Thursday, July 12, 2012

Footwear Approved And Other Reflections To Note

Dear Reader: It can be said that any occasion can be rated for its success by how long it takes one the following day to recover. It is my sincerest plan to go to sleep soon. After a night of carousing, handshakes, social awkwardness and discussion about the standings of particular university football teams (I must clarify, American Football); I am actually looking forward to the dolorous, inane protestations of any number of committees. It is my plan to go to the committee on clergy footwear, in which the discussion promises to be pitched between those who feel that one’s shoes are to be fair trade, and bought only at the most posh (yet earthy) boutiques. Whilst, on the other side, there will be those who feel that clergy should only have shoes if even the least of the people in their community have such shoes. There is also discussion about proposing a resolution affirming the Episcopal Church’s stance on footwear. It should be riveting, and at best the least populated committee meeting, where any of us who have a hang-over may take refuge. Presently, I sit in a Starbuck’s café, surrounded by bearded men wearing Oxford loafers, fleece vests and Gore-tex hats; each grubbing at various editions of major newspapers and ignoring their spouses. In hopes of a moderately less affected day, Mr. Hollyshoes

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Reflections as the days of General Convention Wane

Deputies Discussing Budget
My Dear, Dear Public...

At the very least, I must say that these past few days have been (at the least)…eye opening. I return again to my native land ever more informed, but—well, confused.

For instance, is it the way of all American politics to have sumo wrestlers at all budget discussions? Or, is this perhaps some strange American ecclesiastical invention dreamed up by those visionaries (I say this tongue firmly implanted in cheek) Samuel Seabury and William White…

Whatever the case, the place seemed roused  to a fever pitch as a speaker called out resolutions and their respective numbers, and a gentleman on the far side of the convention center cried out in the deepest vibrato: “Bingo!” The aforementioned sumo wrestling match ended with the two pugilists (if you prefer the term) sitting down to discuss their individual struggles with weight loss and other particular feelings of estrangement from the main. There was a bit of hand-holding, and sharing of baptismal names, and then someone lighted a candle.

Before I knew it, there was no longer a conversation about the budget, rather a prayer meeting of sorts discussing the efficacy of relying on Gods providence. Sadly, I was struck with a sudden bought of nausea, and excused myself.

I have since taken myself away from these odd proceedings (having fortified my constitution with a bit of sherry—for medicinal purposes, of course.), and attached myself to a most interesting clergyman called The Rev. Mr. Grantly Odysseus White-Smythe-Clarke of the parish church of St. Hubbins on the Roadside (Diocese of South Pennsyl-Tucky). He is a gentleman par-excellence, and an esteemed alum of the Mid-Western Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary of the MidWest. This self-same gentleman invited me to his seminary dinner. I thus accepted, having nothing more than my absolute confusion, and apparent dependence upon alcohol and nicotine to otherwise pass the time. Having thus returned to my room, I have dressed the part, and prepare to leave my hotel room every bit the smarmy Englishman I arrived as…

Thus, Percivale Erastus Hollyshoes goes forth, with every intention of posting, dear reader, once more prior to my departure on the morrow.  

Ever evocative, Percy Hollyshoes+

Winner of the Fun Run A Scurrilous Scoundrel and Other fantastical Fun Run Tales

The Episcopal Church Women had planned a wonderful fund raiser 5k in order to raise outreach dollars.  It was a blessed cause for the sake of a blessed friend and woman.  So it was that Sunday morning was a most splendiferous day, which dawned with runners and walkers prepared to meander through downtown Indianapolis on what was to be a most enjoyable 5k.  All went well as the walkers headed off and wound their way along the streets and byways.  Supportive crowds gathered and sticky candy appled children cheered balloons in hand.

Then as the runners and walkers neared the last stretch two barbarous events occurred.  The first was that out of nowhere a school, nay a pod, of people on scooters in a V formation raced off of Maryland street flinging themselves into the crowd of participants which scattered as they tried to avoid the scooters mad drivers.

It took some minutes for the fun runners and walkers, the weeping children, and the dismayed crowd to put themselves back together.  They did so with adept grace and poise.  And, so it was that once more they made their way towards the finish line and ribbon of glory.

The Scoundrel Himself
The whole mass of people were crowded around as they had all planned to allow Miss Louisa Sylvia Maderstow-Fish, the 91 year old ECW matron to cross the finish line first.  It was at this moment, when she was 12 feet from the glorious end that a scurrilous scoundrel, Deputy Mr. Richard Darwin-Fip, stumbled out of an alleyway.  It seems Mr. Darwin-Fip had tied one on the night before, and had not gone to bed, when doing so was most appropriate.  He had wandered the streets all night with no place to lay his head.  So it came to be that he stumbled out into the sea of runners and pushed (I dare say rather thrust himself) upon Miss Maderstow-Fish and knocked her down.  All the while he kept his martini and cigarette deftly in tow.  While appalled by the event, one must give the man honors for such dexterity. 

The crowd was aghast and appalled by the moment.  Then out of nowhere Miss Maderstow-Fish jumped up, as spry as a 21 year old, and gave Mr. Darwin-Fip a right cross, then and uppercut, and finished him off with a well executed bolo punch.  Falling to the ground Mr. Darwin-Fip, cigarette lit, martini unspilled, muttered, "my dear woman."  Meanwhile Miss Maderstow-Fish finished to the applause of all!

I tell you I have not seen anything like it in all my life my dearest reader.  Indeed!

Aetheric Aesthetics Send Burr To Sanitarium

Dearest readers,

Your man Wellington here, back to the typewriter after a short stay at the local Indianapolis sanitarium. 

Unfortunately I suffered an especially serious attack of the vapors on Monday, shortly after Holy Communion adjourned.  I stumbled out of the Marriott where the Convention celebrates Holy Communion every morning in a haze of confusion and horror, all of my senses over stimulated by the liturgy I had so recently endured. 

I tell you in all sobriety dear reader (for the antipsychotics administered at the sanitarium have worn off) that Episcopalians have the most outlandish sense of liturgical aesthetics.  I have travelled far and wide across her Majesty’s empire, and never have I seen such a distressing hodgepodge of voices, such a clamorous and unseemly mixing of tastes, such an affront to coherence, prudence, and restraint as I have witnessed while taking Holy Communion at the General Convention.

While I am loathe to revisit that portion of my memory given over to the dark hours of Monday morning, and though the doctors have urgently counseled me that the brain mercifully forgets that which it cannot fathom, and that the best thing for my continued mental health would be to allow this natural process to proceed apace, I am resolved to see my reporter’s calling through to the end come what may, and cost what it will.  So, dear reader, with trepidation and earnest resolve I shall endeavor to set forth in the clearest possible prose what transpired on Monday morning, in part as a warning, in part because an account of such frenetic and outlandish Eucharistic practice should be preserved for posterity, so that at some future date some intrepid young Ecclesial anthropologist might make sense of liturgical practices which, I openly confess, I haven’t the fortitude to analyze further.

