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13 March 2012

E-petition defends collective worship in Welsh schools

E-petition defends collective worship in Welsh schools

In one week, an e-petition to protect collective worship in Welsh schools has collected three times as many signatures as a rival one to abolish it by the British Humanist Association has in six months.

The pro-collective worship initiative, launched by Jim Stewart from Evangelical Alliance Wales, came about through feeling a need to redress an imbalance.

Jim Stewart said: “After the recent issue in Devon surrounding council meetings and prayer, I thought I’d find out more about what the British Humanist Association and National Secular Society were up to in Wales. Sure enough, I found that the BHA has had a petition up on the National Assembly for Wales website since September, calling for collective worship to be abolished.”

“While they are entitled to their opinion, what really surprised me was their claim to be the voice of non-Christian Wales, declaring that collective worship was ‘extremely unpopular’ among parents, children and teachers. My feeling was that a counter-petition would gain widespread support.”

The “pro” petition, which has been open for signatures on the same website since last Friday, has gathered over 850 signatures covering all 40 constituencies in Wales, including many from other faith groups. The “anti” one has attracted only 263 signatures, with over 70 of those living outside Wales.

Elfed Godding, director of Evangelical Alliance Wales is encouraging policy makers not to give the secularist voice too much attention. “Wales in 2012 is a diverse nation and while there are many who do not have a personal faith, the British Humanist Association does not represent the voice of the non-religious.”

You can sign the e- petition to protect collective worship as a legal requirement at the National Assembly for Wales website.