My Life-partner went to the Lambeth Conference and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt

DON’T WAIT FOR IT – we can give it you now! The Lambeth Conference 1998 Official Souvenirs programme, that is. You bishops or Official Spice (or unofficial or unscheduled spice, for that matter) do not even have to sign up for free flying lessons, aerobics or astral counselling – you, and we mean YOU – can get your order for trashy memorabilia here.

Every available object, apart from the reprehensibly sexist (but utterly episcopal) tie – in polyester £9.00, or Silk/Polyester [for elitists] £15.00 – can be ordered, of course, through New Directions, and at significant reductions. Every last item is endorsed with the ‘Compass Rose’, official emblem of the Anglican Communion.

Flush Yanks with hefty pocket-books (Eng. wallets – Ed) will be plastering the mid-West with Screen Stars Polo Shirts (by Fruit of the Loom) in burgundy (?), embroidered in luxurious gold (that’s better!) (£16.00). The less affluent wives of African bishops may well be returning with nothing more than a Screen Stars brand T-shirt (XXX large, 66cm, £6.80).

Altars in white-painted gothic cathedrals on palm-stranded shores – though probably not St. Andrew’s, Singapore – will be decked out, for the duration, with two inch diameter Church candles (‘ecclesiastically approved’ – nice one George!), a snip at £5.00.

Well-lined bishops from the antipodes [Eng. Aussies – Ed] will return with tastefully engraved crystal decanters (£60.00), remove them discreetly from their satin-lined presentation boxes, and elegantly entertain (to whisky, port or whatever), in square crystal tumblers (also suitably engraved, and available in the same elegant packaging, £30.00 each), lowly diocesan officials who themselves may one day aspire to wear the be-mitred and be-crooked tie of what is, after all, one of the world’s most exclusive clubs.

But it does not end there. What personal revelations or pastoral confidences will the Compass Rose paperweight (£24.00) hold down? And what theological differences and dissentions will be held together in ‘koinonia’ under the Compass Rose golf umbrella (£22.50)!

The Lambeth Conference mug – at £5.00 – promises that world-wide ‘fellowshiping’ and weak instant coffee will never fail; The gold-embossed leather bookmark (£1.00) is equally available to the biblical fundamentalist and the devotee of the most recent excretions of Jack Spong. We are happy, and Anglican, in being able to make it available to both.

What we want you to know – and what you need to know – is that these are the ‘only official Lambeth Conference Souvenirs – approved by the Anglican Communion’.

Of course, there may be differences of opinion (we hard-headed business folk know that you religious people are notorious for not agreeing with each other); but that doesn’t have to matter. We also know that togetherness is something more than mere dogma. It’s a sentiment; it’s a feeling. [cf. Sykes, S.W., opera omnia]

You can make that feeling a reality by your own judicious investment in the following trivialities. We at Lambeth Conference Gifts, P.O. Box 6689, Birmingham B13 8NA, are playing our part in keeping the show in the road.

And don’t forget: a Globe and Compass Rose Stress Ball (£5.60) – for the hard-pressed ecclesiastical executive who has everything (and a discussion document on Third World Debt) – comes free with every purchase over £150!

Geoffrey Kirk is Vicar of St. Stephen’s, Lewisham, in the diocese of Southwark.