Paul Rimmer intended to celebrate the end of Father’s Day at church with his two young sons in tow. But their time together was cut short for what the church considered a disruption and Rimmer considered “rejection.”
The family was to attend Sunday’s Evensong, a mostly sung-through evening service, at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England.
The event was particularly thrilling for Rimmer’s 9-year-old son, Tristan, who loves the 16th-century church’s ceilings and famed Latin chorales. And because he has autism and is nonverbal, he expresses his excitement primarily through laughter and calls, his dad explained.
But before the end of the service, an usher asked Tristan and his family to leave on the grounds that he was disrupting fellow parishioners, Rimmer said.
In a biting letter addressed to the college’s dean, the Rev. Dr. Stephen Cherry, Rimmer frames his grievances as a faux-apology for “lessening the satisfaction” of tourists who visit the chapel and who found his son’s form of worship offensive.
On Monday, he published the letter on Facebook, where it’s been shared nearly 6,000 times.
“My son might not be able to talk, but he knows perfectly well what is going on around him,” he wrote. “He isn’t even ten years old and he knows that he is unwelcome.”
Rimmer, who teaches astrophysics at the University of Cambridge, said the incident wasn’t the first time his family had been asked to leave a church but marked the only occasion a member of the clergy asked for their removal.
“Might I suggest that you place a sign at the front of the chapel, clearly identifying which categories of people are welcome and which are not?” he wrote.
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SOURCE: CNN, Scottie Andrew and Brian Ries