Tag Archives: manse

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

Derek

You can also find me at www.derekthecleric.com

The wrong end of the stick!

13 Nov

Dear friends

One of the downsides to my vocation is that I am rarely (if never) completely ‘off duty’, so to speak. This state of affairs is little helped by the fact that my clerical attire somewhat singles me out in a crowd thus making me a magnet for any who have need of a man of the cloth.

That said, it is not only the familiar dog collar that illuminates my presence. Whilst most homes get away with sporting an innocuous name or door number by way of identification, my residence is clearly ‘marked‘ as ‘The Manse’.

Last Saturday, having ventured into town to pay a small fine on an outstanding library book (not outstanding in the sense of it being great, rather outstanding as being overdue) I found myself accosted in the street by a couple of swarthy ladies proffering ‘lucky heather’. 

Not only do I distance myself from such superstitious mumbo jumbo but this particular bloom has the unfortunate effect of triggering my perennial hay fever and therefore, from my perspective, not in the least bit lucky.

Having paid my dues to a surly librarian who was in no mood to listen to my explanation of mitigating circumstances (it had been doing sterling service propping up a wobbly table in St Cliff’s foyer) I retraced my steps through the town only to once more be confronted by those persistent purveyors of purple plants.

Having successfully fended off their second attempt to persuade me to “take some heather with you to church, Reverend“ I hastily made my way back to the safety of the manse, post-haste (well as speedily as my trusty Nissan Micra would allow).

Even an additional chocolate digestive taken with a reviving cup of tea could not shake my unease that I might yet still be a target for these peddlers of happenstance, my dog collar having given me away fair and square.

When the phone rang I will confess that I was still feeling more than a little on edge. The voice at the other end quickly seemed to justify my anxieties and I promptly slammed down the phone as I would on any telephonic interloper who was attempting to sell me their wares.

It was only next morning, as I prepared to enter St Cliff’s sanctuary in readiness to deliver another in my ‘Leviticus Highlights’ series, that I discovered (to my horror) that I had got the wrong end of the proverbial stick.

It appeared that the phone call was not in fact another attempt by the aforementioned ladies to foist on me a sprig of lucky heather rather someone asking me to give a lift to an elderly lady who lives but two doors from the manse.

Not only did I find that I had inadvertently declined a request to ‘take Heather to church’ but I also now discover that the lady in question was planning to make a substantial donation to St Cliff’s Roof Fund that particular day, had she but come.

Having been spurned by my good self not only has the offer of a much-needed boost to our Roof Fund been withdrawn but so also has her membership at St Cliff’s.

My only crumb of comfort in this whole sorry debacle is that it assuredly underlines my belief (at great cost to myself) that heather is, and never will be, lucky. 

Well not in my case anyway!

Onward and upward

Derek

You can also find me at  www.facebook.com/derektheclericsquirkyworld