The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian group founded in 1973


Letters - By J. M. Gilheany

Thought for food

...While on the subject of food, John Gilheany from the Christian Vegetarian Association of the UK has been in touch. He writes:

"There have been several historical figures within Christendom who have embraced vegetarianism in later life, including John and Charles Wesley, C.H. Spurgeon and General William Booth. In most cases, Christians who have inclined towards or adopted vegetarianism would cite health or ascetic reasons, for their dietary preference. However, Lord Soper, when asked if he believed Jesus to have been a vegetarian, famously replied: 'No, but if he were around today, I think that he probably would be.' "*

He feels that large numbers of young people, in particular, have left the Church because of perceived and rife indifference towards animal suffering and exploitation. He continues: "Western society is abundantly blessed to the point where any supermarket trolley could be filled ten times over without a drop of animal blood being spilt. Surely to those to whom much has being given much will always be expected; and in ways which require us to reflect upon our everyday witness to the coming Kingdom."

For those interested, CVAUK has a website
( and can be contacted at: CVAUK, Foresta, Pines Road, Liphook, GU30 7PL.

The Methodist Recorder

*The comment originally appeared in an early collection of Donald Soper's preaching memoirs: Tower Hill, 12:30, Epworth Press, 1963, p.91. In reply to a member of the crowd who asked if Jesus was a teetotaller or a vegetarian, Rev. Soper replied: "I think probably, if He were here today, He would be both."

(reprinted in Christianity and the Rights of Animals, Andrew Linzey, SPCK, 1987, p49)

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