Family Outing

Readers of The Daily Telegraph were intrigued to read an advertisement recently for a day on ” the family”. Held at Skinner’s Hall in London and boasting such notable speakers as Paul Boateng and the Bishop of Winchester, it was to address the crisis facing the modern family.

Mr Boateng made considerable copy in the subsequent national dailies for his forthright defence of family values and the need for government intervention to encourage such worthy ends.

This must have been with his congregational hat on, as Mr Boateng is usually to be found on the government benches volubly supporting non-family activities and faithfully in the lobbies behind each government move to reduce fiscal incentives to family life.

Perhaps the most surprising feature of the day was the astronomical cost of it all. £250 a ticket! On further inquiry it transpired that charities could send a representative for only £150! Sadly, as a result, New Directions is unable to report on the Bishop of Winchester’s offering, though we are assured that the high cost of the day has nothing to do with bishops expenses.

Oestrogen is oestrogen.

Great news for Anglican priestesses and for the whole Church. So great is the demand, apparently, that St Luke’s Hospital for the clergy is to run a “Menopause Clinic”.

Sadly our inquiries reveal that this will not be open to sufferers from the male menopause and has led to cries of “sexism” from middle aged Anglo-Catholic clergy.

When asked if the clinic would be a regular event a spokesperson for the wimmin’s movement snapped, “Why would it?”

Labor Vincit Omnia

Graham Dale, director of the Christian Socialist Movement, has written a book called “God’s politicians”. How exciting the content of this hagiography of great Labour politicos is remains to be seen, but a lot of people are jumping up and down about the cover. A parody of da Vinci’s Last Supper, a Karl Marx/Keir Hardie look-a-like is Christ surrounded by Harold Wilson, John Smith and Stafford Cripps, inter alia, as disciples. Before a spread of beer and sandwiches (a la 1960s TUC at No. 10) the figure of the beloved disciple leaning on the master is Our Beloved Leader Himself, T. Blair. As the unseemly battle for the “Christian” vote hots up, there has been much criticism of this jolly little cartoon. Some Tories have called it anything from “vulgar” to “blasphemous”. But many born-again Blairites are equally upset. Marx/Hardie are founders of the OLD COVENANT. The founder of the NEW COVENANT is surely the one that should be identified as the Saviour.

Basso in profundo….

Italian police have stumbled on what they believe to be an elaborate money laundering exercise involving fake art works and Vatican certificates of authenticity. Mgr. Basso, a former head of Vatican archives, is under investigation after several “masterpieces” were discovered in his study and a stockpile of blank certificates of authenticity in a Naples lawyer’s office.

Mgr. Basso mounted a sturdy defence claiming, “I have been framed.”

Islam wins again

While the Bishop of Norwich, Graham James (Runcie’87), is publicly backing proposals for rural churches to provide hole-in-the-wall banking facilities as a last ditch incentive to get people to attend, however briefly, the Muslims have launched an even greater incentive to spirituality.

Think the Haj (pilgrimage to the Holy City) is going to be all prayer and penance? Not now folks, because Mecca is shortly to play host to the latest branch of Ann Summers sex shops! Naughty knickers, PVC gear and chocolate body paint are, apparently, on the menu for all the 22 shops due to open in the Middle East shortly. Noshaba Hussein a leading member of the self-styled “Muslim Parliament of Great Britain” is lobbying the Foreign Office and the Saudi Ambassador to prevent the initiative. Meanwhile Ayub Laher, Gen. Sec. of the Bradford Council of Muslims, was reported as being in favour so long as no pigskin was involved.

Luckily PVC is a petroleum product.

Mirfield’s lore

The former liberal bishop of Exeter, Hewlett-Thomson, has retired “up North”, a couple of miles from the retired catholic bishop of Newcastle, Alec Graham. Luckily for Mirfield students that august body has taken on the Hewlett-Thomsons as college consultants. With H-T’s expertise in removing anything catholic or orthodox from an institution, and his wife Joy’s expertise in psychotherapy and circle dancing, Mirfield men could scarcely be better prepared for the modern C.of E.

Hot off the press

Clergypersons throughout the land received a pastoral missive from Uncle George in their paypackets recently. Had they, wondered the liturgically avant-garde primate, heard of a remarkable little service which could be used, at once, for outreach and restocking the coffers of Jumbo Thompson’s badly hit Children’s Society. This is a service known as a CHRISTINGLE.

Our liturgy correspondent writes:

‘An ancient Moravian rite during which children attempt to smear as much orange juice on themselves, pews and others, and eat sticky sweets from specially sharpened wooden stakes while their parents attempt to stop them setting light to other children or inflicting stigmata with the strategically placed pin.’

As this particular service has been creating havoc in Anglican churches for nearly thirty years, unkind Anglo-Catholics have written to Uncle George commending to him another exciting new volume of liturgy – the ASB.

Good Books

The Church of England’s most upwardly mobile bishop, the Evo’s Mr. Television, Wee Jimmy Jones, has not had a good week. The Bishop of Scousetown found himself publicly worrying in print about the psychological effects of “Big Brother” on the notorious “Nasty Nick”?. Meanwhile Nick was being feted by the stars and paid £70000 by the “SUN” for being a celebrity and a commentator. Clearly in mental torment.

Later that week JJ was on a serious book programme on steam radio. His favoured choice, a turgid Updike novel, was slaughtered by the other two commentators and not much of the Episcopal analysis remained intact either. His “rival” turned out to be a stockbroking Rabbi who chose the TORAH and almost converted the hostess. JJ found the “stories” necessarily powerful. Finally the hostess chose a novel about the anguish of adulterous temptation (thwarted in this case). JJ declared he “loved it”. The Rabb. said that he may be a puritan but this kind of titillation wasn’t for him. Mercifully, for cringing Christian listeners, it was a very short show.