I should begin by saying that there is nothing more painful than offices of worship conducted in public spaces built to house business conventions and debutante balls.  Always the rhythms of liturgy joust with the unspoken metaphysical presumptions of such spaces, creating an aether of dissonance which I believe infected me directly upon arriving for Holy Communion. 

The room was awash in untuned Spiritual vibrations, waves of alchemical energy that established through their electro-phosphorescent competition an already un-challengeable preference for difference over unity.  If only I had kept a pair of Valliant-goggles, what awful collisions of aetheric energy I might have beheld with my own eyes.

The center of the room was occupied by all the groups Mr. Hollyshoes noted earlier as loitering in the exhibit hall.  There were Aldestan pygmies, and Ardaji holy men, and American shamans, along with circus performers of all kinds, teetering to and fro atop giant unicycles juggling icons and clad in surplices and garish makeup. 

Whatever space was left was filled with Episcopalians from across the country, who seemed delighted and hypnotized by the uproar of novelty unfolding in their midst. To begin the service, the Aldestanian pygmies were asked to do a traditional tribal dance for the Spiritual benefit of all present, but things became rather awkward as it was clear that many of the Episcopalians were convinced they could do the dance better.  So after several minutes of despotic endurande and non-participatory dance, some women from the front row stood up and bid the pygmies sit, so that they could demonstrate how Aldestanian pygmy tribal dancing was really done.  The women had learned a number of the steps whilst participating in some newfangled exercise process called, “zumba.” 

So it was that the first fifteen minutes of our service of Holy Communion were spent with the confused Aldestanians looking on whilst the Americans did a rendition of their own smash-up dance-off for their benefit.  Everyone was much pleased by the post-modernist tribal display, and the person to my left remarked that the dance was a prime example of the serious commitment to multi-cultural inclusion commonly cited as a real strength of the Episcopal Church. 

The liturgical language itself was nearly unintelligible.  The Episcopal Church, preoccupied over the accessibility of her Prayer Book, has been quick to substitute more inclusive or novel metaphors for God in place of the names of the Trinity.  Thus it was to “the eternal plumage of the bird of jove our earth mother,” we offered our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, and we were blessed in the name of God, the Milkshake, table lamp, and sunray.   Even more trying was the liturgical decision to dispense with gendered pronouns entirely, due to the voiced suspicion that such pronouns were unconscionably oppressive. 

Rather than pronouns, blanks were left in their place across the liturgy, so that during the Hosanna we pronounced blessing upon “the _ _ _ _ _ who comes in the name of the temporary elected head of the anarcho-syndicalist commune.”

The liturgical vesture was extraordinary as well.  The bishops all wore mitres that nearly reached the ceiling.  They were made of chaotic, cheap fabrics of all kinds – patchworks and swirls of clashing colors competing for attention. 

Several of the bishops wore small neon signs installed on the top of their mitre which hummed and buzzed in neon pinks and greens.  Their beckoning arrows pointed down towards the bishop whose mitre they graced, with various campaign slogans, as the bishops of the Episcopal Church are already jockeying to see who will be the frontrunner in the next election for Presiding Bishop. 

The presiding minister and the deacon were clad in chasuble and tunicle of truly indulgent proportions, rather resembling great patchwork parachutes.  Much excited rumor has been going around about these Eucharistic vestments since General Convention commenced.  They were apparently constructed out of repurposed bathroom tissues recycled from landfills, dyed brown and black, and stitched together with red white and blue thread.

As near as I can remember, the smoke which the shamans were perpetually blowing throughout the room was exceedingly thick, and may in the end have been responsible for my short departure from the face of planet Earth, for I can remember nothing from the Gospel procession (which was led by summersaulting mimes) onward. 

When my senses had found me again at last, I was languishing along some sordid back alley of downtown Indianapolis naked in my shirtsleeves, having misplaced my wallet, my spectacles, and most unfortunately my boots.  Thankfully a fine young constable of the Indianapolis Police Department found me thus, and transported me to the fine sanitarium where I spent the last several days snacking on anti-psychotics kept in a candy bowl on my nightstand, and reading about the results of Dr. Valliant’s latest experiments.

I feel better for having told again the story of my waking Eucharistic nightmare, dear readers, and I hope that my suffering has somehow been your gain.  As always, until I write again, letters may be posted to me at 

Your humble servant,

R. Wellington Burr, PhD.

A Curious Thing Happened On The Floor of the House

I must admit that for of my knowledge and worldly knowledge, the subject of human sexuality and its pertinence to ecclesiastical matters escapes me. Why, if we were to out all of the clergy in the world who were of such an inclination and persuasion, well, then the Church would sorely be fit to function having divested of a majority of its clergy…

This said, I was not a little amused at the proceedings in which, his grace, the Right Reverend Archamedes Phileas Mudchub, from the Diocese of Horseborough began ranting and raving against the proponents of same sex relations. In a lather, he began sputtering nonsense, balderdash, moonshine and tosh about his disbelief in the actual existence of homosexuals. He continued his tirade by demanding that such an chimera be set forth that this honorable assembly might be witness.

To this, there was given only slight, conversation, before a formal vote was called, thus resolved that the assembly should scratch their collective heads confounded, and then proceed to point and laugh at his grace the bishop of Horseborough.

Himself voting in favor of the resolution, the bishop briefly pointed to himself with a chortle, but then left his seat (calling a number of delegates libertines). He then flounced out in a heat, and took him directly to a pharmacist to procure aspirin and copious amounts cookie dough iced cream.

We all of us do hope the very best for his grace, but do understand that  the demands of the episcopacy can oft times beset those noble person with the onset of any number of maladies and madnesses. I’ll raise my glass in salute to him later.

I may yet employ my skills as an artist to try to render for you, dear reader, the scene today. I can only say that your best consideration and imaginings of the holy assembly of saints would (I daresay) not so nearly approach that which I saw. In fact, were you to consider such in your sanctified imaginations, and mix in the behavior of the House of Lords and that of a public house.

Now, I must away for a short constitutional, and then a cigar and cocktail.

