One little duck — No. 2            DEFINITELY NOT THE CHURCH TIMES            SEPTEMBER 22, 1981

Bishop tells clergy to wear spats

 Letters  to the  Editor 

THE Rt. Rev. Victor Wattles, Lord Bishop of Chester, yesterday issued an encyclical to the effect that all clergy within his diocese should wear spats at all times.
     The Bishop commented, "The general public are fed up to the back teeth with clergy of the Established Church going about looking like ordinary people wearing their "sneakers" and their "winklepickers", exposing their socks for all to see. It is high time it was stopped. If I see parsons spatless in the future I shall come 

Marshall's new sea?

THE Rt. Rev. Michael Marshall, Lord Bishop of Woolwich, in an interview given on Monday on Woman's Hour, told Sue MeGregor that he was once again seeking to establish a commune, but this time on the Isle of Lundy, which has no chaplain or church.
     The island is conveniently 17 miles off the coast of North Devon, which appealed to him as a non-driver, and there were no licensing laws because it was outside the three-mile limit,
     In order to guarantee the success of the venture it would be important to gather togo~ther a group of like-ininded people, but in an unguarded moment he admitted that this would sound better in Greek. He hoped that a group of people of the Greek Orthodox persuasion might join the order to establish an exciting ecumenical venture.



SIR,—There are no women priests, no matter what they call themselves or how they dress up or what ceremony they have undergone. They simply do not exist. There is therefore nothing to write letters about.
                  P. F. D. SPARGO, 
St. Margaret's Presbytery, Sunderland, SR5 3ED.


SIR,—I am researching a biography of a long-forgotten Primate of England called Alma Cogan, notable in his day for his 241 "Calls to Nation" and his intense interest in litter. Any information would be gratefully received.
                       IVOR POME
Great Bickersteth,

In next week's issue of Not the Church Times we will be publishing an article suggesting that Archbishop Worlock of Liverpool is a member of the Church of England and that Archbishop Sheppard of Liverpool is a Catholic. This will be wrong. Archbishop Sheppard is not an Archbishop but a Bishop. We apologise in advance for this error.


down on them like a ton of parrot-droppings. "
There was an immediate response by the Vicar of Knutsford. "Spats are against God and against reason," he said. "Spats are the livery of the Whore of Babylon and there is no way I could in all conscience shackle myself to garments which I thought the Reformation had abolished once and for all. "Make bare the leg as Isaiah commanded (Is. 47, 2)."
     The Bishop replied that the Vicar of Knutsford was now deprived.

Quadruplets consecrated

HISTORY was made in Hereford Cathedral last week with the consecration of quadruplets, all of whom are monks in the same order.
Brothers John, Paul, George and Ringo, all members of the G.C.E. (the Glorious Community of the Episcopate), were made suffragan bishops by the Lord Bishop of Hereford in his cathedral on Sunday. Before ordination they were grocers.
All four brothers were bell-ringers in their home parish of Lower Montefiore. Tley attended public school and took their degrees at Oxford, Culham, Pangbourne and Diocot and proceeded to theological training at Brasted near Sevenoaks on the Sodor and Man Ordination Scheme. All have a common interest in acting and had small parts in "My Fair Lady" (original production) and John is a keen bus-spotter with an intimate knowledge of timetables.


Road deaths

SIR,—In the Government's haste to press upon us the wearing of seat-belts, did any Member of Parliament foresee the consequences of this legislation for a priest s'itting in the front seat of a hearse or following car?'
    Is a priest expected to put this harness over his robes? Will undertakers be responsible for the resultant wear, and perhaps tear, on their robes?
    Is it not the responsibility of the Established Church to speak for the nation on an issue of this nature?

Quam celerrime

EXCELLENTISSIME—O quam mirabilis est ille equus ferreus, qui ex termino Farcioppido (vulgo Paddingtono Vrsi) ad Lectionem (vulgo Readingum) Pegaso celerior accurrere solet, ita ut Londinienses spectacula Patri Brindleii Thespiana observare possint. Laus Deo!


