Monday 30 June 2014

Dealing with Clerical Humanity

Slightly frantic phone call from Nathan, the priest in the Trim Valley benefice where I stayed for a few months' sabbatical.

Seems he's said something he shouldn't.  Not s problem, said I. Unless you said it in full plenary PCC with video evidence, just deny it.

Yes, he says, but he wrote it to the Church Magazine,  at the last minute, and the editor sent it straight to the printer, and tomorrow there's gonna be 1,000 copies going out, to every house in the village.

Well, I say, you've a few options:
A) Stage an elaborate fire that totally destroys the mags, but leaves the vestry in which they're stored intact.
B) Burn down all the villages, so the villagers have something else to worry about.
C) Claim the mags are impregnated with spores of Black Death - a tactic which combines biological impossibility with utter terror. Especially in Grilsby, where the locals talk about the last outbreak like it was yesterday. And are still technically fighting the English Civil War.
D) Ride with it.  He wrote the truth, and it's just one of those things. And, if anyone looking like Daily Mail reporters turns up in the Hanged Man, denounce them as witches and have them ducked in the pond on the green.

He's going for "D". Brave man.


  1. Just got back from a freelance job reporting on the effect of HS2 on house prices in Great Tremlett, with a view to pitching it to the Daily Mail. Am currently engaged in combing the pondweed out of my hair. I had thought it was the usual wiccaphobia in the banjo-playing badlands of the Trim Valley and may even have said "It's a fair cop, but a mid-20th Century Oxford drinking society is to blame" as I was being ducked for the fifth time. Now I get it.

  2. I think that Parish Magazines are the ideal place for propaganda, particularly of the Godly kind. We're not talking about 'Hell Fire & Brimstone' stuff, but the soft, 'touchy-feely' stuff that gets people comfortable, keeps them coming for more and filling the collection plate.

    It's also the place for satire, particularly about Bishops and Choir Girls/Boys (your preferences will be noted) and even Tommy Cooper one liners.

    But leave the serious stuff for sermons at the 8am BCP, because they're probably the only audience who will both listen and act on it. And when you mention reordering the church as the PCC wants, they'll fight tooth and nail for your wish to leave things as they are. Comfortable, uncontroversial and nicely conservative (with a small c).


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