Incorrigibly yours,

Percy Hollyshoes+

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Offering A View On The Offering That Isn't Offered

An Assault to the Senses Gentle Readers, During last evening’s round of hospitality suites, we ran into the most interesting character, whilst visiting one of the Young People Gathering suites.  Her name is Sally Smith-Smithson, and she’s a former religious who is currently acting in a consultative capacity for several parishes and publications, and has a wide and varied set of opinions on the American church.  We were simply enamored of her, and spent the better part of two gin and tonics chatting it up like two old friends.  We were simply shocked, along with Ms Smith-Smithson, to learn that during the past two interludes of public worship, almsgiving was neither encouraged nor apparent, and even while the UTO offering was taken up at Sunday's Eucharist, and silent offerings have been left on the floor as a symbol of what's missing, we cannot let this matter go untouched.  We hereby yield our column today to my dear and faithful Ms. Smith-Smithson, being one who might be termed to be “in touch with the Young People”, and being a kindred with us, we imagine our Gentle Readers would be interested in what she might have to say regarding this most unusual circumstance.  Very Truly Yours, MaryConstance Hopworth-Bigelow   My Brothers and Sisters, I would like to thank MaryConstance and Mr. Seagrave for their kindness in extending me this opportunity to add to the Fantastical Church Gazette.  I fear that my little portion of type will be mostly out of character for this fine publication, however, MaryConstance  felt “righteously convicted” that some of what I have to say might mean something to the readership at Seagrave’s.  It is with that in mind that I share my thoughts and concerns with you.  My deepest wish for this General Convention was that, as a church, we could find a way to cut through the middle of some of our stickiest questions, and hold up a Risen Jesus to each other.  What I can tell you is that the Risen Jesus is most assuredly here at General Convention, but I’m not any too sure that we are holding him up to each other, or to our own selves, and that starts not with a conversation about blessing same gender relationships or selling 815 or telling the truth about budgets.  It starts with how we respond to the very fruit and flower of the Gospel, to the mandate to love God with all our selves, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  When I became aware that offering had not been taken at either of our public worship services, my emotions ran from utter disbelief to total despair.  In reading some of the rationalizations, I quickly found my blood pressure rising, and my spirits plunging.  One of our brothers, who sits in the House of Bishops informed me that the rationale for cutting the offeratory was that it saved four whole minutes.     Four minutes.  That's 240 seconds.  That's the length of a really long pop song on the Billboard Top One Hundred. We, and I do mean we, because it's not like only one person made this choice, decided that four minutes was worth not offering something from our pockets and hearts, because we needed to save time for committee meetings and other stuff that honestly is just gravy.  If we don't have four minutes to pass a plate or a basket so that we can feed, clothe, and house Jesus's most vulnerable brothers and sisters, I'm don't think a single other thing we decide to do makes any difference.    In four minutes, without oxygen, your brain starts to die.  A four-minute mile is considered to still be world-class speed, in the world of track and field.  A baby can be delivered by Cesarean section in less than four minutes.    We could have done a lot with that four minutes, to the Glory of God, and in thanksgiving for this incredible life we've been given.  But we skipped them. Jesus sends his Disciples out, two by two, with nothing but the clothes on their backs.  You wanna know how they kept body and soul together, on the road?  Alms.   Yes, the Jesus we love, the Jesus we preach, the Jesus we wait for lived off alms, and so did the Disciples.  Truth be told, they still live off of them, in places in the world we see in slideshows and short films.  Why then, was the alms basin missing at our public worship services?  Have we housed all the homeless, fed all the hungry, watered the thirsty, visited the lonely and imprisoned, clothed the naked, and healed all the sick?  For the sake of four little minutes, we became goats, instead of acting like the sheep we are.  Is it so gauche to remind people that what they hold in their hands is on loan, just as the breath in their lungs is, as well?  Jesus asks us to remember the poor, and to remember the story of his love and sacrifice every time we are together.  I mean, it’s ok for us to grill each other about with whom we share their beds, or by what pronoun we address God.  Heaven forbid we ask for a five spot, to do something small but mighty about the 30,000 children who will die every day, because they didn’t get enough food to eat.  I don’t think any liturgist could come up with a justification for this tragic and frankly disgusting oversight that would even begin to seem adequate.  And to have done it twice…for the sake of four minutes.   Historically, we know that Jesus's death on the Cross took hours.  We do a good job of remembering that on Palm Sunday, and Good Friday.  But the truth of the matter is that we are commanded to remember Jesus's death and Resurrection everytime we are together.  And there's no shortcut to the end of the story.  There's no reason to leave anything out, not because it's magic, but because it's the best story we know, it's the only story worth telling, and it saves us from ourselves.  Jesus's love and sacrifice is timeless, and when we gather to worship Him, the clocks should't matter.  For my part, I'm glad Jesus didn't cheap out on those last four minutes on the cross, no matter how badly and deeply He wished to have be done with things just a little bit sooner.  I'm thrilled that UTO was remembered in Eucharist, yesterday.  MOr that that, I'm pleased as punch that so many of you have been leaving your offering, unsoliticited and unnamed at the foot of the font and the altars where we worship.  Keep doing it.  Please.     We must remind ourselves that we are a church who says we believe in a Jesus who became poor for our sake, who never owned a house, who rarely had two denarii to rub together, and who changes all our lives EVERY SINGLE DAY, and that we love all sorts and manner of people for HIS SAKE, not for columns of ink or political points.  And for the love of Jesus and the ones that Jesus loves…put out a offering plate the next time we all have a Meal, together, because we aren't the only ones who like to eat, or sleep in beds, or drink clean water, or wear clothes, or live in places that are safe and warm, and we're at this Table because of the ultimate act of charity and hospitality.      With Love,  Sister Sally

Follow Your Deputation Score at the House of Deputies

Bonnie Ball is a game wherein deputies are competing for scores. Like the All-American game's home run derby; Bonnie Ball keeps score of your favorite deputies' points.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Grumpy Muppets Against Change

The Committee on Structure has been hard at work here at General Convention my good reader.  Today they have published and sent to the floor of the House of Deputies one of several "change" resolutions that have the potential of transforming The Episcopal Church structures. 

In the beginning the two grumpy muppets Waldorf and Statler, who testified at the hearing on structure, cried out for change.  Statler comparing the current structure to one of Fozzie Bear's jokes.  Waldorf chimed in demanding that the show be stopped. 

Now the two muppets are saying that the change is too much.  Statler said to this reporter, "I wasn't calling for the church to change things I enjoy like tangled beaurocracy, unnecessary parliamentary procedures, amendments to the amendment, and a budget process that would leave the United States Treasurey confused."  Waldorf agreed nodding his head.  Then with a twinkle in his eye he turned to Statler and said,  "Really, this isn't half bad."  Statler, quick as a whip retorted, "Nope, its ALL bad!"

I was puzzled and so I wondered if there was any real theology here.  As the two grumpy old men walked away I heard Statler say: "Do you believe in life after death?"  Waldorf grouched back: "Every time I leave this meeting." I watched with my mouth wide open as the two of them laughed and walked away!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sweeping Technological Changes Defeated

As you may well know my dear distinguished reader, Americans fancy technology.  It is their new vice.  The Americans at General Convention, you will be shocked to find out, are no different than the rest - or are they?

Resolutions calling for more wifi accessibility, new forms for gathering and communicating, rallying cries for using technology to serve the organization and the mission of the church, video streeming, meetings where people gather and talk with people around the world (it is all quite magical to me) all fail in this ludditean convention.  But I was able to find a man, here, on location, who has an idea that will surely change the way these Americans do business in the future.  It is a splendid notion and proposed by the deputy from the Diocese of St. Hobsbawm, Mr. Ginger-Tombs who says, "What this church needs is 3D" 

General Convention is struggling to see its mission through the fog of legislation.  Therefore, Mr. Ginger-Tombs is suggesting that the 2015 General Convention be in real 3D.  "Fantastic!" I say, "Huzzah! Huzzah!" 

