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
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
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
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;
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,
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
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
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
"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.