finally . . .


A year ago this paper drew attention to the remarkable style and content of Bishop Tom Butler’s introduction to the Diocese of Southwark’s Annual Review, 2003. Sadly the 2004 Review shows no improvement. The formula is one of reiterate cliché and fulsome self-approval. To the surprise of many it begins ‘2004 was another year of change for the Diocese.’ To the comfort of all it concludes: ‘but without the challenges that change brings...’ ‘I am sure that progress is here to stay in Southwark,’ concludes the ebullient Tom. Well he would, wouldn’t he?

Who writes this guff? Or can a template be purchased on disc from the Archbishop’s Council? Similar examples, from other dioceses, for purposes of comparative analysis, would be welcome at the New Directions office.

ountry Life is ‘hunting for Britain’s Most Loved Country Parson.’ This is true! The closing date for nominations is September 1, which is the day before this issue is due to be published – ah well. The competition will be unveiled for readers, complete with a picture of a cycling vicar, in their Sept 22 edition. For more information, go to <>. ‘Most unloved’ – that’s the one I want.

publisher wrote to point out that we had almost doubled the price on one of the reviews. Checked with the reviewer and indeed he had made a mistake. His not unreasonable excuse was that no price was actually printed on the cover of the book. Our apologies then. All the same, you cannot have it both ways – if as a publisher you want the advantages of not printing a price (so you can easily raise it a few months hence) then you must take the disadvantages as well. That’s capitalism.

oes anyone know how and why ‘the churches’ (whatever they are) came to be in the forefront of that doomed project, English regional government? Or why the national government gives on our behalf £500,000 a year to a newsletter-producing institution called The Churches Regional Commission for Yorkshire and the Humber, and no doubt the same to similar groups around this realm of England? Are we, descendants of the Tudor bishops, an arm of government?

ealth and safety legislation now requires ‘portable appliance electrical safety testing’ (PAT) for every parish church in the country, because ‘for example, just one unnoticed overheating plug could cause the total destruction of a building!’ We shall all sleep more soundly, but it is worth noting that the cost of one formal inspection for every church will cost the poor, old, cash-strapped CofE around £1m. Every five years.

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