Fairy tale

Many happy returns to Salisbury Cathedral’s Precentor, Canon Jeremy Davies, who this weekend celebrates his sixtieth birthday by conforming to the Church of England’s teaching expressed in the House of Bishops’ statement on Civil Partnerships with his long-time live-in opera singer, Simon McEnery. Just 120 guests, reportedly including Dean June Osborne and Bishop David Stancliffe, will no doubt ensure that it is a quiet affair.

Tired old joke

‘What is an Archdeacon?’ ‘The crook at the head of the Bishop’s staff.’ Not in the Diocese of Wakefield, he isn’t! Fans of Channel 4’s Priest Idol were entranced to see that an archdeacon is actually a man who helps young priests choose rose pink chasubles and curé hats, and then pops round to the parish hall to put up fairy lights, before rolling up his sleeves to help prune the brambles outside the church. And to think we’d never have known about all his selfless work at the coalface if the television cameras hadn’t been there to capture it all.

Non-fairy tale

Speaking of Archdeacons, 30Days is entranced at the news that the Revd Rachel Montgomery, Vicar of St James the Less, Bethnal Green, is to be the next Archdeacon of Northolt. With a whole ten years in priest’s orders, and hands-on experience in no less than two parishes, our Rachel is obviously destined for great things! And with predecessors at Northolt as varied as Christopher Chessun, Pete Broadbent, Michael Colclough and Tom Butler, it can only be a matter of time before hands are laid upon her.

Indeed, it should be sooner rather than later, for in March, wedding bells will ring as she marries ordinand Guy Treweek. Curiously, the News Page of the WATCH (Wimmin and the Church) website, in announcing Ms Montogomery’s preferment, devoted only 440 words to the story. Given that it was the first new story the girls had managed to post since around November 2004, you might have expected a bit more effort. After all, the last story on the site ran to almost 2,000 words and that was about a total non-event.

Back-handed compliment?

Writing in support of his vicar to the Archbishop of Central Africa, following the all too predictable decision of the Provincial Court of Confirmation not to confirm the election of former Modern Churchperson’s Union Chairman Nicholas Henderson as Bishop of Lake Malawi, one of Henderson’s parishioners wrote: ‘I have just been made aware from television news and newspapers of the fact that the Court has decided that the Reverend Nicholas Henderson has been rejected as Bishop of Lake Malawi. Speaking to a number of our parishioners in the last couple of days we must record our deep and bitter disappointment with this news…’

Society news

30Days has learned with pleasure from the society pages of the New York Times that ECUSA ordination candidate John Finley and attorney Stan McGee have been married in a simple ceremony conducted by a State Senator, followed by Pontifical Nuptial Mass at the Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill, in the Diocese of Massachusetts. The lucky couple’s first date was at a monastery, McGee told the New York Times, and the next day he sent Finley a dozen red roses; not to be outdone, Finley promptly sent McGee two dozen roses, before the lovebirds moved into an apartment together in Boston. Celebrant at the Mass was the Bishop of Massachusetts, Thomas Shaw ssje, described by cyber-journalist David Virtue as ‘a leading contender to replace Frank Griswold’ as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

We have seen the future

As 30Days surfed the net the other day, we couldn’t help noticing the website of , based in Florida. ‘Attention Catholic Men and Women,’ it shouted, ‘We help men and women to become monks, brothers, friars, priests, sisters and nuns! Exciting free online tests and live-in retreats available now! Just tell us a bit about yourself, and we’ll take it from there!

Take a free online test:

Click here for the test for those with an interest in religious life as a monk, brother, friar, sister, or nun.

Click here for the test for those with an interest in the priesthood.’

In the interests of research, 30Days would have taken both tests, but some of the questions seemed to betray a worrying lack of standards in the vocations market across the pond:

Are you Catholic? Yes/No

Are you planning on converting to Catholicism? Yes/No

Would a lifelong commitment to celibacy be possible for you? Yes/No/Perhaps

Investment opportunity

30Days urgently needs just £21,750 in order to purchase an inflatable church! The nave will evidently be 5 metres in width (external) with a frontal façade which will be 7 metres high and 6.5 metres wide. The tower will be 5 metres square at the base and 12 metres in height. According to the advertising blurb, ‘the attention to detail is heavenly, complete with plastic ‘stained glass’ windows and airbrush artwork which replicates the traditional church. Inside it has an inflatable organ, altar, pulpit, pews, candles and a gold cross. Even the doors are flanked by air-filled angels. The church can be built in two hours and dis-assembled in less than one.’

30Days will then be able to go into business offering ‘services’ for discerning types who need somewhere discrete for their very special day. In fact, if New Directions readers are generous enough and cough up another £237,000, we may go the whole hog and purchase an inflatable pub as well, so that we can offer an integral package of ‘wedding’ and ‘reception’ to all these poor saps who seem to think that they’re getting married!