Welcome to my world!

5 Mar

Dear Friends

Life at St Cliff’s is destined never to be the same now that my good lady wife has introduced me to the heady delights of ‘blogging’.

I am told that this modern form of computerised communication will facilitate a whole new world of interaction via the world wide web (which is what I gather it is called in the popular parlance).

This old dog (and his dog collar – a little bit of humour I am reliably informed will endear me to readers of my missives) has, albeit somewhat reluctantly, removed himself from the cosy warmth of the metaphorical hearth of tradition and entered into this daunting world of instant dialogue.

Rest assured dear reader of the ‘blogosphere’, I am not completely green in these matters and have been swotting up on the ‘with it’ vocabulary of the airwaves.

So, until my next communication, or should I say, ‘blog’…OVER AND OUT!

Onward and upward


Post scriptum. It has long been my experience, when preaching to the comatose faithful at St Cliff’s (as the bishop has an unfortunate habit of calling my flock), to feel as if one is broadcasting to thin air. To avoid history being repeated and yours truly ‘blogging’ to an audience of one man and his proverbial dog could I prevail on you kind souls of the ‘blogosphere’ to enlighten fellow ‘bloggers’ of this humble missive and to perhaps even encourage them to subscribe to my computerised output (it is free to one and all I am glad to announce) by selecting the helpful icon to the right of this text. Bless you

You can also find me at my wondrous web site derekthecleric.com

The ghost of Christmas past!

30 Nov

Dear Friends

With Christmas all but upon us this season is rather overshadowed by the looming spectre of an unfortunate incident which occurred at last year’s ever-popular ‘Carols at St.Cliff’s’.

It is no secret that I am rather partial to a seasonal mince pie (or two) but this festive indulgence has the embarrassing downside of rogue currants lodging themselves surreptitiously in my teeth.

Had I but known that one of our number, (young Albert Hall – no relation) suffered from a debilitating fear of dentists (having had more than his fair share of dental extractions in his short life) I would have shown a little more more restraint with regard to my cheery demeanour as I welcomed folk to the service.

Greeting him (and his parents) on their arrival at this festive fixture with a toothy grin, my currant-encrusted molars unfortunately gave my visage the appearance of numerous missing teeth and thus triggered one of his ‘episodes’.

If it had not been for the speedy intervention of a member of our prayer ministry team (and the inventive use of the offering bag in the services of quelling his hyperventilation) who knows what would have happened.

Having resolved that this year I would ‘lay off’ the mince pies to avoid a repeat of this calamity, on taking a short cut through St. Cliff’s kitchen (and in a moment of forgetfulness) I secreted into my mouth an abandoned broken morsel of mince pie that lay invitingly on the worktop and then I entered the sanctuary ready for this year’s carol fest.

I will confess to not being particularly one for ‘bells and smells’ when it comes to my churchmanship but when visiting a certain Christian resources exhibition earlier in the year I simply could not resist the purchase of some seasonal  ‘Figgy Pudding and Brandy Butter Incense – minimum five services guaranteed!’

My plan was to waft this festive fragrance around at the outset of the carol service thus creating a suitably Christmassy ambience.

Perhaps it would have been wise to have done a dry run beforehand but hindsight was not on the menu that particular day.

I had not quite realised that there is somewhat of an art to swinging an incense burner but once the smoking receptacle had built up some momentum it was trickier than I thought to dictate both its velocity or for that matter its trajectory.

I fear that had it not been for the late entrance of Mr and Mrs Hall (and their aforementioned son) the smoking burner might have taken off in the manner of a hammer thrower going for gold.

That this did not occur was due in its entirety to these latecomers attempting to slink unnoticed into the vacant front row pews at precisely the moment the maverick incense burner chose to swing back in their direction.

Those of you who have attended one of St.Cliff’s occasional Bowling ‘n’ Burger excursions will be well aware that I rarely achieve the acme of a ‘strike’ and on this occasion too I proved true to my reputation. 

Having floored but two of the three Hall family (like pins in a bowling alley) I was at a loss as to what to do next and thus resorted to smiling pastorally at their almost orphaned son.

