From Roi Milburn, Ryde:

Apropos Lori Little’s article about questioning of a Ryde Town Council grant, may we re-assure readers that All Saints (lovingly known around the Island as ‘the parish church’) really is the hub of the community in Ryde.

It provides support for so many, including an AA group, an Alzheimer’s Cafe, an NHS Therapy Group, dancers, singers and keep fitters, community health and social care, brownies, fibromyalgia and other groups and societies, school groups, art classes, and the U3A.

Also, every year it is a venue for classes of the IW Music, Dance and Drama Festival.

In fact, more than 500 people each week use All Saints’ church hall (the majority of whom are council tax payers, thus helping to meet the costs of running our town).

Our ‘strapline’ says it all: “Sharing our faith with the community we serve”.

In addition we act as a polling station for local, national and European elections. We cater for weddings, baptisms and funerals.

We also provide the opportunity for worship.

How sad that All Saints should hit the headlines not for its contribution to the community, but targeted by anti-religion rhetoric amid claims of party political bias (it was also targeted by a couple who robbed this open and welcoming church, but they have subsequently been apprehended and charged).

Perhaps Cllr Critchley won’t stop until all Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, walkers, runners, swimmers, cyclists, sport and youth group supporters, senior citizens, motorists, educationalists, males, females, LGBT+ people, etc (apologies for those we’ve  missed) declare their interests and recuse themselves accordingly.

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