My dear Gazettateers we have obtained a picture copy of this so called mission of General Convention and we are releasing it to the public here on our site.  You do indeed need 3D goggles to see it, so we have provided those as well.  Simply cut along the dotted line, put the glasses over your eyes, and you will see clearly through the fog of General Convention clarity of its mission.

Hooligan Youth

When I was but a lad on my father's estate in Bradford, Yorkshire my nanny Miss Higgenbotham-Smythe would often correct my state with these words, "Master Segrave, children are to be seldom seen and seldom heard; and I am seeing too much of you and I have heard enough."  Sweet dear Miss Higgenbothom-Smythe was so very wise. 

Of course it was not until my senior years of maturation had dawned did the wisdom of my dear nanny return like a mighty rushing voice of a prophetess who was without honour in her own time. 

I dare say who I do not know, nevertheless someone has allowed hooligan youth to register for this American General Convention.  These hooligan youth bandy around the place with joy and excitement about the future. They corner poor old ladies and describe how their communes (the Episcopal Service Corps) are actually doing the work of the church.  They gather and have fun.  They speak of change.  They have foolish notions that the structures of the church should serve the mission of the church.  They are creatively and creating havoc and destraction.  I am simply sure at night they are stealing people's scooters and smoking cigarrettes with the bishops!  Shocking.

They will learn, these hooligan youth, that someday when they have earned their stripes, and sit on the thrones of power, that such fanciful ideas are to be cast aside.  Oh, yes, these hooligan youth have a lot to learn about the kingdom of men and power.  I will wait and I will watch as they learn that Miss Higgenbothom-Smythe was right: children are to be seldom seen and seldom heard; and I am seeing too much of you and I have heard enough of these hooligan youth.  

Friday, July 6, 2012

Pugilists prepare for Brackets Proposed to Solve Budget Crisis

Mickey "The Fist" Purifoy-Loughlin
 Breaking News! This reporter has just learned that the dueling budgets remain unsettled on the eve of PB&F's (Program, Budget and Finance) target date for release of the final dollars.

"There are just too many requests."  Said PB&F spokesperson the Rev. Dr. Donald O'Sullivan-McMannis.  "We had to decide to fund the youth mission or the GOE (General Ordination Exams) for seminarians. Everyone loves testing of course so we will keep that in."  But there remain so many other decisions.  O'Sullivan-McMannis explained the only way to do this is to create a bracket system and to allow the deputies to fight for their favorit budget line item. 

Danny "The Bull" Bullwinkle-Dooney
Danny "The Bull" Bullwinkle-Dooney will be slugging it out for the vergers of the church.

Mickey "The Fist" Purifoy-Loughlin will be offering bare knuckles for the Holy Women/Holy Men research.

Bookies are already taking bets on who will represent the funding for the Presiding Bishop's Chancellor who will probably end up in the ring with the representative for the President of the House of Deputies Chancellor; will it be the ladies themselves?

A Refined Look At General Convention Hospitality Suites

Greetings, Gentle Readers.   We are tasked today with describing to you our experiences with American Anglican hospitality. 

As one might gather, General Convention is not only a time for fancy dress (kindly read a post entitled: Fanciful House of Bishops Convenes, which should provide our Gentle Readers with a bird's eye view down this peculiar lane.), parliamentary procedure (one wonders why in the world the American Church does not simply hire an authentic British parliamentarian to do the job correctly...), pedantic committee meetings, and something to do with a Blue Book that is actually not blue at all, we have become aware that a particularly American Anglican form of socializing referred to as "visiting the hospitality suite" is where the actual business is done.  

We were most intrigued as to the goings-on in these hospitality suites, as we had never heard of such a wonder, before.  Due to our superb letters of introduction, we were able to secure an invitation to a record four hospitality suites, last evening.  We shall refrain from identifying the four suites we visited, so that we may tell an unsullied story.  Suffice it to say that each had their particular strength and weakness, a certain tone and flow to conversation, and there was QUITE an ocean to cross between each in terms of beverage and victuals, although we will say we did enjoy ourselves immensely and learned volumes of valuable information. 

We also came to the crashing realization that a number of stereotypes are quite true.  One such is that the Americans and the British are, in fact, divided by a common language.  We can also assure you that given the opportunity, even the most humble hostel will face almost anything in marble and gilt, just to convey the right amount of refinement, never minding the fact that we have yet to see hide nor hair of personal attendants.  We were assured we were being provided with lodgings that would be commensurate with the style to which we have grown accustomed, and while the going is not nearly as rough as a bivouac we once struck outside Calcutta, we can assure you that mock-Egyptian cotton sheets do not fool us.  Mother always told us, "Marble does not a four-star make, MaryConstance.  Never forget."  Nevertheless, we had a smashing and most enlightening time.  In fact, once or twice, we had our sensibilities downright shocked.  This never happens to us.  

First, let us deal with aesthetics.  Hospitality suites should never, ever be considered to be in the same class as salons.  We cannot stress this enough.  There must be no confusion on this point.  Hospitality suites, if we may be coarse for a moment (and we must say that America has levied an assault on our manners...), are the strange offspring borne of the mystical union between a pub and a hotel room.  Just as there are many sorts and kinds of pubs and hotel rooms, so it is with their strange and almost-unnatural spawn. 

Upon entering our first hospitality suite, we became all too aware of the American predisposition to put paisley print on both large pieces of furniture as well as quite heavy and unseasonably dark drapery.  We were most grateful to accept a lovely gin and tonic from the host of this particular suite, just at the moment we were sure we were about to swoon. 

As the room refocused, and the bracing bite of tonic and key lime coasted down our parched throat, we remembered the advice of Her Majesty Victory, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India given to her eldest daughter on the occasion of her marriage to, "Lie back, and think of England."  And so, we did.  We thought of England, and were reminded that we are indeed a stranger in a strange land, and as such, must accept the hospitality that is offered, whether we understand it or not.  We are under a divine mandate to be gracious in all things, after all.  

As the conversations in the suites did not stick to polite topics of each person's general health and the weather, we are unable to convey any information gleaned regarding elections, publicity, or those pesky little lingering questions that keep being bandied about like tennis balls during The Fortnight regarding budgets and their arcane formulae.  What we can say is that people are certainly discussing them within their camps most vigorously.  One thing upon which we can comment regarding the overall tone and tenor of the several hospitality suites we visited was their overwhelming appearance of homogeneity We found conservatives with conservatives, liberals with liberals, all the birds of particular feathers one would find seemed only to be roosting with themselves.  Troubling this was, on three levels.  One wonders what they believe the other parties to be discussing, as well as the accuracy of those beliefs.  A second concern is that in such self-same and contained little environments, there is no analogue to an Alice Lee Roosevelt who will beckon us to a chaise with a knowing smile, saying, "If you can't say anything nice, come sit next to me."  We would also be remiss to leave out the point that Our Lord had public and strenuous intercourse with a wide variety of people, including prostitutes, tax collectors, murderers, lepers, and proto-Whigs.  

