The lights are being dimmed and the heating cut down in Cathedrals and Churches throughout England and Wales as clergy join laity in answering the government's call to save fuel.
Birmingham National and Local Government Officers Association held their annual carol service in St. Chad's Cathedral illuminated by only three of the 20 powerful lights normally used there this week, Canon Leo McCartie, the Administrator, said. The capacity audience of 700 who attended a recital by the Birmingham School of Music and Orchestra at the Cathedral at the weekend were not however put off by the power shortage, he added.
Fr. Michael Scott Napier, parish priest at Brompton Oratory, London, said: "We are effecting very extensive economies, having been closing the Church at 4 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. since Monday." No lighting is used except in the early morning and heating has been switched off completely. A
smaller chapel is being used for the evening Mass.
Fr. William Clements, Administrator of Southwark Cathedral, said: "We are in a very dicey position regarding Christmas, we only have a week's supply of fuel. We have decied to cut off all heating during the week, we are cutting lighting down to about a quarter."
Dom Edmund Jones of Christ the King Church, Cockfosters, London, said the chapel was in the centre of a building in which the heating had been cut down. M idnight mass is being televised from the Priory by the BBC on Christmas night and as they brining their own generators, he is not worried about a blackout. "I cannot say we are in any particular misery about the fueh shortage," he said.