Rules for Reverends VII

December 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

On a roll…

61. The length of a PCC discussion about money will be in inverse proportion to the amount discussed.

62. No, the Diocese does not know what it is doing.

63. If you want something to thrive, threaten to abolish it.

64. Some organisations do die. Give them an honourable and joyful funeral.

65. It is impossible to overestimate the impact on your ministry of using clear consonants and not dropping your voice at the end of a sentence.

66. Just because the microphone is there doesn’t mean everyone will automatically hear you.

67. The notice sheet exists so that people can happily ignore its contents.

68. If you can’t be omniscient you can give the impression of being omnipresent. And you don’t have to stay to the end.

69. If the whole team is last minute you’ll get on well with each other and your church will learn what faith is all about.

70.Yes, it’s frustrating not to be able to join in at Choral Evensong. Just let go, and let the office pray you.


Rules for Reverends VI

December 8, 2011 § 3 Comments

Getting going now…do let me know if these chime or if I’m just going mad.

51. Some people have very noisy coats

52. The tiptoeing thing people do when they are late into church doesn’t work.

53. When you go to see the Bishop about your future, bear in mind that he might have said his prayers that morning. But then again, he might just have a gap to fill.

54. You drink more Communion wine than anyone else. You owe it to yourself to make it decent.

55. The Press has a memory shorter than a goldfish, and works on whims and timescales more rapid than a toddler in a toyshop. You will not change this.

56. No church hall booking system ever works.

57. Common Worship was written so that people previously at enmity with each other could have something to moan about together.

58. No one is ever happy about car parking arrangements.

59. Account very carefully for special collections, and write within nano seconds to the donor and recipient.

60. People who light a candle when they say a prayer are not being superstitious. The Holy Spirit is helping them with sighs too deep for words.

Rules for Reverends V

December 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Seem to have started something here – a few more then.

41. No Year 1 assembly will survive if you mention the word ‘Christmas’.

42. You can always tell a Bishop but you can’t tell him much.

43. Services are better when planned with other people. Your week will be better if you don’t have as many meetings. In the middle of this tension God is to be found.

44. Each one of your parishioners is made in God’s image. You just need to look harder at some of them.

45. Annual Parochial Church Meetings would be enlivened if people could be voted off rather than on. But you might be first.

46. The person at your door asking for money and food might be a prophet. But they just be dangerous and frightening to your family and you have to be careful.

47. The recycled sermon you use in desperation will be the only one someone remembers from the first time.

48. All pews are sacred.

49. Sending a text at the right time can be a deeply pastoral act.

50. Hardly anyone will refuse if you offer to pray for them.

Rules for Reverends Vol III

December 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

21. Every Vicar’s surplice has a darker patch where it’s been slammed into a funeral director’s car door.

22. There is never a pen in your cassock pocket. Even when you know you left one there the last time you had it on.

23. There is a ‘right’ tune for every hymn. It’s just not the one you chose.

24. You should never take your diary with you to church.

25. Visiting on spec is a waste of time because no one is ever in during the day. Except for the people who are.

26. Everything stops in September. You thought that’s when it started, but that’s when your congregation (who are all retired) go on cruises.

27. You don’t have to make an emergency dog collar any more if you’ve forgotten the real one. Just say you agree with Archbishop Sentamu’s stand on these things.

28. People have long memories, and everyone is related to everyone else. Be careful.

29. The DAC is your friend, and the Faculty process will save your life (Anglicans only).

30. Who else can pronounce a blessing on people and say it’s work?

Rules for Reverends Vol II

December 3, 2011 § 1 Comment


11. Some different coloured raffle tickets are hard to tell apart.

12. The most emotional funeral visit is the one you’re not expecting to be.


13. Saying ‘yes please’ when offered a drink in someone’s home is an extreme sport.


14. You can’t help watching someone’s TV, even with the sound turned down.


15.  Being more interested in the parents’ Mercedes/motor bike/hi-fi rather than their baby is not good form on a baptism visit.


16. Just because you’re on Twitter doesn’t make you acceptable to the young.


17. You are not there to outshine the Bride, nor give the Best Man’s speech.


18. Organists are uniformly lovely, and uniformly misunderstood.


19. people who say they are sorry for disturbing you because you’re very busy really mean it, and really are.


20. No other role gets you involved in the highest and lowest points of people’s lives, especially not all in the same afternoon.


Rules for Reverends

December 2, 2011 § 1 Comment

One or two things I’ve picked up. Feel free to add your own.

1. The house you are looking for in the dark will be the one without a number.

2. You will receive your first complaint about a service you thought was brilliant within ten minutes of arriving home.

3. No doorbell ever works.

4. The only people who ring before nine o’clock in the morning are undertakers or Bishops.

5. The one time you answer the phone in an amusing way will be the one time you wish you hadn’t.

6. No dog which ‘just wants to play’ should be trusted.

7. You should always have a grace ready. Or ‘a few words’. Or (in Africa) a sermon.

8. You think that wearing a dog collar will get you a better deal, or give weight when you complain. It won’t.

9. In a PCC meeting even those you know well will say stuff that you wouldn’t believe.

10. No, it’s not a job. Yes, it is the best in the world.

Humour, offence and prophecy

November 25, 2010 § 1 Comment

There was an item on the BBC news this morning about how the treatment of wounded service personnel at Headley Court was going to do wonders for our Paralympic team. It’s here.

The Doctor in charge said this:

“This is a special group of young men and women with significant injuries. The likes have not been seen since Vietnam.

“We’ve got an opportunity to look at accelerating and making more efficient that process of learning to walk again where some patients have lost their limbs, but also maximising their efficiency and performance, which will have direct results for our Paralympic team.”

It’s inspiring and amazing. And it reminded me of something. A joke made by Jimmy Carr last year. He said that, whatever you felt about wounded servicemen, we were going to have a great Paralympic team in 2012. The story is here. He was attacked on all sides. Interesting then that a piece of straight news reporting should say the same thing.

If you analyse humour you take the humour out of it. But…it does seem to me that all humour offends someone (and I’ve experienced that myself in a small way). Some humour aims to shock, some is prophetic, some is uncomfortable. Jimmy Carr pushes all sorts of boundaries, and I understand the offence of his paralympic joke. But there was obviously a truth in it – that’s why many found it funny. Why then is the news story not offensive? It makes the same point in just the same words (apart from the expletive).

I guess I’m just pondering here on what offends us and why. I spoke about Pete Broadbent yesterday. Another Bishop (one he worked with) said once that the Synod was ‘Fascist’ and that Satan was alive and well and living in Church House Westminster). Righteous offence all round, but only the royal family one got a public reprimand.

I’ll examine myself to find out what offends me…and why, and how I might use language, humour and the soundbite to get a hearing, to get a laugh sometimes, and not to cause such offence that the truth gets obscured in doing so. I wonder what Jimmy Carr thinks of that news report now?

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