17 APRIL 1936, Page 20

SIR,—There are two points in connexion with the churches today

that seem to me to deserve some attention. I know that in what I say I am speaking for a number of younger people with whom I have discussed the matter.

There are two churches in London which I visit frequently- The services held there are most inspiring and helpful and one comes out of those two churches feeling much happier and uplifted than when one went in. The, reason is no doubt in part the personality of the vicars, but largely also the fact that neither of them are afraid to alter the old, orthodox services by substituting more modern-minded prayers and ciitting out some of the lengthy and, in some cases, definitely un-Christ lint psalms. . . . ;

Just lately I have been visiting different churches and it made me very_ depressed to realise that I came out of most of them feeling far worse than when I went in. Not one jot or tittle of any word in the orthodox service was changed and I feel certain that few of the congregation were attentive to the words they said or sung.

• One usually finds that it is in these churches, where the orthodox is so carefully upheld, that the congregations are small, and what there is of them consists mostly of elderly men and women. In both churches referred to above, where the services arc bright and cheerful, yet sincere and inspiring, one has to go early to get a seat. If one asks the average young person who rarely goes to church the reason why, the answer is invariably that the services arc so dull and stodgy. Long psalms, lengthy, little-known hymns, do not inspire the present generation. Why is the Sunday evening wireless service so popular ? Because one can listen to it in an easy chair I fancy the answer is that the service is bright, cheerful, inspiring, untrammelled by uninteresting phraseology and shorn of all unnecessary parts.

Seeing that several of the more enlightened clergy are using the revised prayer-book, appointing the more beautiful jsalrirs, and int rOdUcing " Songs of Praise " into their services, Cutting out .the o??Vfli- shioned pluttSeolOgy and in short Making *their services beautiful Mid 'thereby filling their chtirches---Ltaking all this into consideration, cannot something be done to spread these enlightened practices throughout the church ? I am sure that Christ meant our services to be simple and beautiful. The present age is not pagan ; people want to go to church, but only if, in so doing, they feel better people. for it.

My second point is that several of us feel that the Church, 'indeed all the churches, conformist or non-conformist, are not giving us sufficient lead in the present crises. Our minds are being moulded by the Press instead of by the churches. An occasional prayer for peace introduced into a service, resolutions passed deploring the present state of affairg, &e., are not enough. The churches, in this time of trouble, should give us a vigorous lead, telling us what attitude we should adopt, giving us every facility by means of regular services to pray for God's guidance for our Government and people and for the Governments and peoples of all nations.

Think of the strength that would be given to those prayed fur, if services were held daily in every church in the Empire, praying for the guidance of all leaders in every country in the world. Why not go further and have services conducted simul- taneously in every church in the Empire ? How wonderfully impressive that would be compared with the recent mobilisa- tions of armed force that we have been reading about. Millions of people assembling into squares to listen to their dictator's speech and to wave flags--how nmeh better to have millions of people assembling in churches to listen to their God and ask for His guidtince: That would be an example that would impress the world and would improve it.

If, combined with this, the churches were to issue a vigorous statement that it is the duty of every Christian to pray not only for the cessation of hostilities and war but for the guidance of all concerned, the example set would be one that I am sure others would copy and which would profoundly affect the whole world.--I am, Sir, &c.,

Ireinbley Park. J. N. LE ROSSIGNOL.