This weekend, as New Directions is published, the Church is celebrating the Epiphany of the Lord. Except, of course, in Scarborough, where, by order of the calendrically-challenged Town Centre Management Team, it happened some weeks ago, after the launch of its ‘action packed’ Christmas 2006 Town Centre Event Guide, ‘crammed with events taking place between now and the big day and a wide range of ideas to help the whole family celebrate Christmas in style. The biggest highlight, and a first for this part of North Yorkshire, is a Three Kings on Camels and Live Nativity event on Sunday 17 December. This wonderful, real-life spectacle will re-tell the biblical story of Christmas starting with the procession of the Three Kings on camels through the town centre culminating in a live nativity scene in the main shopping precinct.’

Ecumenical news

30Days wonders if the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his discussions with Pope Benedict late last year about difficulties in the Anglican Communion, remembered to draw the Holy Father’s attention to the exciting work being done in both the USA and Europe by RC Women priests. According to its website it does not perceive itself as a counter-current movement against the Roman Catholic Church and wants ‘neither a schism nor a break from the Roman Catholic Church, but rather wants to work positively within the Church,’ which must explain why the website’s Photo Gallery is so very full of pictures and video clips of various ladies of a certain age excommunicating themselves and each other.

Sporting Life

Thanks to Jonathan Petre, of The Daily Telegraph, for drawing our attention to the possibility of a placing a bet on the identity of the next Archbishop of Westminster with Irish online bookmaker Paddy Power. Both the Archbishop of Southwark and the Archbishop of Birmingham look good for a flutter, but with odds of only 7/2, 30Days isn’t going

to be able to make the fortune it so earnestly desires and deserves. A glance at the outsiders – Cliff Richard at 250/1 and Bono at 500/1 – doesn’t look any more hopeful, so 30Days is instead pinning all its hopes, and the petty cash, on the next Pope, where Fr Dougal Maguire of Craggy Island is currently available at a very attractive 1,000/1.

Palindrome corner

In his piece Unity’s winding path in November’s New Directions, John Hunwicke drew attention to what he described as a slender document called Church Eucharist Trinity – CET for short. He wrote: ‘CET emphatically asserts that ‘The bishop receives the gift of episcopal grace in the sacrament of consecration effected by bishops who themselves have received this gift, thanks to the existence of an uninterrupted series of episcopal ordinations, beginning from the holy apostles…” All of which goes some way to explaining why ECUSA, travelling, as it is, in what can only be described as precisely the opposite direction to that set out by CET, has so recently re-branded itself as TEC.

White feathers?

It’s been a while since we heard anything of Gras – the Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod. When 30Days visited its website recently, we found the text of a lecture, Now We Are Real, given by Canon Peggy Jackson, Dean of Women’s Ministry for the diocese of Southwark to members of Chelmsford Watch last November. Those with a particular taste for tosh will have to visit the website for themselves, where they will find some 3,000 words’ worth; 30Days, in the interests both of space and good taste, offers just one gem:

For the church, the question therefore becomes, not a negotiation with conscientious objectors as to what will ‘keep them in the church,’ but a determination by the majority as to ‘what pastoral provision we wish to make as allowance for individual conscientious objector situations’ The decision as to what is acceptable as conscientious objection, and the guidelines for accept-

able conscientious objector behaviour, is made by the majority lawmakers, not the conscientious objectors themselves. This might carry implications for clergy discipline in future.

So remember, dear reader – you are not a Catholic Christian. You are an individual conscientious objector situation. Answers on a postcard, please, preferably by email, as to just what you think Canon Peggy Jackson is.

Without ceasing

We’re indebted to for news of a ‘major prayer event’ planned for London throughout 2007. At a meeting in late November, organized by Pastor Jonathan Oloyede of Glory House, one of the largest Pentecostal churches in London, ‘London church leaders’ committed themselves to A Year for London – ’24/7 prayer spread across 365 days, including Christmas Day’.

The notion that the organizers should find it necessary to announce that the event will include the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord is a touch worrying though, and puts 30Days in mind of the occasion, many years ago, when Fr Geoffrey Kirk invited the then Bishop of Southwark to preach at St Stephen’s, Lewisham on St Stephen’s Day; the Bishop’s Chaplain dutifully declined the invitation on his Lordship’s behalf, saying that he was sure that Fr Kirk would understand that Boxing Day was a day on which the Bishop preferred to spend time with his family.

Take your pick

‘If Jesus were alive today, he would have been a rapper’ – Bishop Catherine Roskam, Suffragan Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York OR:

‘Jesus is alive today. The reason we celebrate his birth is because he has overcome death and the grave’ – Bishop Keith Ackerman, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy

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