No Way Jose.
POLITICAL CORRECTNESS has crept into that most reliable of "family values" stores, John Lewis. The Nativity sets were a character short. In order to respond to the single parent family ethos and market of New Britain, Joseph has been given his P. 45 and was no longer to be found in the stable.
The media, sensing a good story and wanting a "disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" quote, got on to Father George Austin. How did he feel about the removal of Joseph? With a twinkle in his eye, Austin replied cheerily that it was good to see some liberals who clearly believed in the Virgin birth.
Praise the Laird.
THE FAR FROM retiring Bishop of Woolwich, Colin Ogilvie Buchanan (for it is he), not content with educating the restless natives of this southern heath, has set his sights on further horizons. The Diocese of Southwark (proprietor Bargee Butler) is fraternally linked with the Zimbabwe. Croydon with central areas, Kingston with Matabeleland, and Woolwich with Manicaland in the East.
"Buckers" (famous author of "39 steps to disestablishment") is set on appointing a woman priest "Link Officer" for Manicaland. This would add symmetry to diocesan representation and mean that all three Link Officers were women priests. It will also be a stern lesson to those poor benighted tribesmen of the Central African Province who voted resolutely against such charming novelties. Who said cultural imperialism is dead?
ANOTHER FLYER from "Autosave " drops through the letterbox, this time sporting a photo of "Jolly Jack" Nicholls, Bishop of Sheffield, seated at his computer surfing the Autosave web-site. Jack, Autosave assures us, although a client of the car company, receives no personal benefit from his assistance in advertising. Whether Autosave receive any benefit from Jack's mugshot is not known.
Just recently the "Chef de Sheff" was heard in St. Paul's Cathedral proclaiming that the job of the Church of England is "the management of decline". Not the greatest sales pitch; but Autosave obviously believe that people will buy a used car from this man.
30 DAYS predicts a major revival in the fortunes of the Church of England! You read it here first, folks. Now is the time to buy those severely undervalued shares in church.com(missioners).
How can we be so certain that Turnbull Enterprises Management Ltd (aka The Archbishops' Council) has turned the corner?
Every parish priest has received his annual return to record the number of baptisms, Christmas, Easter and average Sunday attendance. All have been going down regularly over the years but we confidently forecast a major upswing in overall attendance at Church possibly by over 20 per cent!
"How is this possible?", you cry. Well several other columns have been added to find out how many attend church in midweek, how many children attend services, Sunday school or children's activities on Sunday and during the weeks of October.
Speaking to one editorial board member, 20 per cent may be a severe underestimate. He computes thus: - 60 at midweek, old folks and house communions, 300 at a funeral, 30 at Sunday school, 30 at youth club, 90 over each week at mother and toddler and 210 at school harvest festival, making a grand total of 720. Compared with his regular attendance of 120 at Sunday Holy Communion this shows a 500 per cent increase!
Revival was there all the time, it just took the wisdom of the Statistical Office to show us. Alleluia!
IN SPITE of the steady churning of diocesan N.S.M. factory courses, locally ordained, hobby-bobbies, recycled second careers and women, women, women, the personpower crisis continues apace in the Church of England. By 2004 there will be 600 fewer clergy - a loss of seven per cent. In parish terms this is a 1 in 14 reduction. Fortunately, for clergy morale, no cuts in the number of dignitary posts are envisaged.
The Irresistible Rise
THERE WAS DANCING in the streets of Willesden when the Bishop of London announced the appointment of the Ven. "Pete" Broadbent as their next Bishop.
The People's Pete began life modestly as curate to one G. Carey, during his deconstructionist period at St. Nick's, Durham. He followed this by a spell with Bob Runcie's Race Relations Adviser in a less than busy north London parish, and then on to Chaplain the North London Polytechnic during its truly revolting heyday. Pete was coincidentally trying to usher in the kingdom by following the gospel of Marx as a member of the famous hard left Islington Council.
When the revolution failed to arrive, Pete, shorn of his Samson length mane, re-invented himself as a briefcase carrying member of every ecclesastical committee available and latterly, while holding down his successive Archdeaconries, a seat on the Archbishop's Council.
When the announcement was made the People's Pete demurred (after acceptance, of course) that he wasn't sure if he should be a bishop. Such charming humility and touching agnosticism are wholly unbecoming. Arise + Willie, few men could have done more.
Two of a Kind.
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC defence of the unborn child and the human embryo was about to be challenged by a superior scientific and moral authority. The Church of England's Board for Social Responsibility was apparently in receipt of Canon Dr John Polkinghorne's paper arguing the case for "morally acceptable" cloning and experiments on human embryos.( "No different from heart transplants", ran the leak).
Polkinghorne, a former Cambridge Professor and late vocation priest is regarded by the Establishment as the Anglican answer to Einstein.
However, everything is now on hold since Uncle George, who regularly witnesses the appalling effects of human cloning via the Crown Appointments Commission, is now co-ordinating leaders of all major faiths to protest to the Prime Minister about this latest monstrosity.
Full marks to the Arch.!
Not so equitable.
WHEN CLERGY, some years ago, were offered the opportunity to "top up" their pension savings, many accepted. The chosen, and only, vehicle was Equitable Life. The Equitable, due to a series of management errors, is now in deep trouble. Withdrawal from the failing funds will incur a heavy percentage penalty. The Director, and latterly President of Equitable Life during this unhappy period was, quite coincidentally, the First Church Estates Commissioner.
While clerical investors catch cold on their meagre savings, the staff of Equitable are standing by for an £8 million bonus.
As this is clearly not a scandal, the silence of the establishment and its tame press organs is entirely understandable.
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