Worshippers at Chipping Sodbury Baptist Church enjoyed a truly memorable sermon recently. The minister, Donna Dobson 35, whipped out a tin of chicken flavoured Pedigree Chum, blessed it, covered it in ketchup and then ate it.

Ms Dobson, who lives alone with her dog Sally, explained:

“I ate dog food because people often dismiss the resurrection of Jesus. They want proof…. that’s why I ate the Chum. People didn’t believe they would see a minister eat a tin of dog food in church”.

Apparently Ms Dobson used secretly to consume dog food as a child, if she was naughty and not allowed tea. She reports that “the flavour has improved.”

Local wags have suggested Ms Dobson may be “barking”. However liberal scholars have suggested that “Pal” (Prolongs Active Life) is the obvious choice for a Resurrection sermon and, for Ascensiontide: “Bounce”.


The October issue of “Focus” – the magazine of go ahead Southwark diocese – is a theological feast. A double page centre spread entitled “Where we do theology” by the Revd. Malcolm Torry, lists some forty odd examples. Some are unexceptionable e.g. “We do theology when a prayer group prays, when a couple plan their marriage.” Some are puzzling e.g. “We do theology when Peggy rings a church bell…when the building is lent to the drama group…when we sing a new song from South Africa”. And some are controversial e.g. “We do theology when…..”A homosexual priest lives with his or her partner”.

Clearly, readers of 30 Days will be incensed by this exclusion of and discrimination against the laity and will want to convey their views on diocesan policy to: Bishop Roy Williamson, 38, Tooting Bec Gardens, London SW16 1QZ. Fax: 0181 769 4126

As usual no resignations are expected.


A mixture of shock and delight swept through large areas of Lincoln diocese at the appointment of the new Archdeacon, A. Hawes, was announced.

Andy Hawes, Vicar of Edenham and Witham-on-the-Hill and Warden of the Spiritual House and Retreat centre has long been recognised as one of the best spiritual directors, pastors and teachers of his generation. However he is also a member of Forward in Faith.

Orthodox clergy and people were relieved that, at last, a gesture of reconciliation had been made in the one party state of Bishop “Bob” Hardy. The illusion was brief. It was hurriedly explained that the Archdeacon was in fact to be Arthur Hawes, Mental Health Commissioner and Hon. Canon of Norwich Cathedral – obviously a better combination of talents for Lincoln’s current problems.


Distressed former Anglicans who have made the journey to Rome have been astonished by the most recent fellow traveller – one of the first women priests in the Church of Ireland. After the long struggle and terrible divisions she has decided that the middle class matineers of the Church of Ireland are not the real church after all. One can only imagine the spiritual gymnastics required to accept Catechism of the Catholic Church (1577): “The ordination of women is not possible.”


Patric Walker, Astrologer to the Stars, (and to the gullible who read his page in the Mail) met with a wholly unforeseen event recently. He died.

His deliberations for his own star sign at the time are intriguing. In “You” magazine he warned himself (and other Librans) about “grey areas in an important relationship”, “the need to set the record straight” and finished up, “If anyone needs a little moral support it is you!”

If this is not prescient enough, hearken to his advice to himself in the Bath Chronicle:

“This may be your moment to take a great leap into the unknown. Just ensure you haven’t bought a one way ticket. Your curiosity may be satisfied sooner than you think.”


Amongst ideas doing the rounds at the great Women’s Conference in Beijing was the “deconstruction of gender”. This will give everyone five genders to chose from instead of two. Freed from “traditional biases” a person can “decide to be male, female, homosexual, lesbian or transgendered”. Some “may want to try all five in turn”.

In the words of the ancient Chinese curse: may you live in interesting times.


Consider the case of Stow Maries parish in the Purleigh, Cold Norton, Stow Maries Group, Chelmsford Diocese. In April 1994 they passed resolutions A and B. After an eighteen month interregnum they were permitted to advertise for a male priest in the Church Times. The successful candidate, the Revd. Derrick Cooling, interviewed by the Bishop, Archdeacon and Wardens had a Deacon wife. “Stow” were not thrilled but were assured that she would not be “taking Eucharists” in the parish.

Since then the Vicar’s wife has been priested. Sermons and leaflets are, predictably, all in favour, service times altered and parishioners who object are told they are in the wrong Church. The bishop has said he is concerned and wants to be kept informed.

On the subject of information, he might like to let Bishop Edwin Barnes, Provincial Episcopal Visitor, have a bit so he can do his job of keeping the Archbishop up to date on fair play in the diocese of Chelmsford.

For example ……. this couldn’t be the same Revd and Revd Cooling who were the most outspoken and persistent lobbyists for the priesting of women in the Diocese of Monmouth could it?


Bishop Michael Scott-Joynt’s welcome from the Diocesan Magazine Winchester Way was slightly overshadowed by the centre page spread (Sept. 95) The special ‘wild and wacky youth edition’ has some very go-ahead advice on sex from Adrian Thatcher, Prof. of Applied Theology (sic) (SS. Mark and John, Plymouth).

Masturbation gets the thumbs up, so long as it doesn’t become ‘a preoccupation’. Cohabitation is ‘a step along the way’ to fuller commitment. ‘The church must honour’ homosexuals who are in a ‘faithful, sexually active relationship’. Sex before marriage?…’the greater the commitment, the greater the intimacy’. Who recommended Thatcher to the editor? ‘Staff at Church House’

Scottie is understood to be less than thrilled.