Reverend accused of ruining Christmas after telling children Santa is not real

Parents claimed a church rector “ruined Christmas” for their children after he revealed Santa isn’t real.

Some 200 schoolchildren attending Barclay Academy in Stevenage had their dreams crushed during a “truth sermon” by Reverend Edward Keene, who denied Father Christmas’s existence.

He also reportedly told them that Santa’s flying sleighs and reindeer did not exist either.

The reverend explained that he believed it was acceptable to drop the truth bombs as the children were old enough to hear it as they were aged 11 or 12.

However, their parents at Barclay Academy in Stevenage criticised Rev Keene for taking away the magic of the season.

Mum, Emma Race, 37, whose daughter Minnie went to the sermon at St Nicholas’ Church said: “My daughter came home and was quite upset by it.

“She said that he had told them at the end of the concert that now you’re Year 7 and in secondary school, you should know the truth – that Father Christmas and his reindeer and sleigh are not real.

“She still believed. Obviously, she was questioning it because she’s 11 but I thought I had this year before she sussed it out.So when she came home it caught me completely off guard. It’s ruined the magic of Christmas.

“There were lots of children at the school who were affected. The school had to have an emergency talk to say believe what you want to believe.”

The mother told Mail Online that she did email the church to complain about what happened.

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She added: “His response was that children are in secondary school and coming up to 12 and should know what’s true and what’s not. The school contacted me to say they were really shocked and unaware it was ever going to be brought up.”

Another parent, Steve Shaw said: “This guy doesn’t know about the children’s home lives and situations. Why did he need to say this? Who was he to deliver this news?”

A third added: “He decided the whole of Year 7 needed to know Santa isn’t real, as they are entering the real world. I would like to make other parents and schools aware, as this has ruined my daughter’s Christmas.”

Following the backlash, the reverend has promised to “approach the topic differently in the future”.

Speaking to Mail Online, he said: “As the event to that point had included songs and readings about a range of characters, including Father Christmas and the sleigh, the Grinch and Jesus Christ, I did note that discernment had to be exercised and that some of these are real and others are not. At the time, this proved a point of amusement for the children, rather than one of upset.

“The topic of the reflection was aimed at a secondary school audience and would not be the same for a primary or pre-primary one.

“I will approach the topic differently in future, as well as apologising for any undue upset caused inadvertently – this was by no means my intent.”

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