Barristers society bans Christian grace before meals to be ‘more inclusive’

Barristers society bans Christian grace before meals to be ‘more inclusive’

Lincoln's Inn buildings and the Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls and treasurer of the Inn (inset)

Sam Montgomery

By Sam Montgomery

Published: 12/08/2023

- 15:08

Updated: 12/08/2023

- 15:13

Lincoln’s Inn scraps Christian grace in bid to embrace 'relevance and diversity'

Lincoln’s Inn has binned its tradition of saying grace before meal times in a bid to “correct outdated stereotypes” and become more “inclusive”.

It comes as part of the Law Society’s wider pledge to reevaluate its “purpose, relevance and diversity”.

The Lincoln’s Inn is a society of barristers, students and judges, the origins of which date back more than 600 years to 1422.

The Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls and treasurer of the Inn for 2023, said: “It is a priority to continue to enhance the relevance of the Inn to all our members, and build an increasingly inclusive environment.

The chapel at Lincoln's Inn


“This will involve taking the time to correct outdated stereotypes.”

Deeming ‘saying grace’ as anachronistic and exclusionary, the society has said that it will instead “give thanks”.

The society will no longer use the traditional Christian blessing: “Lord God, Heavenly Father, bless us and these Thy gifts which we receive from Thy bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

In its place will be: “In this moment of silence, let us give thanks for all that we are about to receive and for the company of this Honourable Society.”

The late Queen Elizabeth II, visits The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn in London to officially open its new teaching facility, the Ashworth Centre and relaunch its recently renovated Great Hall.


Anne Sharp, under treasurer, said: “Most religions have a moment of reflection before collective meals so we wanted to maintain tradition but adapt as well.”

She added: “This is not political correctness gone mad, and it is not being driven by younger members. Other members didn’t feel comfortable so we are trying to be a little more thoughtful.

“The language traditionally used was explicitly Christian, but we have changed it to a non-Christian ‘thanks’ because of our diverse range of members with a different range of beliefs.”

Not everyone is convinced, including Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), who said: “At the heart of Lincoln’s Inn is a chapel which marks the role of the Christian faith in shaping law and justice in our nation.


The Master of the Rolls Sir Geoffrey VosLincoln's Inn

“Saying grace before meals in the Inn is part of that rich and living tradition. It is no little thing to stop saying grace. It demonstrated what the Inn cares about.

“To abandon the Christian faith in this way after centuries of upholding it does not bode well for the future of Lincoln’s Inn.”

Lincoln’s Inn has confirmed that Christian grace will continue to have a place at Sunday lunch after a chapel service, according to The Telegraph.

A spokesman said: “While completely uncontroversial, this reflects our desire to be a welcoming and inclusive organisation for all our members.”

The society was named after their original home in the City of London, which was leased from the Earl of Lincoln.

You may like