SIR,—In reply to a question on the above subject in the current issue of the Clergy Review (p. 456) it seems to be assumed that a church is an unsafe place and that priest and people should take shelter at the earliest possible moment after an air raid warning is sounded. If and when air raids begin we may learn by experience better means for our safety, but until that happens should we not follow present A.R.P. directions and practise as to what to do in church during an air raid?
May one suggest the following procedure?
(1) At the air raid warning the service will continue and the faithful be advised to remain where they are. (a) It must be Very rare to have a large and convenient shelter close to the church. (b) People who live quite close may be advised to go home, but they are liable to be stopped by wardens and asked to take cover in the nearest house. (c) Many shelters may be inches deep in water and difficult of access to elderly people.
(2) If the sound of gunfiring approaches closely, people should line up round the walls leaving the body of the church free in case incendiary bombs pass through the roof. Sidesmen should know how to deal with these.
(3) The priest will use his discretion, but there is no reason why he should not proceed with the Mass unless the sound of gunfiring rapidly approaches.
(4) It is assumed that the people have their gas respirators at the alert.
JOSEPH SUNN (REV.) Our Lady of Lourdes,