THIRTY DAYS

ULTIMATE EXCUSE

A recent visitor to a public school of note was conducted around the grounds by the Chaplain. “Was there”, the guest enquired, “any difficulty in getting boys of such huge ethnic and religious diversity to attend compulsory chapel?

He was assured that there was not and that “middle of the road C of E fare” was sufficiently inoffensive to suit all.

“So”, the enquirer persisted, “all boys were expected to attend Chapel?”

“Well”, replied the Chaplain, “all but one”. There was a princeling from the sub continent who could not reasonably be expected to attend worship. He was, himself, a living God.

THANKS BUT NO THANKS

Traditionalists (and many others) were upset at General Synod recently by an omission from Archbishop George’s valedictory thanksgivings to those leaving Synod. In the long list of departing worthies everyone got a mention except Fr. John Broadhurst, leader of Forward in Faith and soon to be Bishop of Fulham. Embarrassed minions were sent out hastily to explain that “the Arch” had only listed those who had been Chairpersons.

Oh dear! An apology would have been so much simpler. In his 24 years service on Synod the tiresome old traditionalist has been active in just about every department of synodical life.

More far sighted trads have been quick to point out that such treatment of departing traditionalists is, in fact, “traditional” (see George Austin’s case) and therefore, de facto, “a good thing.”

HODDLE TWADDLE?

Delight over the obvious merits of Glenn Hoddle’s selection as England Football Manager have been coupled in church scribblings, with even more delight that he is a Christian. Undoubtedly he was very active and evangelical some years ago.

However, of late, the religious and other press have been intrigued by rumours of other forms of spiritual enquiry and new age therapies.

One retired North London player was surprised, on visiting the Chelsea ground, to discover that a therapist was bathing players in “Ten thousand year old mud”.

Not cheap apparently.

“Blimey”, he remarked, “doesn’t he know all mud is 10,000 years old? Give me fifty quid and I’ll have a lorry load of it round here by this afternoon.”

BOYNE AGAIN PARSONS

Clerical catholics bemoaning the apparently inexorable drift of the C of E towards the least acceptable kind of protestantism will have had their worst fears confirmed this month. Receiving their copies of the 1997 Parson's Pocketbook, they will have noticed a new feast day listed, prior to St. Swithin.

July 14th - The Battle of the Boyne!

Music Groups up and down the land have eleven months to learn “The Old Orange Flute.”

KARMA UNTO ME

Some members of the recent General Synod meeting at York were surprised to learn that one member's church was so ecumenical that Buddhist friends were regular communicants there.

Presumably this is the logical ad absurdum of the doctrine of the Real Absence.

FACE TO FACE

A member of the New Directions board was greeted unusually warmly by a senior prelate at Synod recently. He was assured of the Bishop’s warm affirmation of him and “that we are doing all we can in our diocese for people of your integrity.” This ran contrary to any intelligence previously received, but was welcomed, if nothing else, as a statement of intent.

Imagine his surprise, an hour later, when a fellow member of the board tumbled into lunch, helpless with laughter. He had just met the same Bishop and been severely warned off keeping company with the first man “and his sort.” He was further informed that “working for New Directions is damaging your career.!”

Not all bad news though. As the second man noted, “Until then I didn’t even know I’d got a career to despair of!”

This is the third member of New Directions to receive such episcopal career advice. All in line with the Bonds of Peace, I’m sure.

HIGH TEA

The Revd. Professor Gerald Bray, a conservative evangelical of impeccable credentials, agreed to help out at a church somewhat “higher” that his usual practice, by celebrating communion. Anxious not to offend or distract the congregation he tried to remember the choreography and gymnastics beloved of his catholic brethren. He remembered everything except the final elevation of bread and wine at the end of the eucharistic prayer.

At the end of the service he was greeted by two somewhat disgruntled ladies.

“You forgot to hold it up, Father”, said one.

“Yes I did. I’m sorry”, replied Bray. Seeking enlightenment he enquired politely, “Is that a very important moment for you, then?”

“It certainly is”, retorted one. “When Father holds it up we know it’s time to go and turn the tea urn on!”

COLOUR BAR

A potential customer at a famously garish vestment makers exhibition was astonished by the conversation of the preceding customer, a lady priest. As she was clearly unhappy with everything on display, the assistant enquired what particular liturgical colour she had in mind.

“Liturgical colours don’t suit me”, the lady priest replied. “My personal colour consultant has told me so.” Whereupon she duly produced the consultant’s report!

“You see I need a dusty pink or crushed mushroom”, she concluded.

Surely this is something ABM selection conferences should pay attention to. Each candidate should be paraded in liturgical colours and ... no colour co-ordination - no ordination at all!

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