The Vicar on an Unusual Easter


Guest blogger, The Rev’d Humphrey Blytherington is Vicar of St Hilda’s, Little Snoring with All Saints, Great Snoring. He is a graduate of Plymouth University. He completed his studies for the ministry at Latimer Hall, Durham. He is married to Daphne and enjoys home brewing, model railroading and is an avid member of the Great Snoring Morris Dancers.

Well, thank you very much indeed Nigel, how very kind of you to remember my favorite tipple is a half of lager shandy. I don’t mind if I do. Very kind. Very kind. Thank you so much. You know I rather missed you chaps too don’t you know? I am sorry that you didn’t get on so very well with Lavinia. She’s not all bad you know; a bit passionate about her various causes of course, but not a bad egg.

Yes, it was rather splendid to be back in the parish for Easter Day, and wasn’t the Sunday School good to lay on such a delightful welcome back party for myself and Daphne? Splendid, just splendid, and an Easter egg hunt in the churchyard to top it all! I’m rather partial to the odd Cadbury’s cream egg myself you know, and it’s not unknown for quite a few of them to go down the hatch in the vicarage once Lent’s over.

Yes, it was difficult being away for those weeks, but I’m sure Lavinia held the fort in my absence. I understand she experimented with a few things, but don’t you worry– Mr Thornton has agreed to return as Vicar’s Warden and we’ll be putting the lady chapel back as it was. I think Lavinia’s display on wimmin’s issues in the third world has just about reached the end of it’s usefulness don’t you? I understand one of the cacti in the Lenten desert scene injured Mrs. Higginbottom in a sensitive place when she bent over to clean the floor, so happily the whole thing has been put out for the dustman.

What’s that Ian? News of Mrs Vicar? I’m pleased to say that Daphne’s cousin in Lancashire has made a full recovery, and one of the reasons we arrived last minute is that I was honored to attend a delightful service in the Roman Catholic Church there in Lancashire on Saturday night. They call it the Easter Vigil and I believe Fr. Giles  over at St Barnabas often observes similar rituals.

I hadn’t been to a service like this before, and I must say I found it all rather moving. They light a fire outside the church, then process into the darkened church with a jolly huge candle while one of the fellows sing out, “The Light of Christ!” Jolly impressive I’d say! The whole thing goes on much longer than our usual Evensong, and they have a couple of baptisms and bring folks into their church who want to join. Not dis similar I think from the way they did it in the early church if my memory of Canon Farnsworth’s church history lectures serves me well.

You probably heard by now that Daphne was one of the ones being ‘received into full communion’ as they like to call it these days. Of course, I was upset with her decision to start with, but once I thought it through I realized that we’re all Catholics anyway, and if it’s important to her to be a Roman Catholic why should I worry?

Of course I have to admit I took it all rather personally at first, but dear old Daff explained it quite simply and said it wasn’t a matter of her not liking my sermons. She has always been fond of my sermons and she said there was an awful lot about the C of E she’d miss, but my sermons were top of the list. She also said that although she’d have to go to Mass down at Immaculate Conception with Fr. McGready she’d always make it a point to attend Evensong at All Saints with all of us, and she can still run the Mother’s Union and organize the flower arranging rota, and of course she’ll remain captain of the bell ringers.

So all’s not quite so dramatic as some of the folks have been putting about the parish. End of the story is that I rather respect Daphne for sticking up for herself. She’s always had quite a bit of ‘oomph’ if you know what I mean, and if she wants to worship the Lord in her way I don’t want to stand in her way. I still don’t see why she has to kiss the Pope’s toe and worship Mary and all that pagan palaver, but if it pleases her, I can’t see there’s any harm in it.

Who knows, she might just convince a few more of us to light some extra candles now and again.

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  • Chris

    Yay, Daphne! Welcome home!(Yes, I know she's a fictional character, but I'm still very happy for her.)

  • Patricius

    I fear you are making the vicar rather more three-dimensional, Father- if he becomes much more sympathetic I shall be very uncomfortable laughing at him!

  • Courtney

    As the Roman Catholic wife of an Episcopal Vicar, this was wonderful. And minus the "pagan palaver" (my Vicar is quite enamoured of the saints) oddly similar to discussions around and about the vicarage.

  • CarmelKid

    Welcome home Daphne…don't worry about your wonderful husband, the Vicar. It is just a matter of time befor he becomes one of us thanks to Pope Benedict's gracious open door to Anglicans, etc. Just keep praying your Ave's. Who knows, after the Vicar comes over, perhaps the whole Mother's Union will follow. Tea?

  • truthfinder

    Welcome into the fold, Daphne! With all your prayers going up, I wouldn't be surprised to see the vicar swimming the Tiber at the next Easter Vigil.

  • Just another mad Catholic

    welcome home Daphne, will the vicar be joining her Fr?

  • shadowlands

    AaaaaH bless him, the Vicar, I mean. Daphne has reassured him, that she still enjoys his sermons, his esteem is intact. Little does he realise that his own moment of spiritual clarity has yet to dawn. Oh, not that I think he should necessarily convert to Roman Catholicism, that's between him and his maker. It's just that he obviously views his own priesthood as a career and something he needs to be seen to be excelling in ( at least in Daphne's eyes ).Wait until he falls into the hands of the living God!Before he throws the Anglican towel in, if that is your unfolding destiny for him, I think he should go through a Pentecostal phase first Father, ……….hee,hee,hee!

  • Arkanabar T’verrick Ilarsadin

    The thing is, he doesn't have to join the Separated Bretheren in order to have a shot at Charismatical stuff. See

  • Arkanabar T’verrick Ilarsadin

    oops — you can also google "Catholic Charismatic Renewal".

  • Janny

    I especially like the part about kissing the Pope's toe. Benedict, I believe, would get a bit of a giggle out of that as well…JB

  • the Egyptian

    Please, Oh Please, may we have Lavinia's side of the story, I bet she is just pleased as punch at the situation, the screech and howl would be a delight to hear ;>)

  • Suburbanbanshee

    Schadenfreude is a sin, my dear Egyptian! :)I have to say, the Vicar is being a bit cunning by painting Daphne as having made a highly feminist religious decision. That ought to defang Lav. Not that I'm sure she won't find something to be upset about….Anyway, I'm glad to know that the poor dear Vicar won't be drinking heavily and eating Lav's bad cooking anymore.

  • Laura R.

    Oh I *am* glad to have the Vicar back and in good form again — I was afraid that he had come to permanent grief (along with the parish, what with the Rev. Lav's innovations and all). Wonderful that he is so sensible about Daphne's conversion, though I think she gets much of the credit.But aren't there Easter Vigil services in Anglican churches? Or is the Vicar's churchmanship such as to keep him unfamiliar with such goings on?

  • the Egyptian

    Schadenfreude is a sin, my dear Egyptian! :)Gee, Thanks A Lot,Suburbanbanshee, oh well off to confession. See the trouble you cause Father :D

  • Arkanabar T’verrick Ilarsadin

    Father, please limit yourself to one "Share This" link per post! With four, it's to the point that I can't wave my mouse around without that darned window popping up everywhere.

  • Laura R.

    Upon a quick reread, I've just realized that St. Barnabas must be the local Anglo-Catholic parish. Bit slow on the uptake!Anyway, here's to the Vicar's and Daphne's return, and lighting lots more candles …

  • Whimsy

    the Vicar must be really freaking out because he had to plow through a LOT of small talk to cut to the chase.Just don't leave him with Lavina, Daph!