COMING APART AT THE EAMES
Ponder the fate of the Revd. Richard Bradford, rector of All Saints, Ashmont, Boston. The entire diocese boasts some 9000 communicants on an average Sunday. Of these c. 1500 go to evangelical Trinity, Boston, while another 500 are pretty equally divided between two orthodox parishes, of which Richard Bradford’s is one. The rest are divided up amongst the other 188 parishes. Bradford’s congregation would delight any liberal – it is over 50% “ethnic”.
Already resisting the ministrations of the lovely “bishop” Barbara Harris, Bradford overstepped the mark by objecting to the imposition of yet another liberal bishop, albeit with full support of his vestry (PCC). A furious diocesan, Bishop Shaw SSJE, has now made a visitation and “pronounced a godly judgement”. Pastoral relations have broken down and Bradford must go.
Ironically Bradford’s ancestor came to America, fleeing religious persecution, on the Mayflower. He became the second governor of the Plymouth settlement and, with the aid of the Indians, brought the Pilgrims through the first dreadful winter.
Quite like old times really.
Naughty Canon Rex Hurrell of St Mark’s, Swindon, has been at it again. Not content with being rapped over the knuckles by Olga, Bishop of Bristol (wife), self appointed inspector of parish magazines, for failing to pray for priestesses at their ordination, his parish has cocked a more permanent snook at the liberal ascendancy.
Celebrating 150 years of the parish church they have put in a new window which includes the symbols of the churches composing the present parish – a lion for St Mark, an ox for St Luke, Orb and Cross for St Saviour and old style guitar for St Aldhelm. (Apparently Aldhelm did lots of singing and clowning as he went around preaching!) The Church Council, (all resolutions passed) decided that the remaining trefoil should contain the symbol and name of Forward in Faith.
The design was placed before the Diocesan Advisory Committee and a faculty granted without demur.
Anyone who thought that SPCK’s new booklists showed a welcome return to Christian preoccupations after its ghastly feminist interlude will have suffered a mild shock while perusing the unlikely controversial pages of the Lectionary. In a clear anti-catholic attack on the Assumption of Our Lady it lists, among the observance of Evensongs and Vigils for BCP worshippers, a hitherto unknown and clearly protestant festival – “The PUTRIFICATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY”!
GAY OLD TIME
Undeterred by frequent visits from those ghastly puritans in Reform, good old Bishop Roy Williamson is determined to keep Southwark diocese in the vanguard of Gay Rights. Ably assisted by his new provost, the arch-liberal Colin Slee, the Cathedral will host the thanksgiving service for 20 years of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement on November 16th 1996 at 6.00pm.
Those signing the “statement of support” for LGCM will receive an automatic invitation to this event. For further details please write to:
Bp Roy Williamson, Dept LGCM, 38, Tooting Bec Gardens, London SW16 1QZ.
GAY OLD TIME II
The Revd. Malcolm Johnson, Master of St Katherine’s and General Synod poll topper in London Diocese is teaming up with Sr. Helen Loder to offer “clergy and church staff” an ecumenical gay retreat on 25 – 28 June. Your £90 will secure “three days of mediative reflection in an affirming community during which there will be times of silence and conversation”.
The organisers “aim to achieve gender parity amongst those attending”.
Presumably the word parity is used in its sense of “equivalence” rather than its other meaning of “having borne children”.
WHO GOES WHERE?
Bishop watchers have been running a book on upcoming vacancies. Richard Chartres’ first appointment in London should be Stepney – if he ignores the continuing vacancy of Kensington. Hot money is on John Sentamu, vicar of Tulse Hill. John is a Ugandan survivor of Amin’s death squads, a double first in law and theology. Evangelical by conviction he is sold on women’s ordination but publicly committed to justice for those opposed. His wife, Margaret, is well known on the ABM circuit.
Meanwhile in Peterborough rumour has it that Bill Ind, Bishop of Grantham, has established himself on the front row of the grid. Bill, sometime team vicar of a bizarre set up in Basingstoke and Vice Principal of the Aston Training Scheme (let the reader understand) has done a lot of work in neighbouring Peterborough and is thought to be hopeful of a convenient escape hatch from the ghastliness of Lincoln’s troubles.
Bill, a Friar Tuck look alike, has long disguised his Mirfield roots with a race for gender equality but would quite like to rediscover them in Bill Westwood’s aptly named “dead see”.
HATS OFF TO ANGEL
Commentators on the Coventry Cathedral Car Rally Debacle were quick to assume that the protestor was a traditionalist from the Home Counties. (Who else wears a hat and a fur coat in church?) However, her stripping, attempted chaining to the pulpit, prayers to “mother earth” and advocacy of early Canaanite tree worship was clearly more traditional than modernist movements like Forward in Faith and Reform would normally allow. “Angel”, as she is known, was not prosecuted for disrupting divine service as, presumably, the ninety minute farce did not legally qualify as such.
After the 1897 Coventry Daimler launched the event by almost choking the worshippers, Provost John Petty bleated an apology for “exhaust fumes and new roads” and Coventry University students essayed the following “hymn”
“The car has another dimension I’m almost too modest to mention It’s a boudoir for lovers Who smooch on the covers And sometimes destroy the suspension!”
As usual no resignations are expected.