30 DAYS

AMBRIDGE FALLS

The once great bastion of rural England, home of the "Archers", has fallen to the New Religion. At a public meeting, on the anniversary of the Queen's Accession, the village divided 25:21 in favour of merging with Darrington and sharing their "Priest", the lovely Janet Fisher. This much is true to life, i.e. abuse of the Pastoral Measure and a complete split in the community. But...

As members of the clerical "Ambridge Appreciation Society" have noticed, she is already winning round the opposition by her charm, common sense and attractive personality.

Members reactions have been varied. One has returned all his books and memorabilia vowing never to listen again. Another has written demanding that, in the interests of equality she should be every bit as dull, wet and pathetic as the series of liberal no-hopers that preceded her. While another confessed to "not having listened to the tosh since they got urbanite writers more interested in sex than farming."

One thing is for certain the original role model and advisor the late Fr. Leonard Birch, a staunch traditionalist, would not be amused.

KUHRTAIN UP ON EVO HEAVE-HO

The overdue preferment of the workaholic evangelical Archdeacon of Lewisham, Gordon Kuhrt - off to be Chief Secretary of ABM - and the imminent retirement of Peter Hall, Bishop of Woolwich removes all vestige of evangelical representation from the top ranks in Southwark diocese. This leaves the evangelically reared, Bishop Roy, with a problem if he is to avoid the howls of protest from the increasingly united ranks of Renewal, Reform and the Diocesan Evangelical Union. Applications on a postcard from suitably qualified persons can be forwarded by "30 Days".

VICAR ROGER'S THE LAY CLERK'S HUSBAND

When Dr McDonough, former prison psychologist, applied for the post of Baritone lay Clerk at St George's Chapel, Windsor the Dean and Chapter made a ridiculous and wholly inexcusable assumption - that "Dr Mac" was a man!

Not so. She is, in fact, the wife of former prison chaplain, Roger Stokes and they have taken the Windsor toffs to an industrial tribunal for sexual discrimination. Roger, out of full time ministry since 1989, describes himself as a "freelance vicar" while "Dr Mac" is now studying theology at Leeds University. Who knows, given time she may be able to apply to be Dean for, as she perceptively pointed out, the Queen is a woman and Windsor is a "Royal Peculiar".

SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY?

Fr. John Greatbatch, Vicar of St John the Evangelist, Tipton was surprised to see that the Lichfield Diocesan Directory had moved him to St John's Vicarage, Heath Hayes. As a member of Forward in Faith, he was even more amazed to find that a lady priestess was, apparently, living with him at the same address.

In order to defend the lady's honour and reassure his parishioners, he has asked 30 Days to make clear that he has not moved geographically, morally or doctrinally.

POKE IN A PIG

In early January advertisements in several national dailies invited comment and evidence to a special advisory group on "Xenotransplantation" - no explanation offered to those lacking a classical education. A phone call to the Department of Health revealed this to be the transplantation of animal organs into humans which "raises a number of ethical issues". So ethical, in fact, that while Polly Toynbee of the Independent is on the expert panel, no room is found for a religious leader of any persuasion.

Current work, we are told, is on "pig possibilities" - presumably for men only - or perhaps this is just the long overdue revenge of the Gadarene swine.

COMING APART AT THE EAMES

In an outbreak of intolerance, remarkable even by liberal standards, the Assistant "Bishop" of Washington, Jane Dixon, has forced herself on traditionalist parishes. On February 4th she informed the people and priest of the Ascension and St Agnes that she would visit and celebrate whether they wanted her or not. They did not. Her insistence was backed by the Diocesan, Ronald Haines instruction that unless the priest opened the door and was present throughout the service his license would be revoked.

Clearly our Ronnie has forgotten the Eames Commission as well as the original General Convention promise not to coerce or penalize any conscientious objector. Reminders can be sent to: Episcopal Church House, Mount St Alban, Washington D.C. 20016

THREE DAY WEEK

A conservative parish in the Southern Province felt it was "being loyal" to the C of E by not passing the resolutions. There is now an interregnum. Reassured by diocesan platitudes that their "situation would be respected", the wardens prepared for a visit from the Archdeacon with a "suggested " incumbent.

The favoured diocesan candidate turned out to be a woman. The wardens swallowed hard. Ten minutes into the conversation the Archdeacon felt that they "ought to know she was a divorcee". Again they swallowed hard. The lady spoke: "I want you to know, from the outset, that, although I am divorced, I am in a relationship."

Able to contain himself no longer one warden had the temerity to ask, "What sort of relationship are we talking about?" "Well", replied the incumbent select, "my friend comes on Sunday and stays until Tuesday."

Ecclesiastical detectives are believed to be looking for a priest or priestess with no Evensong and Mondays off.

PUT IT THERE

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