Your money- I

Every year the bishops eagerly await details of the Golden Mitre and Wooden Crosier awards, and it seems that perhaps they have put pressure on the Commissioners to release details of 2007 expenses sooner than those for 2006 (which were delayed until the spring of this year).

We are delighted to be able to reveal that the Golden Mitre award for the highest expenses achieved goes easily to the Bishop of Durham, with a total of £156,784 – an amazing £429.55 per day. Very many congratulations! The runner-up was Ely with a mere £134,638 (£368.87 per day).

The London area bishops, not surprisingly given the vast distances they must travel, were again in contention for the suffragan award, Edmonton gaining the crown with £54,750 or £150 per day – that is £1,050 for every week of the year. A wonderful achievement! Barking and Doncaster were not too far behind London with Barking on £49,094 and Doncaster £48,581.

The Wooden Crosier award for the least expensive bishop goes once again to Bradford at £62,270 – a pathetic £227.28 per day – among the diocesans; and the suffragan award to Bedford at a miserable £60.31 a day. They really must attempt this year to claim not just what they need, but what they can extract from the Commissioners.

‘Peculiar’ bishops are as usual omitted from consideration – the two archbishops, Europe, London, and Dover – as are dioceses where a bishop left early or arrived late in the year. (Although, in the case of the archbishops, what on earth is one to make of the rise in staff costs between 2003 and 2007 of 300% for York – that is, from £169,462 to £455,787 per annum, or from £2,178 to £8,765 per week? Perhaps Canterbury – with just a 30% increase over the four years – will need to look to his laurels!)

Your money- II

The following press release from the Church of England requires no comment:

The Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners, and the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England have both met within the past few days to October 2008 discuss an approach from the Lambeth Conference Company (the body given responsibility for managing the finances and administration of the Lambeth Conference 2008) for financial help. The Board met this morning (11 August) and the Council on Thursday 7 August.
The Company has assured the Board and the Council that it is continuing to make further approaches throughout the Anglican Communion to meet the full cost of this year’s Conference. It cannot, however, be confident that these will generate funds sufficiently quickly for it to meet all of its obligations as they fall due over the coming weeks and months.
The Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners and the Archbishops’ Council have therefore each agreed to make available to the Company up to £600,000 as required to enable the Company to honour its commitments while fundraising efforts continue.
At this stage both bodies regard these amounts as interest free loan facilities. They will be considering these matters again at their September meetings when they expect a further report from the Company about the progress of its fundraising efforts.

Archaeological News

As we went to press, all the quality papers were getting over-excited at the announcement that the Chi-Rho Amulet, found in a fourth-century Roman grave near the Somerset town of Shepton Mallet in 1990, is a modern fake.

The amulet, which bears the early Christian symbol incorporating the first two letters of Christ’s name in Greek, has been subjected to tests, using – as you’d expect – inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry, by a Dr Matthew Ponting, from the University of Liverpool. The Times went on:

A replica was presented to George Carey (now Lord Carey of Clifton), who wore it at his enthronement as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1991.

30Days thinks that it would be more than tasteless to draw attention to the fact that the last Archbishop of Canterbury, who presided over the General Synod for its fateful debate on 11 November 1992,
was accustomed to wearing a replica of a fake around his neck, so we won’t even mention it. What conclusions our readers may draw is, of course, a matter for them.

The Limit
Thanks to The Daily Telegraph for news of the Revd Skye Denno, the curate at St James the Great in Dursley, Gloucestershire who is trying to avoid becoming ‘another stuffy, middle-class vicar’. Over to the lady herself: I did walk down the street in biker boots, my hot pants and a dog collar and got a few looks. I forget because that’s who I am. I don’t do it to be difficult – it’s just me.

Apparently, she’s a fan of the Sex Pistols (how passé is that?) and discerned her vocation when she had three dreams about becoming ordained as a vicar for the Church of England. They were very detailed dreams that showed me the hardship of what was ahead. Apparently Skye loves dancing and going to gigs and, when she’s not listening to the Sex Pistols, she’s into The Cure and The Clash (yawn). Er, right on.

Pass the bucket

Talking of women clergy, how marvellous it must be to be a paid-up member of the Katharine Jefferts Schori Fan Club – or TEC House of Bishops, as it used to be called.

Over to the Right Revd Paul Marshall, Bishop of Bethlehem in the US of A, writing after the purported deposition of Bishop Bob Duncan:

The PB’s leadership was, consistent with her entire public ministry since her election, flawless. She allowed no space for anything vindictive or self-pitying, and kept usfocussed on our task. I was deeply impressed by how she handled herself at Lambeth, and am even more grateful for how she conducted herself during these days.

Flawless? Flawless?? FLAWLESS??? Good grief.

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