Meanwhile, in the Forest

Attentive readers will recall our prediction last month that we would need to keep an eye on the Area Dean of Waltham Forest, Steven Saxby, who had been styling himself as ‘Acting Parish Priest’ of S.Saviour, Walthamstow, despite that fact that the Benefice was still occupied by an Incumbent. Well, we were right! With a full week to go of the then current incumbency, an APCM was called and Resolution C was ‘rescinded’ (And you, dear reader, were one of those who thought – rightly – that such was a matter for the PCC, rather than the APCM!) Not content with that, Saxby persuaded the meeting to cancel the parish’s membership of Forward in Faith, which will probably be as much of a relief to FiF as it is to him. Next, he wrote to Forward in Faith, claiming that the parish had recently paid a subscription of £500 to FiF, and could they have a refund? (Actually, it wasn’t a subscription; it was an invoice for advertising!) Finally, he announced that he was off on sabbatical and that they could all look forward to the ministry of the Assistant Area Dean – who is presumably even now signing his letters Acting Acting Parish Priest . . . .

Green, not Red

Many thanks to an American correspondent for this news item from over the pond about a whole new take on Good Friday from The Episcopal Church (Proprietor: Mrs K J Schori)

The Episcopal Church’s office of Economic and Environmental Affairs released a statement urging followers to stay mindful of global warming, recycling and reducing carbon dioxide emissions while celebrating the ancient Christian holiday in 2011.

‘This year Earth Day falls within Holy Week, specifically on Good Friday, a profound coincidence,’ said Mike Schut, a church spokesman. ‘To fully honor Earth Day, we need to reclaim the theology that knows Earth is ‘very good,’ is holy. When we fully recognize that, our actions just may begin to create a more sustainable, compassionate economy and way of life.’ He continued: ‘On Good Friday, the day we mark the crucifixion of Christ, God in the flesh, might we suggest that when Earth is degraded, when species go extinct, that another part of God’s body experiences yet another sort of crucifixion — that another way of seeing and experiencing God is diminished?’

Comment would, as usual, be superfluous.

Anything you can do . . .

As if to prove that anything the States can do, we can do faster, over to Alton Towers and Thorpe Park, where, reportedly, ‘sixteen daredevil vicars took to the rides’ one weekend in April, as they auditioned to conduct a special service at the theme parks on Easter Day. Apparently, some climbed into the UK’s fastest vertical drop rollercoaster – Oblivion at Alton Towers - which plunged them 150ft at 69mph whilst others ventured onto SAW at Thorpe Park – the world’s first ever horror movie-themed, horrifying rollercoaster. Metro went on to report:

As church numbers dwindle, Thorpe Park in Chertsey and Alton Towers in Staffordshire have joined forces to offer the public an alternative place to worship in the first Dual Extreme Easter Service, and were hoping to find the right cleric for the job at the weekend.’

Do as I say, not as I do

Many thanks to our old friend Jonathan Petre at The Mail on Sunday for this gem:

A‘ Church of England cathedral’s decision to ban the public from taking pictures of its choir has been attacked as ‘ludicrous’ by child protection experts. Birmingham Cathedral has erected a notice near its entrance saying that ‘for child protection purposes photography and videoing is not permitted during services and rehearsals.’

But a child protection charity called the ban ‘ludicrous and unenforceable’ and anticensorship campaigners have accused the cathedral of ‘hysteria’. Birmingham’s internationally renowned choir has appeared with singers including Sir Cliff Richard, toured abroad and sung with other leading choirs and orchestras and on BBC Radio. Girls and boys often join at the age of seven or eight.’

Unenforceable? Apparently so. Petre goes on to report:

‘Despite the ban, the cathedral’s official website features pictures of the 54-strong choir.’

Don’t hang out in Manchester

It’s not often that the Readers’ Comments on news websites add much to the sum total of human knowledge, but occasionally – just occasionally – one comes across a gem. The Manchester EveningNews solemnly reported last month that Manchester Cathedral was at the centre of a new row after its website included a link to a nudist group. Apparently, an article about the Christian Naturist Fellowship appeared on a website promoting the cathedral’s ‘new age’ Spirit of Life festival in May – together with a link to the group’s own website. The story went on:

‘But it was pulled after the criticism from Church of England bosses. One email, reportedly circulated among members of the General Synod, described the item as ‘embarrassing.. . . . A spokesman for the Diocese of Manchester said: ‘The Spirit of Life site is designed to promote all kinds of spirituality’ He also said there were never any plans for naturists to attend the festival, which will be held at the cathedral early in May.’ Or, as on online reader perceptively commented soon after the story appeared: ‘Manchester Cathedral - no longer accepting new members....’

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