The Vicar & Tina Turner


A very English story, this. The vicar of St Barnabus’ Church, Tunbridge Wells, is sick of officiating at cremations (or ‘crems’ as he calls them) and having to listen to mum’s doggerel poetry read over Tina Turner songs instead of a requiem mass. He feels his presence at a funeral where someone plays ‘Candle In The Wind’ or ‘My Way’ is a waste when he could be finding better ways to spend his time. Six out of ten UK people in the newly secular Britain prefer modern music over hymns, and he’s told his parishioners he’s sick of it. The result? A wave of protest from his congregation, who feel they relate to non-religious music that meant something in the lives of the deceased better than turgid Victorian platitudes. The Reverend should probably have thought this view through before posting it on the internet.

4 comments on “The Vicar & Tina Turner”

  1. Laurence says:

    Maybe there is scope for modern music but the crux of the matter is the destination of the soul. No hope of resurrection is the ultimate despair and this country has had 1700 years of Christianity to get used to the idea that we are here for a short time and that our choices are eternal.This vicar is expressing his feeling of irrelevance at heedless ceremonies where he can only show sadness at the appalling secular choices and the terrible consequences of secular heedlessness for the dead and their grieving friends.

  2. Helen Martin says:

    Perhaps, but the discussion is useful. Turn the thing around. Why should church music have no relation to the congregation’s life in the world. What was it Gen. Booth said, “Why should the devil have all the good tunes?” Who wants to drone “Rock of Ages” when the only connection is has to you is that you sing it at funerals? If the person who has died suffered a long time in great pain why not sing “Morning Has Broken”? The reverend gentleman should take a look at his hymnbook. Is he still using Hymns A & M when the most modern was probably written in 1905? Enter the 21st century, sir.

  3. admin says:

    Surely the only purpose of the music is to comfort the living? If there is a God, I can’t imagine s/he would allow a quick burst of Elton John to hamper the departure of the soul.

  4. Helen Martin says:

    No, a burst of Elton John might very well please the Creator. No matter what anyone claims, it is impossible to know in any detail what pleases him/her. The aim of the whole service is to place the deceased and the mourners within a supportive community which jointly affirms its faith, whatever that is. The music should be in accord with the rest of the service in tone. I can’t imagine a wedding with music from Ice T or Black Sabbath and funerals are in a similar category. People who are totally unaware of the structure of the service are the ones who make startling music choices. Perhaps they should go to a non-conforming denomination where the funeral service is not set and can be structured to meet the tastes of the mourners without losing the original function.

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