While I was driving this morning to the place where I am now, I was stuck in traffic with the temperature of the engine rising slowly, and my usual calm giving way to irritation when Christina Rees came onto the radio. The plover egg eating chairhuman of WATCH was providing the thought for the day, although as she was introduced as "the writer, broadcaster and member of General Synod, Christina Rees," one would be forgiven for thinking that she was neither canonically ordained, nor indeed a Christian, unless you knew which General Synod she was a member of. Anyway, she instructed us not to be bothered about walking under ladders or wearing green (but not purple, alas) and that we should not give in to superstition, in which category I presume she keeps silly notions like scripture, tradition and reason. Can I exhort Wanderers who live near Christina's Lair to make heavy use of ladders and pots of green paint to check her claims out? I did not wish to disturb you by showing a picture of Christina, lest you turn to stone, so I have substituted a picture of the view from the churchyard in Ribchester, which is an altogether more attractive proposition.
This further attractive picture shows the Bishop of Salford in the sacristy at Saint Peter's Church, Stonyhurst, after this year's confirmations. Time was that the Bishop of Salford used to issue permissions for the Community to do their own confirmations, but it is comforting to look at the vestments at this time in our history. Today, of course, the General Synod ends and tomorrow the Forward in Faith meeting is held in London. Can I direct you to their website on the side bar which will carry live transmissions of all the speeches as well as updates on what, if anything, is decided? As we said earlier, this is not the end, but the time to begin a full-blooded return to the roots of our faith, and a programme of teaching which will explain the importance of the maintenance of the faith in a changing world. There is, I hope, going to be a busy, hard few years ahead of us all, with much to do and say.
Finally, a picture of a small selection of the real ales available this week at Manchester's premier beer house, the Smithfield Arms on Swan Street. The Tar Bar'l Stout was excellent, one of the finest beers I have had for years and I was overjoyed to see my old friend Jim installed as the new landlord. Ad multos annos, Jim!