Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Happier Church (or at least a happier vicar)

The following manifesto comes from the Church Times. When I open the link, it's all mushed together and unreadable, so for ease of revolutionaries everywhere, here is the advice of the Rev'd Hugh Raymond-Pickard, Area Dean of Kensington, Diocese of London, Church of England from 2006. Some are CofE-specific and one is dated, but you'll get the point.

  • There will be mandatory microphone training for all clergy. I never want to hear another child asking: "What's the Vicar doing?" as a member of the clergy fumbles in an unseemly way inside his or her clerical robes in order to switch on a radio microphone.

  • Signs are to go up outside all churches and vicarages saying, "Please do not apologise for swearing in front of the Vicar." Clergy really have heard all commonly used obscenities, are not shocked, and, in my experience, swear like celebrity chefs when out of earshot of the churchwarden.

  • To cheer up dull church meetings, members of the Prayer Book Society will be required, when speaking at PCCs and synods, to talk in Elizabethan English.

  • There will be a fine every time the word "just" is used in prayers. ("We just want to thank you, Lord" etc., etc.) There is no biblical precedent for it; there are no "justs" in the Lord's Prayer, for example. All proceeds to charity.

  • Once a year, all Evangelical clergy will have to dress up and use incense; and all Anglo-Catholic clergy will preside in knitwear, and display the liturgy on an overhead projector.

  • There will be a compulsory five-a-side football league at the 2008 Lambeth Conference. Teams will be chosen at random, except for Archbishop Akinola, who will have to play goalie on Bishop Gene Robinson's side. (Imagine the conversation in the showers afterwards.)

  • This notice is to go up in every church porch: "Thank you for not wearing high-gloss lipstick when receiving the chalice."

  • Once a year, all clergy must sit through a videotape of themselves presiding and preaching at worship. This will remind the clergy how long-suffering the lay people of the Church of England are.

  • The phrase "lady vicar" will be banned.

  • Just for fun, beards must be worn by all male clergy engaged in ecumenical discussions with the Orthodox Churches.

  • T. S. Eliot may be quoted in the vicar's sermons only once each year.

  • There is to be a ten-year moratorium on reading The Journey of the Magi at carol services.

  • A contract will be negotiated with an international coffee-house chain to supply nice-tasting hot beverages after church services around the country. (Instant coffee may only be used in an emergency.)

  • Bishops will be required to attend drumming workshops. Archbishop Sentamu can then lead an annual massed procession of drumming bishops through the streets of London.

  • PCC meetings will last no longer than 60 minutes; members will be encouraged to make their contributions once only and as briefly as possible.

  • The definite article will be inserted into the phrase "fresh expressions of church" so that it reads "fresh expressions of the Church" and at last makes some sense to baffled non-churchgoers.

  • Electric buttons marked "I don't know this hymn" will be fitted in all pews and will relay to a display in the incumbent's stall.

  • Hymns Ancient and Modern will at last be renamed Hymns Ancient.

  • Adverts for clerical jobs will no longer be allowed to carry boasts about the previous incumbent: "Owing to the appointment of the Revd Joe Blogg as Dean/Archdeacon/Bishop (delete as appropriate) we are seeking a new Vicar."

  • At services where the clergy speak in sing-song voices, the congregation will be authorised to respond in kind.

  • At weddings, the mother of the bride will be allowed only to do the flowers if she can produce a recognised flower-arranging qualification and references from satisfied customers.

  • Deanery synods will be suspended for five years. After which time, it will require a two-thirds majority to bring them back into existence.

  • Finally, the following strap line will be carried on all CofE literature, websites, T-shirts, and bumper stickers: "Taking small steps towards a happier Church of England."


Ann said...

Quite a lot of comments on my FB page about this - this was a new suggestion for your list
--Can't we just put vicars in an autotune. Let some music director back there with a pitch control be involved. Also enough U2 in the service, let's put in Rage Against the Machine.

G said...

Synods at the regional deanery level?? If such a thing exists, it should certainly be abolished: even provincial synods are of questionable utility. Aren't diocesan and general enough "layers"?

Gillian Wallace said...

Amen brother! Thank you, thank you. I can hear my husband laughing his head off upstairs as I just sent this page to him. Amen brother!