MWE VISITED Kendal last week to see two old friends. On the last evening we popped out of our B&B to find a bite of food and decided to try the Ring O' Bells, next to the church.

We were welcomed by the fellows in there and when we produced a charity quiz sheet they all wanted to join in. We spent a very pleasant hour.

Afterwards, we saw the lights on in the church so wandered over to take a look, and found the doors open. There was a lady inside waiting for her son to come out of a choir practice.

But before we could look around further, a fellow appeared and brusquely said the doors should have been locked and we must leave immediately. He ushered us out without any greeting or showing the slightest interest in our visit.

We were shocked, especially as we are members of St Mary’s in Totnes. What a contrast with the friendly reception in the pub next door. If Jesus were alive today, I wonder at which of the two places you’d be more likely to find him.

Ian Phillips and Thea Keeler

Totnes, Devon

Editor's note: The Westmorland Gazette contacted the Rev Rob Saner-Haigh, vicar of Kendal Parish Church, and here is his response:

"I’m really sorry to hear about the experience they had. Of course, we wouldn’t want anyone to feel they had been brusquely ushered out and, I hope, that’s not how any of our other visitors feel.

"In fact, I know from emails and our Visitors Book that people feel very welcome when they visit. I’m also pretty convinced that Jesus would have been both in the pub and in the church - in fact, wherever people who need him gather.

"Although I’m really sorry they had this experience and understand why they were upset, I’d also say their experience was with just one person and we don’t know what kind of day they had had. We really need a bit more grace in this world. As a church, we are far from perfect and sometimes we get it wrong even though we always try to do better.

"I’m sorry, too, that the complainant hasn’t contacted us as we would, of course, have apologised directly and invited them to come again when they are next visiting Kendal."