A grieving daughter has been refused permission by the Church of England to have the words ‘Free Spirit’ inscribed on her mother’s memorial stone at St Andrews Church.
A top church judge has ruled that the words are not Christian enough.
Refusing permission for the words to be included on the Coptic Cross memorial planned for Vicky Crammond who is buried at St Andrew’s Church, Fairlight, Mark Hill QC, Chancellor of the Diocese of Chichester, and a judge of the Church’s Consistory Court said they did not “convey anything of Christian belief.”
The application for permission for the memorial was made by Mrs Crammond’s daughter, Lucy and had been backed by the Parochial Church Council (PCC).
Mrs Crammond was buried at the church in November 2011. Permission of the court was necessary because the design does not fall within the types of memorial that the rector, Reverend Richard Barron, can approve under his delegated powers.
Although the PCC had backed the proposed memorial Chancellor Hill said that the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) would not support the proposed design which it felt was “fundamentally and spiritually inappropriate”.
Chancellor Hill said he took the view that the cross itself would be acceptable and said he was satisfied that a revised design he had been shown, in which the Celtic knot was shown in relief, “would be of the quality expected for a bespoke memorial which will be a fitting tribute for the late Mrs Crammond”.
But as far as the words, “Free Spirit”, were concerned he said that while those two words appeared in combination in various places in the Bible, they “do not convey anything of Christian belief nor the hope in the resurrection as is appropriate in a consecrated burial ground”.