One of our correspondents from a far flung diocese has written in to apprise us of one of the unlooked benefits of women’s’ ordination. The chief diocesan property wallah recently let slip the fact that since 1993 applications for faculties for church lavatories have rocketed. The busy priestess, dashing around the multiple benefice rural cure, is either unable to exercise the stoic continence of her male forebears or, in extremis, follow generations of the quietly desperate to the relative seclusion of the north churchyard wall.


An extremely well qualified orthodox candidate was rather surprised at not being short listed for a publicly advertised parish. Not as surprised as two episcopal referees (one from each integrity) who knew the man’s work record and made enquiries on the handling of his application.

The trustees made it clear that no orthodox candidate would be considered. The parish itself was not aware of this ruling. The appointment went to a substantially less qualified diocesan functionary.

What no outside candidates knew in all this was that this is a “plum living” paid for by a separate fund. The remuneration is more than a bishop’s pay!

Nice work if you can get it.


Support for the Churchwardens Measure has come from the most unlikely source. Writing in “The Thunderer”, Robert Leach, chairman of the trustees of Church of England Newspaper, made a stirring plea for fellow Anglicans “to trust the Bishops” who had “the best interests of the church at heart”. Needless to say the following days produced a shower of epistolary rotten tomatoes in Leach’s direction.

Those with longer memories will be wondering if this can be the same Robert Leach whose vituperative and often irrational rantings against the establishment saw his column dropped from the CEN some years back.

Since then our Robert has mollified considerably and now runs what is known in the trade as the George Carey Fanzine. Sadly this was not enough to win him a place on the Archbishops’ Council. Such electoral disappointments are as nothing however beside the newspaper’s fate. Under his inspired leadership (which has seen the removal of its most successful editor, the eviction of New Directions and a planned move down market) the CEN has lost one third of its circulation.


After the post Lambeth bribes scandal (see Thirty Days passim) in which various American liberal worthies accused traditionalist American bishops of buying African votes, a new and more familiar form of encouragement has resurfaced.

No sooner had the liberal screams fallen silent – because there was not a shred of evidence to support their slanderous claims – than a leading liberal bishop has been demonstrating how to persuade recalcitrant conservative Africans to be more enlightened.

Ronald Haines, Bishop of Washington and a noted persecutor of the orthodox, has written to Ugandan bishop Eliphaz Maari, informing him that the Lambeth resolution on sexuality is an “impediment” to potential grants from his diocese to the African church.

Archbishop Carey has called any such linkage between the Lambeth vote and aid to poorer churches “immoral and deeply unchristian.”

Those familiar with the liberal Americans way with the church in the third world will not be shocked, only surprised that the long standing method of “dialogue and persuasion”, has at last been exposed.


Listeners to Radio 5 will have been delighted to hear that the people’s prime minister, Tony Blair, Conqueror of Kosovo, is virtually half way to canonisation . A whole item was dedicated to reporting one of the two required and attested miracles. Apparently one Stephen Hill, 25 , a lifelong stammerer has been cured by listening to Tony Blairs speeches!

One down, one to go. As for the other signs, MPs of all parties will readily confirm the odour of sanctity that proceeds from the despatch box at Prime Ministers Question Time.


After the drubbing received at the hands of the Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament on the first presentation of the Churchwardens Measure, the episcopal body sent in two heavyweights to present its case second time around – namely the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Durham.

Far from intimidating the assembled constitutional worthies it produced another severe battering for the Measure for the irony of the representation was not lost on the politicos.

As one remarked afterwards, “When a priest, against whom there was clear evidence, can rise, uncensored to the office of bishop, only to demand the right to suspend lay men and women against whom there needs to be no evidence, something is clearly wrong with the C of E.”

Or, as another put it more succinctly, “Lucky Michael Turnbull was never a Churchwarden!”


“Jesus, St Alban and Roly Bain….. what exactly do these three have in common?” asks the publicity blurb for the great Rose Service at St Alban’s Cathedral.

Jesus, as one may recall, died on the cross for the sins of the world. St Alban, protomartyr of Britain, was executed for sheltering a christian priest and refusing to renounce the faith. David Ronaleyn Findlater Bain is a priest who, for the last nine years, has been a full time clown and will be leading the Albantide service. All three of these great men are, you’ve guessed it, “HOLY FOOLS”!

The blurb exhorts us to join in the “juggling, puppet show, face painting etc” and …..

“All those who come are invited to wear at lease one item of clown’s clothing: a multicoloured bow tie; a battered hat with a flower; baggy trousers; a red nose. The possibilities are endless”

Apparently so.