You will not need to blessed with the gift of prophecy to see where this is going.

Faced once more with my currant-cursed grin the poor lad keeled over and joined his poleaxed parents on our stony floor.

Such a good ‘hit rate’ for falling to the floor would have been most impressive had it been the fruit of our prayer ministry team, but sadly it was not.

Whilst my mind worked overtime with unhelpful thoughts of litigation, Mrs.Higginbottom, (St.Cliff’s erratic and cacophonous organist), took it upon herself to strike up a festive tune to divert attention away from the ‘incident’.

That her choice of festive melody was ‘Deck the Halls‘ did little to help matters.

Let us hope that 2016 begins better than this year has ended.

Onward and upward


You can find plenty more from Derek the Cleric at www.derekthecleric.com

Your help is needed!

2 Oct

Ask Derek

Dear friends, I need your help.

Having employed my veritable wisdom in my popular ‘Ask Derek‘ feature over the past few years the time is ripe to get my teeth into some more conundrums.

To that end, if you have a thorny biblical question for which you presently have no answer or perhaps there is a more general question on matters pertaining to life, the universe and everything, then help is at hand!

Simply let me know the question that is causing you consternation (you may use the ‘comment’ feature on this wondrous blog site) and I will select those which I consider to be of the greatest interest to the folk in my ‘online flock’ to answer.

I await your response with eager anticipation!

In the meantime why not check out my past ‘Ask Derek’ archive at… http://www.derekthecleric.com/ask

Onward and upward



You can also find me at www.derekthecleric.com

Derek’s Definitions: ABSOLUTION

30 Sep

Derek's Definitions- ABSOLUTION











You can also find me at www.derekthecleric.com


Salt in the wound!

28 Aug

Dear friends

Whilst I pride myself on my knowledge of the English language I confess to sometimes being a tad out of touch with common parlance.

Being situated in somewhat of a ‘backwater’, St Cliff’s (my veritable charge) is rarely graced with new faces thus an unexpected phone call from one of my regulars, with regard to her niece who had recently come to live with her, revived my soul greatly.

This young lady (a Christian) had secured a place at a college in the nearby metropolis and planned to forsake the rigours of staying in halls for the relative comfort (a little humour on my part) of her aunt’s comfy abode.

Excited that this young lady might make St Cliffs her spiritual home for the duration of her further education I probably wasn’t fully concentrating on the content of the phone conversation.

What I did grasp was her concern that the niece was rather shy but (not wanting to appear pushy) she asked me if it was a good idea if she came with her to see me tomorrow evening.

“Do you think I should take her to see you, or should I let her go alone?”

Well that is what I believed she said.

To be perfectly honest, whether the young lady came solo to pay me a visit (or with her aunt in tow) mattered little. Simply the notion that our weekly attendance at St Cliff’s might be swelled by one was enough for me.

Which is why the next evening I cleared my diary (I was certain St Cliff’s Committees Committee could survive without me) and waited in the church office in readiness to meet the aforementioned girl.

It was only when the hour hand on the office clock snuck past ten that it became obvious that I had waited in vain and that she was not coming.

A restless night ensued as I wrestled with both my disappointment at the potential loss of fresh blood in the church and my perplexity as to why the young lady was a ‘no show’.

I did not have long to wait for my answer. As I heaped an extra spoonful of Maxwell House instant coffee into my mug (in a bid to stave off the effects of my tortured night’s sleep) the manse telephone rang.

To my surprise it was the aunt. Before I had the opportunity to ask why I had been ‘stood up’ the previous night she launched into a tale of how her niece had not only joined the college Christian Union last night but that she had gone on her own.

Only then did the proverbial penny drop as to what had been meant by “Do you think I should take her to see you?”

What she did not mean was my good self but, in fact, the Christian Union or CU as I now learn it is generally referred to (in common parlance).

To add insult to injury I now find that this lady’s niece has decided to attend our local Methodist church (which boasts a lively youth group – ours resolutely refusing to break into double figures).

