Where It Listeth

At the end of a beautiful and stately offering of evensong in York Minster recently, the officiating canon began canting the collects. The collect for the first Sunday in Lent begins;

O Lord, who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights:

The enthusiastic canon, very loudly and clearly, made an error in one letter of the alphabet thus changing abstinence to expellant and proclaiming Our Lord to have performed an extraordinary, but all too human, achievement.

New Models for
Old Mitres

Was the title of a recent day in London hosted by the Modern Churchpeople’s Union. The usual suspects were there (Watch, Affirming Catholicism etc.) to prepare for union with the Methodists and a new understanding of Apostolic order. This consisted largely of the proposal to rid the Church of the Act of Synod (Dr. Judith Maltby’s paper) and to develop Government by glorified committee (Dr. John Harrod’s paper) – a system much loved and used by Methodism to expedite its terrifying decline. Dr. Maltby’s caricature of Forward in Faith was much appreciated, but she was unwilling to allow Bishop Colin Buchanan to say a few corrective words in the interests of fact and in defence of the Act.

The blessed Lesley Griffiths (former head honcho of Wesleys Wonders) used his chairmanship to fill up question time with an extraordinary outburst against the hypocrites, heretics and blasphemers who opposed the grand plan.

Unfortunately for the architects of the great enterprise, so evidently inspiring were the actual papers that several senior members of MCU spent much of the conference in a profound meditative state which, to the untutored and unspiritual eye, could easily have been mistaken for sleep.

Maybe it’s because….

The failure to publish national attendance statistics again this year coupled with the frantic search for finding ways of creative counting has increased scepticism about decline ‘bottoming out’. However, London Diocese has published its figures and they show a modest but welcome growth of c. 4%. One of the curious facts about London is that all traditions are represented in its various areas and at all levels of responsibility in the Diocese.

Could it possibly be that such equable treatment is, at least partly, responsible for restoring morale and that quiet confidence that allows the Church of God to get on with its central task?

Its A Doss

Joe Doss, Bishop of New Jersey since 1993, has finally resigned. When, two years ago, he admitted using the Diocesan discretionary fund to pay his income tax and lying about blocking the appointment of a priest, the Diocesan council asked him to resign. A ‘mentor Bishop’ was appointed to review the crisis and, after seven months and in spite of the evidence, concluded that Doss had made mistakes but there was ‘nothing of substance’ to justify his resignation. Unfortunately other discrepancies in expenditure emerged, including some $3000 on a Sno-Wizard ice cream maker and $6000 on excercise equipment. Doss then tried to block payments to the Diocesan council’s lawyer.

Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold tried to stitch together a deal for Doss to go if the investigations stopped. Finally, last month, Doss agreed to go on sabbatical, on full pay, until his retirement in September 2001.

In addition to full pay Doss will receive an additional $100,000 compensation, $33,333 for six years commencing 2001 in addition to his Bishop’s pension.$200,000 towards his children’s college education $150,000 to pay off his mortgage $30,000 removal expenses $20,000 for a new car.

In the Episcopal Church the wages of sin are no longer death but rather a settlement the ungodly would die for.

Fight The Good Fight

Scripture turns up in surprising places. From the wall of a London boxing gymnasium this month:-

King promotions….. David v Goliath – a draw. Goliath demands a rematch……

When he’s got his head together.

Moth Balls

Experts on evolution have been alarmed to discover that one of the text book examples of the process is based on faulty research. The relative rise and fall of two types of moth had been proved to depend on solid Darwinian principles. This was, apparently confirmed by a series of experiments at Oxford University in the 1950s. Unfortunately it now transpires that the learned professor used to pin dead moths on tree trunks to watch birds eat them and prove their vulnerability and confirm the natural selection principles. It certainly proves the value of self selecting evidence.

Lord Of The Dance

The Daily Telegraph recently reported the result of some remarkable research by the Provost of Wakefield, George Nairn-Briggs.

Our George has discovered that the Hokey Cokey is a parody of the Latin mass and from the same origin as Hocus Pocus!

It is a jumble of Hoc est enim corpus meum (this is my body).

Note the accompanying movements:

You put your right arm in, right arm out etc. (making the sign of the cross?) You do the Hokey Cokey and you turn around (as indeed you do at the altar) and so on.

Shame to spoil a good story for The Telegraph. but George’s remarkable research has been available to anyone who can read a dictionary or etymological source book for many years now.

Riding High

Last year, at the onset of Lambeth, a remarkable former headmistress, Dr Irene Riding, put an advert in the national press headed,


This received a phenomenal 12,000 letters of support.

Now, to fund her campaign to fight for the restoration of her beloved Church, she is selling her home and moving to much smaller premises – just a mile from her Diocesan Bishop, Jim Thompson ( Bath and Wells).

As we go to press, news comes through that the redoubtable Irene has notched up a stonking victory in an election for General Synod. No doubt Jim will be amongst the first to congratulate her.