CRÈME DE LA CREM
The recent articles on funerals have prompted a spate of unforgettable clerical bon mots from the crem. sent in by congregational victims and Death Industry Operatives among our readers.
The Call to Faith:
"Trust in God like you trusted in Joyce!"
Death is nothing at all:
"Rita doesn't know she's dead"
"We are all individual persons. Henry was an individual person too."
Post mortem evangelism:
"It's time to get Daphne committed".
Listen with Mother:
"Let's listen to these hymns seated and read the words meaningfully to ourselves" (There follows six verses of organ solo!)
Hiltons Above (Jn 14 v 1 - 6):
"So you see the mansion was just like a big hotel and, after a long hot dusty day on the road, the disciples would have longed for a nice hotel room. Life's a bit like that isn't it?"
"She loved all her family's partners and stood by them in all their divorces and relationships"
And finally...(as they used to say elsewhere)
Boozed, confused and not amused:
At the cremation of George, the town drunk, before an afternoon congregation of alcohol fuelled supporters, the minister boldly declared his belief in the resurrection in the following memorable terms:
"That isn't George in that box!"
To which the spontaneous non-liturgical reply came,
"Well who the *!*! is it then?"
If you have any stories of similar words of consolation that have cheered you in time of grief, the 30 Days Book of Remembrance will be happy to record them for you.
After The Sunday Times revealed that, once again, the resistible rise of Pete Broadbent had been thwarted by T. Blair, Uncle George must think again.
Archdeacon "Pete", former curate to George during his deconstructive period in Durham, then hard left Islington Councillor while at the scarcely attended church of the Archbishop's Race Relations Advisor, Pete has since reinvented himself and become the epitome of "Turnbull Man" - the messiah of management.
None of this was enough to persuade Our Tony to inflict the ultimate urbanite on rural Cumbria - they got "Farmer" Dow instead. Now the good burghers of Chichester are being terrified by the spectre of Archdeacon Pete. If they can be minuted as saying "Anyone but Broadbent" they will be offered Nigel McCulloch - "missionary" Bishop of Wakefield and former great white hope of the older evangelical establishment.
The fallback position is to wheel in John Hind (Europe) whom they believe may yet be persuaded to ordain women, move Geoffrey Rowell (Basingstoke) to Europe as he is a great traveller anyway and move a safe Archdeacon to Basingstoke. It's all so exciting.
ABSENT FRIENDS I
Such is the financial crisis at Church House that they seem to have cancelled their copy of The Church Times. One can think of no other reasonable explanation for recent events there. The Church's Millennium Officer, Stephen Lynas, made a display of all the church events at Pentecost. From the two hundred at the Dome with the Archbishop to the twenty thousand marchers for Jesus from every denomination, all were there. Sadly missing from this was any reference to the largest Anglican act of worship in the country's millennium celebration - the 10,000 at the London Arena for Christ our Future.
Anyone taking The Church Times cannot have failed to see the large front page picture of the event , including rank upon rank of 800 traditionalist priests who have remained loyal to Anglicanism, and the glowing report by Glyn Paflin of this wonderful event.
Still presumably the order for The Church Times will be placed again next year as there will be a bit more money in the budget. Next year they won't need a Millennium Officer.
So desperate is the left-footers H.Q. for ready cash that a big commercial deal is on the table. The Vatican and a pop promoter have teamed up to market shops selling images of Vatican treasures. T-shirt Pietas will vie with Sistine Chapel curtains and Fisherman's Ring napkin holders for pride of place in the loyal papists home. The Pope himself will be appearing on phone and credit cards!
Of course this is all in the worst possible taste and anathema to Anglicans. However, if our financial situation doesn't improve perhaps we could envisage a discreet display of "Treasures of the C of E". T-towels of 1, Millbank where most of the historic treasures have gone, tablemats of the site in Ashford where £80million mysteriously and unaccountably vanished and rolls of Pug in wallpaper engraved with bishops expenses. The Carey Credit Card would be issued to all parishes to help pay their quota with an automatic advanced interest rate of 15% p.a. minimum compound.
ABSENT FRIENDS II
Thanks to the ferocious intolerance of several liberal bishops the Blackburn Report hit General Synod just late enough to allow minimum time for reading, reflection, discussion and informed debate. However several sharp eyed readers have spotted a strange omission.
In the list of people and organisations consulted Forward in Faith is nowhere to be found. This is very strange because all members of the Executive remember quite clearly a session with the Blackburn Commission in which they were harangued at some length about "the tone" of this column - a vital part of the working of the Act of Synod you understand.
ABSENT FRIENDS III
A visitor to a recently retired liberal bishop was surprised by a change in a familiar item on the prelate's mantelpiece. The large photo of the bish. in the company of the great and the good of the Anglican Communion, had been carefully defaced - literally. The missing visage? Bishop Graham Leonard who had been excised for his "treachery" in going to Rome.
As "Health and Efficiency" and Josef Stalin will tell you - if you really want to eradicate the bits of reality you find offensive, airbrushing is much more effective.
BOTTOMS UP MA'AM
Poor Uncle George made the front pages on a largely news less day for picking up the Queen Mother's wine glass by mistake. Gladys Glitter - the nation's favourite royal - has suffered no optical impairment in her advancing years and is not one to be separated from her tipple without a struggle.
Unhappily, it seems, Gentleman George was inadequately briefed by the hundred or so Queen's chaplains employed for such vital instruction.
The rules are quite simple:
1) Always hang onto your glass when the Queen Mum is about.
So far, so good. But the second part is the key.
2) The Queen Mum's glass is always the one with more in it!
Happy Birthday Ma'am
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