Last year was another bad year for ECUSA which, under the slippery leadership of Frank Tracey Griswold, resembles less a church than a suicide cult. Hot on the high heels of the Gene Robinson affair the most recent statistics reveal that 85 more churches closed and 36,000 more regulars stopped coming. Out of a population of nearly 300 million souls only 823,000 attend ECUSA on a Sunday – less than half the number of Americans in prison.


When the Chief Liturgist fulminates things happen quickly in the C.of E. Further to ‘Bubbles’ Stancliffe’s encouraging outburst on the horrendous state of Anglican liturgical practice, after years of his devoted and painstaking reforms culminating in ‘Comic Worship’, action has been swift. The Archbishops’ Council is looking for a rare bird, a clergyperson who knows how to conduct different kinds of worship, understands the use of music therein and knows about recent liturgical developments to appoint as ‘National Worship Development Officer’. The job spec. requires the successful candidate to endure one day a week at Westminster H.Q. but the NWDO will be able to spend the rest of the week anywhere else in the land looking for something to do and enforcing the ‘Bubbles Standard’. One drawback though, the proposed salary is a mere £38,000 p.a.


Patients in hospital will be very grateful for The Nursing Standard’s ‘Guide to cultural and spiritual awareness’, author Jean Serge Mootoo. Advice on hygiene, diet and cultural practices will make nursing care more sensitive to individual needs.

Afro-Caribbeans will be reassured to know that ‘at death, religious differences are likely to be minimal and cultural identity is of paramount importance’. People from Asian cultures, presumably unlike the rest of humanity, ‘may express their emotions freely when a relative dies’. Romanies, who like to light a candle under the bed of the dying (to light the way to the afterlife rather than effect premature cremation), can get a supply of ‘electric flicker candles’ from the health and safety aware chaplaincy. Rastafarians ‘will prefer alternative therapies such as herbalism or acupuncture’. (M. Mootoo is being very discreet here as the most popular herb in the Rasta pharmacopia is mind wobbling inhalations of marijuana.) Buddhists reject contraception and abortion but no mention is made of this predilection among Roman Catholics. Protestants will be relieved to know that whereas ‘doctrines of Christian churches vary greatly’ the ‘ritual of Holy Communion’ is where ‘bread and wine symbolising the body and blood of Christ are taken in his memory’.

Baptists will be a little surprised to find that they have been singled out and are classified under ‘Other Faiths’ – just under Wicca! The prospect of tambourine beating, skyclad fundamentalists immersing one another in forest pools to the strains of ‘Shine, Jesus Shine’ is all too moving.


Fans of the recently retired Bishop of Woolwich, Colin Buchanan, will recall that the great disestablishmentarian was never a shrinking violet. But even they may have been surprised to discover the following item on the Sydney Diocesan website:-

‘You just know Colin Buchanan is involved when the Archbishop of Sydney puts on a blonde wig and throws a plastic crocodile into the audience!’

Has the great entertainer swapped South of the river for South of the Equator? Has Peter Jensen finally realised that blondes have more fun? Is a plastic croc the nearest the modern church gets to the behemoth of Job? The answer to all these is probably ‘no’. The Colin Buchanan in question turns out to be a popular Australian childrens’ entertainer and the show was all part of the altar-less cathedral’s family friendly campaign.


The Church of England has come up with firm plans to abolish the freehold, courtesy of a working party chaired by our old friend Professor David McClean. (McClean was on the steering committee for women’s ordination and assured Synod that the legislation would not be ruinous or unjust). Spookily enough this announcement came only a couple of weeks after it became clear that the Government was going to leave the clergy out in the cold in the field of industrial relations. They would continue technically to be employed by God, albeit their cheques come from the Church Commissioners, and have no claims against unjust treatment by the bishops or the Church. The Government, in its enthusiasm for the feminist and gay agenda, wants to ensure no rights for the traditionalist minority.

Coincidentally the cash strapped C.of E. is creating 18 ‘Human Resources’ posts at the cost of a cool £1million a year . Human Resource (Personnel) posts are what you create when you want to sack a lot of people.

No doubt Professor McClean will be wheeled out to assure us of the utmost good faith of the institution of which he has long been such an overly influential part but those with experience of his lawyerly skills will no doubt reserve judgement.

What do these three decisions have in common, coming as they do as Synod debates the consecration of women as bishops? As the Americans say…….Go figure!


‘Any truth that we arrive at by breaking away from some other Christians will only be a partial truth, because I don’t think truth and unity are separable’. Jane Williams, wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury.