Church 'wrong to stage Palestine concert'

Baptist church leader ‘didn’t realise it was so political’


The secretary of the Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, which held a carol concert by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), has said that had he known how political the concert was, he would not have approved it.

Prof John Beynon, the retired principal of King’s College, London, spoke after Jewish and Christian demonstrators protested outside the Covent Garden church during a carol service which included readings from Caryl Churchill, whose play Seven Jewish Children caused controversy earlier this year.

Prof Beynon said that after witnessing a section of the service, he thought it was “rather political”.

He also admitted that he knew little about the aims and views of the PSC before the service and said: “We don’t have time to look into every organisation.” But added: “I’d want to know more about an organisation before we do it again.

“We were led to believe it was going to be a carol concert. I will talk to others at the church, and if it was an overtly political evening, I’m not sure we would be particularly happy to have such a thing.

“I think there will be some discussions among the senior people in the church in the next week and we’ll review what happened. I wouldn’t want to see something with extreme political views using the church.”

His comments contrast with those of Rev Dr Simon Perry who, before the service, said he’d researched the PSC and agreed with many policies.

Meanwhile, a Facebook group has been set up calling John Sullivan, a carol-goer who was filmed outside the church, a “vile racist”.

An anti-PSC demonstrator filmed a conversation with a man who called himself John Sullivan. He says on camera: “Everybody in Britain can see what a nasty unpleasant type of people Jewish people are.

“You should be part of Britain. Britain is a culture which Jewish people don’t understand. You are not part of my country and I’m British.

“Jewish people, if you look through the history are vindictive, probably evil, probably very unpleasant.”
The group, entitled John Sullivan is a Vile Racist, has almost 200 members.

    Last updated: 3:41pm, December 10 2009