One (Tax-Effective) Lump Sum, Or Two, Vicar?

b2ap3_thumbnail_RevTomHollander.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the ongoing and little appreciated consequences of Henry VIII's defiance of the Pope and his break with wealthy Catholicism, means that Protestants have inherited responsibility for the upkeep of England's heritage churches which, despite some governmental assistance, can be a millstone. Thankfully they were built for the greater glory of God, and to last, but week to week upkeep can run into thousands of pounds. This fun poem concerning one zealous priest was written with affection several years ago. I'm sure readers will recognise the inimitable Tom Hollander in the images in his role as Rev.

 

Zeal for your house consumes me. Psalm 69:9

 

We’re looking on the bright side

That’s where we cast our net

It’s what the vicar tells us

Will get him out of debt

The choir’s in perfect harmony

The organ chords resound

But if coffers are not rustling

There’s no joy to be found

 

We’ve given in our widow’s mite

But still it’s not enough

Donations should be paper

Any other kind is duff

So forget about the small change

Dig deep in purse and pocket

If the tax-man doesn’t take it

The vicar’s sure to dock it!

 

Now those who’ve sung at weddings

Will know the cleric’s drill

A captive congregation

Means collection plates should fill

He tells of crumbling plaster

And windows that need masons

Without a calm restraining hand

He’d be passing round large basins!

 

Some think an entrance turnstile

Would be a good idea

The takings would flow freely

And add up year by year

Such measures smack of mammon

And leave the punter skint

With work like that in progress

We should just install a Mint!

 

So render unto Osborne

The sums that must be found

And pray our Talents work for good

Unburied in the ground

With Faith and Hope and Charity

Investment’s sure to double

But those who gather into banks

Heap up a hoard of trouble

 

You can’t fault the Rev's intentions

His heart’s for God and Church

Without his glorious vision

We’d all be in the lurch

He’s anchor-man and mainstay

And shepherd of the flock

He keeps a strength of purpose

To make sure we build on rock.

 

So we’re looking on the bright side

We’re hauling in our catch

The nets are fairly breaking

And debt we can despatch

Those future generations

Who want their sins forgiven

Can join with us who bless him

And have their Hope in Heaven!

 

 

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Photo: Giles Keyte

 

 

Comments 13

 
Katherine Gregor on Sunday, 31 May 2015 19:27

Brilliant! I love it!

Brilliant! I love it!
Rosy Cole on Monday, 01 June 2015 15:54

Thank you! Please you enjoyed :-)

Thank you! Please you enjoyed :-)
Stephen Evans on Sunday, 31 May 2015 22:39

Funny! reminds me of this famous American poem:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xWtysMlrcA

Funny! reminds me of this famous American poem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xWtysMlrcA
Rosy Cole on Monday, 01 June 2015 15:44

Ah, baseball. Yes, indeed. Is that like Rounders, I've often wondered? I was a Rounders champ at school, renowned for thwacking the 'dun sphere' so hard several bats got broken. I even acquired the nickname 'Hercules' which is funnier when you know I'm only 5' tall :-)

Ah, baseball. Yes, indeed. Is that like Rounders, I've often wondered? I was a Rounders champ at school, renowned for thwacking the 'dun sphere' so hard several bats got broken. I even acquired the nickname 'Hercules' which is funnier when you know I'm only 5' tall :-)
Anonymous on Monday, 01 June 2015 06:00

I'm assuming this is your work, Rosy. Of course, it's funny, but so well constructed -- not a single forced rhyme or
forced anything. Not in the style but in the sentiments it reminds me of Robert Burns. Great stuff, I'd say. Oh,
and I'm guessing the churches in England aren't in so much trouble as those in the U.S. They're closing at a sad rate. The church of my childhood, a cathedral, has been for sale for 5 years. When it closed the parish owed the diocese $6M in back rent. I wouldn't risk making any funnies about it publicly.

