30 DAYS - JANUARY 1996

ABSOLUTE DRIBBLE

Anglo-catholics, evangelicals, Romans and psychiatrists who wrote in about Bishop Barnes article in the November issue can rest easy. When he wrote that papal dogmas on the immaculate Conception and Assumption were claimed as "necessary to salivation" this was not a Pavlovian response to all things Marian but a simple error on the word processor.

QUICK VIC

Andrew Brown, religious affairs correspondent of The Independent and one of the livelier and better informed commentators on church affairs has decided to join us and get ordained.

Not for Andrew a dreary three years in a liberal hell hole removing his moral stuffing and doctrinal conviction. Instead he simply dialled into the Internet and applied to the Universal Life Church, Modesto, California (where else?). Within minutes his computerised consecration chugged out of the laser printer and he is now licensed to conduct baptisms, weddings and funerals. For a further 35 dollars he can ordain people. A bargain, surely! Unfortunately for the orthodox who may want to use his services the Universal Life Church bears a worrying resemblance to mainstream establishment Anglicanism - "free to practise the faith in whatever manner necessary, commensurate with their not violating the same freedom of others."

ULC has 14 million ministers so far including Fr. Brown. Of course by the time we go to press it may be Bishop Brown.

In the face of consistent archiepiscopal refusal to consecrate bona fide evangelical bishops Reform are believed to be "surfing the net" for instant preferment.

DANCING WITH MR D

The fate of the 16 carved oak pews in the 14th century church of Ashill, Norfolk is in the balance. The Rev. Martin Down wants them out so that revellers at the "happy clappy services" he has introduced can dance and express themselves appropriately.

"Boogie-on" Down is opposed by the intractable forces of reaction led by Squadron Leader Ian Forsyth who has delivered a letter of protest to all 600 homes in the village.

The PCC. is supporting the clearance of the south aisle for the liturgical lambada while the parish council is less convinced. They have insisted the pews be stored safely so that after "Boogie-on's" exciting ministry, they can be put back. As the chairman commented, "The church used to be very traditional. This is all very alien."

Take your partners for the Toronto Tango!

UNEQUAL SEQUEL

Do you find great wadges of the Bible "dull, unclear, repetitive or virtually obsolete?" Fed up with "difficult prophetic imagery", obscure accounts like Creation or the Red Sea? Can't see the point of large parts of Genesis, Joshua, Judges etc.? Wonder why we flog through Leviticus and Numbers, which are "relevant only to Jews"? Long to take an editorial pencil to half of Job and Proverbs?

Then the Revd Roger Haycraft, Vicar of High Cross, Hornchurch, is your man. Armed with the above thoughts he has written to all clergy in Chelmsford Diocese to propose an Alternative Bible! "Treasure" though the old version apparently is, "it has weaknesses" e.g. "it does not give adequate guidance on today's moral problems. So we need a new authorised Word of God for our generation."

Mr Haycraft thinks we cannot have alternative gospels or words of Jesus but we need new stuff. In addition to canonizing writings 400AD - 2000AD, we should commission new works for inclusion from our own times, "on the understanding that it was done in prayer and obedience to the will of God."

Of course the A.B. "would need to be updated every generation or so", but we would know that it was authoritative because "it would need to be debated by General Synod".

HANDS OFF!

Hi Jinx at the Red Lion Hotel, Fareham as the "Traditional Church of England" long-standing Bishop-elect L. John Whiting, was finally consecrated. Of the four consecrating Bishops, three were from obscure American groups. The other was Adonija Sebununguri the recently and hastily retired Anglican Bishop of Kigali, Rwanda. He is currently "holidaying" in Kenya and unenthusiastic about returning to help with enquiries into the recent atrocities.

A fifth Bishop, from India, was rescued by a high speed car dash from London by an Anglican clergyman bearing news from Archbishop Falk (USA) that he was in no circumstances to lay hands on Whiting or anything else they might produce! So much more exciting than our own cathedral does!

HUMBLE BISHOP SHOCK!

Students on the Cornhill Training Course have been astonished to find a bishop amongst their number spending several months learning how to preach! Who is this paragon of humility? Which diocese is blessed with such a man? Of course it's not one of ours. Step forward the Bishop of Jos (Nigeria). Obviously this embarrassing situation would not have arisen if, like us, Nigeria chose bishops for their tangible conviction and powerful ability to communicate the gospel.

FORCE FEEDING

Regular readers of 30 Days will already know that the Conscience Clause in the legislation to ordain women to the priesthood in the Anglican Church of Canada long ago went the way of all things reasonable and honest in this wicked world. They will also be aware that the Bishop of Nova Scotia has been flagrantly exercising his contempt for the findings of the Eames Commission on every possible occasion.

Now read on ...

Candidates for the priesthood in Nova Scotia not only have to swear oaths that women can be, should be and are priests, and submit an essay to this effect to the bishop (The Rt Revd Arthur G. Peters, Fax: 00 902 425 0717) ; but now have to receive communion at their altars before being admitted to the selection process.

It gives the doctrine of "Reception" a whole new meaning.

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