Naughty girl.

Sadly, being so far down the order, the question did not receive a reply. But there it was on the General Synod order paper.

“What steps are being taken to dissuade the editor of New Directions from actively encouraging participants in the various stages of the Crown Appointments process to pass personal reflections on their involvement in (sic) Forward in Faith with the anonymity of informants guaranteed, in clear breach of their undertaking to keep all such proceedings confidential?”

Needless to say the editor spent the subsequent few days in high excitement at the thought of being summoned to Lambeth for smacked legs.

Vanishing point.

When New Directions first wrote about the financial crisis engulfing the Church of England, all those years ago, great was the wrath and denial of the establishment. When we speculated, on the basis of leaked information, that even ring fenced pension funds could be subject to the “Maxwell effect” (i.e not there when required), we were derided.

Now, calm as you like, the Financial Secretary to Carey’s Cabinet (the Archbishops’ Council), let slip in a debate at General Synod that the Commissioners will have to sell half their assets, over the period of their commitments, just to meet the annual pension bill.

Bargain hunters at the Church of England “fire sale” should register for a catalogue with Sean Farrell c/o Lambeth Palace.

Watch this space.

Those who attended the great London Docklands event, Christ our Future, will recall that an attempt to overshadow the event in the church press was made by Mrs Christina Rees, the professional feminiser of the Church of England. Mrs Rees let the press know that new research had revealed that 80 per cent of people were massively in favour of women priests and longing for women bishops.

This privately funded research – rumour has it by Mrs Rees herself – remains, of course, private property. So the papers published the headline news without a scintilla of evidence to back it up. Five months on we are still waiting for the proofs of Mrs Rees exciting claims.


The simple reason for the demise of the ASB has never really been explained to the humble punter in the pew whose collections will now go to fund “Stancliffe’s Folly”- or Common Worship to give it its official title. Indeed, early trawlers through the new “liturgies” will be impressed at how much ASB has found its way into CW Volume 1 – almost all of it, with minor amendment.

So why was ASB ditched? Were the parishes clamouring for replacements? The reason is given, rather disarmingly, in the opening chapter of a book called, “Producing Your Own Orders of Service” by Mark Earey, published by Praxis, foreword by “Bubbles” Stancliffe himself. (Praxis is the baby of the Liturgical Committee and is effectively its think tank.)

On page 8 of “Knit your own liturgy”, Earey tells us that, “published service books… can go out of date (as the ASB quickly did once inclusive language became an issue in the Church)”. In short, the ASB has been abolished, like the CofE, by the feminists.

Will ye no come back again?

The retirement of Bishop Richard Holloway, Primus of Scotland, produced an extraordinary story in The Scotsman recently. The maudlin jock penning the lament for a fallen hero claimed that the paper had not been able to find anyone the length and breadth of Hibernia who wanted “Dunprayin’ Dick” to retire.

Given that the majority of the northern tribes are either Calvinists or Papists and Dick’s outpourings can only have aided their causes, this may be understandable. And of course at the media could always rely on him for a good story.

As for the rest well… most of the Tartan army seems to be down here running the government, law, media, soccer etc., etc.

Faithful by default.

Supporters of The Book of Common Prayer would scarcely have considered the advent of Common Worship as potentially salvific to their cause. However just such an opportunity will be afforded, in some parishes, when CW comes on stream on the feast of St Francis Xavier (Dec 3rd).

All parishes using it must have passed a resolution outlining its acceptance and the subsequent pattern of services. As this liturgical smorgasbord has only just been published you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be parishes who have failed to do this and are muddling along with ASB. As ASB becomes illegal on the 1st January 2001, it cannot be used thereafter and parishes that have not passed CW or gained an extraordinary episcopal extension for use of ASB are obliged to take all services from the Book of Common Prayer. Eagle-eyed monitors from the Prayer Book Society can have a field day with disorganised and tardy modernist clergy but they are unlikely to make much progress with some urban parishes which have been using a more widely authorised form of common worship for many years.

Wont you come home,
Bill Gladstone?

Those of you who remember what a swinging place Gladstone’s old house has become under Warden, Peter Francis, will be thrilled by the next season’s programme of events. Fresh from, “Effing the Ineffable” last season we move on to,” Non – realism and spirituality – weekend conversations”. The course is described thus: “If God is the sum of our values, representing to us their ideal unity, how then do we pray and practice our religion?”

This, the old liberal clergyman chestnut, can be more simply put.
Qu: “Why do I, as an atheist, go to Church? ”
Ans: “To collect my stipend.”

Much more fun is a course entitled, ” Any Dream Will Do – Theology of the Musicals”, in which one Ian Bradley assesses the influence of musicals on liturgy and as a means of exploring theological themes and issues .

30 Days offers the following categories for further study:

EVANGELICALS – “The King and I” (1951)

ANGLO-CATHOLICS -“Higher and Higher ” (1943)

LIBERALS -“Anything Goes” (1934)

LITURGICAL CTTEE. -“Pardon My English” (1933)

LGCM -“The Boyfriend” (1954)

CHURCH COMMISSIONERS -“Half A Sixpence” (1962).

Any other printable suggestions will be reprised next time.

Copy for Thirty Days should reach Tufton Street by the nineteenth day of the month before publication.