August 1998: Thirty Days

 

BRECHIN WIND V

The Bishop of Brechin, Neville Chamberlain, (see Thirty Days passim) is now in danger of terminal self-parody. The diocese (weekly communicants 943), which has achieved international repute through these columns by claiming to be a flagship for the Anglican Communion, has now incorporated this amusing vanity into its publications masthead. DIOCESE OF BRECHIN, THE FLAGSHIP DIOCESE, complete with fluttering pennant, now introduces Nev's every pastoral outpouring to his people. The latest effort includes an invitation to a party at Pierre Victoire's in Dundee for the 'One Year Anniversary for Diana and Me' (presumably in the episcopate) "For those fortunate enough to get tickets," he continues modestly, " - there are only ten per congregation - it should be one of the best fun nights out of the year...."Judging by the 'small is beautiful' nature of Brechin, ten tickets per parish should allow maximum inclusivity.

 

SERIAL MONOGAMY

The divorce rate in England is now so high that, clearly, the Church of England must substantially change its view on the sanctity of marriage if it wants to stay in the wedding business.

An orthodox priest writes in to say that he does a dozen marriages a year in his parish. His liberal neighbour does 60 - 70 p.a. three quarters of which are second or third marriages. This is tremendously useful income of course, and stops the wretched Methodists cornering the market. Last available statistics from Wesleyan Weddings Inc show that 64% of Methodist weddings involve a divorce. At present Anglican figures are approximately one in twelve.

The figure that the Church of England won’t publish is the number of women priests who are divorcees. (The reason that synodical legislation allowing the ordination of divorcees was rushed through was because of the alarmingly high number of would be priestesses in that category.)

Just recently a senior bishop was alarmed to discover that all but one of the women he was about to ordain were divorced!

One radically disillusioned liberal bishop recently remarked privately that the majority of women priests in his diocese were divorced and that, after five years experience, he was at a loss to understand why the rest weren’t.

WHOSE RITE IS IT ANYWAY?

Elderly followers of the Newcastle saga, in which an orthodox candidate was refused ordination by Assistant Bishop Kenneth Gill for objecting to Bishop Wharton's unorthodox moral teaching, have been intrigued by the fuss. ' Isn’t this the same Gill who was a Methodist in South India? Was he himself even properly ordained and consecrated?' , they ask.

While Gill was objecting to an orthodox bishop ordaining the young man on the grounds of geography (The bishop lived a couple of hundred miles away) was he himself equally qualified on grounds of apostolicity? Has the ordinand had a lucky escape? Why were confirmations cancelled during the recent interregnum? Have the theologically cute Jordies rumbled?

Our correspondents from Cramlington to Karnataka are on the case.

REVD CRANMER,
I PRESUME?

Concerns about the authentic nature of Bishop Kenneth Gill’s Anglicanism have been further fuelled by this little snippet from a leading northern Anglican.

On visiting a traditional Prayer Book parish Gill was intrigued to hear the priest praying the litany. “That’s awfully good”, Gill remarked afterwards, “Did you write it yourself?”

PARISHUTE IN

Our Flying Bishops are clearly not up to the task spiritually. Exhausted and worn by driving themselves all over the country (no chauffeurs for them!) they have only themselves to blame. Real spirituality can, according to reports in the Zambian press, “teleport” them all over the place - a sort of holy equivalent of Star Trek's “beam me up, Scottie”

Wizards and Ju Ju men travel all over the country by this swift, reliable and inexpensive method, dematerialising at their chosen venue in seconds.

These “magic aircraft” do apparently have their problems though. Only last year eight wizards crash landed after overflying the house of someone with more powerful Ju Ju.

Still so long as our blokes stick to over flying Affirming Catholic or Liberal Evangelical parishes they should be O.K.

BRECHIN WIND VI

According to information from a contemporary, the ascent to the episcopate for Nev the Rev was not a smooth one. Apparently complaints were lodged with the then Bishop of Birmingham before Nev''s ordination about Nev’s attitude to the Resurrection. Apparently the bishop assumed it was simply a matter of good old Anglican, "it-depends-what-you-mean-by-resurrection” rather than “What resurrection?” So he proceeded to ordain. He did, however, suggest that, at the next meeting, Nev exchange his jeans and jumper for a suit, as the Archdeacon was “quite an important person.”?

PROPHETIC HINDSIGHT

A remarkable insight into the uncanny powers of prognostication and discernment which are the gift of the bishops gathering at Lambeth, is revealed by the timetable. The corporate photograph is listed as taking place on the 25 July. But the additional note informs us that in the event of wet weather it will be on the 22 July instead.

 

LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!

Bishop Colin Buchanan, a longstanding enthusiast for disestablishment, has been giving a series of lectures in South London on the future of church-state relations . He vouchsafed that he and Uncle George had been agonizing lately over the shape and form of any future coronation service - while of course loyally hoping that such a thing would not be needed in their time. 'What,' the good bishop asked rhetorically, 'might one consider essential to such a service today?" "Well," came the unasked for reply from a member of Forward in Faith on the back row, "Elton John for a start."

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