Animal Padre's
Christians Against All Animal Abuse
"Christ’s redemption is for the whole of creation!"

From Spring 2010 Issue

Episode 5
The Flock That Christendom Forgot
Or an animal padre’s uphill pilgrimage

A helpful Solicitor & his Wife

The most eager lady to challenge me over appointing a farm labourer, as churchwarden was the likeable wife of a leading local solicitor. She had nothing whatever against the character of the man I had chosen; simply that he was hardly suitable in such a cultured parish. Indeed, the gentle Lady Lee of Lees steel works; the young daughter of the Dame of Sark and dear Mrs Peach of the Sheffield steel works: ‘Steel, Peach & Tozers’ were of a more tolerant opinion. However, I had cause to be grateful for the solicitor’s wife as well as himself. At a highly charged and aerated church council meeting - where one could have cut the atmosphere with a knife –1’d affirmed that evil was coming from one quarter of the room. I turned to the ex-churchwarden and said: “the evil is coming from you Sir!” Subsequently, unknown to myself, the gentleman farmer sought to sue me for defamation, but the solicitor, with difficulty, persuaded him not to do so as it would bring disrepute on the whole parish. Consequently, his wife cornered me outside the lichgate so as to ‘put me in the picture’ in strictest confidence

I felt I was like Peter Sellers

I sense the only bit of true humour that came out of such a turbulent post was that hardly had my new churchwarden been appointed by myself than did he appear, of necessity, to be seek ing for a change of employment. Within around three months and he was no longer a farm labourer but rather a council employee working on the side of the roads and trimming hedges. Even I was somewhat taken back! And when I reasoned to some startled parishioners that Jesus Himself was a manual worker of His day, it appeared as if I had broken no ice at all

Indeed, my radicalism hardly improved after the second of two marriages had taken place in the major of the two churches. The first marriage – true to local tradition - involved rolling out the red carpet and the ringing of bells, for the sweet bride was a local squire’s daughter. ‘Well’, I reasoned, ‘shouldn’t the second marriage a week or two later - that of a lass from one of the few council houses - have the same extras?’ So, without extra cost, I saw to it that the second wedding was equally as memorable as the former.

Then it was that, at the next monthly Church Council Meeting, the Vet - whose car registration plate read ‘Vet Number One’ – rose to his feet with the help of sticks - to criticise my impartiality. I sense I just couldn’t win! Was not my ministry and parish similar to that of the late Peter Seller’s situation in that laughable Ealing production: ‘HEAVENS ABOVE’? The only difference was that his blockbuster of a comedy was a fictitious farce of a decade or so previous. As for my stand, it was stunningly real. He could get away from the situation by flying into space, but I had made this bed and no matter how uncomfortable the hunting, shooting and intensive farming fraternity had combined to make it, I must lie on it...

- to be continued.

Return to Spring 2010 Issue
Return to Newsletters

Home Page

Your comments and questions are welcome

This site is hosted and maintained by
The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation

Thank you for visiting