Saturday, 15 August 2009

Anglican UFO Sets Up Office

Christianity Now: Tell me about your new appointment: how are we to address you?

(Anglican Confrontation Organisation) Unity, Faith and Order: I will now be addressed as Reverend Virginia Lake.

CN: Why?

UFO: Because this will be a secretive organisation.

CN: Well, quite. You are the first. How are you setting it up?

UFO: The UFO office will go under the name of SHADO under the ACO. SHADO means 'Secretive Hierarchical Anglican Doctrinal Organisation'. The headquarters will be located underneath Lambeth Palace, somewhere in London, giving my operation the cover that something religious is going on.

CN: If this is secretive, why are you telling me and therefore all the readers?

UFO: Because Anglicanism thrives on secrets that everyone knows, for example saying creeds and not meaning them, or the widespread existence of partnered gay and lesbian clergy.

CN: So what other secrets are there?

UFO: We will refer to the Archbishop as Archbishop or even Commander Straker, as he is the 'ed Bishop, and his friend the Bishop from the North East will be called Bishop N. T. Freeman. This will fool a few people.

CN: And his role will be?

UFO: Self-Appointed Spokesperson (SAS), to make it all sound more threatening than it could be under Straker, for it to appear to have progress when there is little. We shall also have SID.

CN: As in, 'If you see Sid tell him?' Or, perhaps, 'Straker's Inferences Department'?

UFO: No. Nearly right! 'Sexuality Inference Detector'. This is where people talk about one thing, for example "orthodoxy", when they mean another, like whether you are heterosexual or not. We might expand this to 'Sense Inference Detector' to see whether people are saying one thing theologically and not making obvious sense.

CN: Like, well, as I indeed inferred; I dare say: your commander, Archbishop Straker.

UFO: No, we have a set of specific instructions from him. He knows what he is doing.

CN: Which you understand clearly.

UFO: I haven't a clue. First of all I didn't understand them, then I thought I did but wasn't sure, then I took it they were written for a quite a different purpose than plain to the eye and might not mean what they say even if we know what they say. However, this is where Bishop N. T. Freeman comes in, because he knows precisely what they mean, and tells us, though some can spot the differences and it is not clear that Archbishop Straker wants Bishop Freeman to interpret for him and our volunteer Commander Freeman might be as clueless as the rest of us.

CN: Where does that leave you?

UFO: With latitude. I'll decide which fingernails to pull.

CN: Why do you think you were chosen, especially being Canadian?

UFO: To isolate The Episcopal Church. Canon Hatton Coaton chose a Canadian on the basis that the Canadians are not likely to refuse to sign the Covenant if one of theirs is leading SHADO.

CN: It's a clever move.

UFO: It is bureaucratic.

CN: Do you have a Mission Statement; does it have a fresh expression?

UFO: I wouldn't call it a "Mission Statement" but this is the crucible where the centre decides what is central and also what is local. We also take secret calls from dioceses wishing to have direct connection with the Covenant when the Church it is in does not. We also monitor deviations from the doctrinal norm and basically where gay and lesbian clergy are hiding as they cannot be representative. This can be in any Anglican Church.

CN: A worldwide witchhunt?

UFO: A worldwide clergyhunt. In some areas we are proactive and in others we inform Moonbase.

CN: Moonbase?

UFO: It is our code word for Lambeth Palace. It is another secret. But I can tell you that Canon Hatton Coaton will be known from here as Canon Gay Ellis.

CN: You do talk as if the Covenant is already passed.

UFO: You can assume we do. If it isn't, we shall still be here. Straker will get his way, anyway.

CN: Finally, Reverend Virginia, I notice your purple hair, a wig.

UFO: Strictly speaking I don't have to wear this, but it saves me having to bother to do my hair. As for the the operatives, they will have to wear purple wigs as visible signs of who they are working for - bishops and primates. We also have some in a uniform of string vests, to remind people of sexual stimulation and also that this project is full of holes. Other people will wear stretch material, because that also sexually stimulates and it reminds us that we are stretching Anglicanism to breaking point. There will be a good use of reflective silver so that people here can just take a good look at themselves and ask what the hell they think they are doing.


Unknown said...

Is this something cultural, having people say things officially that they themselves have neither the ability nor the intention to enforce?
The Established Church as an extended pantomime, costumes, scripts and all?

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

This ambiguity is what makes it so interesting: will it be what it intends to be, and does it even intend to be what it seems to intend to be.

Unknown said...

Not to express a negative stereotype, but basically the Church of England plays silly buggers for a living.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...


Göran Koch-Swahne said...

You're not actually referring to the Bishop from the North WEST?

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

No: I was thinking of the Anglican equivalent of Forghorn Leghorn. Who are you thinking about?