Way back in September, 2009, I tentatively covered the story of the somewhat brutal, insensitive and sudden application of the no-ornamentation rule within the churchyard of St James’s Church, the parish church of Brownhills. If you can’t remember the original furore, please do read my original post and come back here. The report at the time from the Walsall Advertiser is still available online.
The reason I bring this up again now is that last weekend, in the pursuit of a little research, I had cause to visit St James, something I do very rarely. I was shocked at the condition of the churchyard. Whilst I realise that the grounds are very probably maintained by volunteers, it seems a little bit hypocritical that one of the richest institutions in Britain – which charges a handsome fee for interment, ashes scattering and memorials – should be so draconian about the appearance of graves whilst allowing the memorial grounds to deteriorate in such a manner.
I found the churchyard and cemeteries to be quite overgrown, tatty and down-at-heel. These are gardens of remembrance for loved ones and citizens of the locality – can the Diocese of Lichfield not find it in their hearts to nip to B&Q for a mower? Let alone deal with the muddy paths through the grounds. I’m reminded of the bible quote from Luke 6:41…
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
I’ve said before, I’m not a religious man, but a tad of respect for those who’ve lost loved ones, their payment for service and consideration for their loss wouldn’t go amiss. Particularly when there is still a particularly officious, sniffy sign in the grounds reminding visitors of their obligations.
‘She’s the far end of the graveyard up where the nettles grow.’
Thea Gilmore, ‘This Girl’