Supplies of road salt held at council depots in Lincolnshire are to be blessed by senior church figures in the hope that this will help in the expected winter battle against snow and icy roads.
The Louth Leader has the story, reporting that no less an ecclesiastical figure than the Right Reverend Christopher Lowson, Bishop of Lincoln, will lead the blessing ceremony tomorrow at the Sturton by Stow gritting depot tomorrow. Other unnamed priests will bless the salt held at the other seven depots across Lincolnshire.
"We are enormously grateful for the hard work of those who salt the roads in all hours and in all weathers," the bish told the paper.
“This is an opportunity to pray for them in their work, and to remember the responsibility we all have to drive responsibly.”
Councillor William Webb praised the heroic efforts of the gritter crews also, and hoped that a little celestial aid might be forthcoming.
“Each year our crew of dedicated drivers is on standby, ready to go out in some of the worst weather conditions imaginable, determined to make a difference on the roads and keep Lincolnshire moving. The annual blessings for their safety serve as a poignant reminder to us all that we should not take safety on the roads for granted," he told the Leader.
The report doesn't say, but doubtless the bish or one of the other priests will take for his or her text Ecclesiasticus 43, which runs:
Great is the Lord ...
By his commandment he maketh the snow to fall aplace, and sendeth swiftly the lightnings of his judgment.
By his great power he maketh the clouds firm, and the hailstones are broken small.
At his sight the mountains are shaken, and at his will the south wind bloweth.
The noise of the thunder maketh the earth to tremble: so doth the northern storm and the whirlwind: as birds flying he scattereth the snow, and the falling down thereof is as the lighting of grasshoppers:
The eye marvelleth at the beauty of the whiteness thereof, and the heart is astonished at the raining of it.
All this might seem to indicate that actually the snow and ice are God's works and not lightly to be meddled with by impious council gritters. But then the holy writ goes on:
The hoarfrost also as salt he poureth on the earth, and being congealed, it lieth on the top of sharp stakes.
Which could surely be seen as saying that pouring salt on frosty roads is
kosher OK, though the talk of sharp stakes is a little worrying.
Anyway, it's good to know that the bish and his team will be doing their bit to keep the roads safe this winter. ®