Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bishops and Lions

It is the source of some amusement in the Diocese right now that the Bishops' plan to celebrate the 1100th birthday of the diocese is being slightly hindered by the news that the boundary may well go through the lion enclosure at Longleat. Even if this isn't true the narrative demands at this point that we proceed as if it is.

Some have indeed said that any bishop unable to walk safely through a den of lions should not really be in the post anyway. We need more Bishops Daniel. Maybe it would be a use for Paul Daniels? It would be a better interview technique would it not? 'Before we proceed with the questions we'd like to take you on a short walk around the diocese.' Excuse me. For a moment there, in a flight of fancy, I imagined that bishops were interviewed.

Still, being the big chief gives you the power to delegate so the Diocesan Missioner and the Diocesan Secretary have been given the task of investigating the exact position of the Diocesan boundary between now and the walk. So far they have only been lost in a ditch once, and a relatively wild-cat free place it turned out to be, if a little muddy. Wouldn't the Diocesan Surveyor have been a useful member of the team? I only ask.

The Diocese of Bath and Wells was formed when Sherbourne (must check spelling) Diocese was divided into three (Salisbury, Exeter, B&W) 1098 years ago. I once worked in a church founded in 883 (St Mary and St Cuthbert, Chester-le-Street) but an administrative structure that dates back to pre-Norman times is a survivor and no mistake.

Perhaps we should have all the Salisbury clergy and the B&W clergy face each other across the bounds in a 'come and have a go if you think you're hard enough' way. I'd be delighted to bring up the rear.

Good morning.


Anonymous said...

I know it is most unfair on Bishop Peter, but I still cannot read of his title without recalling the Blackadder II episode where Blackadder owes the Bank of the Black Monks of St. Herod one thousand pounds and if he doesn't repay it by Evensong the baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wells will brutally murder him with the aid of a red hot poker. I am sure that our current Bishop uses more subtle forms of persuasion, but the poker might be useful in any encounter with larger members of the Felidae family.

Mike Peatman said...

I'm wondering what other hazardous territory marks out Diocesan boundaries. Perhaps the Anglican Communion could turn its mind to that for a bit of light relief!

Anonymous said...

If forced to “beat the bounds”, many Anglicans would prefer to face the Longleat lions rather than Lord Bath’s erotic murals!

Steve Tilley said...

I'm trying to remember to whom I have divulged the secret of the Bishop's, possibly accidental, erotic taste in art. I've narrowed down the previous anonymous comment to about five people. Frighteningly, two of them are archdeacons. Will post on this if there is enough demand.