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From the Vicar - March 2023
01/03/2023

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From the Vicar - April 2024

27/03/2024

There’s No Substitute for ‘the Real Thing’!

Upon learning of the challenges the Church of England is facing regarding the diminishing numbers of paid clergy, as well as a long-term general decrease in church participation in the overall population, a firm in the United States has written to me about their new product line. The firm is called Acme Cardboard Supplies Ltd., and they intend to market their products under the name of “Board Christians”.

They state that, following the success of our cardboard policemen to deter shoplifters and cardboard police cars to discourage speeding, we are pleased to announce that we now have cardboard clergy and congregations:

Cardboard Vicar: The cardboard Vicar is invaluable to the hard-pressed clergyperson seeking a holiday, who cannot find anyone for relief duty. It is life-size and comes in High Church, Evangelical and Middle-of-the-Road models. It can be stood in the pulpit or placed near the door at the end of the service.

Trials: Field trials have proved more than successful. Cardboard Vicars were used in parishes during the Vicar’s absence without the parishioners being told. Of those questioned later, 40% had noticed no difference, while 25% said there had been considerable improvement.

Bishops: Soon we hope to have available the cardboard Bishop which can be sent to the General Synod whilst the real bishop is in Africa. Trial models have been in place for some time without being detected. One is even rumoured to have made an excellent speech in Synod.

Archdeacons: Work on the cardboard Archdeacon has been abandoned because market research indicates that no one wants the real thing. There is therefore unlikely to be much demand for substitutes.

Congregations: Our cardboard congregation is selling well. Its response to a sermon is indistinguishable from the real thing, and it has the practical advantage that, when volunteers are required for a job or when cash is required to run the Church, no one makes a mad dash for the door. Some people have even noticed an improvement in the singing in the services! We feel that there is a good future for the cardboard congregation.


Now obviously, the above descriptions are ‘a bit of fun’. But, on a serious note, our churches in Alrewas, Fradley and Wychnor desire to be places where real ‘flesh and blood’ folks gather together regularly to share in, and enhance, the spiritual life of each other and of the communities we serve. The fact is, we have been given a tremendous treasure – the gift of one another. The real life opportunities for personal refreshment, for mutual caring, and for reaching out to others which our three Churches can offer will be greatly enhanced by your personal participation, and most certainly diminished by your felt absence.

 

So, please, do take the opportunity to join in the real, relevant and life-engaging worship and fellowship opportunities which our three local Churches offer, which you’ll discover in the pages of our parish news and website – so that we can avoid taking up the offer of Acme Cardboard Supplies Ltd.!

 

Your Vicar and friend,
John
(no cardboard cutout, honest!)

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