explicitly Christian, but we have changed it to a non-Christian “thanks” because of our diverse range of members with a different range of beliefs.’
Lincoln’s Inn is the largest of the four Inns of Court in London – the professional associations to which all barristers in England and Wales must belong. The others being Middle Temple, Inner Temple and Gray’s Inn.
It has judged the saying of grace to be an anachronism.
The Christian grace will now only be used at Sunday lunch following a chapel service.
The Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls and treasurer of the Inn for 2023, said it is a ‘priority’ to ‘continue to enhance the relevance’ of the inn, and that this included correcting ‘outdated stereotypes’.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), has blasted the Inn and accused it of betraying its roots.
The CLC pointed out that a chapel has been at the centre of Lincoln’s Inn since its founding centuries ago and that it was inherently a Christian organisation.
Mrs Williams said: ‘Saying grace before meals in the Inn is part of that rich and living tradition. It is no little thing to stop saying grace. It demonstrated what the Inn cares about.’
She added that ‘abandoning’ the Christian faith ‘does not bode well’ for the future of Lincoln’s Inn.
The move follows a series of measures adopted by the Law Society to get rid of antiquated phrases, such as ‘masters of the bench’ from its guidance.
The phrase has been replaced with the more inclusive ‘members of the bench’ or ‘benchers’.
Last month, the Law Society implemented a new code outlining standards of behaviour for all of its members.
A spokesman said: ‘While completely uncontroversial, this reflects our desire to be a welcoming and inclusive organisation for all our members.’
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