30 Days

CATECHUMENS ?

Do you have a worshipping woofer or a prayerful pussy? Is your doggy frequently jumping up-and-down and seriously barking? He could be a canine charismatic. Does your kitty frequently leave a strong sense of his presence in neighbouring gardens? You could have a moggy missionary on your lap!

Why not encourage them to go about their business in style? Buy your dumb friend a 'Pet Collar Cross' in a solid sterling silver for only £4.75 inc p&p from www.crystalsdirect.co.uk – as advertised in St Albans Diocesan magazine, See Round.

For the puss who put the cat in Catholic and the hound who put the dog in dogmatic it's the perfect gift.

Just a matter of time before there are proof text flea collars for the Evangelical end of the market.

WICCA VICAR RIDES AGAIN

In a fit of ecumenical excess the Bishop of Oxford, Richard Harries, has given his blessing to an unusual sabbat(ical). The Diocesan Communications Officer, Richard Thomas, 52, will be spending three months studying witchcraft and dialoguing with its practitioners. This is, he insists, 'something that God has called me to do' and, in the spirit of the age, will make no attempt to convert pagans. The ex-communications officer's enterprise is timely for, with a druid at Canterbury, he thinks Christianity should 'interact with pagans, druids and witches.’

But Dick minor should prepare himself for something of a culture shock. Skyclad outreach on cold and damp February evenings can cool the strongest spiritual ardour. Furthermore, after Dick major's recent outburst against the language of the Communion service, he is about to mix with folk who understand all too well the meaning of the chalice and a real presence.

At the end of his sojourn Fr Thomas will, no doubt, return to his duties like a man possessed.

EUROSOULS

The future of the United States of Europe continues apace. In order to achieve the federalist dream, as espoused variously by Heath, Jenkins, Heseltine, Clarke, Mandelson, Blair et al, it is important to break down national identities. The balkanization of Britain has largely been achieved by the destruction of the constitution under the present government. The next task is to reduce the separate statelets to cantons.

Here the bishops are proving most useful tools in this political process. The Bishop of Exeter is chairman of the South West Constitutional Convention while others, like St Albans, preside over their own region’s 'pastoral reorganization'. Some questions naturally arise.

1) Is this the proper work of the Gospel?

2) Who elected these unelected men to represent us?

3) Have they any political knowledge or experience?

4) Is there really no other more important task in their dioceses?

5) Why does the Church of England receive money from the EU slush fund,

'Soul for Europe'?

BISHOP BARBIE

When the Revd Joy Gallagher became a bishop in Southern Virginia, her friends, Revds Lois Keen and Sarah Brockman, gave her a going away present – a Bishop Barbie doll!

Keen and Brockman created outfits for Bishop Barbie is a various moods from a clerical collared nightie with a glittery cross to mitre, crozier and eucharistic vestments.

The result has gone national and appears in the American Textile History Museum in the careers section. 'Bishop Barbie is an example of what happens when a doll selects a religious vocation', proclaims the legend.

Keen and Brockman provided the blessed Barbie with the all-American slogan,

'She's got the call! She's got the courage! She's got the clothes!'

 

PARADISE LOST

James Runcie, the latest member of the family to seek a career in religious entertainment, has made a couple of television films on heaven. (Hell was abolished years ago, but does heaven still exist?).

After all the arty bits, the real debate came down to a discussion between Richard Dawkins (author of The Selfish Gene, militant atheist, rabid anti-Christian) and Adam Phillips, psychoanalyst, who thinks fantasizing about the afterlife is a distraction from reality.

Who is putting the case for heaven? You've guessed it. Nobody at all. Just think of it like your pension plan. You've saved for it but, when you get there, it probably won't exist.

 

INTERMISSION

Tired of boring old Communion services? Unimaginative Masses where people pray, confess, adore, give thanks, receive, glorify? Want to add a new dimension to those sad samey Sundays ? The church of St Leonard’s, Butleigh is just the place for you.

The Bishop of Taunton, Andy Radford, has praised ‘the new style, less formal’ service devised by twin vicars, Brian and Christine, and said he wished other churches would follow their example. As the parish magazine notes, 'Praise indeed!'

What is this exciting innovation, you cry? It is a 'split' communion service. It is 'open', 'friendly' and 'allows for a greater feeling of fellowship'. How does it achieve this Holy Grail of modern liturgy? Quite simple. There is a coffee interval in the middle of the service 'before we all receive communion together’!

The parish magazine encourages the doubtful to 'give this improved form of service a try'.

With the backing of Bishop Andy, one of Uncle George's backroom boys, who could resist? But we would like more detail. Where is the best place to have the coffee break? The Ambrosian position, presumably, if a Kit Kat is included?

Our readers are invited to suggest the appropriate position, giving a suitable theological reason, plus a versicle and response to introduce the libation. The best suggestion will win a Victoria Wine voucher to drown their sorrows, plus a copy of David Dale's excellent book, The Themeless Puddin: Dr. Carey and the disintegration of Anglicanism to explain how we got into this predicament.

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