Letters to the Church Magazine – November

Dear Sir

People argue that the 8am service at Woodby should be cancelled. That the numbers have fallen so low that it is unsustainable. Well, I have another story to tell.

On 25 October, the congregation consisted of myself and my aunt Constance. Revd Joanne was leading. After the service my aunt and I returned home, as our custom is, and switched on Radio 4. Imagine our amazement to discover that, instead of “A Point of View”, we were listening to “Sunday”. For a moment I thought a miracle such as that seen by Hezekiah might be responsible, but in fact it was simply that we and Revd Joanne had forgotten the clocks going back.

If there had been more of us in the congregation, some would have arrived at 8 am and wondered why there was no service. So you see, because the congregation of 8am is quite small, this meant that our percentage attendance was preserved. We cannot therefore consider stopping the 8am.

Yours etc

Constanza Nearby, “Donebloggin'”, Woody


Dear Sir

I noticed that on one occasion this month, Maurice Welbeloved was permitted to read from his own Bible rather than the church one. He claimed this was because his is in larger print, but I noticed that it is a different version. Maurice has an American copy of the New Revised Standard Version, with Apocrypha, which apparently he bought on the Amazon. The church Bible is the Anglicised version of the same.

We were in very real danger of hearing about the horses in Revelation 9 having breastplates the “color” of fire instead of “colour”. With irreparable harm, potentially, to our very souls.

I used to work for the Board of Trade. We would have maintained better standards.

Yours etc

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


Dear Sir

If the current rate of growth (about one person per year) in the Great Tremlett attendance continues, the typical Sunday congregation will be unable to be fully seated by 2092. This will necessitate substantial changes to the church fabric, possibly including some kind of extension.

Even with the modern miracle of medical science, I am unlikely still to be around then. So can I take the opportunity now to object to this wanton vandalism of our lovely church! You extend St Mary’s over my dead body!

Yours etc

Solomon Snodgrass, Station Road, Gt Tremlett.


Dear Sir

I popped along to “Great” the other day for Evening Prayer, and thought before the service I’d go and see Martin Moraine, who appears to be living in a caravan behind the New Rectory. He was watching the pagans dancing round the old Holy Well, and remarking that the weather forecast for All Saints’ Eve was looking very mild.

Nice coves, the pagans. They gave me one of their home-made cigarettes in exchange for a couple of swigs from the old hip flask. I had a few drags before the service and, for the first time in four years, the sermon made sense. I must lay in a supply ready for the planned sermon series on Ezekiel. Although the Vicar has requested that in future I refrain from painting myself blue before services.

Yours etc

Major J Dumpling, “Rodney’s Rest”, Lt Tremlett


Dear Sir

It is with pleasure that I announce that Dr Ireland and myself will be hosting a Week of Prayer for the Trim Valley to begin the new year.

Each evening will feature a theme, as follows:

Monday 4th: Prayer that the Vicar will no longer tolerate evil-doing
Tuesday 5th: Prayer for the raising-up of leaders with vision
Wednesday 6th: Prayer for the Vicar’s liberal views on Holy Scripture to be rectified
Thursday: Prayers that the Vicar learn to “do the work of an evangelist”
Friday: Prayers that the clergy of the benefice learn to trust the wisdom of those who are more closely in touch with the Word.

Sadly the Vicar will be on his post-Christmas holiday, so will be unable to attend. Which also means that the curate will be too busy doing his work for him to attend either. And for this we pay a parish share! The good news is that, as this is no great loss spiritually or theologically, we will hold our prayer sessions regardless.

Yours etc

Melissa Sparrow (Mrs), The Hollow, Grilsby-on-the-Hill


Dear Sir

As usual , I have no doubt, the Church Magazine will come out on the first of the month. Which, being All Saint’s Day, will mean it is too late for me to advertise our Samhain celebrations.

After dancing naked in Black Spinney, lighting fires in honour of Hern the Hunter and bemoaning the death of the Summer, the Coven will have proceeded to the pagan community in the Vicar’s back garden as they have invited us to a cheese and wine evening.

For some reason the Vicar forgot to include this in the service rota in the October magazine.

Yours etc

Mildred Flossett (Mothers’ Union Branch Secretary), Jasmine Road, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

The damp, cool summer has had a really bad effect on the garden. My pumpkins are small and shrivelled.

Yours etc

Roland Yoland, Church Lane, Gt Tremlett


Dear Sir

Once again I have been investigating the expenses we incur in the way of candles. In particular, I am more and more convinced that the present rules on when to replace the acolytes’ candles – when they are two inches or less in length – are terribly wasteful. This because my previous investigations in this area were ignored.

I have been experimenting with a combination of petroleum wax and denatured cellulose to see whether this might extend burning times. And while I have found that it makes candles last up to 50% longer, this is in my opinion offset by the disadvantages that it smells like hell and doesn’t really shed any light.

In the course of my investigations, I have of course incurred some expenses (and some burns). I therefore include an invoice for the treasurer to the value of £74.22 for cellulose supplies and witch hazel.

Yours etc

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


Dear Sir

I’ve been to Paradise, but I’ve never been to me.

Yours etc

Samantha Giblings, Church Green, Woodby


Dear Sir

Obviously things with Revd Joanne improved when she was ordained as priest, and could wear the same kind of shapeless outfits as the vicar. Her outline was immeasurably obscured, and therefore men paid less attention to her during services.

If we could only get a nice big hat for her to wear – one that obscures most of her face – I’d feel a lot more comfortable about the men of the parish attending church. As it is, I keep a bucket of water by my chair, and soak the first one I suspect of having impure thoughts.

It’s much easier when it’s Revd Nathan on duty. Then it’s just one or two chaps in the choir we have to keep an eye on.

Yours etc

Sadie Cobley-Anhall, “Tweezers”, Grilsby-on-the-Hill


Dear Sir

Every Sunday. Every single Sunday, the vicar preaches about a passage from the Bible. Why not do something different for a change?

Yours etc

Dolbey Noize-Reduction, Red Barn Lane, Grilsby-on-the-Hill


Dear Sir

Time for another of my famous “vicar” jokes.

Q – What’s black and white and blue in the face?

A – The vicar after taking 23 services, 6 assemblies and visiting 3 nursing homes in the week before Christmas!

Yours etc

Tom Chancellor, Primrose Path, Woodby.


Dear Sir

The sermon the Vicar preached last week on “The Bible – God’s love-letter to the church” was acceptable, if a bit cissy. But when I was growing up, what is now “Bible Sunday” was resolutely called “Reformation Sunday” in Grilsby and Little Tremlett.

We would gather in Chapmans Leys for a 4-hour sermon on the evils of Catholicism then march into Great Tremlett to look for Papists. Once we had thrown them in the pond we would go back to Grilsby and burn the Pope in effigy, then spend the night in the church memorising the genealogies in the Old Testament.

Ah, the old ways pass away.

Yours etc

Dicky Vickers, Church Rise, Grilsby-on-the-Hill