Letters to the Church Magazine: January 2018

Dear Everyone

When you read this, I will be away for a couple of weeks, recharging after what has been a challenging Advent and Christmas – albeit a most rewarding one.

I would like to thank our organists, without whom I would be able to bring the church music into the 19th Century; the Church Wardens, who never fail to phone me up, at whatever hour of the day or night, to tell me which church roof has sprung a leak; and Rob Ridout, thanks to whose tractor driving I have been late for services on average 45% of the time.

Of course, at this time we think about New Year Resolutions.  And I am going to make some this year:

  1. To reduce my Hula Hoops dependency
  2. To preach more sermons that mention God
  3. Actually to get a Monday off every week
  4. To improve my church life balance.

I apologise for the lateness of the rotas for January-March. However I assure you I will email them to all Church Officers by Wednesday at the latest.

Yours on the beach (though actually hiding in the garage)

Revd Nathan, The Rectory, Gt Tremlett

Dear Sir

The trees in the parish churchyard go from strength to strength! The way the line of conifers both protects “God’s Acre” from the weather, and yet acts as a backdrop to the gravestones, is really inspired. I remember when they were planted many people protested about this. How short-sighted they were.

Yours etc,

Fennel Bailey, The Old Orchard House.

Dear Sir

I notice that over the last year, the number of people attending St Jude’s is 26. Last year it was 27.

Admit it – somebody has died, and it is being covered up.

Yours with the stats

Philemon Doyle, Chestnut Lane, Lt Tremlett

Dear Sir

Over the last year, we have lost Revd Joanna to a new job. And yet Revd Nathan has still failed to visit every house in the benefice. A task which, by encouraging more people to attend church, would actually lighten his load. He points to the 30 Sunday services per month and the daily offices that he leads – and the needs of his congregation, some of whom require visiting in hospital, the two schools, the various local committees of which he is a member and the admin.

But all I can say is, if you don’t put anything in, you won’t get anything out. Stop whinging and start grafting, Nathan!

Yours etc

Charmander McBrayne, Woodby Lane, Grilsby

Dear Sir

As we carolled around the Tremletts before Christmas, I noticed a number of people had sprigs of mistletoe, either hung over the doors or just inside the hallways.

Checking over the following nights with a high-powered telescope from the church roof (the highest point in the village) I confirmed that many others have mistletoe in their lounges or other houses.

I expect the vileness to be stamped out when the vicar returns. What sort of village do we live in, where people are kissing?

And what is worse, I have only surveyed half the village. When I saw what was going on through the upstairs window of “Rosebud Cottage”, I toppled over the parapet and spent Christmas Week itself in traction. Disgusting.

Yours etc

Martin Moraine, “Purity House”, Little Tremlett

Dear Sir

I have been made aware that I have upset the Vicar. I had not noticed at the time, but now I am aware I apologise profusely.

That Russian damson rum my niece bought me as a present was quite warming. I therefore thought it wise to have a few glasses before the Christmas morning service. As a result, I accused the vicar of being a “relic of English feudalism, drinking the blood of the peasant poor while raking in 10% of their earnings, in a line of vampires going back to the Monks of Thorney.” I also encouraged him to flee the valley before we collectivised the vicarage garden and installed Dr Ireland as a replacement clergy.

I have also inadvertently given Dr Ireland some inspiration, to judge by the way she banned Canon Westcliffe from the pulpit this morning and instead preached her own sermon, “The 40 worse sins and who in Tremlett is committing each.” Not the usual happy sermon for the Sunday after Christmas we expect.

Yours etc

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

Dear Sir

Once again, Cadbury Creme Eggs will be on sale as of January 1. This gives you precisely 3 months to eat as many as possible before Easter. I recommend a couple for breakfast.

Yours etc

Solomon Snodgrass, Station Road, Gt Tremlett

Dear Sir

Once again I am taking advantage of the vicar’s absence to advertise our special Imbolc Service. Starting at 11.30pm on February 1st. Clothing is strictly optional, but we will be holding it in Woodby Reading Room. We aren’t as young as we used to be.

Yours etc

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

Dear Sir

I note that once again Revd Nathan is not in the New Year’s Honours List.

This is a bit radical, but I suggest that Revd Nathan starts living like Jesus: loving the poor, preaching brilliant sermons, radically reinventing an old religious tradition.

It’s only slight chance. But it might work.

Yours etc

Gabrielle Fitch Thompson, the Old Market House, Little Tremlett

Dear Sir

What a lovely Christmas Nativity Play that was! Seeing the little ones so nervous, and yet so proud as they told us the greatest story every told! And what a nice twist – the Hatchimals in the stable along with the ox and ass. You have to move with the times, while keeping the important ingredients of the season.

Although I am a regular Christmas attendee, I will certainly be joining the congregation more often in the New Year!

Yours etc

Jasmine Jones, “Chitterings”, Wheezy Lane, Gt Tremlett

Dear Sir

Too late to say I love you
Too late to restage the play
Abandoning the relics in my playground of yesterday

Yours etc

Samantha Giblings, Church Green, Woodby

Dear Sir

A new year brings a new one of my famous “vicar jokes.

Q: What’s black and white and can’t be seen?

A: The vicar hiding from everybody on his week off.

Yours etc

Tom Chancellor, Primrose Path, Woodby

Dear Sir

A poem at the end of another year of goodbyes.


Jane Freeman, our Ivy from the caff
Peter Sallis who gave us all a laff*

Gorden Kaye from ‘Allo ‘Allo
Chuck Berry, who’d Go, Johnny, Go.

Roger Moore,one eyebrow raised
Colin Dexter, whose “Morse” was praised.

Keith Chegwin, who went on telly nude
Angus Young, whose songs could be rude.

Fats Domino rests on Blueberry Hill
David Cassidy, sadly now still.

Charles Manson, the evil long-time lag
John Surtees has seen the final chequered flag.

Hywell Bennett: Shelley will be missed
Tara Palmer Tompkinson, who was also often on TV.

Adam West: “Biff! Bop! Pow!”
Tom Petty has broke our hearts now.

Death death death
death death death
death death death.

* Authentic Yorkshire dialect 

Wishing you a joyful 2018.

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

procession OHPIt is too late to buy ” Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews” in time for Christmas now. Unless you are a time traveller. But it would make a lovely Easter present, wouldn’t it? Or maybe you have some book or Amazon vouchers as Christmas presents. If you do, then this will make you laugh, think or possibly gnaw the back of the pew in front. Written by the creator of the Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley. With cartoons by Dave Walker.


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