THE REVIVAL of interest in Winnie the Pooh has not only put the bear of little brain back on the map but reminded academics and theologians of Pooh potential. In inter-faith terms Winnie Ille Pu appealed to the ultra-montane and The Tao of Pooh spanned the gulf between Eastern and Western world views. But, alas, a setback.

Midlands shopkeepers have seen a growing number of returns of Poohrafernalia by Muslim families. They have no objection to their children cuddling Pooh but they cannot abide his disgusting ritually unclean friend -Piglet!


DONALD DEWAR, the angular and acerbic Warden of Labour’s historic Rotten Borough (Scotland), recently passed away. The funeral of this convinced non-believer and deeply unclubbable man would have done justice to the Wallace or the Bruce. Ministers and ministers fell over themselves to bathe the dear departed in verbal unguent. Everybody, it seemed, loved Donald. The depths were plumbed by the Chief Haggis Strangler of the Church of Scotland who, in a fit of bogus emotion, brayed, “Even the millions who never knew Donald loved him.”

The best thing to be said for “Oor Donald” is that the whole performance would have had him reaching for a brown paper bag and would have confirmed him in his very low opinion of organised religion.


LOVERS OF serious trivia and ecclesiastical humour ought to know about the wonderful world of Bishop Rodrigo Borgia’s website(http://freespace.virgin.net/d.rowett/borgia.html) Ever up-to-date – recent articles have focused on “the diocesan loyalty card” and “the reductionist hymnal”. Regular readers especially enjoy Bishop Rodrigo’s Diary (day off = Sunday) which include such gems as:

26 Oct. (Purbeck Marble, martyr. Tyburn1555) Guild of the Servants of the Sanctuary “Cruel Fuel” blockade of St. Aloysius’ Charcoal works. And…

20 Oct. Rededication of St. Gullibles, re-ordered after failed Feng Shui.

The vestment dept. is also worth a visit and, though clearly more suitable for Sister Behemoth, his assistant, would certainly encourage more men to come to mass.


A PARISH in Dallas, Texas held a blessing of animals on St Francis’ Day. At the communion, the parishioners were asked to bring their pets to the rail, where, after they’d received the host from the Rector, the assistant gave their pets a doggy biscuit. The recessional was a sprightly version of “How much is that Doggy in the window?”


THE ARCHBISHOPS’ Council Telecommunications Working Party has got off to a flying start. Recipients of their most recent wisdom were surprised to find that the message on the need for economy had not reached their Department. An expensive three colour envelope bearing an elegant logo was employed.

However cuts were made elsewhere.

The whole thing was headed “The Archbishops’ Council”. As one correspondent wrote, “What a shower! Communications indeed…. they couldn’t even run a séance. And if they keep talking to the Methodists they will have to.”


Q: WHAT DO the Church of England and Marks and Spencers have in common?

A: They were both brand leaders with a premier place in the High Streets of Britain. They have both fallen on hard times and are in financial difficulties. They both tried to change their image and products and alienated regular customers without attracting new ones.

Q: What’s the difference between the Church of England and Marks and Spencers?

A: Marks and Spencers have got in new management.


RECENT OFFERINGS from death industry operatives on the wit and wisdom of clergy at the Crem. include:

1.”Say a prayer for him. Say his name, “Fred”. Just “Fred” again and again. That is the most powerful prayer you can offer.”

2.” Imagine him somewhere nice. In God. God may not be a person, he may be a nice place.”

3. “Life has a 100 percent mortality rate and your dad was no exception.” Collapse of Dad’s entire family in tears.)

4.”Kath is the sort of person you’d save your last Rolo for.”

Amen and Amen. The first three are courtesy of the Church of England’s finest and the fourth a Free Church offering.


1) WHICH URBAN diocese routinely includes the value of its parsonages (which it does not own) among its assets in its annual accounts?

2) Which Middle England diocese has three sets of accounts – depending upon who wants to see them?

3) Which gin and Jag belt diocese has only one week’s working capital in credit and balances its books by including unpaid quota in its assets?


FIF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY delegates from Manchester were honoured to share the train to London with Sr. Lavinia Byrne (Radio star, Westcott House Spirituality Tutor etc.). Her train to Bath (after visiting the BBC’s northern studio) had been cancelled by “b….y Virgin Trains”. “B….y Virgin Trains” would only convey her to her final destination on track run by “B….y Virgin Trains”. To make matters – and her language – worse, her bottled water spilt, covering her trousers in water. “You wouldn’t believe how p….d off I am.”

How do we know all this? She shouted it down her mobile phone (in a mobile – free “quiet carriage”) to half the people in her address book. Those families with small children in adjacent seats were no doubt also “p….d off”. But vengeance is the Lord’s. She had to sit next to an SSC priest who joined the train at Stoke. Her face was like thunder, but the cross succeeded in moderating her language, even if it didn’t save Father from a full rerun of her woes.

Sr. Byrne was, until defection, a member of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


FANS OF THE OLD sitcom, “On the Buses”, will remember the above phrase all too well as the crafty Reg Varney (Butler) tried to escape the wrath of petty minded Inspector “Blakey”??

A conversation at a recent Southwark meeting gave the phrase a whole new meaning. The Bishop, also a Butler, turned in exasperation to an unsympathetic member of the Vacancy in See Committee and said, “Well you voted for me.”

“Actually”, came the amused reply, “yours was not one of the names on our list.”

This only adds fuel to the rumour that “Sir” John Holroyd got the Crown Appointments list mixed up with his old friend the Provost’s request for senior domestic staff.