A British church has garnered controversy over using a revised set of lyrics to the classic Christmas carol “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” that celebrated queer identity and omitted reference to Satan or Christ being the Savior.
A worshiper at All Saints with Holy Trinity in Loughborough posted a tweet from a now-deleted account on Dec. 19 that featured a photo of the modified lyrics, with the person saying, “Flipping love my church.”
The photo of the lyrics was obtained by The Telegraph and others, which shows revised lyrics to “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” that omitted references to Satan and no longer described Christ as our Savior, while also adding references to “queer and questioning” individuals and “women, who by men have been erased.”
“God rest you, queer and questioning, your anxious hearts be still, Believe that you are deeply known and part of God’s good will For all to live as one in peace; the global dream fulfilled,” read one new verse.
“God rest you also, women, who by men have been erased, Through history ignored and scorned, defiled and displaced; Remember that your stories too, are held within God’s grace,” read another.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols was among the critics of the revised lyrics, explaining in comments published by the Daily Mail on Thursday that Christmas carols should reflect timeless belief rather than contemporary controversies.
“Ritual helps us to step outside of our own little bubble, connect with something that we have received, inherited, and that we hope to pass on,” Nichols explained.
“I think those values — of a continuation of musical repertoire, of the ability to sing together, of looking at the rituals that have been fashioned over centuries — for me, those are probably more important than particular sensitivities which come and go.”
The church that used the modified lyrics, All Saints, describes itself on its website as “an inclusive, eco conscious and intercultural worshipping community (IWC) engaged with issues of social, racial and climate justice.”
“Described by some as 'robed and radical' you will find All Saints a place where ancient ritual meets contemporary experience as our worship seeks to enable us to [encounter] God and for that to shape how we live our lives,” it explained.
“For LGBTQ+ folk All Saints is a safe place of belonging and affirmation where people are received as a gift not a problem to be solved.”