This sounds like a scene out of A Christmas Carol, but it appears to be real. The resident chaplain for Bentley at Crewe was removed from his post – just days before Christmas. Reverend Francis Cooke had visited Crewe once a week for the last decade, but was relieved of his duties when it was feared by management that his presence at the factory might offend a multi-faith workforce.
According to Rev. Cooke, "The reason I have been given is that there are too many people of different faiths to warrant a Christian chaplain." Cooke pointed out that no complaint had ever been brought against him, and that he helps all faiths at the factory – not just Christians.
Bentley issued a statement, addressing its decision, "We have a wide range of faiths and want to take a multi-faith outlook. It would be very difficult to have somebody from each faith."
The Bentley staff did not take this well, and have launched a petition to restore the reverend to his position of the last ten years. According to one Crewe employee, "Everyone is really angry about it as a few of us have been on courses with him." The unnamed employee continued, "To do this before Christmas is shocking." There is no word yet on the progress of the petition, or the hopes of Rev. Cooke's reinstatement at Crewe.