Today an ecclesiastical nightmare straight out of the pages of the Vicar of Dibley. No. I’ll rephrase that – if you wrote this little lot up as a comedy episode, people would think it was too far fetched!
In the idyllic village of Little Snoring – sorry, I mean Trillingham. I’m getting a bit carried away! – they like things left the way they are. So, bad enough that the CofE has had the audacity to send them a woman priest, she wants to change things. And for this heinous crime, they want her kicked out.
So what are these heinous crimes? Well, she shut the church because it was too cold. Fair enough you might think, but now she wants to put in underfloor heating so she doesn’t have to do it again and that’s apparently not right either.
And then there’s the bell tower. She wants the community to have somewhere to meet so she suggests putting a meeting room under the tower. Well, we can’t have that! It might actually benefit the community. And, OMG, she wants to install a toilet!
And then there’s the pews. Apparently she wants these removed and replaced by plastic chairs, and to be honest I can see that might be a bit of a step too far. But it’s hardly a sacking offense.
300 parishioners have signed a petition saying they want her removed – and I’m willing to bet that that’s about 100 times the normal size of the weekly congregation. That might be a bit far out, but I bet it’s not orders of magnitude. They claim she is cold and unwelcoming and isn’t able to perform the duties expected of a full time vicar.
Apparently there are just as many people who want her to stay and they point out, quite rightly, that you can’t expect a part time appointee to be on call full time. This is a fair point.
At the end f the day I suspect that this issue isn’t actually about the traditional views of the congregation of a medieval church, it’s more about the view of a medieval congregation in a rural backwater that don’t like change.
Anyone who has moved from an urban to a rural environment will likely appreciate what I am saying. There are two main sayings that greet any newcomer to these communities : “You’re not from round here!” and “That’s not how we do it!”
( You can read an article about this by clicking here )