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- Page 4

  • Actions and Words

    A bit of channel hopping last night landed me Channel 4's documentary about the Hampshire WI and their resolution on legalisation of brothels.  Not, perhaps, what you imagine your vicar watching on Sunday evening - but not quite what you think of with the WI either.  It was an intriguing programme to watch as the nice 'ladies' of the WI began to discover the difference between talk and resolutions - which are easy  - and action, which is tough and costly.  Without Channel 4's involvement I guess the whole thing would have been rather different, but as a result a lot of awareness raising has been achieved.

    The thing that struck me most was what happened when they arrived back at a WI meeting with their "WI mobile brothel" and people got very upset at seeing their logo on the side of a "brothel."  Outrage followed - in so far as nice Hampshire ladies become outraged, it was all very dignified (at least on camera) and people threatened to resign from the WI if this continued.  Determined to keep the peace, the two protagonists rapidly amended the signage to "WI resolution of brothels" and took it to town to gauge public opinion.

    I was waiting for "angry Christian" to appear denouncing the campaign but she/he did not; instead was a very ordinary vicar in clerical collar who spoke calmly and rationally about the need for the campaign  - which is about safety not the rights and wrongs of the trade.

    What struck me more than anything was the general principle of 'nice respectable people' passing resolutions from the comfort of a conference hall which don't actually 'cost' them anything weighed against the costly decision to do something about it.  It gave me "pause for thought" at the number of campaigns and resolutions I've supported over the years simply by raising a voting card or signing a petition, and wondering how I'd have felt if someone had put a church logo on the side of the 'mobile brothel.'  To speak of justice is so easy, to ally oneself with actually doing it, is not.

    This is not the place to discuss the ethics of the prostitution, but I seem to recall a brothel keeper in the OT who was commended for her actions in sheltering Israelite spies and whose name is in the Matthean genealogy of Jesus.  As I ponder the actions of the WI, I wonder what Jesus might have had to say...

    PS due to the words in this post and it's likelihood of attracting undesirable spam comments, I am not enabling 'comments' so if you want to share your thoughts you'll need to do so via one of my other posts.

  • More tea vicar?

    Recently I was in a conversation with other ministers and the topic of after-service tea came up.  Someone commented about the drinks given to the minister as she/he stands at the door.  Er, sorry, run that by me again - brought to you?

    Usually at the end of our service I walk to the back and collect a cup of tea for one or two of the more frail folk and then one for myself.  A few weeks back I did an experiment, as none of the frail folk were there, and waited to see if I was brought any tea.... no!  Today I tried again, delivering tea to a frail person and then spending time with someone who needed a little TLC.  Again, no tea.

    So, is this a local thing or are other churches similar?  I can recall, as a student, having to juggle polystyrene cups of tea whilst shaking hands with vigorous-hand-shakers, which is rather hazardous, but at least I didn't have to wait until I got home and boil my own kettle (though at least that way the tea is the colour I like it!).  What happens where you are?  And if you aren't a minister, how is your minister cared for after giving their best in leading worship?

    Overall then, not 'more tea, vicar?' just 'tea, minister?' please...

  • Freedom of Speech - More Information

    Check here for copies of Dave Walker posts that got him into such deep water. The good news, as I understand it, is that someone who does have the financial muscle to stand up to the allegations has taken up the cause.  (HT Angela Almond for link)

  • The Dangers of Memory

    A couple of days on from our discovery of the break-in at church and the theft of the honour board, I have dealt with all the people I had to deal with, although the police have yet to actually come and take a look: because we had no clear idea of when the event occurred forensics would be useless, so it becomes a low prioity case.  Although I'm still pretty annoyed about the loss, life moves on.

    When we discovered the loss one of the people who'd come to retrieve it said that the man over the road would be upset because his name was on the board. I was surprised and asked how old he was - early to mid eighties came the reply.  But the school closed in ~1910 (or so I've always been told, and it seems to fit the few written records I've seen) which would make anyone who'd attended it at least mid-nineties and if they'd been old enough to be recorded on the roll, well over 100. Clearly the person who told me had never put two and two together, he simply accepted the claim uncritically.  This - and things like it - is why I am very wary of some of the oral history gathering that happens.  Not because it is incomplete or inaccurate but because even blatant impossibilities are never questioned or checked.

    That the school was important, I have no doubt whatsoever - it was to accommodate it that the 'new' 1875 building was constructed.  That the honour board was left in a dark store room and not appreciated is very sad - especially as the place was plagued with commemorative plaques.  This is probably why someone (who has not graced the place with his presence in decades) can believe his name is recorded on a roll of honour that closed before he was born: maybe he was a schoalrship or grammar school boy who simply assumes his name was added?

    Sadly, it seems very unlikely that we'll ever be able to check (no one had photographed this board, unlike all the plaques which were) and I'm certainly not about to tell an elderly man that he can't be right in his recollections.  But it all makes me wonder about locally recorded histories and just what they really tell us.