Two hundred issues of New Directions means something like one thousand 30Days snippets – here are just a few of our favourites:

March 1998


Students of a Jerusalem theological college were outraged when they came across photos of their rabbi principal taken at a nude bar and demanded his resignation. The governors of the college defended him saying he had gone there for the purest of motives, ‘making the supreme sacrifice by going to this abomination to see if any of his students frequented it.’

Unfortunately the governors could not explain why the rabbi was dressed in a full cowboy outfit.

September 2005

The stuff of which fairytales are made

30DAYs was present in spirit at the recent nuptials at Durham Cathedral of cyber-couple ‘Andrew and Jane’ who, according to their website , celebrated their wedding in ‘the Catholic tradition of the Church of England’. The service, they announced, was to be ‘Solemn High Nuptial Mass celebrated by the Cathedral’s succentor the Revered Mother Gilly Meyers’. Deacon and Subdeacon were also named, to say nothing of those responsible for the offertory procession, but then came the pièce de resistance: ‘Unfortunately the Revd Father Paul Such, Rector of St John the Baptist, Coventry (Jane & Andrew’s parish) in Coventry felt unable to take part due to placing the authority of Rome above that of his own communion and not accepting women priests. We pray for an end to this denial of people’s vocation to the sacred priesthood.’

The news that St John the Baptist, Coventry is in Coventry is shocking enough, but worse was to come: on another page, the happy couple write: ‘As we have already set up our home (Compilers’ note: what can they mean?), rather than the normal wedding gift list we are asking people to donate to our round the world honeymoon. We have divided up the cost of this into various segments so you can choose the most appropriate segment to “give” to us.’ Quite how much Fr Such has given is not recorded (‘segments’ are priced variously between £190 and £10.31), but we hope that 30DAYs readers will rally round and give Andrew and Jane the send-off they so richly deserve.

September 2004

Max Factor

Sent on a ‘communication course’ at Church House recently a young clergyperson was intrigued to find it directed by one Chris Rees, BBC producer and husband of the much more famous Christina. (Christina, an original member of the Archbishops Council, regular mouthpiece for WATCH and ‘rentaquote’ for the BBC was recently headlined in The Times as the American woman at the top in English church politics.) The £120 per head fee was no doubt excellent value for such independent counsel but one thing rather jarred. Over coffee a small group of the students were suddenly asked whether any of them had any ‘real dirt’ on Fr Geoffrey Kirk! The best anyone could come up with was that Kirk had been brought up as a Methodist. Is the CofE training a new generation of Max Cliffords or is it simply an early warning that the forthcoming debate on women ‘bishops’ is intending to plumb new theological depths?

February 2006

Ecumenical News

from the Methodist Recorder, 19 January, 2006:

‘Superintendent minister of Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, the Rev Martin Turner has defended his decision to allow an Anglican organisation campaigning against women bishops to hold a major meeting at the hall . . . . Responding to critics who said it was inappropriate that the hall should be used for a meeting which will propagate ideas contrary to Methodist belief, Mr Turner distanced himself from Forward in Faith’s position, but said the meeting should go ahead in the name of free speech. “I interpreted the matter as not being one of doctrine but of practice and therefore allowable under our standing orders. In order to show that we in no way supported what Forward in Faith stood for, I asked our events managers not to give the discount we usually give to Christian groups – a considerable sum of money,” he said.’

Further comment is superfluous.

October 2005

ACRONYM revisited

Inveterate New Directions correspondent Patrick Morrow has left Westcott House and is now apparently serving a title in the diocese of Lincoln. Despite being regularly ‘propositioned by readers of New Directions’ (whatever that means), he found it in his heart to enter the ACRONYM competition with an offering that was all too predictable. In a fit of what presumably passes for wit where he come from, he submitted Anglican Christians Resisting Overdiscussed Newness Yet Mollycoddled. He didn’t win, for obvious reasons, but 30DAYs can’t resist pointing out that, had he looked in the mirror, he could even now be toasting us in champagne: Affirming Catholic, Recently Ordained, Not Yet Mature.

February 2007

And finally . . .

The following announcement from the pages of the Church of England Newspaper needs no comment:

Correction: The Rev Canon John Christopher Stone, Bishop’s Domestic Chaplain; and Bishop’s Media Adviser (Rochester): to be Rector, Gravesend St George; Bishop’s Communications Consultant; and County Chaplain, St John Ambulance (same diocese). This appointment was recently listed correctly, but in error under the heading of ‘Death’, for which we apologise.