How to make Church run a little smoother (and happier…)

From a Church Times from a couple of years ago, but funny none the less… My thanks to Fr Malcolm for these. (My comments in red)

  • There will be mandatory microphone training for all clergy. I never want to hear another child asking: “What’s the Vicar doing?” as a member of the clergy fumbles in an unseemly way inside his or her clerical robes in order to switch on a radio microphone. It’s not the clergy so much as having someone to mute the microphones. Now my team can do it, it drastically reduces the amount of fumbling required.
  • Signs are to go up outside all churches and vicarages saying, “Please do not apologise for swearing in front of the Vicar.” Clergy really have heard all commonly used obscenities, are not shocked, and, in my experience, swear like celebrity chefs when out of earshot of the churchwarden. (Cough, Cough, Ahem…)
  • To cheer up dull church meetings, members of the Prayer Book Society will be required, when speaking at PCCs and synods, to talk in Elizabethan English. We are PBS-free at STE. Praise the Lord.
  • There will be a fine every time the word “just” is used in prayers. (“We just want to thank you, Lord” etc., etc.) There is no biblical precedent for it; there are no “justs” in the Lord’s Prayer, for example. All proceeds to charity. I want more people to lead intercessions. There will be training, and it will not include the word “just”.
  • Once a year, all Evangelical clergy will have to dress up and use incense; and all Anglo-Catholic clergy will preside in knitwear, and display the liturgy on an overhead projector. We  can’t be the only Anglocatholic Parish to use a projector for the liturgy each and every week, can we?
  • This notice is to go up in every church porch: “Thank you for not wearing high-gloss lipstick when receiving the chalice.”
  • Once a year, all clergy must sit through a videotape of themselves presiding and preaching at worship. This will remind the clergy how long-suffering the lay people of the Church of England are. Yes. I agree. How do they put up with all my nonsense?
  • The phrase “lady vicar” will be banned. Thank goodness I havn’t heard “priestess” for sometime now…
  • Just for fun, beards must be worn by all male clergy engaged in ecumenical discussions with the Orthodox Churches.
  • T. S. Eliot may be quoted in the vicar’s sermons only once each year. The same ban might need to be extended to RS Thomas poems, as no-one has the faintest idea what they mean anyway…
  • There is to be a ten-year moratorium on reading The Journey of the Magi at carol services.
  • A contract will be negotiated with an international coffee-house chain to supply nice-tasting hot beverages after church services around the country. (Instant coffee may only be used in an emergency.) Already there: one of my first acts was to install proper Fairtrade Filter Coffee, and an Espresso Machine if you join me for Morning or Evening Prayer. There is no room for bad coffee in Church: Psalm 34 – “Taste and see that the Lord is good”
  • PCC meetings will last no longer than 60 minutes; members will be encouraged to make their contributions once only and as briefly as possible. This would be even more effective if I could learn to shut up in PCC meetings. My apologies to all my PCC.
  • The definite article will be inserted into the phrase “fresh expressions of church” so that it reads “fresh expressions of the Church” and at last makes some sense to baffled non-churchgoers. Hurrah!
  • Electric buttons marked “I don’t know this hymn” will be fitted in all pews and will relay to a display in the incumbent’s stall. We don’t need this, as one can instinctively tell within the first two lines.
  • Hymns Ancient and Modern will at last be renamed Hymns Ancient. …and not used at STE any more. Praise the Lord.
  • Adverts for clerical jobs will no longer be allowed to carry boasts about the previous incumbent: “Owing to the appointment of the Revd Joe Blogg as Dean/Archdeacon/Bishop (delete as appropriate) we are seeking a new Vicar.”
  • At services where the clergy speak in sing-song voices, the congregation will be authorised to respond in kind. I’ll try.
  • At weddings, the mother of the bride will be allowed only to do the flowers if she can produce a recognised flower-arranging qualification and references from satisfied customers. Not a problem here. Our flower people work wonders…
  • Deanery synods will be suspended for five years. After which time, it will require a two-thirds majority to bring them back into existence.
  • Finally, the following strap line will be carried on all CofE literature, websites, T-shirts, and bumper stickers: “Taking small steps towards a happier Church of England.”