I'm assuming this is your work, Rosy. Of course, it's funny, but so well constructed -- not a single forced rhyme or forced anything. Not in the style but in the sentiments it reminds me of Robert Burns. Great stuff, I'd say. Oh, and I'm guessing the churches in England aren't in so much trouble as those in the U.S. They're closing at a sad rate. The church of my childhood, a cathedral, has been for sale for 5 years. When it closed the parish owed the diocese $6M in back rent. I wouldn't risk making any funnies about it publicly.
Rosy Cole on Monday, 01 June 2015 16:19

It is, Charlie. I'm glad you liked it and thanks for your kind comments. You probably had to see the priest in question in operation for this to be its most amusing.

It seems the Christian church is in trouble almost everywhere for one reason and another. Undoubtedly, Britain, like America, is a secular country and its Christian heritage has little relationship with its politics and public life. Many churches have closed, particularly in the Non-conformist sector, but my personal experience, throughout life, has been of vibrant communities, full of talent and dedication, publicly and privately. Strange as it may seem, Roman Catholicism in Britain (and I am an Anglo-Catholic, not RC, which is the Catholic wing of the Church of England) is not the same as in America. I'm guessing that the Roman Catholic/Anglican Church here is closer to its roots and long history and therefore not so easily 'shed' as maybe in the States.

But I think the saying remains true: Once a Catholic, always a Catholic Once baptism has taken place, however circuitous the route of the life involved, however hidden the workings, a course is determined.

It is, Charlie. I'm glad you liked it and thanks for your kind comments. You probably had to see the priest in question in operation for this to be its most amusing. It seems the Christian church is in trouble almost everywhere for one reason and another. Undoubtedly, Britain, like America, is a secular country and its Christian heritage has little relationship with its politics and public life. Many churches have closed, particularly in the Non-conformist sector, but my personal experience, throughout life, has been of vibrant communities, full of talent and dedication, publicly and privately. Strange as it may seem, Roman Catholicism in Britain (and I am an Anglo-Catholic, not RC, which is the Catholic wing of the Church of England) is not the same as in America. I'm guessing that the Roman Catholic/Anglican Church here is closer to its roots and long history and therefore not so easily 'shed' as maybe in the States. But I think the saying remains true: [i]Once a Catholic, always a Catholic[/i] Once baptism has taken place, however circuitous the route of the life involved, however hidden the workings, a course is determined.
Anonymous on Monday, 01 June 2015 18:07

Concerning your last statement this, I think, is largely true. Even when people don't know it. But since the 'sixties when the bottom dropped out of everything there has been a mass (little pun there?) defection. One thing that would surprise a lot of the defectors if they knew about it is the number of converts from other religions who have taken their places. And they know their stuff. More knowledgeable about the religion and religion in general than most cradle Catholics. Many of these people were led to the faith through scripture which they always know better than most born and bred Catholics. Interesting to see where this is going.

I'm sure I've seen a few episodes of the TV series you mention. I haven't had TV for a long time because of a squabble with a local provider that has the whole county and especially this building locked up. (Do they allow that in England? I'm sure it's illegal here but they do it.) But the show I'm thinking of came from England and it was funny. Enjoyed seeing more of your work.

Concerning your last statement this, I think, is largely true. Even when people don't know it. But since the 'sixties when the bottom dropped out of everything there has been a mass (little pun there?) defection. One thing that would surprise a lot of the defectors if they knew about it is the number of converts from other religions who have taken their places. And they know their stuff. More knowledgeable about the religion and religion in general than most cradle Catholics. Many of these people were led to the faith through scripture which they always know better than most born and bred Catholics. Interesting to see where this is going. I'm sure I've seen a few episodes of the TV series you mention. I haven't had TV for a long time because of a squabble with a local provider that has the whole county and especially this building locked up. (Do they allow that in England? I'm sure it's illegal here but they do it.) But the show I'm thinking of came from England and it was funny. Enjoyed seeing more of your work.
Rosy Cole on Monday, 01 June 2015 20:59

Yes, it's quite clear it's a two-way street, Charlie, and that other denominations are converting to Rome. That presents quite a few problems when Anglican clergy, who are allowed to marry, defect - some would say 'return home' - to the Catholic church where celibacy is the order of the day.

I can't tell you much about the series Rev since I don't watch it, but I am a huge fan of Tom Hollander.

The poem is from the fun section of my only published poetry book...to be updated in the near future.

