Followers of the Lincoln Cathedral saga need to put this current little local difficulty in its proper historical perspective.

The cathedral has a long history of unpleasantness and spiritual jiggery-pokery. In the 1930s canons were questioned about a murder plot.

And when the present Dean’s predecessor took up office he found two letters on his desk awaiting his arrival.

One was from the canons announcing that they would not go to any chapter meetings in Lincoln again.

The other was from the Warden of the Theological college suggesting that the Dean’s first act should be to exorcize the cathedral.

Meanwhile, our correspondent there reports “The trench warfare continues.”

A Smooth Man

More news from the appraisal section of the diocese where, according to the Bishop, the essential quality is “polish”.

Wading through an increasingly ridiculous fifty-section questionnaire one West Country vicar came across the following question:

“How do you think the Diocesan Authorities regard you, and is it fair?”

Rejecting the extremes of paranoia or hysteria, he replied simply:

“I hope they don’t waste too much time thinking about it because I certainly don’t”

The Diocese has suggested that he go on a course!


Two complainants about the Durham Cathedral story (last issue) on the video display of the naked man bobbing up and down in a tank of water:

Mr R.H. of Guildford diocese accuses 30 Days of “a wild inaccuracy. No diocese would spend twenty thousand pounds on such a display”

You are quite right, Mr H., and we apologise. It was a misprint.

The actual figure was two hundred thousand pounds.

And an American visitor who rushed to see the incredible bobbing man discovered that it was off for the day. When he asked why, no-one seemed sure. One helper, however, did volunteer that the Choir School returned that day and it seemed sensible not to offend the parents.

So much for art.

No Post = No Post

The Appointments Secretaries were surprised when the senior Forward in Faith priest in Truro diocese did not turn up for the consultation about the new Bishop. The priest was equally surprised not to have been invited.

Fortunately the mystery has been solved. The diocesan authorities definitely posted the letter. It just never arrived.

Obviously privatisation cannot come quickly enough.


Fans of the older style “Thought for the Day” (BBC Radio 4) had a rare treat on the last Saturday of October.

Eschewing the clarion calls of certainty, the speaker exhorted us to follow Jesus example of “modest words and humble tones”, and to remember the words of Saint Oliver Cromwell, “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”

Such self doubt, modesty and humility were, of course, instantly recognisable to the clergy of the Peterborough diocese as they had been constantly subject to examples of this daunting holiness. The speaker was none other than William Petriburg – now modestly reverted to Bishop “call me Bill” Westwood.


The Archbishop of Canterbury heartened traditionalists recently by advocating smacking children. Of course it was properly qualified by phrases like, “gently slap them”, “done with love”, “firm discipline within the family set-up” etc., etc.

What may have unsettled some clergy was the Archbishop’s subsequent remarks.

“We older people must practise what we preach. We actually live the kind of discipline we are wanting a future generation to grow up with.”

Wise parish priests in the Canterbury diocese will be approaching future episcopal appraisals and Archdeacon’s visitations with a Prayer Book down their ephods.


Those old timers who are always complaining about a decline in sermon standards will have had their worst fears confirmed by an advertisement in “Jezebel’s Trumpet” recently. The situations vacant column contained a huge and detailed description for the Vicar of Rhyl (Diocese of St. Asaph). After all the usual jargon – “Mature…..experienced…..pastorally sensitive… wise… positive…work collaboratively etc.” came this intriguing qualification:

“An ability to speak is NOT essential”.

Experts in semaphore and liturgical dance will be queuing up.


In the early days of “Directions”, Cuddesdon ordinands used to find their copy of C.E.N. regularly “filleted” in the Common Room. Traditionalist believers then had to go around the various college bins to retrieve it. Apparently the spirit of liberal tolerance still prevails.

A notice, advertising Forward in Faith events, was covered and then removed – all within half an hour of going on the college notice board. Over the next three days four replacement notices were removed within minutes of their appearing.

A notice advocating Druidic – Christian – Wiccan Dialogue remains on the board!

Such meetings will, presumably, resolve thorny issues like, which version of the Lord’s Prayer to say backwards at Deanery Sabbat.