“Church Review” Notes for the Parish of St Haghai with Polyp

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(it may be that it is necessary to belong to the Church of Ireland to understand this…)

The gentlemen of the bowls club passed a pleasant evening at the masonic hall on Saturday. The ladies submitted to their exclusion with their customary good grace. They had, in any case, much work to do in planning for the upcoming flower festival in St Haghaí’s. The theme is still to be decided, but it is felt that in some way the festival shouldreflect current ethical and social concerns. On the third Sunday of the month, we shall be experimenting with a radical initiative, whereby we shall follow Our Lord’s command and do something or other in his memory. Bessie O’Pale is now out of danger, and thanks the parish for their prayers. The rector remains concerned about recent attendances, and wonders if it would be wise to move the service to the local shopping centre. Recently, the Mothers’ Union knitted a new hassock. It is to be blessed by the new archbishop on his first visit to the parish, when six young people will prove that we have bucked the trend and will present themselves for confirmation. Lent is now upon us, but came upon us before the Review went to print, so the writer expresses the hope that Lent was got off to a good start as the rector enjoined of us all the other Sunday when no one was in church. The roof continues to give some concern. A recent inspection confirmed that the gerry-built restoration of the 1980s caused more harm than good. Would anyone like to organise this year’s Grand Bazaar in aid of ourselves? The vestry meets on Thursday night in the Gladys Hetherington memorial room. Stop press: Mr Harvey Cadwallader will speak on the subject of ‘Great Railway Gauges of the World – with slides’ at the upcoming Mothers’ Union meeting, when we shall also celebrate the birthday of Heather Spriggs, our oldest member (156 years young!) Heather still plays regularly at our services, and we still haven’t worked out a way of getting her to retire. Next month marks the seventieth anniversary of the first election of Charlie Fissop as churchwarden. Have you thought about stewardship recently? It’s not just about money, it’s also about time and talents and something else beginning with ‘t’, but we just want your money really. During the rector’s recent (latest) burn-out, a number of clergy and readers assisted. We are very grateful to them all, except that reader whose name we’ve forgotten who wouldn’t stop once they got into the pulpit. An alarming increase in litter has been noticed in the graveyard. Next Wednesday, a work-party will gather in the pub to contemplate possibly doing something about it, before deciding that we’d better have another drink first. but don’t tell our wives, because they think we’re helping the church. Missions Week is next year, when we will spend an inordinate amount of time trying to work out how to reinvent the wheel and convert Africans to our way of thinking, but we’re not sure what we think any more, but fortunately the Archbishop of Canterbury – who’s Welsh you know so he’s practically one of us – has expressed what we’re not sure of very concisely in his recent book which we’re studying in Lent but whose title we’ve forgotten if we ever knew it. Remembrance Sunday is a long way off, but we thought we’d be the first to mention it in these pages lest we forget. Did you know that Urnaí na n-Óna still happens on the first Tuesday after the new moon in odd months before the harvest at Christ Church Cathedral, and that Muiris MacSmitheraigh – of this parish – is one of the finest Irish scholars in these islands? His recent novel as gaeilge was published by the parish office and had a print run of 6 before the photocopier died. Copies are available direct from the author at €75 (€50 if signed). There was a great turnout at the funeral last week of the former rector, and those present have been able to confirm that he is indeed dead, and that his grave looks as though it might hold him. Great news! St Haghaí’s has a new curate. She is Ms Imelda Phobe-Clunker. Before being called to sacred ministry, Imelda had a varied career as a lecturer in wimin’s studies, and founder of a very base community in Belize or some other such obscure place. She apparently has ideas, and the rector – who will go on holiday as soon as she arrives – seems a little nervous about her, but we’re sure he’ll whip her into shape! Speaking of whips, the annual gymkhana and donkey show has been postponed for lack of interest. By popular demand, the special family service for pets and their owners will replace the only scheduled Eucharist next month. Pets are asked to ensure that their owners are kept on a leash at all times. By the way, this service is now known by its acronym: SFSPO. Easter is coming! Deck the halls with holly! Or was that Christmas? By the way, the carol service was an unmitigated disaster, but we never cease to be amazed at the cheap popularity we can court by asking a dozen six year olds to lisp Away in a Manger off key. Have you bought your raffle ticket for the hockey club grand draw yet? Tickets are €5 and the prize is a surprise because we’re still waiting for all the local businesses we’ve been tormenting for the last month to get back to us. By the way, did you know that the task of writing these notes for the Review is an utterly soul-destroying exercise that has your rector worn to a frazzle but somehow it becomes a stream of almost Joycean (semi-)consciousness and you go into a sort of autopilot and isn’t it amazing how the clichés keep coming after a while, and by the way it’s meant to be a thousand words and guess what – you never will – that’s it exactly.

Rupert Moreton

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