WHY IS IT that when church organisations rebrand, the new name is rarely an
I once tackled the officers of what we used to call the Girls’ Friendly
Society about renaming it GFS Platform for Young Women; and a former colleague
had a similar axe to grind with the Children’s Society (formerly Waifs &
Strays), for (at that time) dropping the words “Church of England”, and thus
disguising part of its relevance to our readers.
ICS, the Intercontinental Church Society, changed its name to to keep up
with the end of Empire: Col. & Con., Com. & Con., Intercon — and now
just initials. CMS, of course, dropped a suffix, and the un-PC image that went
If we are going to get into bed with the Methodists, something will have to
be done about the Methodist Association of Youth Clubs, which has announced:
“MAYC, the youth section of the Methodist Church, has agreed that it will now
be known as ‘MAYC — Supporting Youth Work in the Methodist Church’.”
Are they insane? No, of course not; but the rest of us soon would be if the
Church Army in its zeal for Mission-shaped Church (
Features, 8 October) called itself the Non-Territorial Church Army.
The Mothers’ Union never changes its name, though you don’t have to be a
mother or even a woman to join up. If it does, may I suggest “Mothers’ Union
and Men’s Society”? Its members will still be able to call themselves MUMS.
Road and ray map
OUR Middle East Correspondent, Gerald Butt, must have been nodding
like Homer recently, for we had to rely on Benjamin Creme (of
Share International magazine) for some vital statistics about the late
“Could you please give the ray structure and point of evolution of Yasser
Arafat (1929-2004), President of the Palestinian Authority?” is the first
question Mr Creme offers to answer.
No problem, as they say: “Soul: 6; Personality: 4 (sub-ray 6); Mental: 1
(sub-ray 4); Astral: 6 (sub-ray 6); Physical: 3 (sub-ray 7). Point of
evolution: 2.4 degrees initiate. In terms of spiritual development Yasser
Arafat was the equivalent of former US President John F. Kennedy (PoE 2.4) and
more advanced than Mahatma Gandhi (PoE: 2.0).”
“Was Yasser Arafat poisoned?”
“No,” Mr Creme explains, “he died of a broken heart.”
IN THE Christmas bazaars, the bookstalls have been giving up their
dead. Scan them carefully, if you have enjoyed our extracts from Keble’s
sermons: you might find The Vision Splendid by D. K. Broster and G. W.
Taylor (1913), which I got from an open-air stall in Islington the other day.
It was the work of two college friends from Oxford, and is like two novels
spliced together: one set among the Tractarians, the other among the
Legitimists in France, the two worlds united when Horatia, an Anglican clergy
daughter, marries a French toff, Armand de la Roche-Guyon. The epilogue is set
in an Anglo-Catholic slum parish in an English seaport.
There is a scene at Oriel where one of the characters muses: “You know,
Tristram, what we want . . . is some arresting kind of writing, some series of
short essays in popular form that could be circulated among the country clergy
— essays to prove the continuity of the Church for instance. . . . I must talk
to Newman about it. I fancy it might appeal to him.”
“What might appeal to Newman?” asks a voice.
“Oh, come in, Froude. . .”
The novel isn’t mentioned in A. L. Drummond’s useful
The Churches in English Fiction; but D. K. Broster (1877-1950) went on
to write other historical novels (e.g. The Jacobite Trilogy, including
The Flight of the Heron), which were popular. There is a good article
about her on the internet. Does she have a fan base among our readers?
MILESTONES, the parish magazine of All Saints’, Friern
Barnet, in north London, is one of a number currently venturing into fiction.
I have been enjoying “Calder Wood” in Allerton Alive (edited by
Chris and Carol Savidge at All Hallows’, Allerton, in Liverpool diocese), which
told of Cuggly Wuggly’s first day at school. This feared day went well after
Uncle Archie explained to C. W. that Jesus would be going, too: “He is never
nasty and he doesn’t take sides.” A lesson for Anglicans there, perhaps.
The Milestones story is more for the adult market. “All had been
set up by 10 p.m. and the hall locked up. Now, at 1 a.m., here was Mrs Sauna, a
respected member of the Church Council, the Sale’s organiser, stretched out on
the hall floor, naked except for a pair of wellington boots and a white
patent-leather handbag covering her ***. And, in her right hand, violent-red
lipstick, with which she had scrawled her dying instructions, on the said
handbag: Check the bric-a-brac. Ring the Area Dean!”
As the mystery unravels, we learn that the Mothers’ Union is a front for a
secret society that has existed since the Middle Ages; that Enid Blyton was
Grand Mistress of the Order of the Sacred Pentangle; and that the reason why
the clergy wear a “dog collar” (a question the Church Times is often
asked) is that it is a secret sign related to Timmy the Dog, fifth member of
the Famous Five.
Proof’s in the reading
OTHER PEOPLE’S misprints come to us; but what can we do about them? Sarah
Maxwell of Bottisham, near Cambridge, was singing at a wedding, and found
something in “Praise my soul” for the wicked uncles: “In his hands he gently
Canon Giles Godber, ecumenical officer for Peterborough diocese had Church
House Publishing’s Christmas brochure, and saw that the publicity shot for its
2005 engagement calendar gave 1 April as being All Saints’ Day. Oh, there’s a
free sermon in that.
And the Evening Standard reported that the “Quietist” London
boroughs were Sutton, Bromley, Croydon, Harrow, Richmond . . .
We might have guessed.