Nice work if you can get it

Back in October 2006, 30DAys touchedonthe affairs ofthe Churchfield Trust, the charitable objects of which are ‘to maintain, advance and promote the Christian religion, to organise hold and give evangelistic conferences, schools (residential and non-residential), courses, services, meetings, missions, lectures calculated to maintain advance and promote the Christian religion’. Back then, we expressed disappointment that the Trustees seemed to have failed to deposit recent Accounts with the Charity Commission, so it’s good now to be able to report (given that the Secretary of the Trust is a Mr Christopher David Rees and that one of its six trustees is a Mrs Christina Henking Muller Rees) that they’re back on track and it’s now possible to read the Accounts to June 2009 online. Readers thinking of approaching the Trustees for a grant probably ought not to waste their time, though, as it seems that they are pretty well-committed. With an income that year of only some £41,000, expenditure went as follows:

Salary of Director General . . . . . . . . . 24,275
Employers National Insurance Contributions 2,525
Travel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11,276
Office Costs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,855
Media/Hospitality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 687
Materials and Maintenance . . . . . . . . . 357
Sundry Expenses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,999

Total . . . . . . . . . . . . £43,974

And the identity of the ‘Director General’? Let’s just say that you have three guesses (even though you shouldn’t need two of them).

‘Well, I guess I
spoke too soon . . . . ’

Speaking to the FiF National Assembly on Saturday, 16 October, Bishop Jack Iker SSC, the real Bishop of Fort Worth, Texas, reported as follows: I stand before you as the most sued Anglican bishop in all of North America. I’m presently named in three different suits, in three different courts, in two different counties

– but all for the same offence: for standing firm for the historic faith and order of the undivided Church and not allowing the Diocese of Fort Worth to compromise that by our relationship with the General Convention religion of The Episcopal Church. Now, I say ‘in three suits’ because I haven’t had access to the internet today – there may be another one out there I haven’t heard about – I’ve been away from the office . . . . . Writing to the clergy, convention delegates, Executive Council, and vestry members of the real Diocese of Fort Worth on Monday, 18 October, Suzanne Gill, Director of Communications for the real Diocese, reported as follows:

Fourth lawsuit arrives

With three suits pending in two Texas counties, members of the minority that chose to stay in The Episcopal Church (TEC) two years ago have launched another assault on much the same grounds as the first three. Today All Saints’ Episcopal Church on Crestline Road in Fort Worth has sued Bishop Jack Iker personally, in federal court. There can no longer be any doubt that this litigation is intended to harrass, intimidate, bankrupt, and divert the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, its Corporation, and its leadership – particularly Bishop Iker – from carrying out the mission of the Church. . . . . . Lord, have mercy on these acrimonious litigators, calling themselves Christians.

More from the ‘You just couldn’t make it up’ Dept

Sometimes, this column just writes itself. Take this story by Rachel Flint, of the Newcastle Evening Chronicle about the Revd Jim Craig, the ‘Gateshead and Bensham Community Chaplain to the Arts’ (sic) in the diocese of Durham:

Vicar Jim Craig is planning to put up a life-size crucifix made of fat at a Tyneside church. Parishioners at St Edmund’s Chapel, Gateshead, could soon be saying their prayers before a sculpture of Christ on the cross – carved out of pig fat. He intends to suspend the creation from the walls of his high street chapel, which also doubles up as an art gallery. Created by artist Jonathan Scott Wood, the controversial sculpture will be displayed alongside other shocking images – including one of the devil putting two fingers up at an angel. The Vicar commented: ‘We will have to work out how heavy it will be and how we will attach it to a wall. And whether – if we hang it over a radiator – we will end up with a huge pile of fat on the carpet.’

Little surprise, then, that the Evening Chronicle’s Sub Editor couldn’t resist the temptation to top the piece with the inevitable and tasteless (in every sense of the word) headline: Vicar hopes congregation will praise the lard.

Off message

Finally, a quick visit to the website of the English Churchman (A Protestant Family Newspaper) to see what it made of Pope Benedict’s recent triumphant visit to the UK. Predictably enough, what with the English Reformation still so fresh in their memories, the answer seemed to be ‘not much’. Under the somewhat unambiguous headline Papal Visit Heralds New Dark Ages the front page of this fortnightly, forty pence and ten pages worth (sic) of bile devotes no less than 1,876 words to explaining why the Papal Visit was, er, wrong. A taste:

While the visit started in Edinburgh it was highly distasteful to hear BBC commentators constantly using the phrase “Holy Father” to describe the Pope. It was a terrible sight to see everyone in Edinburgh, including to some extent, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, fawning around after the Pope on 16th Sept. We were glad to have missed most of the programme. Returning the compliment, we at 30DAys are just as glad that no one bothers to read your rubbish little newspaper anymore.