I recall a session during my training for ministry on Dealing with the Press. It was about how to write articles like this one, and perhaps more importantly how to stay out of The News of the World, though nobody actually said that.
From the Vicarage
By the time you read this the mad rush to post Christmas cards, finish Christmas shopping and visit friends and family before the 25th will be in full swing.
By the time you read this autumn will have arrived. The leaves on the trees will be changing colour - and at church we shall be preparing for Harvest Festival.
Rewind to summer just for a moment, and memories of warm summer evenings sitting in the garden, with the scent of lilies and gardenia – oh yes, and another scent, too. You know the one - the smell that wafts in from the fields from around mid-August as the farmers Plough the Fields and Scatter something on the land – remember?
It’s true! St Anthony’s Church in Alkham really is haunted! As we had coffee after the service a few Sundays ago, two younger members of our congregation excitedly produced an i-Pad which clearly showed a picture of me standing in the church with a spook looking over my shoulder. Moments later, the same i-Pad revealed that the churchyard was full of them! You couldn’t see any of them without an i-Pad of course.
I wonder – in years to come, will the Referendum result be like the death of John F Kennedy or 9/11? You know – people will always remember where they were when they heard the result?
Perhaps you have heard – the nation’s new polar research ship is to be named the RRS Sir David Attenborough rather than Boaty McBoatface, the frivolous suggestion of a former BBC radio presenter that the majority of those who took part in an online poll to name the vessel seized upon, and apparently would have preferred.
When asked what he regretted most in life, the comedian Woody Allen is said to have replied that he most regretted that he wasn’t someone else. As I write this Easter is just a fortnight away. Soon we will have kept Holy Week, recalling Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem with a Palm Sunday service at Hougham, the Last Supper with a service at Alkham on Maundy Thursday, his death on the cross on Good Friday, and celebrating the Resurrection at the beautiful old church of St Mary’s on Easter Day.
Beards are fashionable; two priests serving culturally mixed parishes in East London have grown beards; the Bishop of London has commended them for reaching out to the culture of the majority of their parishioners, pointing out that in some cultures a beard is seen as a mark of holiness. But not every newspaper that ran the story last month explained that his original article in the Church Times was a learned discussion of the Church’s changing attitudes to beards through the ages.