Saw DB last night. He lives in a very chichi middle class village in Surrey and is involved in running a village craft competition - best floral display, Victoria sponge, biggest carrot, best wooden toy made by an under 13 etc etc. Harmless and fun, they've done it for years and it brings village together at the fete once a year. What's not to like? It was really popular last year and all the entries were judged in a marquee thing. It was a huge squash so this year for the first time they have asked permission to use the church hall.
The vicar has said he will only allow this if
A. He is allowed to address the fete and say a prayer asking God for good weather for the fete.
Seriously, little children having their limbs blown off in wartorn regions on this planet, Babies dying in agony of starvation, malaria, you name it, and this vicar honestly thinks that bothering God for good weather to ensure that people who effectively want for NOTHING have a jolly day? How insane and tasteless is this?
B. That there is no raffle as this is gambling. Even though every penny of profit was to be given to an extremely worthy local charity.
My brother and I are not "Christians" but I think we are more Christian than this attitude!
I can understand the raffle -- but there are stacks of other non-raffle ways to raise money -- guess the weight of the cake, etc. -- that involve skill not gambling.
Praying about the weather is bloody ridiculous. There's another thread about prayer going on in which I describe praying for specific material events -- like the weather -- as being like sending a Christmas list up the chimney for Father Christmas. Prayer doesn't work like that & it devalues it if that's what you do. It rather horrifies me that a vicar should be so shallow.
I must be shallow then! I believe in bringing everything to God in prayer, even the weather! Paul tells us this "Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."
But this is off the point... fortunately or unfortunately, raffles, whether tombolas or whatever, tend to bring in the most money when fundraising, compared to other stalls. Would he accept it if the raffle is not actually in the hall, but was outside (under cover if necessary)?
no gambling of any kind is a quite commonly held practical christian belief ie they do not do raffles buy lottery tickets etc, some church halls will not allow alcohol again quite common , these things are often written into trust deeds of hall and are therefore not dicretionary
I think the parishes I serve would be horrified if raffles were suddenly banned! Having said that, I never buy lottery tickets and the nearest I've been to a race meeting is a church meeting held at Towcester race course! I think it is a question of degree and experience - I have never heard of anyone losing all their money in a church raffle, but sadly I do know people who spend money they can't afford on lottery tickets.
As far as the prayers are concerned, if I was invited by the organisers then I would but certainly not make it a condition. One of our parishes holds the village Christmas bazaar in the church and I simply turn up to be relieved of my cash, along with the rest of the village!