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Cross is returned to cemetery – but seeing it may have to be an act of faith

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: December 30, 2013

The new cross at the cemetery, which is made of acrylic, is barely visible, and is removable on request

The new cross at the cemetery, which is made of acrylic, is barely visible, and is removable on request

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A "removable cross" has been installed on a window at a Somerset crematorium, resolving a row over the Christian symbol's use in a chapel.

Bath and North East Somerset Council removed a window etched with a cross in the chapel at Haycombe Crematorium as part of a £140,000 refurbishment.

The etched window had been in place since the crematorium was built 50 years ago but the authority said that after consultation with users including funeral directors, ministers and customers it was felt that a plain window would make the building more accessible to all faiths, and those who do not have any religious beliefs.

The council said that its bereavement services team would discuss individual needs which could include removable crosses.

More than 4,000 people signed a petition calling for a cross, with some Christians saying they could not see why a cross was offensive or inappropriate.

Now the council has agreed to install a clear acrylic cross that can be removed on request.

A council spokesman said the new cross would allow congregations to "see views across open green fields" and could be removed on request for non-faith services.

Councillor David Dixon said the "expertly designed cross will be used for generations to come".

Churches Together in Bath executive secretary David Pendle said the outcome was a welcome one.

"The churches were pleased to be involved in the whole process of replacing the cross on the crematorium window. Many had a say about the design and the finished result does the job," he said.

"The great symbol of the Christian faith is now there for all to see, and to remind Christians that life goes on beyond the grave."

The removal of the original cross caused controversy earlier in the year, with Hugh Mackay, 82, a former Christian missionary in Nigeria who lives nearby, telling the Daily Mail: "It seems there is a determined secular campaign to try to obliterate religious heritage in our country. It is a deliberate attempt to downplay our Christian heritage."

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