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Rowan Atkinson and his very nice Vicar

by
05 October 2011

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From the Revd Sara MacVane

Sir, — Too bad that Rowan Atkinson (News, 30 September) doesn’t know his own Vicar, the Rt Revd John Flack, a bishop who decided to go back to the vicarage rather than retire. I had the unusual good luck to serve one half of my title post as his assistant when he was Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome.

He made the Centre a welcome station for anyone who wanted to stop by. Many people did, from local C of E parish groups to upper echelons of the Vatican, and from the parish priest of an elderly parishioner he had to leave in hospital to two ordinands stranded when their flight was cancelled at the time of Pope John Paul II’s funeral. All were welcome, and Bishop Flack had time for all.

I also remember that, when he was a suffragan, he once made the “mistake” of helping the vergers stack chairs after a service, and got told off by the dean of that cathedral. And, more than once, I saw him in the kitchen of the Anglican Centre, with purple shirt-sleeves rolled up, washing dishes.

So, in this case, at least, Mr Atkinson has got it wrong. He should go and get to know his Vicar.

SARA MacVANE
Domaine de la Barre, app EA2
23 Place de l’Esplanade
62500 St Omer, France

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