30 DAYS, JUNE 2000
DISTAFF HEIR APPARENT.
Despite Uncle George making it clear it that he is intending, at personal royal request, to stay on and celebrate the 50 glorious years of Q.E. the II in 2002, would be king-makers and multifarious mutterers and plotters have been planning the succession at Canterbury. The great fear in the liberal camp is that "Big Dick" Chartres may get the nod.
Obsessed with the dreary old Book of Common Prayer, a friend of and enthusiastic for both the Royal family and the establishment and a decided non-enthusiast for the priestess movement, Chartres is hardly New CofE. He is also (the unforgivable sin in the modern college of bishops) not a team player, and the great ecclesiastical recruitment parade of General Synod bores him.
Unhappily for the Liberals, Chartres is possessed of considerable intellect, a powerful presence and outstanding oratorical skills. Against him the most ambitious hopefuls the liberals can muster are "Gladys Guildford" and "Bubbles" Stancliffe. Understandably panic has set in early.
But... a solution is at hand. Who do we know who can equal all these gifts, is personally very popular, an enthusiast for the liberal agenda and is far too nice to interfere with our own diocesan empire-building and personal lifestyle choices?
Step forward .....Rowan Williams, benevolent bearded ArchTaff of the Principality.
Friends of the kindly Dr. Williams must step in to save him from a fiat worse than Neath.
WHAT'S IN A NAME ?
On hearing that the less than inspiring Provost of his cathedral was, under the new measures, to become a Dean, a Residentiary canon at a northern cathedral remarked,
" I suppose it's like when we suddenly had to stop calling the local college a polytechnic and pretend it was a university."
SHOP 'TIL YOU DROP.
The annual pilgrimage to Tyburn, the site of the gallows where, inter alia, 105 Roman Catholic martyrs were hanged drawn and quartered for refusing to introduce the new Common Worship of the day, is coming to an end. The diminishing band of left-footers who trek from the Old Bailey to Marble Arch is about to be wound up as their decidedly off - message antics are interfering with the great British public's enjoyment of Sunday shopping in Oxford Street.
For all those who have spent the decade of evangelism trying to convince the nation that Christianity is all about FUN, self awareness and personal fulfilment, the suppression of these dreary arcane and morbid rituals will come as a great relief.
FR. BROWN RIDES AGAIN.
Traditional Roman Catholics will have been heartened by a large photograph in the Daily Telegraph over the Tyburn story (see above). A young priest in immaculate soutane and Fr. Brown hat was featured prominently.
Sorry to disappoint members of the Pius X Society but he was not an RC after all (RC priests dress in pale blue short-sleeves and unsuitable trousers) but a leading light in the London Anglo-Catholic movement.
SLEE'S JEEZ AND MYSTERIES.
The go-ahead Provost of Southwark, Colin Slee, is at it again. The Southwark Mysteries featured an up to date and hugely relevant Jesus. The eco-friendly Messiah, who had abandoned his ass for a bicycle, swore freely and apparently condoned a catholicity of sexual activities while Satan told toilet jokes and invited the Lord to osculate his outlet.
The author, John Constable, said that he wanted to challenge Christianity and "explore the sacred through the profane". Absolutely.
The devotion mixed "bawdy medieval scenes with modern imagery, referred to bishops engaging in homosexual activity with altar boys and priests visiting prostitutes."
"Dean" Slee claimed that the show "portrayed graphically the life and history of the area - where the seamier side of life was to be found". Quite so.
One thing for which the production must be unreservedly complimented... the devil was a woman! Though quite what Sigmund Freud would have made of the huge red strap-on thingy she wielded on her companion demon, heaven alone knows.
MAN UNITED TO GOD.
Anyone who doubts that football is the new religion should drop in at the Pariwar Temple in old Bangkok. There, in company with a hundred minor deities, at the base of the Great Buddha image is a squatting sculpture of our own David Beckham of Manchester United and England. Beckham, who was modelled before his current fashionable Lama-style haircut, is resplendent in his sponsored "Sharp" shirt and appears to be defecating a football boot. Next to him appear to be a couple of hapless Sheffield Wednesday supporters being relegated to the nether regions.
The head monk explains this unlikely promotion of "Our Dave" by saying simply, "Football has become a religion so we have to open up our minds and share the feelings of millions who admire Beckham"
Come-on CofE, let's get with it! Which cathedral will be the first to have a statue of "Posh" Spice as the BVM ?
Druids, pagans and Christians art to meet in conference, in June, at "Spirit of the Land"- a reconciliation for the new millennium.
Christian representatives include the Very Revd. Alexander Wedderspoon (Runcie '61),Dean of Guildford, and Rev. Marcus Small, Vicar of Much Wenlock in Herefordshire.
A few predictable moaners have made their views known but surely this kind of venture is exactly what the new inclusive CofE is all about. This is putting the "eco" into ecumenism!
Mark Graham of the Pagan Federation says that they "celebrate their connectedness to nature" by "dancing naked round a fire". This may not be necessary at Guildford Cathedral but would surely cheer up Evensong at some older establishments and provide a part solution to inefficient heating systems. Tension is high in the Surrey close in case "Wedders", 69, decides to become the first "sky clad" Dean.
As the short-sighted old lady said on the nudist beach, "I don't know what that gentleman over there is wearing but I'm quite willing to take it home and iron it for him."
BE BOLD! BE STRONG!
Clergy wives have to learn how to say "NO". They suffer from low self-esteem and need assertiveness training. They should not hide their feelings but always express them firmly. Every day they should stand tall and intone the mantra,
"I am a strong, loving, creative woman and God loves me."
This was the advice of the Jennifer Beresford, a retired social worker, to clergy wives in Guildford diocese on a course entitled, "creating confidence in clergy wives". Clearly this will make for some interesting evenings in Home Counties vicarages, but it is not a course on which we will need to send the editor of this magazine.
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