Christians Against All Animal Abuse
"Christ’s redemption is for the whole of creation!"
From Summer 2010 Issue
The Flock That Christendom Forgot
Or an animal padre’s uphill pilgrimage
Yes, my ministry within Firbeck cum Letwell was truly
turbulent; just as it was much further afield: indeed, within the very
centre of Sheffield itself! The fact is that when blue movies began to
hit the headlines of the central city’s cinemas I not only thought of
far off days as a cinema protectionist in a far less salubrious cinema,
but of the known devastating effects that sexual violence and sadism
could have on impressionable young children. It was also a time when
local rape cases appeared to have soared. So I decided to do something
about defending the vulnerable.
One busy Saturday I made a one-day stand - please
note: not a one-night stand! - in Sheffield centre; and this had
terrific repercussions. A temporary bishop (the dear Diocesan had become
gravely ill!) was about to 'drag me over the coals' for such an
outburst. However, following such helpful support for my stand, which
followed from the city's leading civic dignitaries, he remarked in a
letter to me that he had changed his mind. ‘I feel now that I should
really have supported you myself’ he wrote. Yes, he typified most
bishops. They sit on the fence and only come down on the side the
majority approve of!
However, the story of my Sheffield protest is by way
of diversion. There was only one experience left to tell me that I had
stomached more than enough of rural affluence in my 'stuck up'
social-climbing first parish. The occasion was when the then new Lord
Scarborough decided to send me a brace of wizened pheasants via his
gamekeeper. ‘These are from his lordship', he affirmed! A few weeks
before I had visited his lordship in his spacious, drab and somewhat
deteriorating mansion when I had touched upon God's greater
creation, and my message had gone down like a stone. It was therefore
hardly surprising that, having various other problems - for example
seeking to legally adopt a half-caste child whom we so deeply loved,
whose mother had thrice changed her mind; and having our youngest
retarded because of medical negligence - that I simply 'blew my top' at
this game keeper. “Take this brace of pheasants back - your boss already
knows that I am a vegetarian – and tell him to stick them up his bum!”
Soon the village phone lines were buzzing.
- to be continued.
Return to Summer 2010 Issue
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