Perhaps, as we are leaving our calling cards, we shall rearrange some of the signage at tomorrow night's round of suite visits.  We shall call it a social experiment for scientific purposes, and shall include in our bag of tricks not only our best engraved calling cards, a box of our favorite violet candies, but also a small flask of Bushmill's.  One never knows when one might need to spike the punchbowl to get the party going. Sometimes, there is no telling how much one may need to drink in order to see the face of the Almighty on the face of one of our brothers or sisters.  Fortunately, we learned a great deal of sleight of hand at the knee of our darling Uncle Billy, and are happy to put those skills to use in the pursuit of a healthier church for our American cousins.  

Fair Evening, Gentle Readers, MaryConstance Hopworth-Bigelow

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fanciful House of Bishops Convenes

The week before the House of Bishops was to formally gather in Indianapolis a memo went out explaining what was to be worn at the General Convention.  We can all imagine this began innocently enough as a few people who would be attending for the first time were genuinely desirous of knowing what one wears to General Convention.  The memo explained that rochet and chimere were to be worn for the Sunday service procession. And, that the rest of the time was to be a little more formal than the normal dress for Kanuga or Camp Allen. 

"This was the first time that mandatory processing and a dress code were given to the bishops!" complained Bishop Joseph Dandy Brooks of the Diocese of St. Banks.  As suspected this reporter found out that of course the office of the Presiding Bishop was just trying to be helpful and not set any such standards.  And, a polite email form the office assured bishops they were just trying to be helpful followed the first.

Nevertheless, Bishop Hipwiggins of the Diocese of the Forlorn was heard to say, "I just am so taken aback by the suggestion that there is a dress code and we must participate in worship."

Things took a turn for the worse as at the first meeting yesterday afternoon.  It was obvious that not everyone read the email. In fact, perhaps not everyone has email!  And, that because of a rumor, which is the trade of these gatherings, a number of bishops showed up for the first meeting in full regalia and processed to their tables accompanied by acolytes.  The tables being very small (as you can see from this accurate photo taken at the meeting) this made for a very uncomfortable first session.

The tensions grew as the underlying arguments between the high church and the low church factions moved on to discuss candlesticks on the altar.  Fisticuffs were barely avoided as words were exchanged over ruffled or non ruffled sleaves. Shocking! But True.

Episco-cats vs Episco-pups

This year at General Convention, for the very first time, Episco-cats have sent representatives to make sure that all Episco-cats are considered while resolutions are making their way through the legislative process.   Episco-cats have their own calendar and youtube video which you can find here: episco-kittens.  You can order your calendars now.

Miss Muffie Sweetie-Thompson is a new lobbyist for the Episco-cat coalition and is clear, "Every Episco-cat needs representation.  There are some 6 million house cats that belong to Episcopalians. This is a very large number of cats."  We confirmed this fact with the ASPCA and they believe this a very real possibility.  "Episcopalians are cat lovers," said ASPCA spokesperson Miss Roberta Ann Imalia.

While accessibility to services and the rites of the church are important to this group.  A very real concern has arisen out of the structure committee.  I searched out Mr. Robert Dogwood, deputy from the Diocese of St. Labrador.  Mr. Dogwood was clear, "As a representative from my diocese and a Episco-pup lover, I am concerned with the proposals that seem to imply that we will at General Convention in 2015 be put in the same committee."

That is correct, you read it at the Gazette first:  The proposal which has Episco-cats and Episco-pups squaring off is one that will mean a much more streamlined convention and smaller committee footprint wherein cats and dogs will be living together.

Committee on Structure #6 Calls It Quits

Not the Committee on Structure

The Committee on Structure (Cmte #6) had its first meeting today.  They quickly averted the adaptive challenge by passing a resolution that proposes the dissolution of the committee structure and the office of the Episcopal Church called 815.  The sweeping change is being greeted with great applause by everyone not at General Convention.  The two houses (The House of Bishops and the House of Deputies) will have a special session to discuss everything but the need for structure reform. The divided Convention continues to work in the same manner as before refusing to allow the resolution from Structure to come forward so as not to lose any money on the hotel reservations. 

Following the quick action of the Committee on structure, having nothing else to do, they cancelled all the rest of their hearings, and turned in their report, and are forgoeing all future meetings.  In fact they disolved themselves as of 8:15 this morning.  This is a record for all the committees of General Convention, having completed their work only minutes after beginning.

When contacted Abraham Fitzhugh of the Guiness Book of World Records was quoted as saying, "I haven't seen anything like this before!"  Indeed.

Crusty Protozoans Debate

Splendiferous felicitations to you dear readers!  It’s your old boy Wellington here again, dashing off this, my second missive from the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Indianapolis.  I was amazed to find, in the lobby designated for the press pool, not a single teletype with which to send this report!  I would have gladly sought counsel from my intrepid colleagues, except looking around I realized that there were none – simply empty seats and barren sockets for some strange device called Computer, and from somewhere I could not determine came the regular purr of crickets.  Perhaps more press-hounds would attend the General Convention if they made teletypes available – certainly they could have sprung for one of the old Morse/Vail machines!

As it is, I was forced to quit the hotel entirely.  I am currently hove-to in some dusty old dispensary of antiquities.  The owner rather reminds me of a piece of gristle cut from a poor steak, but he boldly promises that he is in possession of the last working teletype in Indianapolis and be assured, dear reader, that with all England hanging on what happens here at the General Convention of the American church, your man Wellington will make whatever sacrifices are necessary to get his reports in on time!   Today the Legislative Committees of the General Convention begin their work, considering a variety of issues of great importance to the American church and the Communion at large.  This morning I sat in on a Committee whose purpose was to consider the question of communing protozoa at the Eucharistic table.   Apparently that Lockean dream of Equality has so hypnotized this body that many Episcopalians around the country have begun having unmanly and spasmodic attacks of conscience while in procession to the altar rail, complete with convulsions and hysterical weeping, when they think on the tragic fact that protozoa are not offered the same access to the body and blood of Christ as more complex multicellular organisms.  The Church as a whole is much alarmed by the increasing frequency of these hysterical episodes, believing as all good Anglicans do that such spontaneous emotional displays are offenses against decorum and taste and should be altogether avoided in the pursuit of good Liturgy.   It was resolved that the Church must do all in its power to salve whatever wound is generating these disturbing and unpredictable expressions of grief, so that she might return her full attention to the performance of well ordered Liturgy.  Luckily, a number of Episcopalians who had suffered these attacks were among us, and they were compelled to outline their position for the benefit of the entire body.  Thus, in quite moving language, delegate after delegate described occasions where a protozoan with the humblest of Eucharistic aspirations was mercilessly wiped from the altar rail by an overzealous member of the Altar Guild wielding a bleach-soaked rag.  Many among us were much moved by these narratives, and it was heard said more than once that at the very least the Church of Christ ought not to sanction such ruthless chemical warfare against fellow members of God’s creation.