Yes, it's quite clear it's a two-way street, Charlie, and that other denominations are converting to Rome. That presents quite a few problems when Anglican clergy, who are allowed to marry, defect - some would say 'return home' - to the Catholic church where celibacy is the order of the day. I can't tell you much about the series [i]Rev[/i] since I don't watch it, but I am a huge fan of Tom Hollander. The poem is from the fun section of my only published poetry book...to be updated in the near future.
Anonymous on Monday, 01 June 2015 23:14

Sometime around 1980 I had an interesting experience that I'm often reminded of these days. I had a friend in Los Angeles, a Jewish woman, whose son converted to Catholicism. The mother was hurt by this because, for one thing, in Jewish law the mother determines the faith of the child. She had nothing to do with religion at all but it was a heritage issue of some kind. The son was a student at Univ. of San Diego or San Diego Univ., whichever, a Catholic university. She and I attended his baptism which included a solemn high mass, a long night between these two services. She kept looking at me and once she said, "do they do this every week?" Well, the priest who baptized the young man had been an Episcopal priest who'd converted. After the service many of us went back to the priest's home for a celebration. The priest's two grown sons were there playing guitar and singing with the rest of the students. His wife mingled and was very gracious. It was a nice time. But for me, having been raised as I was, traditionally, it was entering another dimension. Today I watch EWTN a Catholic network a lot and that priest's name is mentioned often. The times they are a'changin'.

Sometime around 1980 I had an interesting experience that I'm often reminded of these days. I had a friend in Los Angeles, a Jewish woman, whose son converted to Catholicism. The mother was hurt by this because, for one thing, in Jewish law the mother determines the faith of the child. She had nothing to do with religion at all but it was a heritage issue of some kind. The son was a student at Univ. of San Diego or San Diego Univ., whichever, a Catholic university. She and I attended his baptism which included a solemn high mass, a long night between these two services. She kept looking at me and once she said, "do they do this every week?" Well, the priest who baptized the young man had been an Episcopal priest who'd converted. After the service many of us went back to the priest's home for a celebration. The priest's two grown sons were there playing guitar and singing with the rest of the students. His wife mingled and was very gracious. It was a nice time. But for me, having been raised as I was, traditionally, it was entering another dimension. Today I watch EWTN a Catholic network a lot and that priest's name is mentioned often. The times they are a'changin'.
Orna Raz on Tuesday, 02 June 2015 19:42

Thank you dear Rosy, I love it when serious commentary is conveyed in such a delightful and seemingly innocent way--a great poem.

Thank you dear Rosy, I love it when serious commentary is conveyed in such a delightful and seemingly innocent way--a great poem.
Rosy Cole on Thursday, 04 June 2015 18:40

You're very generous, Orna. Thank you! It's just the way it came to me, having been an amused spectator of it all :-)

You're very generous, Orna. Thank you! It's just the way it came to me, having been an amused spectator of it all :-)
Orna Raz on Thursday, 04 June 2015 18:42

For years I have been following this amusement, and social commentary, of my favorite author Barbara Pym

For years I have been following this amusement, and social commentary, of my favorite author Barbara Pym
Rosy Cole on Friday, 05 June 2015 14:50

It's four decades since I read Barbara Pym, Orna, and though I enjoyed her books immensely, I don't remember too much about them, except that they were typical of a middle-class, stoical, educated but bemused understanding of the upheaval in values brought about by the events of the early twentieth century. The same atmosphere comes across in the lives and writings of the Mitford sisters. You may know that 'Debo', the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, the last of them, died only a few months ago. She was a wonderful character and the brains (and heart) behind the now flourishing Chatsworth House and estate, the 'Pemberley' of Jane Austen films. When I lived in the Midlands, one of my choirs would sing there from time to time.

It's four decades since I read Barbara Pym, Orna, and though I enjoyed her books immensely, I don't remember too much about them, except that they were typical of a middle-class, stoical, educated but bemused understanding of the upheaval in values brought about by the events of the early twentieth century. The same atmosphere comes across in the lives and writings of the Mitford sisters. You may know that 'Debo', the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, the last of them, died only a few months ago. She was a wonderful character and the brains (and heart) behind the now flourishing Chatsworth House and estate, the 'Pemberley' of Jane Austen films. When I lived in the Midlands, one of my choirs would sing there from time to time.
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