What a fantastic day yesterday was.
It started at 7am at All Saints Church in Houghton Conquest with a run through and mini rehearsal for the live remembrance service which was going to be broadcast on Radio 4 at 8.10am The service ran without a hitch. In no small part due to the Miss Trunchbullesque efficiency of the producer Julie!
The Rev Sharon Gresham-Toze spoke beautifully. She has a voice for radio and is obviously a fantastic communicator; however, it is Sharon’s husband who is actually the Rector of Houghton Conquest and Wilstead.
Sharon used to have her own parish in Milton Keynes, but now that she is married she can only have a parish if she and her husband live separately. According to the Diocese, she has to live in the Parish even if it’s only a few yards down the road.
So, the Anglican church has moved on to the degree that it ordains gay clergy – which I certainly don’t have a problem with - but if a female vicar is married to a male vicar she can only have a parish if she lives away from her family. My letter to Archbishop Rowan Williams is in the post!
After the broadcast service I went over to Ampthill for the Baptist service. I love Ampthill. I often meet constituents in the coffee shop at the bakers, and I always have packed surgeries in the Library, which is where I met Reverend Steve Plummer from ABC. The ladies who work in the Library are the friendliest, and, if I am talking for hours, keep me supplied with lots of cups of tea. On occasion, as sometimes happens, if someone gets very upset they are extremely diplomatic and very generous with their tea and sympathy!
The remembrance service was typically Baptist, warm, worshipful, fun and alive. I felt uplifted and strengthened, thanks to Steve, Ken, and everyone who made it such a very special morning. I left two hours after I arrived, but it felt like I had been there for only minutes. Julie had to ease me away or I would have been there all day - I felt so at home – especially with the kitchen crew. I just wish I’d gone in earlier, sorry all!!
The Beds on Sunday have too much power. Poor Steve was told there was a phone call for him last week from the BoS. With heavy heart and shaking hand he went to the phone – the voice said – “Just doing a spot check and ringing to see if your paper was delivered ok this week.” Relief washed over him - I’m sorry BoS, but that’s just not on! You can terrorise politicians all you like, but vicars?