Letters to the Church Magazine – February 2015

Dear Sir

There is a growing tendency among those leading prayers at Grilsby to expect people to “include their own prayers” during a period of what would otherwise be silence in the intercessions. Naturally, nobody is blundering into this Pentecostal trap, and we sit there waiting for somebody who is self-centred enough to think we care what they are praying about. Since Evangelina, in particular, is insistent that we do not move on in the service until someone has “brought their own prayers before the Lord”, sometimes we sit for up to ten minutes in cold and silence, waiting for Jeb’s weekly request for healing for his haemorrhoids. Well, I reckon if he didn’t have to sit so long on a cold pew waiting for somebody else to pray, he wouldn’t have so much of a problem.

Yours etc Tom Cobley-Anhall, “Tweezers”, Grilsby-on-the-Hill


Dear Sir

My wife and I attended Church on the feast of the Baptism of our Lord, to discover a villager sitting in our pew. And this, in the estate chapel that my ancestors so kindly built for the villagers to save themselves walking all the way to Great Tremlett during the Black Death! Is there no gratitude in this modern world? It is true that our visits to St Audrey’s are infrequent. But my great-grandfather put those pews into the church, with the specific instruction that “to show the equality of all before God, no pews may be reserved to any person. Except the Cholmondley-Cholmonley Pew. That is ours.” I expect, on our next visit on Easter Sunday, to find the pew empty.

Yours etc

Sir Cholmondley Cholmondley-Cholmonley (Bart), Cholmondley Manor, Woodby Chapel End.

Dear Sir

Is it just my eyes failing me, or is the notice sheet being printed in Helvetica these days? I know they all say that it is classical and easy to read, but you cannot escape the fact that it is not a seriffed font. I used to be in the Civil Service. We would only ever use a nice serif.

Yours etc

Chas “Charlie” Charkles, Hanged Man’s Close, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

Is it me, or is Common Worship Prayer H a little on the short side? We used it at “Little” the other week, and the service finished before the pub had opened. I had to talk to people and drink a cup of some ghastly liquid they claimed was coffee. Please stop this happening again.

Yours etc

Gerry Chambers, Dag Lane, Lt Tremlett

Dear Sir

I have now completed my calculations of the costs of this year’s Christmas season. Not an easy task. Consider the outlay this last period of Advent through Epiphany:

  • A replacement for Caspar the Wise Man, who was stolen – I strongly suspect – by one of the children from the Lower School.
  • 45 packs of mince pies.
  • 27 additional packs of small candles.
  • 17 large candles.
  • A new Advent Candle set, when last year’s had only burnt halfway down.
  • Heating. Lighting.
  • Additional song sheets for “Little Donkey” and “O Holy Night”, which inexplicably are not in Hymns Ancient and Modern.
  • Hot water, additional tea coffee and milk for all the people who turn up once a year.
  • Additional wafers and wine at Midnight Mass for all the people who turn up twice a year.
  • Cleaning expenses after the use of a real donkey in the Nativity Play
  • Sweets for the children on Christmas Morning.

I have some suggestions to save money. Firstly, we could combine Midnight Mass and the service on Christmas Morning by simply having the one service at 4am. Most of the parents of small children will be awake by then, any way. Clearly we should be restricting the use of carols to those on the Bethlehem Carol Sheet, which my grandfather donated in 1965 but have been shamefully neglected. The vicar should make pastoral visits to all families with children in the school next December, and keep an eye out for a six-inch-High Caspar on the mantelpieces and windowsills.

But most effectively, I would like to propose we adopt the Coptic Calendar. By doing this, we will move the whole of Christmas expenses into the following financial year. This will be a one-off saving for 2015 of £247.56. I can provide my workings if anyone is interested. Obviously these calculations have taken me considerable time, electricity, travel time to a Church requisites shop in London etc. I therefore enclose an invoice for £247.56. The price of trains is shocking! I will be writing a letter to Marylebone Station.

Yours etc Norbert Dranesqueezer, Chester St, Grilsby-on-the-Hill



Dear Sir

They don’t want your name

They don’t want your name

They don’t want your name

They don’t want your name

Just your number.

Yours etc Samantha Giblings, Church Green, Woodby


Dear Sir

Once again it was a joy to support the vicar by “standing in” for many of the Trim Valley services during his post-Christmas break.

And what fun it was, helping the Grilsby parishioners learn to pronounce the Latin of the Sarum Rite after all these years when that venerable body of liturgy has been missed out by Revd Nathan – no doubt in a well-meaning attempt to be “down with te yout’, as I believe they say.

I did however miss out on Mothers’ Union Communion at Great Tremlett on the last Saturday of Revd Nathan’s holiday. It was difficult enough to get there on time – the windows of my house had been painted black overnight, leaving me to think it was still night-time, the tyres on my car had been let down and my drive gate had been welded shut.

When,through the good offices of a neighbour, I arrived at the Church I discovered that all the doors were frozen solid – with the congregation already inside! However, I would like to thank the Reader, Doreen, for preaching a sermon in my absence. How fortunate that she happened to have her cassock and blue scarf in the vestry, when she normally worships at Little Tremlett, and she had only popped down to do some building maintenance! But the most remarkable piece of divine providence was that she happened to have a sermon on the subject of Charles Gore, on the very day we marked him in the Church Calendar.

I believe it was later discovered that the doors were not frozen, but had actually been nailed shut while the Mothers’ Union were enjoying a pre-service cup of tea. Truly God moves in mysterious ways.

Yours etc

Canon Vyvyan Westcliffe (Retd) (But still available for occasional offices), The Old Vicarage, Woodby


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