AT the start of the meeting of Malvern Hills District Council on July 14 the chairman, Barbara Williams, said a prayer in the Christian faith on behalf of the members, presumably seeking guidance for them when making decisions.

While she was saying her prayer, all the members, so far as one could see, stood in reverent silence, whether or not they shared her faith, had faith in another god, or in none at all.

This did not appear on the agenda, so councillors would not have the opportunity to absent themselves for the item if they wished.

Shortly afterwards the councillors voted by 22 to 15 with one abstention not to submit a bid under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.

This followed a discussion that depended on conflicting evidence offered in support or opposition. However, the need for compassion was mentioned, as was the parable of the Good Samaritan.

It would be interesting to learn how non-Christians would interpret this outcome.

James Clayton

Halmonds Frome