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Divisive nature of Christmas in today's multi-storey-car-park societal situation

COMRADE, — Those of us who are concerned about the caring and sharing role of the Church in a multifaith, multi-racial, multi-storey-car-park society cannot fail to be shocked by the blatant, selfsatisfied bourgeois indulgence as exemplified in the celebration of Jesus' birthday in contemporary Britain.
Pictorial representations of well-built fantasy figures such as Father Christmas and Father Harry Williams vie with middleclass images of candelabra, port decanters and roast, stuffed robins on our cards, which cannot but betoken to the masses a flight from the pains of present-day reality and authentic existence.
This serves to provoke the angry 


SIR,—As a committed Christian of socialist persuasion and working-class background I was saddened to read in last week's edition of Not the Church Times (Sept 15) Ian Barker's letter on garden gnomes.
     I have kept and tended gnomes for a number of years and I have never regarded them as being, as he suggested, "totems of affluent, male-dominated, laissez-faire complacency" and I have yet to hear of anybody except Father Barker who does.
                                JOHN SMITH
62 Acacia Avenue,
Pinner, Middx


S IR,—We asked for bread and we were given a gnome. Thank goodness somebody of Fr. Barker's standing has the courage to come out and attack the totems of affluent, male- dominated, laissez-faire complacency as represented by garden gnomes.
(Mrs.) UNA KROLL, 
Chamber Gallery, Church House, S.W.1

B. of C.P. or A.S.B.?

SIR,—Many of us are sick and tired of hearing about the so-called merits of the B. of C.P. and more so of the self-appointed pundits who keep groaning on about its wonders. Have they ever read it? How long have they been in the C. of E?
    Has no one told them that there is nowhere in this land, and has been nowhere in this land for more years than I care to remember, when the B. of C.P. has been used in toto; that it outgrew its usefulness before they were born; that it has been in effect shoved aside by massive popular acclaim and replaced by better, holier and truer liturgies?
    Can these Professors and Antiquarians and Literati now insert a sizeable sock in their several mouths and go back to Sociology and Dreamland and leave the ecclesia Anglicana to go about the Lord's work in our land?
Penge, London. SE999

response of hundreds of millions of unemployed against our outdated value-system set against the context of crisis-ridden, over-privileged, angst-saturated England in the 1980s and rapidly decaying inner-urban-anomie in a very real sense.
We in this church have adopted a grass-roots approach by meeting on December 25 at Hadrian's Wall (itself a visible and material symbol of the divisions in our society) and singing "Happy Birthday to You" in a religious context situation.
If  any of your readers wish to
receive a copy of our service, or
the name and address of a good
psychiatrist, they are very welcome to write to me.
St Thomas the Martyr,
Newcastle upon the Proletariat.

Who cares about apathy?

SIR,—Why does the Revd D.F. Hycop bother (letters, Sept. 17)? I don't and nobody notices.
St Eustace-by-the-Wardrobe,
London. E.C. 1.

Choral antics

SIR,—1 was absolutely amazed at the picture on your front page fast week of the two choirboys leapfrogging about in their robes.
4 was always taught as a choirboy that robes were sacred garments to be used only for divine worship. Surplices were only put on immediately before a service and taken off again immediately afterwards.
The whole pantomime of "Top Choir-boy of the Year" is quite irrelevant to  worship in church and is just another example of how television can mislead  children. I am saddened that the Royal School of Church Music is involved in this promotion.
                      SIDNEY PERRIN,
Church House, Stoke, Hartland, Devon.

SIR,— On behalf of the PCC of St. Chad's, may I use your columns to commend a scheme we have devised to prevent any further spread of the so-called "ASB"?
   We have used all the capital investments of St. Chad's to purchase fully leather-bound Books of Con)mon Prayer (1662) .   Having no money left in the general account and protecting all other savings by ear-marking them for specific items (e.g. roof restoration, stained glass, refurbishment of hassocks etc.), there is now no money left for trendy innovations.
   With the £61,450 available, we purchased 7000 top-quality books, which, allowing for total replacement every 30 years, means we have enough Books of Common Prayer (1662) to last us until c. 2191 AD. By then the "ASB" will be well and truly dead.
   May all parishes who care for the preservation of English Tradition implement such a scheme!
Lesser Warthogs, Rutland.


Yes, chapped ankles and frosty calves eliminated in seconds with a fitting of the new improved thermal spat!

Available in Black! Fully fashioned! With or without seam! Only 10 guineas! Easy terms!



l Wattles


Hear what Jeremiah says: "The greatness of thine iniquity are thy skirts uncovered and thy heels made bare (Ch.13, v.22), and Victor Wattles says, "Any of my clergy not wearing them will be strung up."