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Diary

10 August 2012

ISTOCK

A LINK with the Church Times of 20 years ago has been broken, with the loss of someone who was a calming influence in those turbulent days of new ownership and new technology.

Judy Whale, widow of John - Editor from 1989 to 1995, who died in 2008 (Obituary, 19 June 2008) - died on 13 July, aged 80, after difficult years in which she was housebound because of the effects of her lifelong diabetes, which she bore with great courage and cheerfulness. I was on holiday abroad when her funeral was held in St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield, on the 23rd.

If John struck people as austere, Judy was the surprise that lay in wait for them if they ever got past the shock of his terse postcards to meet­ing him in company with the power behind the editorial throne. Judy was gentle, full of fun, and immediately put you at your ease.

I discovered this early on, after being interviewed by John for a reporter's job on the CT while he was still with the BBC. After a morning of selling myself as a potential company secretary in an office block on the South Bank, followed by a stifling Tube journey to Shepherd's Bush, I stumbled through the first few minutes of the CT interview be­fore knocking a huge glass of Coke all over John's desk. The next Mon­day, I was given my second chance at his house in Clerkenwell. There Judy soon made me feel at home in her kitchen.

She was to give sterling service to the paper as a hostess and, in those early days, as an unpaid proof-reader who went with John by train on Wednesdays to our Colchester type­setters. She made quite an impres­sion on them, because they knew a lady when they saw one.

And then, on difficult press nights, she would appear in the office with a basket of wine, quiche, and grapes (like, as our chief reporter com­mented, Little Red Riding Hood), to revive our flagging spirits. I remem­ber a more formal occasion for which she poached the salmon in her dishwasher. This method proved a great success.

John and Judy both loved France, working in the early days of their marriage at the Berlitz School in Paris, and later owning a house at Villers-sur-Mer on the north coast. But theatre was their great delight. A shared interest in acting had brought John and Judy together at Oxford (she was St Hugh's; he was Corpus); and, although John's early days in rep had given way to his journalism, Judy, among other good works, later recorded talking books for the blind.

Their son, Toby, is a well-known casting director, and their actress daughter-in-law, Susan Brown, read Shakespeare's "Fear no more the heat of the sun" at Judy's funeral.

May she rest in peace.

 

WHEN a venerable archdeacon asks General Synod members at York in July not to do "competitive pain" (it is, after all, a competition that no one likes to lose, particularly when you thought you were doing so well), you'd think that that would be the end of it.

But no: even as the Archbishop of Canterbury preached his Sunday sermon, I had already spotted that he was inadvertently paving the way for a creative reframing of that jaded con­cept to become the competitive loss or theft of joy; and this expectation was duly fulfilled in the Monday's debate on women bishops.

A change is as good as a rest, I suppose; and it means that there is a rich new seam to be mined by those who see their non-joy plainly set down in black and white (or not, so to speak) in Latimer Briefing 10, Scarf or Stole at Ordination? A plea for the Evangelical conscience by Andrew Atherstone (Latimer Trust, £3.50; 978-1-906327-08-8).

Although Archbishop Michael Ramsey told the House of Lords in 1964 that it was "inconceivable that any of the Bishops would press an ordination candidate, contrary to his conscience, to wear a stole at his ordination", it is argued here that Bishop Wand of London had, in fact, created a crisis at Michaelmas 1951 by requiring three Evangelical ordin­ands to wear a stole "as the sine qua non of ordination".

Bishop Kirk of Oxford took a similar line to Wand's, apparently, but allowed his own Evangelical objector to be ordained in a scarf by Chavasse of Rochester, by Letters Dimissory. The matter was, nat-
u­rally, touched on in the Church As­sembly during the revision of the C of E's whole body of canon law, and Bishop Ellison (then of Chester) gave public assurance that "the Church of Eng­land was always meticulous in the defence of the conscience of its members."

The issue was raised again in 1978 by Evangelical college principals, and seemed settled for a time; but even bishops eventually go to their reward and are replaced, Dr Atherstone, a tutor at Wycliffe Hall, observes; "and so the difficulty returns." He is at­tempting to jog the corporate episcopal memory.

And no surprises: up pops joy in his last sentence: "And we pray that the bishops and ordinands of the Church of England may work together in joyful harmony and mu­tual understanding. . ."

Who, indeed, would want to rob them of their joy on their big day? Not I, who haven't been to an ordination since roughly 1973 (when you still followed the service by flipping back and forth through the Prayer Book), and have no plans to break that habit: my joy is too fragile.

 

AFTER all the supervening thrills of the Olympics, can you remember the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celeb­rations? Richard Winn of Bristol takes particular pleasure in our photo of Queen Victoria in her carriage outside St Paul's Cathedral when she celebrated hers (Diamond Jubilee Special, 1 June).

He writes: "Somewhere in those arrayed up the steps was my father, who, as a chorister of 12 years old, vividly remembered the occasion of the short service and just managing to see the Queen in her carriage.

"The family have the coin that was struck and given to the choir, and others, of course. My father (Cyril Winn) went on to sing at St Paul's until he was 15 years old, before going on to be the organ scholar at Exeter College, Oxford, and a career in the then Board of Education."

THE opening service of the Three Choirs Festival was "joyful and triumphant, the handiwork of our inspired Precentor, Andrew Pipe", a correspondent tells me, and draws my attention to the Supplementary Notes for the Vergers in a little booklet, The Precentor's Rubrics for the Two Hundred and Eighty-fifth Three Choirs Festival Opening Ser­vice.

Inspired, indeed. Under the head­ing "Maces", his liturgical instruc­tions say: "The Dean's Verger carries the Diamond Jubilee mace; the Canons' Verger carries the principal mace; and the Assistant Vergers carry high-voltage cattle prods."

It is Hereford, after all.

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