On top of which St Cliff’s Committees Committee was unable to vote on the motion at hand because it was short of a quorum by one person (namely yours truly) so to appease their ire I have agreed to attend their reconvened meeting to ensure that the motion is carried. That the vote pertained to the requisite numbers for a quorum is irony indeed!

It is but salt in the wound that I also discover this coincides with a visit by local ministers to ‘Freshers Week’ at the said college (aimed at attracting young folk to our various youth groups) and at which I am certain the Methodist church will now ‘clean up’.

Onward and upward


You can also find me at www.derekthecleric.com

Derek’s Jokes #11

5 Aug

Derek'S Jokes #11

Does God LOL?

25 Jul

PP 178x110mm 12mmDear Friends

It may come as a surprise to you that this humble clergyman was asked (last year) to contribute to veritable tome entitled ‘Does God LOL?’ 

If you have not yet yet splashed out for this excellent book (in aid of a most worthy charity called Mary’s Meals, I hasten to add) allow me to give you a sneak preview of  my contribution in the hope that you may wish to part with your hard-earned cash and buy it. 

So here it is!


‘Dear friends

What a privilege it is for this humble clergyman to have been asked to contribute to this veritable tome and more so that I find myself in the company of so many comedic luminaries.

Whilst I am more than prepared to have a stab at lightening your countenance a tad I am sure that the chief reason for my being included is to bring a little gravitas to the question posed: ‘Does God LOL?’.

That said, I will confess to once concocting a ‘gag’ (as I believe it is called in the business) and it would be remiss of me to let the moment pass without recounting it. Who knows where this might lead should the likes of my fellow contributors such as Mr Ken Dodd or Mr Tim Vine chance upon my proffering and give me the proverbial ‘thumbs up’?

It would surely be a feather in my cap at the local ministers’ fraternal where my regular attempts to interject a spot of humour (to oil the somewhat rusty wheels of ecumenism) usually go down about as well as someone bringing a ‘tongue’ at St.Cliff’s.

Those of you who have followed my journey for some time will be aware that it was with much trepidation that I entered onto the World Wide Super Highway and I am still somewhat ‘wet behind the ears’ when it comes to the popular vocabulary employed by my fellow travellers.

Thus it was my good lady wife who helpfully enlightened me as to the meaning of the appendage ‘LOL’ but not before I had got myself in a bit of a pickle with a message on the Facebook internet portal to old Mr McMurtry (a crusty and cantankerous member of my charge;St.Cliff’s).

Having given much of his time and effort to picking holes in my weekly sermons he ‘messaged’ my good self to inform me that my apparently erroneous theology had finally driven him to pack his proverbial bags and to seek pastures new.

Having recently preached on forgiveness (chiefly for my own benefit to assuage the ire of the fearsome matriarchs of St.Cliff’s kitchens after I inadvertently forgot to return a Brillo Pad which I purloined in the services of removing some graffiti to a sign outside our church – one particular member of my team did not appreciate the addition of the letter ‘R’ to the end of the warning; ‘SOFT VERGE’) I had little choice but to send him on his way with my blessing (and love, or so I thought).

It was only later that I discovered that ‘LOL’ does not in fact stand for Lots of Love (as I had imagined) but Laugh Out Loud.

Having ‘signed off’ my reply to old Mr McMurtry with the aforementioned ‘LOL’ (in all innocence) I was therefore somewhat surprised to find a response, by return, recanting his previous exit strategy and informing me that he was now staying put to spite me for my insensitive ‘LOL’, albeit it inadvertent on my part.

It would appear that I, like St.Paul, must also endure a ‘thorn in the flesh’ (in my case, in the guise of old Mr McMurtry).

Anyway, without further ado, here is my aforementioned ‘gag’ .

“Why did the chicken cross the road?”

“That is not the question rather, what on earth was the chicken doing in the story of the Good Samaritan in the first place?”

I will admit that my humour may be a little too clever for some but I trust that, with time, the penny will drop and the joke will be got.

So, to the question at hand – ‘Does God LOL?’.

