Vicar’s Window June 2018

Dear friends,

June is a month with only two major feast days – the Birthday of S. John the Baptist (24th) and the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul (29th). The former falls, fortuitously, on a Sunday. It is, of course, the feast day for the Mother Town. Burslem Wakes used to take place around the feast day until moved to the first weekend of May. (This year, for the first time ever, the festival was graced with lovely weather and the town was packed.)

The end of June (and the beginning of July) is also the time for ordinations and anniversaries of ordination. Derek Pamment and Catherine Leighton are to be ordained deacon. Patrick Griffin and Richard Hulme are to be ordained priest. I shall be singing in the visiting choir at Father Richard’s First Mass as priest – and preaching at Father Patrick’s. All very exciting.

I was ordained deacon on June 26th 1977 and priested the following year on June 25th. It is for this reason that I am keeping a low-key celebration on that day with a mass at 1930 followed by a party. I have already told various heathen friends that they can’t come to the latter without attending the former.

So, given that this is a special occasion for me, I can’t resist using the rest of this “Window” to drone on about various things that arose from the recent royal wedding. I didn’t intend to watch the event but I was visiting family and we watched it over lunch. (My excuse.) All in all, I thought it was not bad bash. The Arch. seemed a bit lack-lustre – but then he would in the presence of the American bishop. Not sure about the sermon but the rest was ok – although I have to confess to not really liking gospel choirs. (Why are they called that? Most music sung in cathedrals and parish churches comes from the Gospels! Perhaps we should rename the Sneyd Singing Group!) Then there was the chewing of gum during the service…which brings me on to the subject of chavdom. (My word. Definition: The kingdom populated by chavs.)

So how do I define chavdom? A place of little or no taste or decorum. Here are a twelve examples, and I don’t excuse myself where number four is concerned.

1) Chewing gum – any time, any place. Yuk.

2) Dropping and leaving litter – deliberately or unintentionally. (That includes the by-product of dogs.)

3) Sorry. Tattoos. I don’t like them. Stoke on Trent is, apparently, the tattoo capital of the world.

4) Swearing and making rude gesticulations in public, especially from a car.

5) Ghastly bumper stickers with rude and vulgar observations. I add to this category “Little princess on board.” and the like.

6) “High fiving” in Great Britain. We shake hands. That is enough.

7) Not holding the door for another person to pass through – or standing to allow a woman or elderly person have a seat.

8) Men wearing hats indoors – and not only in church! Only clerical headgear of one sort or another allowed – and even that has to be doffed at the Holy Name of Jesus, the Holy Name of Mary, and the saint whose feast day it is. (It is all there in the Bible.)

9) Singing songs with an American accent while not being American. It is no different to “Allo allo” speak.

10) Speaking in local dialect when not a local. Patronising. (Not sure if that is a chav thing but plain wrong.)

11) Nearly forgot. Body piercing which involves big holes, tongues, noses, nipples, belly-buttons.

12) Priests who use their magazine articles as a vehicle for griping and grizzling! (Also, anyone using !!!!!s)

Many blessings for a lovely month,