Happily ever after

Back at the beginning of 2008, 30DAYs chose to ignore the tabloid splash which was the then Bishop of St David’s and his lady Chaplain, on the grounds that we really had no wish to intrude on what seemed very private grief. That was then, but this is now.

First, though, a reminder: cutting a long story short, the Right Revd Carl Cooper and the Revd Mandy Williams-Potter were together accused of conducting an inappropriate relationship; some weeks later each of them announced that their respective marriages were over and that they were separating from their respective spouses.

In a statement at the time, Williams-Potter said ‘The two marital breakdowns are tragically coincidental and not connected in any way’, whilst Cooper wrote to his clergy saying ‘There is no one else involved on either side.’

Then, last month, The Western Mail reported that Cooper and Williams-Potter are living together in a house which they bought together in Llandeilo for £197,500 in January this year, with the help of a joint mortgage from the Monmouthshire Building Society.

30DAYs will leave it to its readers to decide for themselves whether this is simply a case of tragic coincidence, throwing two lonely people together, or proof positive that the old joke still holds good. How do you tell when a bishop is lying? His lips move.

Here today, gone tomorrow

Many congratulations to FiF member Fr John Stather on the recent news story carried about him on the Lichfield diocesan website:

‘Bishop Gordon will formally retire on 25th June, but his last public engagement as Bishop of Stafford will be at 7.30pm on Tuesday 8th June when he and the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Revd Andrew Burnham, institutes (sic) the Revd John Stather as Bishop of Goldenhill and Tunstall.’

Unaccountably, though, when it came to the great day, all the bishops managed to do was institute Fr S as Vicar of the new benefice, which must have seemed something of a let-down. (Whether Gamarelli’s gives refunds 30DAYs has been unable to ascertain.)

Heresy Watch

The recent publication of Seven Heavenly Ways to Welcome Wedding Guests, the new guidelines published by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, sent Ruth Gledhill of The Times off on a bizarre tack. Stuffy church weddings, where the vicar throws a wobbly if a guest so much as clicks a camera, are to become a thing of the past. In a reversal of traditional doctrine that will verge on heresy for some, vicars are being ordered to let children stand on the pews so that they can see the groom kiss the bride.

So, let’s get this clear. (1) The traditional doctrine of the CofE is that children must not stand on the pews. (2) If children do stand on the pews, they are guilty (in the minds of some, at least) of heresy. (3) The Archbishops are going to order clergy (on pain of what, one wonders?) to allow this shocking and cutting-edge innovation.

30DAYs is naturally in favour of any archiepiscopal initiative which reduces the incidence of children being burned at the stake although, if we’re honest, we really hadn’t realized it was quite such a problem until we heard about it from such an unimpeachable source. No wonder Rupert Murdoch is starting to charge £1 per day to read our Ruthie online, now he’s buried her and her colleagues behind a paywall!

Mitregate shock horror

When TEC Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presided and preached at the Sunday Eucharist at Southwark Cathedral on 13 June she carried her mitre, rather than wearing it. She did so in order to comply with a ‘statement’ from Lambeth Palace that said ‘that I was not to wear a mitre at Southwark Cathedral’, she told her Executive Council on the first day of its three-day meeting later that week. Apparently, she made her remarks during a ‘private conversation’ session attended by Council members and Church Centre staff, but later told the Episcopal News Service that it was free to report this so-called ‘private conversation’.

The affront to her dignity gets worse, though, you’ll be glad to hear. During the week before her visit, she said, Lambeth Palace also pressured her office to provide evidence of her ordination to each order of ministry. ‘This is apparently a requirement of one of their canons about the ministry of clergy from overseas,’ she said. She called the requirements ‘nonsense’ and added ‘It is bizarre; it is beyond bizarre.’

Predictably enough, the blogosphere went into meltdown at this appalling insult to Her Mitrelessness, and it wasn’t too long before photos were dug out of the last TEC PB to preach at Southwark Cathedral, good ol’ pluriform Frank T Griswold III who was, needless to say, bedecked on that occasion in a fetching gold number.

This only served to escalate the row and before long, rumour had it (30DAYs can’t afford £1 to check) that The Times was reporting that ‘Lambeth Palace are (sic) investigating the way the leader of The Episcopal Church was treated in Britain this week…’ Crumbs.

If Lambeth Palace is already investigating, er, Lambeth Palace, where on earth will it all end? With the ABC sending himself to bed without any supper? With the Chief of Staff giving himself a formal warning? No one knows. And fewer care.

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