Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Clergy A to Z

Not definitive.  Just a few definitions for your information.

Acolytes - Pair of people carrying candles. For best comic effect, ensure a two foot disparity in acol-height

Barbecue - Breaks out unexpectedly in clergy gardens in the summer. You can save the ash as a top up for next Ash Wednesday. As long as you don't mind the congregation smelling of old lamb fat.

Church - If you are a proper clergy as seen on TV, this is where you hang out all day when you leave the manse. Try to be really odd and adopt a few nervous tics when people pop in. They'll think they've wandered into an episode of Midsomer Murders.

Damnation - Inseparable or completely irrelevant to the Gospel. You decide. No really, apparently you do.

Epistle - The reading to preach from if you're Evangelical.  Clarity, precision, salvation by faith alone. Avoid James.

Flower Arrangers - The step on the Church fear hierarchy between the Bishop and God.

Gospel - The thing to preach from if you're a liberal. Narrative is so much easier to draw your own conclusions from.

Home Visits - An afternoon spent finding the people at the care home, who have a special communion because they can't get to Church, are at the sea side.

Iranaeus of Lyons - Bloke you last heard of at college. You vaguely suspect he may have been an early ice cream seller.

Joshua and Judges - Books you don't want to think about too much.

Kenosis - The feeling you get about 1.30 on a Sunday afternoon.

Latecomers - Also God's children. And a relief when the church is empty at 10 o'clock

Martyrdom - Feeling you get at Church Council when you try to replace the old hymn books.

Novus Ordo - Catholic Electro-pop group

Origen - Church Father who discovered evolution. Hence his nickname, "Origen of the Species".

Prayerbook - A "Goldilocks' concept - too old, too new, too childish but rarely just right.

Queering Theology - Evokes the reaction "nice sermon, Vicar".

Reverend - Word that automatically makes the ones around it the incorrect address. Nobody ever knows whether it's Reverend Brown, The Reverend Brown,  Reverend James, Reverend James Brown etc. You can take exception to all of them. Especially when your name is Mary Jones.

Sabbath - Day for working slightly harder than all the others.

Theology Book - Something purchased between 3 years and a month before ordination.

Unitarianism - Not as theologically distinct from many theologies as the Creed might suggest.

Vanity - If it really all is, you may be in for a shock these says. Just after you insist you know best.

Wedding - A lovely fulfilling afternoon with happy people in Church. Just enjoy it.

Xmas - Not an abbreviation worth getting het up over. Older than you think.

Year (Liturgical) - Starts at the wrong time. With variable length seasons. And Advent doesn't start on December 1. In fact half the time it starts in November. And don't even get me started on Year(Methodist).

Zoriastrianism - If you focus on the fear of the Devil as much as the love of God, you may be veering over here. Recalibrate your Theology. It's not like World War 2 was. We already know who wins.


  1. Ah, Mary Jones. She knew her Bible. Walked a long way to get it, look you.

  2. Why would you want to replace the hymn books anyway when the ones you got in 1979 are still in perfectly good condition? In fact, there are probably some of the Old Blue Books (1938) in a dark cupboard that could be used if we run short. Waste not, want not; good stewardship or resources, etc, etc.

  3. Last Sunday we sang He who would valiant be for the recessional. I can never sing this hymn without wondering what old John B thinks as he looks down (I hope) and sees his words accompanying a Catholic priest all colourful in vestments, together with be-cassocked servers and choir, processing down the nave past statues (statues!!) and candles, while incense pervades the air. Ecumenism wasn't the done thing in his day, I believe.

    Still, that's a modern hymnal for you.

    1. He'd probably start by wondering why Percy Dearmer changed all the words to "Who would True Valour See"?

  4. Wikipedia has an interesting article on this. Nobody seems to know why Rev. Dearmer felt inspired to alter things. Possibly the creative impulse seized him, as it does BBC dramatists confronted with a classic, and he just had to improve on the original?

    OTOH, The Telegraph had an article by one Christopher Howse which suggests that Bunyan's version was "only metaphorically Christian" so Dearmer had to regularie it, so to speak. The Vaughan Williams tune has an even more complicated history.

    I should really have been refilling my duckpond instead of rummaging round the internet over this. Your blog is becoming a serious distraction!


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