Ecumenical News

Good news from Glastonbury, where the good folk of St Benedicts PCC have done the decent thing, following the sale at auction of their Church Hall earlier this year. Apparently, some boring old restrictive covenants on use of the building turned up, and the purchasers – Glastonbury Goddess Temple – found that they couldn’t do any of the exciting things they’d planned for their new slice of real estate.

But the good of PCC has now agreed that the pagans can use the Hall as they wish, ‘without let or hindrance’. In particular, the Hall will now be available as ‘a dedicated space for legal Pagan marriage ceremonies and handfastings’. So that’s all right then.

Court Circular

Hot on the heels of reports in The Times that the Revd Dr Martin Dudley had apologised (sic) to the Bishop of London for officiating at a gay ‘wedding’ in St Bartholomew the Great, Smith-field, the Daily Telegraph took a look at the CofE’s special new wedding website .

There, amid all the hearts and flowers, there’s all the predictable advice you’d expect: Wagner or Mendelssohn; All Things Bright and Beautiful or The King ofTove My Shepherd Is; 1 Corinthians 13 or John 2.

All good stuff, to be sure, and all unashamedly aimed at getting intending couples back to church from all the curious secular marriage venues recently so much in fashion.

But the page which particularly caught our eye, and that of the Telegraph, was the one that makes the case for marriage unassailable (co-habiting couples please note): Marriage provides more and better sex. Which, no doubt, had nothing at all to do with events in Dr Dudley’s church on 31 May last. Perish. The. Thought.

Clergy Appointments

A 30Days reader in Oxford writes to ask why Worcester College, in its recent appointment of a new chaplain, seems to have looked no further than the husband of the previous one. Quite how

the powers that be might be expected to know that the Revd Jonathan Arnold is the husband of the Revd Emma Penning-ton our correspondent doesn’t explain but, as we all know, things are different in Oxford.

Actually, the reason Arnold got the job is clear from the website of Chameleon Arts Management: Jonathan Arnold as Jesus – magnificent performance [The Herald, Scotland] : Jonathan Arnold as Jesus must be singled out [Aberdeen Press & Journal] : Jonathan Arnold brought a round, refined tone to the part of Jesus [The Scotsman]. Hopefully, life at Worcester will not be so onerous (sic) that he has to neglect his singing career. After all, with only two stipends coming in, Garsington Rectory might be a bugger to heat.

Another one down

The recent announcement that the Dean of Brisbane, Bishop John Parkes, was to become the Executive Director of the Ministry Education Commission in Brisbane seems, in retrospect, to have been a bit previous. For, no sooner had the date been fixed for his farewell to the cathedral, than it was announced that he wasn’t staying in Brisbane after all, but was off to be Bishop of Wan-garatta instead. Why on earth should Anglo-Catholic Wangaratta elect as its new bishop a man committed to the ordination of women? Answers on a postcard, perhaps, to Arundel Vicarage.

Family News

A curious story from India, where it emerges that the Pope Benedict XVI has just suspended the Bishop of Kochi, John Thattumkal, who apparently adopted a 26-year old woman as his daughter on September 9.

The Indian Express reported the adopted woman considered the suspension as the ‘will of God’ and added that she would ‘continue as the spiritual daughter of the grand papa (as she calls Thattumkal) as long he [the bishop] likes.’ She also told the paper that her ‘spiritual powers have helped the bishop solve many crises in the diocese.’ (One can imagine.)

The matter came to a head after the priests of his diocese complained to the

Vatican about the adoption of the woman, who is also evidently the daughter of an Orthodox priest.

On October 20, the bishop met with a number of his clergy and (surprise, surprise) expressed his readiness to withdraw from the adoption, and also expressed regret over certain views he held, which ‘seemed to be against the authentic teaching of the Church’ but, alas, it was too late to prevent the Holy Father acting with commendable vigour.

Bishop Thattumkal is apparently also an expert in canon law, but no sanctions are expected against him in this regard.

Sports News

Broadhurst takes step to redemption

…screamed the headline clipped from a newspaper and sent to 30Days Towers, here in the vibrant heart of London. Our anonymous correspondent had added the comment And not before time, eh! in an effort to persuade us that it referred to the illustrious Chairman of Forward in Faith.

Google quickly set our mind at rest though, by coming up with the identity of golfer Paul Broadhurst, and an article on the sports pages of the Daily Telegraph. The sense of relief which swept through the serried ranks of the 30Days staff was nothing less than, er, redemptive.

Stop Press

Hold the front page! Reports of the demise of the Church of England have, at last, been proved to be utterly and mischievously exaggerated, with the publication just now of the CofE Statistics for 2007. And the news is good, good, good!!! For example, compared with 2006, recommendations for ordination training went up! Yes, UP!!!

In 2006, only 594 men and women were recommended for training, but in 2007, the figure was – wait for it! – a whopping 595!!! Why, that’s an increase of 0.169% – in only a year! All manner of things must, indeed, be well.

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