In that God called someone like me to be a veritable minister of the gospel I can only conclude that he most assuredly does.

Onward and upward



 You can also find me at www.derekthecleric.com

I’m back!

21 Jul

Dear friends

It has been a tad too long since I last ‘blogged’ but you will be pleased (I trust) to know that I am back.

I fear that the excuse I am about to proffer for my prolonged absence will appear somewhat lame, but I can only say it as it is.

My enforced ‘online exile’ was precipitated by an unfortunate incident at the outset of one particular Sunday morning service at St Cliff’s.

It is rare that we see fresh faces at our services but on this particular Sunday we were graced by a middle-aged couple who wasted no time in asking this and that about the church.

I felt that I wasn’t doing too badly until the gentleman slipped in what I considered was rather a ‘curved ball’, (considering that the clock was ticking inexorably towards our service ‘kick-off’ time) and it is more than my job is worth to be absent when Mrs Higginbottom, our erratic and tone deaf organist, strikes up for the opening hymn (or chorus, if I’m feeling brave).

The question my inquisitor asked was not one that I had ever expected to answer at St Cliff’s (if you know anything at all about the general lack of spiritual appetite resident within my flock) and I was thus theologically unprepared.

“What is your end time theology?”

This pertinent poser reminded me of an occasion early on in my Christian walk when a fellow enquired of me as to whether I was a Calvinist or an Arminian. Likewise, not having a clue at to what he was referring I retorted that I was in fact British (thinking that he was meaning Armenia, a mountainous country in the  South Caucasus region of Eurasia and I had not the foggiest what a Calvinist was).

In that I was ‘ready to roll’ for our morning service I delivered (unwisely) the first answer that popped into my head.

“Midday at the very latest I should imagine”, (thinking that he was referring to the finishing time of our service and not things pertaining to the ‘mark of the beast’ et al) “though sometimes we run a few minutes over if our organist loses the plot (a not uncommon occurrence) and adds a few additional verses to the last hymn, lack of words to accompany them not withstanding.”

Not only was my reply met with what appeared to me like a suppressed chuckle but to make matters worse I subsequently discovered that these incognito visitors were in fact ‘Mystery Worshippers’ reporting back to that comedic internet portal, Ship of Fools, no less.

Perhaps I would have been a little more on my guard had I but known that this was the case, but then again I supposed that is the whole point of this unofficial church OFSTED.

The icing on the cake to my embarrassing downfall was that the bishop just so happens to be a regular visitor to the aforementioned website and thus my gaffe was well and truly exposed.

That a church on his patch should be led by someone with such gaping hole in their theology was too much for him.

Having deduced that I perhaps spent more time ‘surfing the net’ than I did in sermon preparation I was summarily issued with a ‘’blogging’ ban until my biblical understanding of  the ‘last days’ was brought up to scratch.

I will admit that I did not take kindly to being presented with a copy of ‘Revelation for Dummies’, feeling it a tad patronising having successfully delivered many a sermon in my popular (with me at least) ‘Leviticus Highlights’ series.

The good news is that I now know my Amillenial from my Premillenial and I achieved full marks in the helpful test at the end of the book.

What I had not noticed was precisely how many questions the author of this handy tome had in fact concocted in the interests of slipping in (under the radar) a spot of cheeky ‘end time’ humour.

I am not sure whether I am to be applauded for attaining 666/666 or not!

Onward and upward



You can also find me at http://www.derekthecleric.com


For Valentine’s Day…

14 Feb



Derek's the Cleric's CHURCH SPEAK_LOVE









You can also find me at http://www.derekthecleric.com

A new feature!

3 Feb

Dear friends

My clerical creative juices have been flowing once again and I have come up with a new feature for your delectation.

It is entitled ‘Church Speak’.

There is assuredly more where this gem came from. Enjoy!

Onward and upward


Derek's the Cleric's CHURCH SPEAK_FINE









You can also find me at http://www.derekthecleric.com

Derek’s Photos:Cash back!

16 Jan

OFFERINGYou can also find me at http://www.derekthecleric.com