March 2000 Thirty Days
Cornish readers are revolting. They have just suffered a nasty outbreak of Blair in their farm yards. In between sorting out Northern Ireland from the comfort of the very luxurious Carlyon Bay Hotel, the People's Prime Minister emerged to tell the lowly paid and heavily unemployed Cornish serfs how fortunate they were, what with their lovely scenery and all.
Bill Ind, Bishop of Truro, whose wife is known to be a very reluctant resident of this rural outpost, immediately defended hard-pressed farmers against the Islington Mafia.
"(Farmers) feel that the government has urban assumptions and neither understands nor hears rural issues".
Quite so. And, in order to set this wretched government an example, BELINDA (as he is known to his troops) has appointed a new Suffragan, Father Royden Screech.
Father Screech's ministry has been one long rural idyll - in the diocese of Southwark - apart from the last six years when he has been at Church House, Westminster.
FOOT IN IT.
A photograph that the Church of England Newspaper claims to be of one of Andy Lines, former tank commander and now the General Secretary of Cross Links, looks suspiciously like "Bargee" Butler, Bishop of Southwark. "BARGEE" is in full fig but, distressingly, seems to have lost a leg. Balancing on his crozier, his remaining leg is thrust forward, beyond the cope and alb, wearing an enormous rubber plimsoll. Further inquiries revealed that he is not a victim of that distressing syndrome which leads one to pay large sums to Scottish surgeons for unnecessary amputations but is advertising National Trainers Day.
This is a huge wheeze dreamt up by the Imperial Cancer Research Fund "to wear trainers one day a year to raise their profile on an annual basis".
If "Big Foot" Butler can persuade the nation's youth only to wear trainers one day a year he will have done a great service. Whether the persistent wearing of these ghastly pedal saunas is wholly responsible for the alarming rise in cancer in recent years will require further research.
TAKING THE MICHAEL.
Apparently Canon Michael Saward did not announce, in January, that he was to retire in December 99, as reported in the Church of England Newspaper in February, but rather in December 2000.
Saward's many admirers are understandably distressed by this error.
SUCCESS HASN'T CHANGED HIM.
Recipients of the regular newsletter from Autosave, suppliers of cars to the clergy, will have been touched by the testimony headed "Bishop's Focus".
Stephen Lowe, Bishop of Hulme, says "I'm delighted that I have been able to buy a well priced Ford Focus from Autosave . I have had five cars from the company and on becoming a bishop have seen no reason to change."
Those with the medium term memory still intact will recall when the focus was on Lowe himself. As Archdeacon of Sheffield he was a keen supporter of the Reverend Brain's Nine O'clock Service. When the whole shooting match dissolved in massive scandal, Lowe was given the job of investigating it. Brain, of course, who had been poorly trained, fast tracked and inadequately supervised was condemned. Curiously the dignitaries, who had lauded Brain's New Age Circus as a the key to youth revival, emerged careers in tact, not to say enhanced.
Nice one Steve.
BRECHIN WINDS OF CHANGE.
What do you do when two Liberals fall out over who runs a tiny remnant congregation and who owes who what in expenditure and compensation?
Think big, that's what.
So the Bishop of Brechin and his Provost, Miriam Byrne aided by Primus Holloway, got on a plane to visit the great panjandrum himself, Desmond Tutu. Who else but a man who had resolved the long and bloody divisions of a nation was up to such a task of reconciliation?
All is now dandy in Dundee. The bishop has reinstated the Provost ( Tutu is a great enthusiast for women priests - "it's a justice issue") and everyone is happy. Well, everyone except those who thought the simple answer might be for them both to resign.
Still, peace and harmony and love and trust now reign in the liberal seats of power north of the border but, just as a precaution you understand, the Provost has now joined M. S. F. - the clergy trade union.
LEGLESS IN GLASGOW.
Those liberal scholars who dismiss some of Jesus more difficult sayings as examples of Middle Eastern extremist expression, not to be taken literally, have received a major setback.
Recent events have shown that when Jesus said "if, thine eye offend thee pluck it out or if thy leg annoyeth thee hack it off" (New Tabloid Version) he was ministering to people with a particularly distressing syndrome. This can be cured by travelling to Scotland and paying a large sum to a surgeon who will assist your obedience to the Gospel mandate.
AN INSPECTOR CALLS
"Sexual sins of politicians cannot be "disregarded" when considering standards in public life"
Thus, under the banner "Carey hits at cover - up of M.P.'s sins" the Daily Telegraph reports Dr Carey's recent fulminations in Chelmsford diocese.
"Issues of deceit and betrayal" were branded "infectious".
"The question reasonably arises in the public mind", George goes on, "why we should have confidence in someone in public life who cannot be trusted not to cheat in their private life?"
Absolutely! Terrible chaps these politicians.
Inhabitants of the institution, Carey and Co., may wonder if the same standards will now be applied to their national and local management.
Perhaps we need a body to look at standards in the national ecclesiastical life - or perhaps George could just ask the Bishop of Durham to reconstitute the Turnbull Commission.
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