A preacher at a famous south London non conformist church was surprised by latecomers at a morning service recently. Two Imams and a “large man in a suit” came and sat in the front row. At the end of the sermon the preacher greeted them and was surprised to be asked. “Do you mind if we stay”. “No”, he replied “we are now going to celebrate Holy Communion but you are welcome to remain”. He preached the celebration and the centrality of the cross!

At the end of the service they asked again.

“Do you mind if we stay?” When asked why the reply was disarming but simple.

“We want to pray and read the Koran. Soon every church in London will be a Mosque and we are preparing the way”.

In a most unecumenical spirit the elders invited the ambassadors of Allah to vacate the premises.


A correspondent from Chester tells us of more imaginative enterprise from the Dean (Stephen Smalley) In addition to Sunday racing, the punters priest tried to set up an ice cream stall outside the main entrance of the Cathedral. The reactionary burghers on the council restricted him to a wheeled kiosk for 28 days. Not even an extension for those overheated Raves in the Nave. Our correspondent’s suggested Kiosk sign:- “SMALLS ICE CREAM – CORNETS OUTSIDE, WAFERS INSIDE”.


Orders are flooding in for a £500 ivory silk dupion bridal gown marketed by Ellis Bridals of Wood Green.

It is specially designed for the bride and half whose Family Planning arrangements have got out of sync with the wedding plans.

A spokesman for Ellis, Jo Snowden, said “All that someone has to make now is a morning suit with an extra long sleeve for the bride’s father’s shotgun”.


The Revd. Roger Coleman, Chaplain of Urban Ministry for the Community Christian Church in Kansas City Missouri has been in England for a few days promoting “The Family Medallion Ceremony”.

Troubled by the problem of including children from previous marriages in the wedding ceremony, Mr. Coleman designed “a simple multi-denominational family wedding ceremony”. After bride and groom are spliced, the children come forward and the minister assures them that these parents will love and care for them. A medal with a picture of three interlocking rings is then hung round the child’s neck.

It is unclear whether, in the event of further marital shipwreck, the children would have a case against the minister for breach of contract or making promises that he has no capacity to keep.


A devout member of Reform went to the crematorium for his father’s funeral recently. He had requested, as post committal music, the great evangelical standard “Amazing Grace”. At the critical emotional moment one speaker gave forth John Newton’s best while the other chimed in with the very biblical but deeply unprotestant “Ave Maria”. Torn between tears and laughter he was reassured by a catholic friend that it was just the Lord’s way of ensuring a belt and braces job.


A correspondent writes to say that he recently attended a cremation and was surprised to find how much warmer the chapel was than on his previous visit. On complimenting the superintendent on this welcome improvement he was given the environmentally cheering news that this was because “under European regulations the new burner system recycles the loved one for the benefit of the living”.


Reports reaching Australia suggested that riots among the persecuted Catholics of East Timor were caused by a Muslim gaoler describing the faith as “nonsense”, insulting The Blessed Virgin Mary and questioning the Virgin Birth.

A cruel wag from down under has written to enquire if, perhaps, one of our recently retired liberal bishops has taken a holiday job.


The news that Richard Chartres had been made Bishop of London was clearly unwelcome to the BBC T.V. crew. Relegating it to early evening regional news the Beeb treated us to complaints from feminists and lobbying from the homosexual caucus. Its report, which contained little or nothing about the man and his ministry, concluded with the clearly irritated commentator announcing:-

“This means that two of the top three posts in the Church of England are held by men!”