There was a vigorous dissenting party however, who stymied the pro-protozoans at every turn.  Their argument turned upon the fact that no protozoan was included among the twelve apostles, and that nowhere in scripture could any utterance regarding protozoa be found.  While the anti-protozoans could at least be compelled to consider the possibility of extending Eucharistic access to other multi-cellular organisms, particularly those singled out in Genesis as travelling on the ark with Noah, they were immovable on the question of protozoa.   In an effort to break through the deadlock and in the midst of a discussion that had become quite heated, the pro-protozoans made the sensational move of bringing a protozoan into the room to share its own narrative of oppression at the hands of a Church that banned single-celled organisms from taking communion.  While the protozoan was brought forward to a microphone to testify from its petri dish, the anti-protozoans objected loudly that no one in the room spoke protozoan, and it was thus unlikely that anything which was said could be officially recorded.  This objection was taken by the pro-protozoans as yet another sign of their adversaries’ terrible and intractable bias against single celled organisms, as they obviously had spent no time investing in protozoan culture at all.  The room listened to the protozoan’s testimony in rapt silence, and while several were moved to tears, afterwards no two people could agree on what the protozoan had actually said.  

Chief among those undeterred by the protozoan’s testimony was the Rev’d Mr. Foley Walker Sutpen.  Mr. Sutpen is a delegate to this General Convention from the Diocese of Mississippi, and is a lifelong resident of Yoknapatawpha County.  Mr. Sutpen is the rector of the parish church in Yoknapatawpha County, and is considered the Spiritual heart of the anti-protozoan movement here in Indianapolis.  I waylaid Mr. Sutpen after the Committee meeting adjourned, hoping to gain further insight into his fierce opposition to the cause of the protozoa.  He was not hard to pick out, as he was practically resplendent in his seersucker and bold foulard necktie held in place by a modest gold stickpin of probable ancestral origin.  I confess to you, dear reader, that acquiring any kind of quote for this article from Mr. Sutpen was exceedingly difficult, as he seemed to eschew all punctuation entirely, and jumped from subject to subject in a flurry of obscure words and tortured syntax.  Nonetheless, I have tried to represent his objection to allowing protozoans at the Eucharistic table as faithfully as possible:
“So go the protozoa eliding from state to state always emitting as they travel the effluvium of total desolation like a leaf languishing on the ground alone and irreducibly particular; caught between what was and what might be as the falling columns that fronted the house burned now and devoid of white wash, decimated in a time distantly remembered during which the women wept clad in black with thick lace gauze falling from their hats and across their faces, the air heavy with the smell of magnolia blossoms, their eyes averted and dreams destroyed as the thing that once was is lowered using ropes and pulleys towards an eternal respite in the dusty hard ground which had enjoyed not the slightest touch of rain in the intervening years so that the dust from dead sugar cane and cotton plants was everywhere like a fog of death and decay filling the air and accumulating on any unused surface.  It was as though God himself had turned his gaze from this land abandoning it to the whims of fate and the incommunicable sensibilities of protozoa.” 

And with that, dear readers, I must quit this desultory dispensary of antiquities and prevail upon some fine establishment to furnish me with my luncheon.  But know that until I write again, messages may posted to me at, and correspondence will be returned with all due haste.   Ever your humble servant,   R. Wellington Burr, PhD.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day 2 from Mr. Hollyshoes

Today, I decided to take me throughout the hall of exhibitors at this convention. Being such a novel race, these Americans, I always enjoy their seemingly innovative, if not sophomore sensibilities in the realms of liturgical vestments and liturgical (so called) innovations. I was astounded to find the hall teeming with spectators and rubber-neckers of all sorts—many carrying handsome totes and wearing fashionable hats from Lands End. After waiting for some time in the queue, and pushing past what can only be described as a veritable knot of large African tribal puppets, and a group of confused Native Indian Shamans; I made my way into the exhibitors hall. All about me, dear reader, I can only say that there was a kind of energy that could only be found in the midst of a cricket match or a township rebellion. This, certainly depending upon where one stood. Even now as I write, I have signed up for any number of e-mail newsletters; may have joined a cross-section of the American Church who is interested in the inclusion of animals for holy baptism (they had very nice pens); and have committed myself to the re-establishment of the Lay Order of St. Immedius the Punctual. I was, of course both confused and a little dismayed by the sight of school children diligently coloring boisterous designs upon stoles, mitres, copes and chasubles—and the company who ran the table selling these items to over-zealous clergy people for exorbitant amounts of money. C’est la vie… Pressing aside my baser instincts, I have decided to wait for another hour before going around the corner for a gin and tonic. I may need to return to my room to fetch a vial of witch hazel and a pouch of tobacco—I wouldn’t want this hazy afternoon to be a total loss. As always, I remain, Percy Hollyshoes+

Political Power Structure of General Convention

For those of you who are truly interested and are by nature an inquisitive sort, please find below a graph of the political machinations of General Convention:

Thanks to the innovative work of a most insightful website entitled "graspingforobjectivity" we have stolen and reproduced here an excellent diagram to help the conneseur of General Convention understand how it really works:

All persons fictitious disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or to members of the General Convention is not only coincidental but miraculous!

A Civil Post In The Flurry of General Madness!

A gracious and good morning to our Gentle Readers from the Great American City of Indianapolis!   We must say, the bluster and flush of conventioneers is full on the face of this quintessentially Mid-Western City.  Our gentlemen colleagues have given us some wonderful descriptions both of the accommodations (One really must bring one's own bar kit to these functions, as it is practically impossible to find suitable potables on this side of The Pond.  If we are asked if we would like a vodka or gin martini one more time, we shall be quite vexed, indeed.)  and some of the mechanisms one would find were one to be attending the 77th General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America.  As the female contributor to this sterling publication, we feel it is necessary to augment our brothers' reporting with some of what we are told the sporting media in this country refers to as "color commentary".   One may rightly assume that this bit shall have nothing whatever to do with actually describing the colors, hues, and tones of the general splendor of the meeting hall or the garish garb worn by some of the participants.  However...we must honestly say that we are utterly mortified at the state of undress around in which most of these supposedly refined folk walk.  Not a glove, corset, or stocking to be seen.  Additionally, we had not become aware that zoriis had become acceptable footwear outside the Orient.  We are pleasantly and awfully shocked.  We are assured that CM Almy does in fact have a presence in the Americas, and yet in the convention's exhibits hall, we are confronted with pieces of sacramental dress (including birettas, copes, mitres, and all manner of priestly accouterments) that have been style in something we are told is called "tie dye".  We cannot adequately express our dismay with out using language that is neither becoming of a lady, nor a Third Order Member of the Oratory of the Paraclete.  We have nothing further to say regarding this matter than can either be of service or edification, and frankly, we may need a drink.   Additionally, while walking about, we saw what may be described as "all sorts and conditions" of folk.  We were instantly reminded of several people we know, and felt that familiar tug and pull of what can only rightly be described as nostalgia and slight homesickness.  Two quite kind gentlemen offered to carry our valise and carpet bag down the hall, to our berth.  (They reminded us of our old Uncle Billy and his good friend Mr Benneton.  They had such a darling little house-junk, and were renowned for their dim-sum at-home evenings.  Such dear friends they were, and family to us.)  These two gentlemen who carried our bags were all in a dither about budgets and allocations, and something about Young People.  We were so relieved to see that the bed had been turned down, and that fresh water and lovely cake of Yardley's Lavender Soap had been laid out on the vanity, we were almost in tears, and forgot to tip those kind young men.   We are most curious, after taking some refreshment and repose, to continue our exploration of this city and this General Convention.  We can imagine that there is much more to see and many stories to tell the Gentle Reader.  We thank you for your readership and remain your stalwart friend, MaryConstance Hopworth Bigelow.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Baptismal Certificates Required For All Deputies

