Joel Nilsson

Senior Hindu calls on Justin Welby and Boris Johnson to intervene on church saying no to hosting yoga classes

A church in Devon is coming under fire from a senior Hindu figure for not allowing yoga classes to take place in St Mary's Church in Bilton, Barnstable.

The President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed has urged Reverend Nigel Dilkes, the vicar of St Mary's to "show some maturity" and re-visit the issue.

He said by not allowing the classes to take place Rev Dilkes was depriving the area communities of the "valuable opportunities the multi-beneficial yoga" provides.



It comes after Rev Dilkes had refused to hire the church hall to local yoga teacher Atsuko Kato.

Mr Dilkes said the classes were "not compatible with Christian beliefs" and urged people to practice similar activities such as Pilates instead.

Although yoga has connections with both Hinduism and Buddhism, Rajan Zed believes the ban is unnecessary.

He urged the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby to immediately intervene in the matter to allow yoga classes in the premises of St Mary's to bring goodwill among communities.

Zed invited Rev Dilkes to attend a "few yoga classes" for himself. He said the Church of England talks of "love for others" and "engage positively with other faiths" - and that St Mary's itself aims to be "a church at the heart of our community, offering a place of belonging for all."

Zed also called on the Prime Minister Boris Johnson to look into how St. Mary's, a parish of Church of England which reportedly received government funding, could ban classes of the ancient practice of yoga.


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