FINALLY . . .

 

Why are parrots so prone to sickness? Apparently, so correspondents tell us, it was because parrots were becoming (like liberals?) popular but exotic imports to this country in the Seventies. Colourful, fascinating, different, they were notoriously prone to such viral diseases as psittacosis. Why they were so popular with football managers? Don’t know.

Welcome news, so another correspondent tells us, with the consecration this month of Gordon Mursell, current Dean of Birmingham, as Suffregan Bishop of Stafford, in the Diocese of Litchfield. Fr Mursell was formerly Team Rector of Stafford in the Nineties, and, though an ‘enthusiastic proponent of women priests’, went out of his way to be fair and generous to the traditionalist congregation within his team. A liberal who wishes to be liberal? May the Lord bless his episcopate.
 

The essence of humour is to be close, but not too close, to what one hopes to mock or parody. Perhaps May’s Last Chronicle really did print a genuine pro forma letter from ECUSA offices. Read Presiding Frank’s Pentecost Message on www.episcopalchurch.org, and discover an amplification on exactly the lines predicted. Spooky or what?

One of those books that does not quite make the reviews because you cannot be sure how to place it, nor whether it has any theological foundation. The Money Secret by Rob Parsons, best selling self-help author, is a deliberately punchy and populist presentation of current materialism and over-spending. Told in the form of an unfolding story, it does offer fine insights and credible solutions to the real and painful problems of personal debt. Old-fashioned protestant good-works. It ought to be bad theology, but it is rather compelling – it warms the heart. Hodder & Stoughton, £6.99.
 

In these days of cut-backs to parish staffing, it is worth asking, whether you are a worried churchwarden, a priest nearing retirement, or an NSM, what is the difference between a clergy post asking for Sunday duty and three days a week, and one asking for three days a week and Sunday duty? About £10,000 a year. What one diocese calls a half-time post, another calls ‘house for duty’, and then wonders why few apply.

Is it possible to be Anglican, tolerant and still faithful to Christian teaching on marriage? The Bishops of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa issued a response to their country’s plans for gay marriage, on 5 May, that might surprise you.

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