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This afternoon, while I was out taking communion to a member of the congregation, my blog received over 170 spam comments. Enough is enough, I thought and reached for the Upgrade 1.2 to 1.5 instructions I’d printed off the other night.

The upgrade took about 10 minutes from start to finish. I don’t know why I didn’t upgrade earlier!

I think I’ll keep the default theme for a while, until I’m ready to redesign my entire site. (Truth is, I’m too busy just now.) But you know me: I’ll have changed my mind by next week and be mixing a new pot of CSS to slap all over the site!

Broken News

This link ( landed in my inbox today, bounced out of my inbox and was rudely ushered into my junk mail folder.

Thankfully, however, I have eyes (with small discs of glass balanced in front of them, using specially-designed wires that hook behind my ears to stabilize them) and I can read, so I just bounced it back into my inbox. That’s the kind of place it is around here.

I’ve watched this three or four times, it’s brilliant. I’m looking forward to watching Broken News on BBC 2 on Monday 31 October, 9:30 pm. (That’s in the evening for those of you more used to a 24 hour clock format for the time.)

What have we done to the planet?!

Yesterday in an article on the BBC News website Prince Charles was quoted as saying that climate change “should be seen as the ‘greatest challenge to face man’ and treated as a much bigger priority in the UK.”

I quite agree. It’s nearly the end of October, the 28th no less, and it is currently 23°C / 72°F in my study! What is going on? I’m far too hot! And yesterday was warmer than most days I remember from this past summer!

Two priorities I would want our governments to take more seriously: climate change and Make Poverty History.

Diocesan Synod

It was the Edinburgh Diocesan Synod this evening (Thursday), and I have to say that I quite enjoyed it.

I mean, it’s a little frustrating that there is no opportunity for any in-depth discussion about issues (as was raised by someone), and the pew seats were both short of leg room and terribly uncomfortable, but I enjoyed being with my clergy colleagues once again. Life in parishes, even in teams, can feel a little isolated at times, and I look forward to being with friends again, catching up over a polystyrene cup of orange juice, or hanging over the back of a pew for a few minutes for a quick conversation.

You’ll all be wanting to know what kind of people attend diocesan synods on an otherwise uneventful (but oddly warm) Thursday evening in October. I thought you would, so during some of the … ok, during the budget, I had a look around the room and took down some stats.

  • I counted 112 people there; 72 men and 40 women.
  • I noticed that 21 people (I only counted the men on this one, out of respect) had facial hair (eyebrows-only didn’t count!)
  • 67 people wore glasses, so I guess it was an intelligent-looking gathering.
  • Only 17 of the clergy wore dog-collars, and of those only 6 were dressed entirely in black (including the bishop — I excused his bishop’s shirt for that statistic); and 3 leather jackets (two on priests and one sported by another church employee).
  • Microsoft PowerPoint was used only once … and rather well, too. No exploding bullet points, or words flying onto the screen with the subtlety of an aerial aerobatics demonstration!
  • Two people took photographs.
  • The Revd Steve Butler came in late and upset my statistics for the total number of people there, the number of men there, and the number of men with facial hair!
  • At least one person didn’t pay full attention to some of the discussions and instead took down pointless statistics instead.

My highlight of the evening was the presentation of and discussion on the new Holy Baptism 2005 and Affirmation of Holy Baptism for Confirmation and Renewal 2005 liturgies, led by Fr Ian Paton. It was clear, enjoyable and practical. We had some interesting theological debate, and I came up with another article for Taking the Episcopalian out of it! Some of the revisions made to the 1998 Initiation Rites I thought were helpful, particularly given that these have come out of people’s practical experience of using these within the lives of congregations. Good practical theology, faith in action.

It must have been an interesting Synod, I’d brought this week’s Private Eye with me, but only got a couple of cartoons read!

Van Helsing

When I got out of Synod this evening I switched on my mobile phone (the Nokia 5140i that I promised I’d review but haven’t got round to yet) and there was a text message from my sister:

Any chance you could phone our landline? We have a bizarre request! Love Jen n Ben xx

I phoned Jenni once I’d got home and had some tea, and discovered that their request was indeed bizarre.

My nephew Benjamin is going to a Halloween fancy dress party at school as Van Helsing, the evil-vanquishing vampire slayer chappy. He bought a leather coat at the local Red Cross shop, and he and his mum have made him a crossbow (no evil-vanquishing vampire slayer is seen dead without one these days! Bad choice of phrase, I know!).

All he needed was … for me to bless his holy water! Seemingly he’d been telling his friends at school that he’d get his uncle (that’s me, folks!) who’s a real live priest (I got into Edinburgh Diocesan Synod tonight unchallenged, so that must be true too) to bless his holy water for him.

Well, there’s not much you can do over the phone, but I prayed for them all anyway. I’m not really into Halloween festivities (there’s two perfectly good festivals on the following couple of days!) but if you must go to school dressed as the leather-clad sidekick of Kate Beckinsale then you might as well go with a vial of Selkirk water and a prayer from your uncle!