From the Revd Graham Blacktop
Sir, — How disappointing that Canon Giles Fraser (Comment, 11 February) should have concluded so soon that the expectations associated with his appointment as the chaplain of a City of London livery company amount to the recitation of the grace before the undoubted enjoyment of what will surely be a splendid repast.
It is to be earnestly hoped that Canon Fraser’s readers do not form the opinion that his meal-ticket experience is typical. In my own livery company, the responsibilities of the honorary chaplain, solemnised in tablets of stone in company standing orders, include, inter alia, the provision of pastoral care to the members of the company.
During my 20 years as the company chaplain, individual cases have occurred across the whole gamut of the disappointments, delights, dilemmas, and distresses of hatch, match, and dispatch pastoralia. Additionally, I am frequently used as a sounding board for information and opinion on current church issues ranging from lesbian American bishops to the Ordinariate.
Opportunities will be varied by the size, scope, and membership of the individual companies, but I have no doubt that my own experiences are by no means unusual among livery-company chaplains.
May I urge Canon Fraser to enjoy his dinners, certainly, but also to get out there among his beliveried flock regularly on civic and social occasions. He will find that, over time, the limited expectations he currently attaches to his chaplaincy will change.
Dorchester DT2 9QN