TOUCH AND GO
The consecration of the Revd. Dr David Samuel (see 30 Days, June) - "continuers" (Reading branch) will long live in the memory. After a half hour sermon on the evils of popery and priestesses, and a full litany the Revd. Samuel was presented to Bishop Albion Knight, who duly slid to the floor. The hastily summoned paramedics were overruled by a "continuing" doctor who insisted the Bishop be allowed to proceed as he indicated his desire so to do. The bishop, propped up on one elbow, consecrated the near papistically prone Samuel, surrounded by praying clerics in various gymnastic contortions, before being unceremoniously whistled down the nave on a trolley to the nearest infirmary where his pacemaker was put on an overdue charge. Perhaps there is a future doctorate for some enterprising scholar in "The validity of horizontal consecrations."
CROWN APPOINTMENTS 1
The thoroughly discredited Crown Appointment System has been the subject of telephone calls to 30 Days from several disgruntled diocesan representatives recently. Said one, "Both sides agreed we needed someone who could heal the divisions of the diocese. Not only have we got a man that cannot possibly do that but, when names were suggested, he was high on the list of those nobody wanted!"
SICKNESS AND HEALTH
A candidate for a hospital chaplaincy in London recently was not unduly surprised when he was not selected. What surprised him was the debriefing. The friendly senior health authority official took him on one side and explained. "Look we have all sorts on the staff here, homosexual, heterosexual, married, partnered and promiscuous. We make no judgements on anyone's lifestyle. However, you must understand, that you will not be employed if you oppose the ordination of women because, obviously, you wouldn't be able to work with women in management."
CROWN APPOINTMENTS II
A liberal diocesan representative:- "I'm not a supporter of Forward in Faith at all and I've always thought the consultative system must work. In the event the whole thing seemed to be manipulated by the secretaries and the Archbishop. Men's whole careers were dismissed on a nod, wink and innuendo basis. They had already decided who to appoint - the rest is just window dressing." SUSANNAH'S LIST
The Methodist Church's recent report on Women in Ministry revealed some interesting facts. After twenty years of this novelty there is little progress towards institutional equality in senior positions. Worse still those "parishes" who have tried this ministry, all too often apparently "felt they had done their bit" and asked for a man. As the doctrine of reception has obviously not done the trick, it is time for the next liberal dogma - positive discrimination and a quota. "Susannah's list?"
CROWN APPOINTMENT III
As the unseemly pile up of Winchester refuseniks and episcopal wannabees grows for the vacant London Diocese, the establishment channels are preparing the ground none too subtly. "A majority of clergy want a pro-women's ordination bishop" is the latest unsupportable offering from senior sources.
COME AGAIN HOLY GHOST
Convinced that the Welsh Church came to the wrong conclusions last time around on "the issue", the Bishops have decided to invite the Holy Spirit to change his mind and rubber stamp whole swathes of the liberal agenda at once. Items for approval at Synod include women priests, remarriage of divorced clergy and ratification of Porvoo.
THE DOG WHO DIDN'T BARK
Fun and games at the Prayer Book Society AGM recently. Senior members had been expecting some high jinx all year following rumours of grievous discontent in the small pro-feminist lobby. Just when all seemed quiet, a leak to the national press revealed that the Charity Commissioners had been asked to rule on the constitution. The liberals claimed that a decision they had lost hugely had not been properly voted on. (The Commissioners rejected this submission and its constitutional implications.) It was against this background that the Revd. Norman Taylor proposed the exclusion from membership of those who had been forced out of the C of E of late, pausing to castigate an article in the Society's magazine (which argued for the authority of Scripture and the example of Jesus) as "pathetic fundamentalism". It was perhaps fortunate for Mr Taylor that the author known affectionately to orthodox colleagues as "God's rottweiler" was not present. It was left to the more charitable nature of Fr Stephen Trott to despatch Mr Taylor's arguments and categorize them as "either naive or theologically illiterate". The committee view won overwhelmingly (80%+) and Mr Edgar Brennan, Mr Taylor's great ally, declined to speak and left unusually early.
BEAM ME UP SCOTTIE
While the Conservative Party has been deciding between the all too human John Major and John "Mr Spock" Redwood, the Diocese of Winchester has been given its own Vulcan bishop. Tall, spare framed, the tell tale cranial features, a formidable intelligence, Michael Scott-Joynt will be widely welcomed. "Scottie" although in favour of women priests, voted against predicting, accurately, divisional crisis. Because of his prescience, courage and subsequent solid pastoral work with those opposed, he is one of the very few senior figures to emerge with credit and enhanced affection from the last three years.
EARTH, WATER, AIR AND FIRED?
An enterprising Anglican vicar in Leicester diocese has been deemed, by his stick-in-the-mud bishop, to be pushing out the ecumenical boundaries a tad too far. The Revd. David Paterson, 62, vicar of St Peter's, Loughborough for over 30 years, was poised to celebrate an interfaith communion with pagans, druids, shamans and modern day followers of witchcraft, when the spoilsport bishop intervened. The "Meeting in the presence" forum in Calne, Wiltshire is the second gathering to discern and share what these great faiths have in common." The order of service was said to be loosely based on Rite A but to be sensitive to pagans all reference to Christ and sin was omitted and the Lord's Prayer replaced by a "Lord and Lady Prayer". Consecration would be in both kinds i.e. Christian and Pagan at the four altars of the elements. Predictably condemned by the scourge of experimental liturgy, the Revd. Tony Higton, the proposals received warm approval from another great religious movement, the World Wildlife Fund. Its religious advisor, Martin Palmer, reminded us that Christian churches had often been built on pagan sites, without permission, and "this Communion is a highly symbolic and respectful attempt to make amends. As usual no resignations are expected.
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