Breaking News! We the editors of the Gazette have it on good authority from our twitterverse (@ChurchSnobTEC) that the candidates for House of Deputies President will have to show their Baptismal Certificates prior to be considered for nomination. We believe this is a first strike at requiring all deputies to show credentials. "Bishops are required to do so at their ordination," Bishop William Diggingsly of the Diocese of St. Seldom replied, "Why not the deputies?" We have learned that a new website has opened where deputies can now get fake baptismal certificates printed in order to be credentialed in time for their first committee meetings. Find the site here: Baptismal Certificates are Us!

Committee on Chairs Awaits Seats in House of Deputies

With over $500,000 American dollars being spent on chairs for the deputies of the General Convention in Indianapolis to recline upon, the Committee on Chairs has taken their job most gravely to heart. "Trying to figure out how deputies will be sitting is one of the key challenges," Chair person and deputy Dooney-Smith said. "Do we sit in the chairs or on the chairs? We spent some hours on the language itself because of the importance of our deliberations. Some members of our committee have asked to be reasigned to new seats on the Committee of Constitutions and Canons because the work is so very difficult." Learning about this behind the scenes, I immediately searched out a deputy to ask if they were concerned about the chairs at General Convention. Deputy McNormand-McDooley of the Diocese of St. Perch was eager to speak. This 40 year veteran said, on the record, "We will be sitting a lot here in Indianapolis." Indeed, our mathematical team put together this important fact, and the reader should take note, the deputies will be sitting for 96+ hours over the next few days. This does not include the sitting for meals, or at the desk in their room, or at the bar. For Deputy McNormand-McDooley she has literally perched at General Convention for over 400+ hours of her life listening to resolutions and in committee meetings. Our mathematical team reminded me that this does not include the number of laborious hours that she sat through committee meetings during the triennial period. We next went to our science editor, Dr. Berlingham-DoLittle, he said, "Those who sit less have a lower risk of dying than those who sit more!" Interesting news indeed for a church trying to figure out structures for mission. Deputy Dooney-Smith, Chair of the Chair Committee, "Reminded me that this sitting is most essential. Next a report from the committee on chalk boards. We will ask the very important question: How many chalk boards were needed to run this General Convention? And, did you order colored chalk.

Wellington in the New World!

Hullo Stolid Readers of the Gazette!  Old Man Wellington here, welcoming you to the grand fair that is the 77th General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America – that shining beacon of reasonable, monarchical Christianity, which casts her ever-warm glow upon the benighted, dirt-specked brow of old Uncle Sam, reminding all Americans of their glorious past as proud citizens of the Empire.  I am fresh arrived in Indianapolis, having spent several ecstatic months as a guest of Dr. Constance Valliant, the Great Quaternionist of New Haven.  Putting Dr. Hamilton’s much maligned quaternions to fantastical use in the field of electrical research pioneered by Dr. Tesla, Dr. Valliant has recently constructed an alchemical coil for the conveyance of electricity in her lab at Yale, the wonder of which makes even Wardenclyffe Tower pale in comparison.  Ah, dear readers how I wish I could disclose to you the glories I experienced in Dr. Valliant’s lab.  I sloughed off my Valliant-Goggles each day, forehead glistening with sweat, whiskers singed, and eyes dancing with the flame of facts newly established.  It was truly a Eucharistic feast of electricity, and I believe that Dr. Valliant is on the verge of finally proving to the public the existence of  the luminiferous aether which, experienced readers will remember, enjoys a place of privilege in my own theological musings.

So the reader may imagine that it was with some dismay and embarrassment that I beheld my valet this morning as he intruded upon Dr. Valliant’s lab wearing an expression both quizzical and apologetic, bearing the reminder that I must quit the good doctor’s expansive lodgings in New Haven and make for that great metropolis of Indianapolis, to fulfill a promise made to Dr. Williams that I would report back to the mother Church the various and sundry ruminations of her glad daughter on the American continent.

I touched down this afternoon, having spanned this great country in one of the new aero-planes, which I must warn you boast not the slightest shred of decorum or comfort in comparison to the train car.  I was crammed into my “seat” by some ill-mannered and distressingly clothed beast of the 21st century referred to as a “flight attendant,” and my spirits sunk even more when I beheld my traveling companion.  Dear reader, it is not my habit to exaggerate, but I am sure that this gentleman might himself have filled up a whole row of these “seats.”  His name was Sawdust McJoe, and Mr. McJoe needn’t have informed me that he was no devotee of Mr. Roosevelt’s philosophy of the strenuous life, nor did he have cause to recount the gastronomic delights partaken of before our flight commenced, as ample evidence of their recent demise was strewn across his garishly colored sport-shirt, of the new fangled type with an open, drooping, and attached collar.  I queried him about his destination, hoping the Good Lord would at least bless me with a short interval doubling as this gentleman’s hip pocket.  Imagine my surprise when I discerned, with some difficulty given Mr. McJoe’s coarse speech and abrasive manner, that he too was travelling to the Episcopal Church’s General Convention!

Now keen to don my reporter’s hat, I began to interrogate Mr. McJoe in an off-hand manner, searching out all the latest scuttlebutt surrounding the impending General Convention. Imagine my double-surprise when I learned that Mr. McJoe was not only a delegate to the General Convention, he was also preparing to stand for election as the president of The Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies!  I was eager to learn what Spiritual practices of discernment were currently in use by the Episcopal Church, so that I might relate those wise practices to you, dear reader, across the pond in the mother Church.   Now several hours from this fascinating conversation, I can testify that the American Church has a wholly novel process for nomination to high office which is as involved as it is peculiar. 

