Different in the North West

30Days is grateful to Ruth Gledhill of The Times for some gems from an analysis of bishops' expenses during 2006. Our good friend the Bishop of Burnley apparently spent no less than 10 on quiet days and retreats'.

Well done, Bishop Goddard! (Although some might think he's rather let the side down - the Bishop of Southwark came in with a much more episcopal 4,054!) We know things are different in the North (because people are always telling us), but evidently they're even more different in t' North West.

Following right behind the Bishop of Burnley is the Bishop of Stockport, who managed to get through a whole 25 on garden and household equipment - compared with the Bishop of Dover, who needed 141 times as much - 3,527.

The Bishop of London's very creditable 427 on 'public transport and economy air travel' is really rather undone by the 25,000+ cost of his full-time chauffeur, particularly when compared with the chauffeur-less Bishop of Manchester (back to the North West!), whose 'public transport and economy air travel' costs amounted to a very green 6,436.

Naturally enough, the Archbishop of Canterbury's hospitality bill was the highest at 62,652, double the 30,751 spent by the Archbishop of York, and more than 1,000 times the 62 reportedly spent by the Bishop of Lancaster (which, for the geographically challenged, is somewhere in the, er, North West).


Something borrowed, something blue

The ego of New Hampshire bishop Gene Robinson knows no bounds. T always wanted to be a June bride,' he said, speaking in November at Nova Southeastern University, Florida. 'It may take many years for religious institutions to add their blessing for same-sex marriages and no church, mosque or synagogue should be forced to do so. But that should not slow down progress for the full civil right to marry' Robinson said. 'Because New Hampshire will have legal unions beginning in January, my partner of 20 years and I will enter into such a legal union next June.'

Just in time for the Lambeth Conference, this would really spice up the spouses' programme - except, of course, the Archbishop of Canterbury seems unaccountably to have left our Gene off the invitation list!


AffCaths come of age

Ever wondered what Affirming Catholicism is all about? Help is at hand. Go to www.affirmingcatholicism.org.uk and click on the link headed 'What we think' and back will come the message 'This page is currently under construction and will be available shortly' Well, given that they've been around only 18 years, it's probably a bit soon to expect them to have decided anything as complicated as what they think. Still, we live in hope.


Fringe event

According to the newsletter of fringe group GRAS, it appears that the body so memorably launched at the House of Lords, at an event hosted by Baroness Rendell of Babergh (that's whodunit author Ruth Rendell to most of us) back in 2000, is even more on the fringe than anyone had realized: 'Over 20 members of GRAS gathered in St Anne's Church in Soho for our annual meeting and conference.'

A 30Days reader wonders whether we think that we should get them listed as an endangered species and enquires as to the implications for terminal care of such a minority group. We suggest he consults his diocesan bishop for advice without delay.

It's comforting to know that, despite all the disagreements raging on in The Episcopal Church, reasoned debate is still to be found. Our good friend the Bishop of Fort Worth recently received an email from an Episcopalian priest by the name of Robert Semes: 

'Dear Mr. Iker: I hope that Presiding Bishop Jefferts-Schori takes you out behind the woodpile and beats the sh*t out of you...you pompous a**hole. Your arrogance is beyond the pale and a disgrace to what's left of the Christian Church. Why don't you give the Episcopal Church a gift this holiday season and get the f*** out of it - A pissed off and disgusted gay Episcopal priest...who you can't touch because I don't live in your fascist diocese.' 

30Days readers wishing to send Mr Semes new year greetings (he lives in Oregon) can apparently contact him at <rsemes@direcwaycom>. A second email address he is reputed to have <highchurchatheist@gmail.com> (which says it all!) appears to have been taken over by somebody calling himself Clayton Barlow.


The Satanic She

One of our readers recently attended a Roman Catholic baptism service and was surprised to read on the service sheet that the godparents would be asked if they renounced Satan and 'all his/her works'. Was this something members of WATCH would now be advocating?
After the service he asked the parish priest if this was a new addition to their liturgy, but he apologised profusely. When he had typed out the service he realized that he had only described the baby as 'he' and quickly went through changing all the masculine pronouns to 'he/she' and 'his/her'. Pity; it would have been good to know whether our feminist sisters would be enthusiastic or appalled.

Many a true word...

Many thanks to the eagle-eyed priest in the diocese of Southwark, who spotted this gem in a flyer for this year's CMEAC (Council for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns) Vocations Conference.
The opening two lines run:

Q. Thinking about serving God? 
A. It's as easy as ABC!

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