Jazz mayor gets in trouble over Lord's Prayer
PUBLISHED: 12:20 25 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:42 07 September 2010
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A PRAYER from the mayor has upset councillors and residents. Haringey's first citizen's habit of singing, or reciting, the Lord's Prayer at his official functions has raised more than a few eyebrows and even caused one councillor to grab his microphone
A PRAYER from the mayor has upset councillors and residents.
Haringey's first citizen's habit of singing, or reciting, the Lord's Prayer at his official functions has raised more than a few eyebrows and even caused one councillor to grab his microphone.
In the latest incident, professional jazz singer Cllr Sheik Thompson was invited to a school's competition evening.
Once the winners had been announced, he praised all the teenagers for the talent they had displayed and suggested to the audience that they should thank God. He then sang the Lord's Prayer.
Labour councillor Nilgun Canver appeared to take offence at the mayor's musical offering and tried to grab the microphone from him.
Visibly ruffled, she was heard to tell colleagues it was "entirely inappropriate."
Katie Smith, who works for property developers Prupim, attended the ceremony as a mentor to the winning team. Ms Smith, 21, said: "I thought it was a bit inappropriate of the mayor to sing the Lord's Prayer at such a public meeting. Some people were offended."
But Ms Benedicta Osei-Bonsu from St Thomas More Catholic school in Tottenham, where the competition was held, defended the Mayor.
She said: "We didn't take offence. St Thomas More is a Catholic school. We all thought it was a nice thing to do. Sheik Thompson is a brilliant Mayor. He attends all the events and the kids get along with him. He's funny as well."
Cllr Thompson was unrepentant. He confessed: "When people do things that are good like that they should give thanks to the Lord.
"I didn't want to offend non-believers, but a police officer who had heard me sing before said he thought the kids would like it if I sang for them. The Lord's Prayer is one of the most inoffensive songs I could have chosen. I think it's unreasonable for people to take objection to something which has come from Matthew chapter six, because the United Kingdom is officially Church of England after all.
"I'd also like to play down reports that Cllr Canver grabbed the microphone. Let's not make mountains out of molehills."
The mayor also sang the Lord's Prayer at the end of a meeting with young people at the Action for Kids charity in Hornsey last week.
Councillor Canver refused to comment.