First there are the Feats of Injury, conducted at the provincial level.  All potential candidates for high office must engage in an exhausting series of verbal sparring matches.  From what I could glean from Mr. McJoe, these matches rather resemble the bare-knuckle matches bet on in establishments of dubious repute across London, except that, rather than fisticuffs being the order of the day, combat is carried out through a complicated system of crying and whining.  The goal is to whine about the disenfranchisement of one’s own kind with the most urgency and sympathetic power.  Only those who have proven themselves truly and finally trodden upon are considered entitled to stand for high office in the Episcopal Church.  I understood that Mr. McJoe himself faced off against powerful adversaries from disenfranchised minorities of all kinds, and it was only through a vigorous last-ditch lament related to a recent Workers Compensation Claim (whatever manner of anarchistic devilry that is) that he was able to prevail.  He boasted to me that all of the judges were inconsolable, and things became exceedingly awkward when one lady in particular was so moved that she would not quit trying to gift Mr. McJoe with her pocketbook, an act which he found as gratuitous as it was offensive.

Following hard upon the heels of the Feats of Injury, comes the Ritual of Campaign.  The Ritual of Campaign resembles the process endured by candidates standing for election to political office in the national government of these United States, for it was from the peculiar political practices of American democracy that this ritual was cannibalized.  The Ritual of Campaign simulates in short order the years-long e of disembowelment by the ravenous and yellow public press that reigns supreme in these Americas.  Candidates who wish to stand for high office in the Episcopal Church and who have dispatched their opponents during the Feats of Injury, submit all their particulars to the nationwide network of Church web-loggers, who examine all of their public utterances with a fine-toothed comb, particularly trying to root out any vestiges of racism, misogyny, or homophobia, no matter how vestigial.  Candidates are encouraged to hit back during the Ritual of Campaign, by making donations to National Public Radio in the name of any particular web-logger who has savaged them over Internet (whatever form of anarchistic devilry that is). 

After a candidate has demonstrated sufficient obsequiousness in the face of rancorous digital opposition and proven themselves devoid of the poisonous forms of privilege so recently exorcised from the American church, they are allowed to prepare a set of documents touting their candidacy that may be mailed to all delegates to the General Convention.  Imagine my wonder as Mr. McJoe described to me the volume of campaign related ephemera that have crossed his threshold in recent months with the public post - bookmarks with portraits, cards with slogans and platforms of all sorts.  Mr. McJoe himself has chosen to hire the Chums of Chance, and their grand airship Inconvenience, which will dock shortly in downtown Indianapolis, and fill the streets with campaign literature extolling Mr. McJoe’s virtues in the purplest of prose.  And that, dear reader, is all the news from Indianapolis which is fit to print. 

Ever your Humble Servant,

R. Wellington Burr, PhD.

The Delicacies of Indianapolis: Forward to Convention

By Mr. Percy Hollyshoes

It is a rare thing, indeed, that a man such as I am willing to travel the vulgar media by which the people of America insist on traveling. Certes, the immensity of this country demands the excess of endless tarmac arteries—however, I find the manners of these people disagreeable.

My hired car, which incidentally has the steering wheel on the left, was perhaps the only luxury I would be allotted for my drive to the convention center.

For, with regard to any repast, I was able only to find restaurants which sold only hamburger sandwiches and variations thereof.

Finding my way finally to my lodging, I was glad to find an open bar, which even now serves to keep me in martinis.

Already I have become bored with the conventions of what must pass for American conversation, and left one fellow—who must have been a Southerner—weeping in his seersucker.
I am only glad that I have need only to be slightly sober for the rest of this experience.

Monday, July 2, 2012

In this first article of the Gazette I wish to introduce you, the reader of taste, to the erudite staff of the Fantastical Church News Gazette are as follows

MaryConstance Hopworth-Bigelow
I met Miss MaryConstance Hopworth-Bigelow while summering at Blackpool Tower (a wonderfulf place of refined entertainments: music-hall, variety shows, dancing, water gardens, zoos, opera houses, and the like.) Her wit and perception are not equaled on this staff and her prose are like a rapier!

You will find that Miss Hopworth-Bigelow's credentials are of the finest pedigree.  She obtained her BA/MFA, Honours, First Class, Churchill College, Cambridge, UK; her ThD, Honours, First Class, St. Hedwig's College, University of Warsaw; and her DHL, Collège de Navarre, University of Paris.

Some of you will no doubt recognize her as she is of course one of the founding Cast Members of Real Housewives of St. Swithin's Parish, Manchester.  She is a spiritualist and Third Order Member, Oratory of the Paraclete.  She is also a Lay Chaplain to the Sacred Order of  Relics and Greater Arcana, St. Marguerite's Church, The City of London. 

Outside of her magesty's country Miss Hopworth-Bigelow has lived in Hong Kong, Shri Lanka and Paris.

Burr is first row, second from the left;
Segrave thrid row second from the left
We next come to the The Rev'd Dr. Reginald Wellington Burr.  The Rev'd Dr. Burr needs no introductions.  We played rugby together of course and never was a better man for the work.  Strong in friendship and quick tongued in a duel for truth.  A gifted orator and a practiced scrivener.

Dr. Burr took a Bachelor's in Divinity from Spurgeon's College in London and his PhD from Ridley Hall with specialities in Churchly Kurmudgeonism, Incomprehensible Patristics, and Higher Alchemy. 

The Rev'd Dr. Burr
He has written numerous monographs on the Epiclesis and its underpinnings in the elusive luminiferous aether, where he details how the words of institution, when conceived as vectors plotted in space, suggest the more fanciful theories of Nikola Tesla as relates to his plan for global transmission of wireless power.  It is a most interesting piece.  I have been told that our Lord Archbishop swooned when he read the text. 

He has lived abroad in all corners of her majesty's empire.  I remember a fond evening sipping port in the himalayas reminiscing in my mind a strong afternoon constitutional and then quite suddenly being undone, quite undone, by Dr. Burr's elocution of the London Times and the parsing of truth within its pages.
The Reverend Mister Percivale Erastus Hollyshoes is a man of means and culture who is ever seeking to avoid boredom. He was ordained in the Church of England; but is currently pursuing other intellectual avenues such as entomology and its connection to etymology. His passions include art, poetry, tea and various journals and anthologies to which I contribute.  He certainly has bragging rights as he has been associated and contributed to the fine periodicals listed here:  The Altwerter Uncommonly Erudite Quarterly, Cacoethes Scribendi in Latinae Linguae and Cat Fancy.  Presently the Rev'd Dr. Hollyshoes is what many would consider an international Gentleman of Leisure, also the Richard Hurrell Froude Adjunct Chair Bearwood College.  I met this fine man while enjoying a martini on the veranda of the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC), Kolkata, India (established in 1829).  

Mr. Hollyshoes
His education like the rest of this fine team: BAS, Serampore College, West Bengal, IndiaLiterature, 2000 - 2004; Ridley Hall, Cambridge, Master of Theology, 2005 - 2008

He has lived in Manchester, England; Serampore, West Bengal, India; Berkshire, England; Dalmatian Coast, Croatia; and Arlington, Virginia, United States.