Vicar’s Window November 2018

Dear friends,

I never approved of THE referendum – but I did vote, albeit with mixed feelings. What was interesting was the response of my fellow residents. People came out in their droves. Why they did so is not for me to comment, other than to say that it made me think that proportional representation might produce a similar response. What is the point of voting Labour in my brother’s leafy village of Hook? Hampshire is not likely to produce anything other than a Conservative safe seat. The fact is that people voted at the referendum because, just for once, they felt that their voices might be heard.

Now there is a clamour (mainly from London) for another referendum, in the hope that the previous response might be reversed. Labour is hotly in favour of this – which is surprising, given the fact that so many Labour supporters voted to leave the E.U. (This must say something about the division between the electorate and those representing them in parliament.) It is also horribly reminiscent of the good old Church of England. “Let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide us as we vote for women priests and/or women bishops. If the result is a no then clearly the Holy Spirit is being ignored and another debate and vote must be arranged.”* As one commentator said, “There is no appetite for a second referendum outside London.”

Surely people can see that the big divide is between London and everywhere else. It is also a problem that the majority of people in the media are anti-Brexit. The BBC is clearly biased and should be called the London Broadcasting Corporation. Radio Four may have an outpost in Manchester but rarely do reporters venture outside the M25 to interview, for example, black teenagers and head teachers. You may question my allegation of bias. How many radio or television comediennes do you hear who are right-wing? Either they don’t exist or the broadcasting mafia don’t give them a chance.

So what is Father Brian’s answer to all this? A growing devotion to Radio Cymru. Although my family originates from Welsh-speaking Wales (and Cornwall), my father never taught us to speak Welsh. (It wasn’t fashionable then.) This means that I drive around surrounded by a Welsh lilt, a wide range of music sung in Welsh, and, apart from the words “Brexit” and “Teresa May” I don’t understand a word of what I am listening to. The result? No more banging the steering wheel with frustration at the radio presenters and guests. Even the traffic news and sports commentaries are rendered innocuous.

“The Archers”, of course, are still part of my daily routine, so I cannot claim to being entirely free of English radio. Will someone tell me when Brexit has happened and there will be no more major businesses issuing threats and dire warnings. I might listen to Radio Four again – although I doubt it. Welsh is a beautiful language.

“Here endeth the rant for this month.”

On to other things. The 60th anniversary of the consecration of the former S. Werburgha’s Church, following the move from the church in Nile Street, will be celebrated on November 19th. This is a real milestone and a cause for celebration. I would love to know how people felt about having to abandon the old church. Grace Burgess (who was sacristan when I came to the parish) told me one or two things. I think it was the speed of the move, following stonework falling from the chancel arch, which must have caught people out. The intention was to set up a temporary home in Hamil Road until a church could be built in Moorland Road. Following the move it was decided that the present building was more than adequate. Lavatories, a kitchen, and a sacristy were added, following the move of altar, font, windows, pews, and statues. Come and celebrate and sit at the feet of Father Griffin!

Every blessing,

*The latest hot potato being handled by the Church of England (certainly by General Synod) is the pressure to solemnise same-sex marriages. A vote at General Synod seems to be being avoided at all costs. Most of society can’t see a problem – but then, most of society hasn’t a clue what Christianity is. The problem is a church which has broken with Scripture and Tradition in other things trying to hold together those who maintain Scripture and Tradition and those who believe the Church can decide what it decides. Jesus said, “The Holy Spirit will lead you into all true.” Is General Synod the body which knows the mind of Christ? Not sure.