This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Religious satire is dead

Today we have three case studies proving that religious satire is dead.

The Archbishop of Greater London

Archbishop Jonathan Blake

See? I'm a real bishop. I've got my own mitre!

I am grateful to Archdruid Eileen for reminding me about the Most Reverend Jonathan Blake, Presiding Archbishop of the Open Episcopal Church (also indirectly to the Telegraph, which mentioned him in a rather dumb piece on the Lord's Prayer ban, and then heavily edited the piece when people started laughing). Most Rev. Blake was formerly an Anglican, but according to his website he decided to pioneer independent ministry, conducted a wedding underwater, published For God’s Sake Don’t Go To Church, nailed 95 Theses to Canterbury cathedral (what an original idea!), etc. etc.

He also sued Associate Newspapers for claiming that he was not a true bishop. You can read more about his history in an old piece by Damian Thompson (who he?)

rustic shed

Picture of his cathedral not available, so here's the next best thing.

The costumed holy man has written his own Lord's Prayer, as long as 3 years ago. Apparently, Christ's teaching is a bit old-fashioned now, and Greater London's finest mind was needed to express what He ought to have said.

By removing all references to God, ++GreaterLondon is surely onto a winner here, and I hope to hear his prayer performed in cinemas nationwide.

May Love be revered
May Unity come
Good will be done
That earth may evolve into heaven
May we work hard today for our daily bread
And may our sins be forgiven
As we forgive those
Who have sinned against us
And may we not fall into temptation
But be delivered from evil
For we believe in justice, truth and peace
For ever and ever
Actually, that reference to "heaven" is a bit jarring, and could be offensive. Any chance of a rewrite there, your Grace?

The Briery Retreat Centre

Briery Centre

For all your sacred circle-dancing needs.

This retreat centre is in Ilkley, the place with the moor, and is apparently a Catholic place, run by the Sisters of the Cross and the Passion. However, they do offer themed retreats, which may be of interest to others, such as pagans.

I was particularly taken by this:

Enneagrem Weekend

Friday evening until Sunday after lunch for those with no previous knowledge of the Enneagram. On this course, the nine spaces will be explored through a variety of ways. By the end of the weekend, people will have gained sufficient understanding to choose which personality type they belong to.

I'd love to know which personality type I belong to. It's like those quizzes you get on Zimbio. You know, "Which Star Wars Character / Doctor Who Monster / German Cardinal / Nasty Disease are you?" (I'm Count Dooku, the Yeti, Cardinal Marx, and Malaria, as it happens.)


Spiritual nourishment from an enneagram.

So, after being blessed by the good Archbishop, I am planning to make my way to Ilkley and embark on a Catholic voyage of self-discovery. I may also extend my self-knowledge by finding out which nasty-thing-that-people-tread-in I am.

The Diocese of Salford

Can there really be a diocese based in Salford, a suburb of Manchester? Apparently, there is, and it includes the parish of St Mary in Eccles, which is well-known to be a place for very saved people to worship.

But then we see this news item: Bishop John Arnold (possibly a real bishop) wants to halve the number of parishes. +Arnold forgot to mention that the downgrading of Salford will also result in his own downgrading from Bishop - say, to the rank of Pawn.

But, if Salford really exists, and if Eccles is really part of it, and if there is really a possibility that +Arnold is putting in a bid for the Arthur Roche church-closing award, then all we can say is:

Eccles church

Save Eccles!


  1. Nice shot of Bishop Beckham of United Manchester Reformed Church - Victoria Regina!

  2. If the unthinkable does happen and Eccles is done away with, I hope he's given a decent Bury-al with Archdruid Eileen presiding. There may however have to be a 75 mile exclusion zone in force for the duration to prevent Rev. Jonathan Blake muscling in on proceedings and getting the whole ceremony transferred to the middle of the Manchester Ship Canal.

  3. In one lecture on Moral Theology that I attended over 10 years ago, the Catholic priest lecturer praised a new set of 10 Commandments hed seen promulgated on Channel 4, as being more appropriate and relevant to our times than the old ones Moses got from someone on a mountain a very long time ago.

  4. I think you mean "The Brewery Centre", don't you?

  5. Only thing I understand about this post is the picture of the "next best thing" to the cathedral - the hut with a stove pipe. I clearly know about that since we have the same sacred look to churches in Florida.

    1. Ah, designed by a "world famous architect". In England that means that it will fall down in 10 years time.

    2. Susan, I see on the architect's page about St. Mary's it states This beautiful high profile project was constructed with much fanfare from the local community....

      Of course this means they had a tough time getting it past the local planning commission after residents of the community (on seeing the preliminary drawings) thought that it was a mosque...

    3. Whether it's true or not, we heard that the owners of the house next to the parish sold their home and moved away. Since Michael Graves is not a Catholic we try not to blame him, but rather the liberal Catholics who told him what they wanted. He took their information and creatively built their words in stone.

  6. I'm fascinated by Revved-Up Evans' underwater wedding. There are just so many questions that demand answers:

    Did the groom feel like a prawn?
    Did the bride turn out to be a fish-wife?
    Were the congregation packed in like sardines?
    Did they stand up/sit down in all the right plaices?
    Was the Rev.Ev. wearing herringbone vestments?

    Alas, we may never know.

    I suppose though that there is at least one indisputable fact attached to Greater London's spiritual leader:

    For some years now, he's been talking a load of pollocks.

  7. You can sneer and poke fun of Jonathan Blake, but I'm proud of him: it's good that a Brit should be going up to the International Space Station. The scene of him emerging from the water tank in his white space suit after the wedding will live with me. That a man would go out of his depth to save our soles is as incredible as Saint Corbyn walking down the Thames.

    1. Now why did I call Jonathan Blake by the name of Evans? Short term memory loss strikes again. I'll have to devise a saying to help me remember next time. Something like 'Evans above but Blake's all at sea.'

    2. No Evans Above is more Dylan Thomas, that Blakes 7

    3. But then again, he is Archbishop of Llareggub...

  8. Or given Jonathan's* Neptunian tendencies, perhaps Blake's Severn.

    *decided against adding surname this time in case I get it wrong again and call him McFarquharson this time.

    1. "Blake's Heaven" is a title reserved to Fr Ray Blake, of course.