Monthly Archives: November 2015

Cheerio – Minus 4

Sky Pilot

Four Days until Retirement


Once, while wearing my clerical collar, I asked at the Pizza place counter, do you do a ‘Wenceslas’?

“What’s that?”

“It’s deep pan, crisp and even”

(reminded of the Peter Kay joke: P. K. phones the pizza place and asks what they do – four seasons, pepperoni, ham, etc……….

PK – “Do you deliver?’

“No, we do four seasons, pepperoni, ham and so on!)

(but we do have on special offer, a “Wenceslas”   What’s that?  A really crap pun)

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A must have for Christmas (?!!!)


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November 29, 2015 · 23:51

O come, o come, Emmanuel (Piano Guys)

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Cheerio – Minus 5

Sky Pilot

The Meenister’s Log

Five days until retirement


New to a particular congregation, when visiting a particular family of Church Members, I was asked what I preferred to be called.

“Our last minister (who was very much of the old school) liked to be addressed as ‘Reverend Sir'”

“Oh, that’s much too formal” I replied.

And sang the first couple of lines of………..

“Call me irresponsible…..”

To which came the reply, “Oh, we couldn’t possibly do that, Reverend Sir!”

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Typo of the day (via the Poke)


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November 28, 2015 · 16:37



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November 28, 2015 · 12:12

Advent Calendar – Frs Ted, Dougal, and Jack

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Just Pray

from Huff Post

The Church of England (CoE) has warned of a “chilling” effect on free speech and threatened legal action after UK cinemas refused to show an advertisement featuring the Lord’s Prayer.
The Church said that the refusal to show the 60-second film, which it had planned to show around the country ahead of the new Star Wars film, was “plain silly”.
But the Digital Cinema Media (DCM) agency, which handles cinema advertising, said that there were fears that the advert could offend non-Christians.
The advert, entitled ‘Just Pray’ features a range of people reciting the Lord’s Prayer, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, police officers, weight lifters and school children.
It ends with the tagline: “Prayer is for everyone”.
Weight lifters recite the Lord’s Prayer in the advert
The advert promotes the CoE’s new website,, which was launched to create a place for prayer with advice on what prayer is and how to pray. The site also provides a “live prayer” feed of prayers being prayed across the globe via Twitter, Instagram and Vine.
But the UK’s three largest cinema chains Odeon, Cineworld and Vue – who control 80% of cinema screens around the country – have refused to show the advert because they believe it “carries the risk of upsetting, or offending, audiences”.
This is despite the film receiving clearance from both the Cinema Advertising Authority and British Board of Film Classification.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said that the move was “extraordinary”.
He told the Mail on Sunday: “I find it extraordinary that cinemas rule that it is inappropriate for an advert on prayer to be shown in the week before Christmas when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
“Billions of people across the world pray this prayer on a daily basis. I think they would be astonished and deeply saddened by this decision, especially in the light of the terrorist attack in Paris where many people have found comfort and solace in prayer.
“This advert is about as ‘offensive’ as a carol service on Christmas Day.”
According to the Press Association, the CoE has threatened legal action over the decision.
The Rev. Arun Arora, Director of Communications for the Church of England, said: “The prospect of a multi-generational cultural event offered by the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on 18 December – a week before Christmas Day – was too good an opportunity to miss and we are bewildered by the decision of the cinemas.

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The Lord’s Prayer

I see that there is a traffic warden who briefly appears in this C of E commercial (which disappointingly has been banned from a cinema chain).


His appearance reminds me of this old joke:

A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short of time and couldn’t find a space with a meter.

So he put a note under the windscreen wiper that read: “I have circled the block 10 times. If I don’t park here, I’ll miss my appointment. FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES.”

When he returned, he found a ticket from a traffic warden along with this note: “I’ve circled this block for 10 years. If I don’t give you a ticket, I’ll lose my job. LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION.”

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Where it all began….

The seventy-odd year old patient in one of the EMI wards at the Mental Healthcare Hospital always greeted me with, “What are you doing here, you stupid (expletive removed) old parson?”.

Then there was Bernadette, in another facility, who always groaned when I came to conduct a worship service in her Care Home. “It’s that blethering bugger – again! Why? Why?”

As “Withnail” said, “We’ve come on holiday by mistake”, so I often felt that I had stumbled into Holy Orders by accident.

Wanting to stay on at University after my MA, and interested in Ecclesiastical History, the only way to secure a grant in those days was to become a candidate for the Church of Scotland ministry.

The “Selection School”, a three day residential series of interviews and psychological and other evaluations and tests, was the “way in” on a journey that began in 1970.

At the last minute, I had cold feet. Yet I attended. And literally had cold feet…and legs, arms, torso; obviously, the Church, being perpetually skint, couldn’t afford the shillings for the meter.

As Rabbie Burns, in one of his most stinging poems, put it,

“As cauld a wind as ever blew,
A cauld kirk, and in’t but few”. (“In Lamington Kirk”)
It was grim, especially at night: icy, numbing, desolate.

There’s a Bible verse that speaks exactly of the conditions in the small cupboard of a bedroom assigned to me: Isaiah 28:20 (New International Version)

“The bed is too short to stretch out on, the blanket too narrow to wrap around you.”
The window didn’t close fully, and a freezing Edinburgh “hoolie” roared through the large gap (handy in one respect, in that, as smoking was banned on the premises, I could blow cigarette smoke out through it).

The bed was, if not short, then narrow. This was Kirk property, and, no doubt, it was designed to prevent anyone else “sharing”

I had to lie on my side. More, because of the cold, I wore my dressing gown on top of my pyjamas and socks – on my feet, naturally, but also a pair on my hands in a vain attempt to keep warm.

Was it the cold that stultified me so much that I zipped through all the various tests, in order to get first to the one bar electric fire in the library in order to thaw out?

I don’t know.

But here I am, forty something years later, a paid up member of “God’s Frozen People”

I wonder what the journey would have been had I not travelled the Ministry route….
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

“The Road Not Taken”
Robert Frost – 1874–1963 – Mountain Interval, 1920.

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