No thanks

The request to remove a traditional grace from a charity event in the City of London last week is a sad reflection on our unwillingness to acknowledge the giver of all good gifts.



According to a report in the Times last week, the City of London told the Lord Mayor’s chaplain to give a secular message at a black tie event held at the Mansion House last week for the charitable Dragon Awards, which recognise corporate community involvement.

Grace would have normally been said by the city’s chaplain the Rev Canon Roger Royle but instead he read out a few words about the awards.

Although grace may be said rather formally without most people engaging with it, it is nonetheless a wonderful opportunity to give thanks to God and acknowledge him as the provider of every good and perfect gift.

I think the decision was partly driven by the desire to be inclusive. We have a rather narrow view of diversity that tends towards a bland lowest common denominator rather than real diversity in allowing expression of different truth claims. The sad fact of the cutting out of a Christian grace at this event is also a reflection of the reality that most people are not Christians and furthermore, we are less inclined to jump to the defence of Christian practices.

For me as a believer in God it is reflection that we don’t want to acknowledge the giver of all good gifts. This is a cause for sadness but as Christians we have to humbly accept that this reflects society and to acknowledge our own part in that where Christians haven’t always spoken up or lived out the truth of God revealed in Jesus

As churches we should be the most thankful people – not just a meal times but in all of our lives, and to tell people about Jesus so they have something substantial to give thanks for.


  1. Not surprised. I attended a black tie event over 30 years ago. I was fascinated to read on the “menu” that grace was to be said by our hard bitten, outspoken Yorkshire chief executive. When the time came he said these words: For good food, for good wine, for good company- we give thanks. A number of us mumbled Amen. Once upon a time the attendance of a man of the cloth would be a reminder to all that God needed to be acknowledged in all our endeavours including business. It’s amazing that the formality has been observed as long as it has.

  2. The JCR at Balliol College, University of Oxford, banned a Christian stall at its Freshers event. A multi-faith stall was eventually allowed – provided no leaflets were handed out.

    • I have written an article on that – watch this space

  3. On a happier note , there was a proposal by an individual at the Sussex County Bowls Executive a couple of years ago, that grace should not be said prior to the dinner at the AGM in the Hydro Hotel in Eastbourne every December. The proposal did not gain any support and as far as I know , grace continues to be said.

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