Some ninety archdeacons gathered at High Leigh recently for their National Conference (is that a faculty of Archdeacons?). Inevitably they broke up into workshops on a variety of topics. One, on Church and State, was to be led by Pete Broadbent (Archdeacon of Northolt) and ten other members waited in anticipation for the former hard left Islington councillor to arrive. And waited. And waited. Alas, he did not come. Apparently Tottenham Hotspur were playing at home and he had gone there instead.
It is well known that Petes former vicar, one George Carey, is a Gooner? (Arsenal supporter) and no doubt Lambeth diaries are drawn up with that in mind. Those arranging the meetings of the new Archbishops Council will clearly have to get a fixture list from White Hart Lane if they are not to be deprived of Petes radical insights.
AMERICANS ON LINE
The cash for votes Lambeth Conference scandal rumbles on. Still bitter about their defeat by third world bishops the liberal American caucus continues to spread the big lie. Of course they will not go into print on these accusations because African Bishops and Traditionalist American bishops could, as they say over there, sue the pants off them. Just last month a visiting English clergyman was apprised of the latest version of the scandal. Over dinner a liberal bishop solemnly informed his guest that every African bishop who voted for traditionalist views was given a laptop computer! And what is more they were all paid for out of the personal fortune of the Bishop of Dallas!
Some fortune as such generosity, given the number of African dioceses would have cost him approximately half a million quid!
The truth is rather more ordinary. The diocese did give a computer as a gift to its link diocese, just as many First World dioceses give help and goods to their links from time to time.
No doubt the liberal masterminds in the smear story look back fondly on the days when you could buy a couple of hundred Africans for five hundred dollars.
Still its a shame to spoil their story.
DOWN WITH THEM
Competition between suffragan bishops for the Best expenses of the Year award has been fierce. One cheapskate only managed to submit some £10,000 expenses while the winner, clearly a much busier man, racked up an impressive £45,000!
As these figures are the second most closely guarded secret in the C of E (they are as nothing compared with the Diocesan bishops expenses) clearly we should not reveal the successful spender's name. And indeed we wont - providing that, by the end of this month a case of good quality wine arrives at the 30 Days office. After all the extravagant episcopant can obviously afford it.
HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL
As the Archbishop of Canterbury was desperately trying to think of how to fill it, and Lambeth-pack-evo-insider Sainsbury was nobly stumping up millions in sponsorship, our man at York (D. Hope) was railing against the great erection of Greenwich, the Millennium Dome.
Now hes at it again. Not content with rubbishing this celebration of the glory of man (one man in particular - no, not Jesus, silly!) he is now attacking that well known rubber goods manufacturer and social beneficiary - Durex. Apparently they will be celebrating J.C. 2000 by issuing a Millennium Condom!
In an age which increasingly separates sex from creation and in which the primary social project is population control, what better way could there be of celebrating Our Lords birthday?
Perhaps we could pop one through the letterbox of every parishioner
with a suitably uplifting message.
JOB SHARE FOR GOD
The new Methodist Service Book - World Premiere, Easter Day 1999 - finally acknowledges that poor old Father God needs assistance. Please welcome to worship, officially this time, your very own Mother God!
Future revisions should take note of the need for further inclusivity, and write in Grandpa and Grandma God, Baby God, Mad Uncle Jack God and, of course, the family dog, Cerberus.
Not normally the retiring sort, the Bishop of Lincoln, Bob Hardy, 63, found himself in an old folks' home - just visiting!
He leaned forward to one rather vague looking old gent and enquired,
Do you know who I am?
No, came the sparky reply, but dont worry, matron will tell you.
MISSING BISHOPS? - BIG REWARDS
Bishops unavailable? Waiting months for an appointment? Can never find one when you want one? Try the House of Lords. One Diocesan clocked up 104 days last year in the service of his country, another 96 days. One bishop signs in every time hes up in London. but doesnt stay for long. Keep the engine running, he instructs his chauffeur, as he dashes to clock on.
Such selfless devotion to national duty is pitifully rewarded with a mere £78 overnight allowance, £34.50 daily subsistence and £33.50 towards secretarial help.
Of course, unlike clergy fees, these trifling sums do not need to find their way back into diocesan coffers. Indeed some wretched sans-culottes Labour M.P. had the temerity to ask recently if these allowances were declared for tax.
DON'T RING US
The Curse of 30 Days strikes again! Church House insiders' hot tip for the diocese of Exeter, Graham James, has not had a good month.
James, suffragan Bishop of St Germans (Runcie 87-91), was comfortably cruising the pre-selection beauty contest when he made some (intended to be sympathetic) pastoral comments about his other former boss - one G. Carey. The Press duly read these as meaning that George was a busted flush, utterly exhausted and on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
More than mildly displeased by our Graham's excessive concern, George immediately let it be known that he intends to soldier on until 2005! As this is four years more than George's previous privately stated intentions, James had thereby drawn down on his head the ire of the liberal glitterati, who had hoped the end was almost in sight.
Of course, in favour of James's assessment of the situation is that anyone who volunteers to do an extra four years at Canterbury cannot be entirely on his trolley.
All this will count for nothing, needless to say, when George chairs the selection panel.
And...Oh, dear! Worse to come! A roll of film has gone missing from a Truro chemist containing exciting snaps of Bill Ind (the bishop) and our Graham, in less than episcopal garb. The pantomime photos are, of course, completely innocent. But the current Archbishop, while supporting women bishops, expects them to be the real thing, and is not noted for his fondness for men in fishnet tights.
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