When Fr Donald Minchew moved in the vicarage at St Michael and All Angels, Croydon last year, the building had been passed as A1.

But the hot water was intermittent, then the heating boiler packed up altogether and, during cold spells, the whole family huddled around the gas fire in one room.

Hoping to spark the diocese into some belated action Mrs Minchew jocularly informed the Archdeacon that if there was no action soon she and the boys would be back to Gloucester to keep warm.

Imagine their astonishment and mirth, when, the following day, instead of a new boiler, The Revd. Sue Walrond-Skinner, the Bishop’s pastoral officer, arrived on their doorstep to counsel them in their obvious marital distress.


A Taiwanese, former buddhist, migrant to Australia is set to create a double first in Brisbane Diocese. Fang Ling Llaw, the deacon wife of an Australian priest, is due to become a father and a mother in the same day when she is ordained in St John’s Cathedral.

A picture of the nine months pregnant Fang, behind the altar, graces the pages of the Brisbane Courier Mail where Archbishop Peter Hollingsworth waxes excited about the prospect.

Is it too much to hope that the trinitarian and pastoral imagery will be completed by the Bishop having to shift from paternal investor of power via supernatural childbirth training to role of midhusband, co-contractor and birth channeler?


Fr Geoffrey Kirk’s maiden speech had been awaited with some trepidation by the establishment party in General Synod.

When it cam it was a model of Gladstonian care and complexity delivered with sensitivity and restraint. As it was on the Porvoo agreement and the Scandinavian hierarchies were present this was greeted with much relief. Archbishop George referred four times to Kirk’s “graciousness” and the Bishop of Europe, replying, applauded the same quality twice.

At the recent Forward in Faith Council meeting Kirk was greeted by his team mates with cries of “Your Grace! Your Grace!”

Meanwhile two Swedish daily newspapers gave front page coverage to the content rather than the tone. This had made abundantly clear that orthodox Christians could not be expected to co-operate with regimes that sacked orthodox priests for refusing to agree to feminism, homosexuality or abortion and now refused ordination to any orthodox candidates.


A sad little document arrived in 30 Days office recently entitled “A service to mark the ending of a Group or Organization” It is a para-liturgy and resource for the mourning or passing of an institution.

What was surprising was the institution in question. There, on the front cover in block capitals, it says simply “The Diocese of Southwell”!

No-one could think why Southwell had been singled out in this way. There is no evidence that it has been particularly incompetent or wicked.

Perhaps it was part of the cutbacks – amalgamation of dioceses, introduction of Team Bishops? – just like in the deaneries.

Perhaps if the Bishop passed “A” and “B” and “C” his diocese couldn’t be picked off so easily.

Ah well. It was obviously a lovely service with “informal sharing”, “using the group symbol to touch”, “giving autograph cards to each other” and the “presentation of cheque for the winding up of accounts to some other person or organisation”. (If this is a prototype for the C of E one can’t help feeling this last rubric should have bee more specific…)

And then a prayer:-

“O god of the Dance… so direct our strength and inspire our weakness that we may enter with power into the movement of your whole creation through our partner Jesus Christ. Amen”.

Condolences should be sent to:

“Dunblessin”, Bishop’s Manor, Southwell, Notts.


Members of the Traditional Anglicans in St Alban’s Diocese (TAISAD) were surprised to discover an unusual topic on the agenda for their next meeting. Expecting to discuss arrangements for Holy Week and the diary of their Bishop Edwin Barnes, they were confronted by an item labelled simply “PRISM MASS”.

Was this, they wondered, and obscure reference to the Cathedral’s High Altar reredos depicting two heavily swathed middle-aged ladies holding a crystal ball over the holy table, or has the bishop started moonlighting as “Mystic Ted”?

At any rate it won’t be at the cathedral where any sort of regular celebration for the original integrity has been consistently ruled out.


Women, who have always thought they were rather divine, whether some patronising male has said it or not, are in for some exciting affirmation in this belief at Candlemass in the Chelmsford Diocesan Retreat House at Pleshey.

Sr Marion Gormley will conduct a retreat entitled “The heroine in every woman” a weekend to explore the archetypal Greek Goddess in every woman.

Who knows what domestic Scylla may discover the flighty Aphrodite within?


Congratulations to St Jim’s Ecclesiastical Plant, Piccadilly which continues its alternative ministry regardless of the fuddy-duddy criticisms of “Pick and Mix” spirituality.

Want to know how to create fulfilling relationships, tune into your own inner wisdom, sit at the feet of a pagan witch, a Sufi master or a Vedic astrologer, or indulge in numerous alternative faiths and therapies? Then St Jim’s the place for you.

Who says so? Jane Turney, worker for the “Alternatives” ministry there. Her own journey, she tells us, may include visiting an astrologer and a Buddhist meditation teacher as well as a Christian mystic. Jane, writing in the ultimate alternative newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, tells us people “feel let down by orthodox religion”.

Orthodoxy – now that would be an alternative…