Wednesday 29 May 2024

At the vicarage of St Jude's Anglican Church

What a child saw

The St Jude’s Anglican Church from whence my ancestry emanates conveys a great sense of community and service, that I witnessed just over a generation ago. My first view of the church was on our return from the UK, I was a precocious boy full of opinions that never failed to find a voice, as I was observed by many who wondered about this little alien utterly different from his peers.

I had a great-grandmother and she probably had many ahead of her in age and status, it was a village that sat on the hopes that grew from the successes of its many sons and daughters educated for professional lives never stinting in their generosity to improve their town. Electrification, piper-borne water, a new church building, improved school buildings, scholarships, and much else came with their desire to lift their humble village.

A church on the lurch

Being of the Anglican faith, I returned there to be confirmed. Everything our parents did was to encourage our love of the village. The big difference is, that they had their childhood there, we only had short breaks, and what represented our innate childhood was elsewhere.

We could not cultivate our parents' childhood memories of their village; maybe if they had shared some of their hair-raising stories, we might have been intrigued and more invested. Alas!

I have for too long overlooked another issue that had surrounded the church; but a seething rage welled up in me when I caught the glimpse of a missive of mendicancy imposed on the mainly influential octogenarian parish members, many of whom have settled into retirement for decades, but the parson is unrelenting.

Vicar on a venal trail

When a parishioner passes on, despite all the dearly departed might have contributed to the town and the church, a venerable preys on the vulnerable with extraneous and outrageous demands. If the stated requirements are not met to his satisfaction, he devotes the homily that is supposed to honour the departed to excoriating and embarrassing the bereaved for not pulling their weight.

It is a merciless abuse of position that reeks with venality and these expressions are at the most charitable end of the scale. The love of money is said to be the root of all evil, to suggest that he personifies the inordinately untenable quest for filthy lucre at the expense of those in need of succour does not begin to describe the circumstances for some of the recently bereaved that I am acquainted with.

How such manifestly disreputable conduct has been allowed to thrive in that church community where the bereaved are left bereft of dignity or respect under the watch of a thriving bishopric and a congregation that seems to condone, tolerate, or just be resigned to these macabre machinations is daunting and baffling.

He has become a potentate, probably untouchable and certainly unaccountable for his excesses. This is not village talk, the reputation is known and has festered with lascivious abandon.

Better is quite expected

I am a steward at the Manchester Cathedral, at the end of last year, we had two funerals of prominent, if not national figures. The organisation of the events was to the highest professional standard, the Prince of Wales was in the congregation; I did not once see any of the bereaved being put upon, we gathered to celebrate the lives of their dearly departed and they received much Christian comfort and consolation.

They would have felt they had done well by their patron and the clergy did not insert themselves into the ceremony in any way, they gave tribute and honour and showed compassion and understanding.

Obviously, it is my hope that there is an improvement in the conduct of the venerable but by his antecedents, I find it impossible to support any fundraising activity he might champion as he has sown seeds of discord and acrimony, the people he besmirched at the funerals of their loved one still hurt from his villainy. They have received neither apology nor appreciation.

Even from England, who would have thought there was a highwayman at the gates of the temple? Yet, like a Pharisee, he brings the adulterous woman to be stoned and tithes the widows, the widowers, and the poor, to the minutest thing while preventing the adherents from the kingdom of heaven.

If anyone might have the thought, they should not remotely be persuaded of it. This is written that it might be on record. The spirit of Pontius Pilate compels me. Thank you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said Akin Akintayo, It was atrocious as he actually left the pulpit to demand the remaining 50 pieces of silver from me! No one asked us the truth, no one could see beyond the lies being spewed other than we were met with unbelievable accusation after the other, empowered by Narcissistic influence, no compassion we were in deep mourning, but he is not just to blame I hold all those who listened to one side responsible for his reign of ''financial ambushment'', he was backed by enablers.

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