Richard Harries, the much-loved Lord Bishop of Oxford, has been given a life peerage by the Tory government. As this is to run concurrently with his Episcopal lordship, until his retirement, he is now known to his traditionalist fans as "My Lord Squared".
Oh dear - talk about ingratitude! No sooner given a Lordship than Harries and four other Episcopal chums turn up in The Guardian knocking government policy. While Harries may be a recent convert to compassionate socialism, others are not.
An old Westcott lag writes:
"Twenty years ago a new bursar arrived at Westcott, a retired R.A.F. officer, Wing Commander Bill Tuft, a no-nonsense Ulsterman. Spotting the windows of the college facing Jesus Lane covered in "Vote Labour" posters, he summoned the Domestic Supervisor and ordered her to "Tell the laddie with the rooms on the main street to take those posters down. He's letting the place down." Imagine his surprise when he was informed that the "laddie" in question was one M. Santer, proprietor, now Bishop of Birmingham and Guardian Correspondent.
GEMS FROM THE CREM
Another missive from our orthodox organist on crem. duty offers a couple of pastoral and liturgical tips from the team at the neighbouring affirmatorium. the lady curate has taken to rounding off proceedings in a much more uplifting and encouraging way that the Prayer Book allows for. As the coffin trundles through the door, the curtains slide across and the musak leaks from the speakers she stands centre stage with a beatific smile and dismisses the flock with a cheery "Have a nice day" before skipping out to inspect the floral tributes. Three funerals in the following month were moved to the local FiF church.
Meanwhile the Rector has surpassed himself. A liberal but happy clappy merchant, an unwise family left him to choose the final hymn.
Imagine their surprise at the appropriateness of his choice. At the pre-committal hymn they found themselves singing:
"So light up the fire and let the flame burn..."
Our man at the organ suggests the following simple amendment to the next line to read:
"Open the door, let's fill up the urn."
Further to our story in the last issue... a sequel. After Fr Kirk's "gracious speech" in General Synod pointing out how severely the Scandinavian hierarchies persecuted their orthodox brothers and sisters he was standing talking to one of the, Dag Sandhal, when the Archbishop of Canterbury paused to have a friendly word, grateful for Kirk's restraint in the speech. A few moments later the Archbishop of Uppsala hove into view. Studiously ignoring Kirk he went straight to Dag, a man he has to work with regularly and who has been a faithful servant of the Swedish Church. "I hope you are satisfied now, you fat pig", he exploded, in English, and stormed off.
Such an encouragement to know that, under Porvoo, chaps like that are our Bishops too.
An elderly Anglo-Catholic with too much time on his hands has written to ask if anyone had noticed the peculiarly prophetic nature of one of the Ash Wednesday collects in the English Missal. It is, apparently, for "The persecutors of the Church or the Chief Bishops". Lack of punctuation makes it unclear if this is alternative or descriptive.
A traditionalist West Countryman who had been unwell for a couple of months received a rather startling phone call from a friend recently. The friend was sorry to hear that the priest was taking early retirement.
This was news to the priest and he asked his chum for the source of the information.
Apparently there had been a bit of a tiff between two priests at a recent clergy meeting when, in the gossip, it became clear that they had both been invited by the Bishop to fill the far from dead man's shoes.
Needless to say both were implacably opposed to FinF.
The good news is that, encouraged by his Bishop's concern, the present incumbent has mad a distressingly full recovery.
To celebrate the recovery from recession a group of Bedfordshire industrialists have published a new magazine for business and enterprise.
Imagine their dismay when they discovered after going to press that they had chosen the same name for it as a very popular title in a rather different field - New Directions.
But this popular plagiarised periodical is not the one you are holding in your hand and currently read by all the bishops in the C of E (at least we hope not).
The Bedfordshire New Directions turns out to be "an adult contact magazine" full of people who clearly enjoy naturism and gymnastics.
Not to be outdone and in the interests of bringing people together, 30 Days launches its own ecclesiastical interpersonal outreach facility...
"Unorthodox Archdeacon seeks collaborative clergyperson for oversight, appraisal and occasional discreet visitation. CV appreciated. Box 30D."
BATH AND SMELLS
Long-suffering worshippers at Bradford Cathedral (Motto: Labor Vincit Omnia) are in for a real treat on the third Sunday in February.
Evensong will give way to The Crossed Keys Cafe followed by a barbecue in the nave and a service, disturbingly called "Eternity".
The jazz-funk combo will merge into an "experience" where the rocking revs., Gamble and Banbury (Cathedral Evangelist and local Vicar respectively) will invite worshippers to anoint themselves with orange Body Shop bubble bath.
According to Fr Banbury this demonstrates "the vibrancy and colour of Christian living", claiming "Traditional liturgical significance2 for this act. it also has a very powerful odour!
Mr Banbury adds that "the oil is a symbol of God's blessing" which will be used to anoint the hands of worshippers as they come to burn the incense on the barbie and offer a thought skyward.
We can only pray that not too many dreary young people come along and spoil an evening of perfect nostalgia for the over-40s as they relive their mis-spent youth in the 1960s
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