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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Wednesday, September 11, 2002
    Daring dispatches from another small curate
    It's always a great pleasure to receive a letter from my ex-college friend, Revd Dennis Nielson*. He's an interesting character who came late into Anglicanism from a Sally Army background and now, placed out of the way in an obscure seaside town, is still in awe and wonder at many of our odd ways.

    He is also a master of satire and the pictures he paints of his dysfunctional parishioners are unremittingly hilarious. Below, I quote an extract from the letter I received today. Unfortunately I have had to omit his audacious references to MothersÕ Union as I would fear for his life, if he were ever found out.

    ...... A lot of work has been carried out on the parish church over these last few months with such projects as the restoration of the bells. During this time of restoration it was discovered that a Latin inscription had been written upon the bells. It read, 'Pagani Dormire Per Hunc Temptate', when translated meaning 'try sleeping through this, heathen'. The four-hundred years old organ has also received a well-earned overhaul and now has added to its musical versatility a wah wah pedal and bossanova rhythm switch.

    This year's summer fete was a resounding success. I manned the White Elephant stall, so called because people purchasing items from it will, like the white elephant, soon be extinct: as most popular items are re-wired electrical blankets, lethal toasters and I-wouldn't-plug-it-in-if-I-were-you kettles. The highlight of the summer fete was the finals of the inter-counties Mobile Library Demolition Derby. Fun for all the family.

    My latest evangelical project which I can humbly say has been a storming success, is called 'cake aerobics'. One gently exercises through the lifting of cakes and then eating them; as fitness improves we progress to heavier and heavier cakes. I believe that this could be a real threat to the Weight Watchers club that is run at the Women's Institute Hall. ......

    There are pages of this stuff. It's heavenly. Thanks, er, 'Dennis'.

    (* please note, I've altered his identity to protect him from any potential comeback from irate MU members; he is named after a famous mass-murderer though.)