One summer he dropped by the vicarage when he was on holiday and he brought out this huge pile of postcards. Spent his whole holiday sitting at a table in the garden sipping sherry and writing them out by hand. “Who the devil could he be sending so many postcards to?” I thought. So when I checked, turns out he was sending them to all sorts of high ups–headmasters of famous public schools, theologians who’d written a book or two and military chappies and politicians and the odd blue blood–that sort of thing. That was a genuine bit of cleverness I always thought–a little post card here, a gift there, a reminder of your existence. “Lubricates the relationships” Bracket would always say. Funny he never sent me a postcard when he was on holiday, but that’s the way the world turns I suppose.
Am I going to like being Rural Dean? I don’t know really. I suppose it would suit me in a way. I don’t much care for the idea of being a bishop and now Daff is a Roman it’s not likely I’d get chosen for any real preferment, but there’s no harm in being Rural Dean. I’ll do my best. Soldier on.
The trouble is lads, to tell you the absolute truth, I’m not all that excited by it. You see, once you start climbing the greasy pole you really do have to toe the party line. Look, just between us (and I really don’t want this to go any further)–there are one or two things here that are really rather rum. You know that Lavinia got married to her friend Georgie Samsonite? Turns out Canon Huffington-Post allowed St Ethedreda’s to be used for an actual wedding and not just the blessing of a civil union they were allowed to have. Fellow came in from the Methodist church to take the service and afterwards they say the party was full of rather unsavory types–members of the local homosexual clubs. I mean to say, that’s not quite right is it? I mean quite apart from the unpleasant types who came along to the reception, they shouldn’t just do as they please. Fair’s fair and we ought to be playing by the rules.
What’s that Nigel? What do you mean you don’t see a problem as the Church of England has made up its own rules? I can see what you’re trying to say, but if we don’t make up the rules for our own church who is going to? What I was about to say is that when I heard that Georgie and Lavinia were married I was indignant, but then I thought that I wasn’t really one to judge–I mean to say–the Church of England is a broad church. That’s our strength. We don’t really go in for all that dogma and being judgmental like the Romans do. As Canon Huffington-Post says, “We are content to have some confusion rather than certainty. We’re mature enough to allow some things to be open ended.” I remembered what Bishop Bracket said, “We’ve helped women achieve equality, not it’s time we helped homosexual people do the same.”
I really must say Nigel, that the circumstances of Henry VIII’s divorce are not quite the same thing. I suppose it is true enough that he made up his own rules about marriage, but it was all much more complicated I think, and the Church of England wasn’t really founded on his divorce. It is the Catholic Church in England, but reformed. Henry simply cleaned things up.
I hear you, but I don’t quite see it myself. Still, this whole business with Lavinia and Georgie has got me thinking. I must say it’s got me into a bit of a kerfuffle. I mean to say, someone, somewhere has got to draw the line hasn’t he? If I’m going to be Rural Dean do I just turn a blind eye to this sort of thing, or am I supposed to enforce the rules? I suppose Daphne will know. It’s got me into rather a muddle I must confess. I could always ask Fr Stornaway. He seems to have a fair bit of common sense, and it’s amazing how the Romans always seem to have a rather sensible answer for these matters once you give them a chance to explain themselves.
Goodness, is that the time? I’d better tootle off home. Daphne’s got a celebration supper lined up. Mrs Doyle and her husband. They’ve become rather good friends lately–always good for for a laugh, and so full of common sense. Jack Doyle’s always got a few stories to tell, and I think she’s invited Father Stornaway and Polly.
Must dash. Cheerio, and thanks for the good wishes lads. No, you don’t have to call me “Your Reverence” or “Mr Rural Dean.”
Just Vicar will do.