Animal Padre's
Christians Against All Animal Abuse
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From Winter 2010 Issue

Ruffling Feathers’ Twice Within Cathedrals

The second occasion Doreen has just touched upon! The first was at Christ Church, Oxford very many years previous. On the strength of past theological training I was required to do no more than one solitary term to qualify for the Anglican ministry; and during this, to preach at the city’s prestigious cathedral. Well, whatever my shortcomings, preaching was a gift I’d received from God and not from man! So with past Free Church gusto, I preached from the pulpit with fervour, heartfelt emotion and without notes.

But then, making ones way towards the entrance at the end of the service, to shake hands with worshippers as they made their way out, I overheard sly remarks. They came from a fellow whose feathers I appeared to have ruffled. “All that outburst of enthusiasm and waving of hands! Does he think we’re deaf?” And then, as I drew closer, the fellow said to his colleague: “Shush, here he comes!” Then looking at me, he gave a smile of insincerity and a pronounced ‘Good morning!’

Well, I did not answer. Having overheard his remark I merely stared right at him in disgust and passed by. However, next morning at college, the message had got around with much speed. “Your way of preaching a sermon has very much offended the university’s Vice Chancellor!” Well, I thought, he needs the gospel message as much as anyone else! A crawler of a lecturer then wished to stir things up further against me. “You’ve insulted non other than the university’s vice chancellor! This is most unacceptable and needs to be gone in to.”

However, with a true spirit of protection, the Vice Principal of Wycliffe Hall affirmed that my preaching talents - inherited from previous Non Conformist days – were a blessing rather than a barrier, I sense he knew, only too well, that other ordinands for Anglicanism merely ‘read off’ a brief essay once they’d entered a pulpit. This was their sermon! Sadly, - all these decades on! – little has changed; and without a microphone, they’d be unheard.

Protesting against Intensively reared turkey outside Chester Cathedral

My recollections of ‘Church Of England’ cathedrals have not impressed me. Marble mouthed clerics; poker faced choirs, plus the flaunting of academic robes and the array of titles - depending on one’s seniority of rank - are amusing and so contrary to what Jesus of Nazareth stood for.

My wonderful past church organist David Windle - who has been MD on cruisers such as the QE2, as well as Organist within the famous Tower Ballroom of Blackpool – plus a regular musician for the Ken Dodd shows – once visited a Church Of England cathedral. “I wish to see the Organist!” he requested. The robed verger looked him up and down and replied in an effected tone: “Ah, you mean the Canon Choral! Well the Canon Choral is an exceedingly busy clergyman. I would strongly advise acquiring an appointment with him!”

Well, my past church organist’s experience was far from unique: within the last few months I attended a cathedral which will be nameless to enjoy a lecture on the Ten Commandments. On arriving there, I was just in time to witness one of the clergy introducing the speaker as the Reverend Doctor Canon Theologian of the cathedral. Well I thought, ‘with such a lengthy description I’m in time to hear a real in-depth study of the subject to be discussed’. Well, at the end of her discourse I said to myself ‘I’ve heard fart better from a lay preacher in many aback street mission hall than this dribble’. And as for notes, well without them this so called ‘Reverend Doctor Canon Theologian’ would have been utterly lost.

However, my apologies: I’ve got rather side tracked! This hardly relates to the needs of animals; though it does relate to the vanity of that clerical caste who – if they knew their Scriptures fully – would realise the Christian need to speaking up so as to defend them. Yes, rather than be found eating the same aster ghrace! I tell you, such puffed up, conceited clergy are as far removed from their Founder’s aims and objectives as the moon is from cheese!.

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