Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Time-Travelling Vicar

Had a visit from "Torchwood". They think they're onto something.

Their evidence is the benefice Sunday service rota of a scattering of villages in North Norfolk:

Little Mizzling - BCP Holy Communion - 8 am

Great Mithering - Low Mass - 8.30 am

Upper Mithering - Parish Family Eucharist - 9 am

Lower Ratrace - Family Communion - 9.30 am

Lower Mithering - Parish Communion - 10 am

Great Mizzling  - High Mass - 10.30 am

Little Mithering - Family Service (3rd Sunday)  - 11 am

You see the issue - the service rota looks entirely reasonable at first glance, in a multi-parish benefice. But there's only the one minister. No retired clergy, no self-supporting, not even a Reader. And there's no way any vicar, no matter how fast they drove, could actually manage to have 30 - 80 minute services in each of those parishes, every Sunday.  And there's the fact that, having been in post for 75 years, the vicar still looks like this......

"Choose the time for Bertie's baptism?
And would you like him "done" in Mineral water?"
So Torchwood are reckoning they're onto the track of "The Father", a maverick Time Lord who travels around, "showing his face for a few minutes" at thousands of parish fetes across space and time, and consuming unfeasible amounts of tea. In fact, they reckon the biscuits he's consuming in endless pastoral visits explain a relativistic wobble in the earth's orbit. He gets around using a time machine in the shape of a small, dusty entrance hall - "The Narthex", which materialises at the front of the churches where he ministers.

Naturally the Church Commissioners are also showing an interest. An immortal alien who can travel in time is wasted in Norfolk. He would make a fantastic minister simultaneously in large benefices all over the country - solving the Church of England's staffing, finance and pension problems at one fell swoop.

So, in my position as chief religious adviser to Torchwood, naturally I ran down to East Anglia with them to talk to "The Father's" PCC. I was a bit disappointed.

"We preferred it in old Father Grinham's time. He used to wear a cope"

I mean, don't get me wrong. They were as friendly and co-operative as any other church committee. But they could best be described as "stiff and unbending", and wanted to keep the vicar to themselves.

I think it's best if we leave "The Father" where he is. After all, we don't want his PCC getting grumpy and "upgrading"  the General Synod. Not again.


  1. I can see the difficulty. Drinking the dregs of all of that consecrated communion wine would make the errant time travelling Priest a bit over the limit. All it would take would be the Norfolk Constabulary to catch him once and every church activity all over Norfolk would come to a grinding halt. Is there actually an offence on the statute books of being drunk in charge of a time machine?

    In other places, services across multi-parish benefices are managed on the toss of a coin. This decides which church(s) among the 9 will have a service on a Sunday, and those who get a day off. It's quiet scientific if you work out on a spreadsheet the allocation of heads and tails across the 9 churches, and the average number of services available, you will find that each will get at least two services a month, and the lucky ones three. Weighing the odds in that way means that BCP is only available once a month in one church - you know the one, where the 'Crusties' hang out.

  2. I hope that insufferable clever clogs witch Hermione Weasley (who makes use of her time travelling power to rack up Open University courses and make her own puff pastry from scratch) decides to convert and find a vocation.


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