Monday, January 31, 2005

The ideal godparent...

We've recently begun an overhaul of Baptism preparation here. Nothing too radical, as we're not even considering an obstacle course for prospective families,- more a gentle tweaking to ensure that we, the church community, are doing everything we can to make Baptism as signficant as it ought to be. As part of the process last week we began a short course for our Baptism visitors, which gave plenty of food for thought. Clearly, it is not going to be easy to help families prepare for baptism if the majority of our visitors have almost no idea what they think that sacrament is achieving...
Methinks I spy a sermon series looming on the horizon.
Meanwhile, the reading/thinking for next week included an article by Clare Rayner (a humanist) on "non godparents", which included the depressing paragraph
"Who should be your child's extra parent. This is where the church's model is (or should be) left far behind. In the majority of cases, being invited to stand as godparent at a baby's christening is regarded as a sort of lollipop for a family friend...or a form of investment....more of an honour for the godparent than of real value to the child"
Leaving aside the many assumptions Rayner makes, this was a good jumping off point for general discussion on the role of godparents, those we've chosen for our own children and why...but the best bit of homework goes like this
"If you could have chosen your own godparent, contemporary or historical, who would you have chosen and why? Jesus is not allowed!"
Actually, my own parents chose some wonderful godparents for me, all of whom have shown endless loving, prayerful interest through the years, carrying an unexpected burden when my parents died when I was 18. I wouldn't want to displace any of them, but if I were allowed another, then who??
Maybe J, my inspirational former spiritual director...because she is so creatively aware of God in everything, and the joy of that knowledge keeps breaking through and transforming the most mundane situations? also, she does have the world's best tree house in her garden, which must be a consideration...and loves my children too.
Or maybe I could claim beloved George Herbert? I suspect he might have found a small child difficult to deal with, even one who shared his love of words, but his little rectory at Bemerton was surely full of books, and I might have joined him on his walk into Salisbury every week to make music with his friends there. I know I would have been certain of his prayers, and might have benefitted from his clear vision of God's loving relationship with us...He would have been a calming presence in my harum scarum life....and just think, if I'd been the first to hear one of his poems!
If I'd had C. S. Lewis, I might have found myself visiting Narnia with that was quite a legacy from a godfather...but I'm not sure he really liked many women, so it might have been uncomfortable sometimes.
Perhaps it's fortunate the choice doesn't lie with us.
That said, my own children are thoroughly blessed in their godparents . While I would hate to leave them yet, I do feel confident that they each have good, strong relationships with adults who love them generously and would do everything possible to help them find their way through life. I'm all too aware of my own shortcomings as a godmother; saying "yes" to too many friends makes it so much harder to really know all my godchildren, but they do each have one day of the week when I make sure I pray for them. Now I need to think of some other realistic ways of making our bond real for us both, despite the constraints of geography and time.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

U2 Brutus?

When I posted here that I hoped to try some new things this year, among the thoughts I'd had was to finally go to a non-classical concert, - a gig, in fact. The teens were sure that this should be u2 and I was quite happy to go along with this...even I know and enjoy some of their music. So, when the booking opened for the Vertigo tour at 9.00 a.m. I was poised by the computer...only to discover that it took about 30 mins to get the ticketmaster site to which stage the affordable tickets for London had all sold out. What to do? Typically, Luci wasn't answering her phone (maybe she really does turn it off when she's working) and G's phone was beside me on the desk, so not much point calling him for advice. Brainwave. I phone school and ask if they can get a message through to one of the kids to phone me, stressing that it's not a family crisis but a "simple" matter of U2 tickets.
" opens today doesn't it....but the lines are really busy" says the school secretary, rather surprisingly. I get a mad image of hoardes of middle aged mums like us spending the morning intent on defeating the demons of the bookings system, none of us suspecting that the others are there....School secretary shows signs of wanting to engage in a full scale Bono appreciation conversation, and to talk about the Make Poverty History campaign,- which is great, except that I'm worried that all the tickets will sell out while we chat. I ring off, and about an hour later G phones and agrees that the prices are impossible unless we can get standing tickets. At this point, Ticketmaster suddenly claim that they might after all have some for the extra Twickenham I go through the whole procedure, complete with overloaded website messages, computer crashing etc for another half hour or so, before being told that this too is sold out. Grrr. Back to the drawing board, then. The kids, whose exams will be safely behind them, will go to the Cardiff gig but my ordination retreat starts that day, so clearly it's not going to work for me. Bother. While this is the first time I've spent a whole morning trying to get tickets for something I wasn't totally sure I would enjoy, the fact that I now know I can't go has lent the whole thing an allure it wouldn't otherwise have, and the blogosphere seems to be full of people describing their own success or failure in booking. Just as well I'll be locked up with the bishop, really, or I might be the only person I know not going ....
Alternative suggestions for a good first gig for a 40 something who is still not sure what she really likes beyond the strictly classical, anyone?I really would be glad to know.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

By way of an elegy....

Heard on classic fm this afternoon that today would have been Jacqueline du Pre's 60th birthday. Her recording of the Haydn Cello concerto was the first LP (does anyone remember those?) I ever bought and she was a huge inspiration to me as a very young and rather dreadful cellist. On my 13th birthday, my parents bought us tickets to hear her play the Elgar Concerto at the Brighton Festival,- but when we got there, a notice announced that she was "indisposed" and Menuhin played for us instead. There was no hint as to the real problem, and my mother consoled me by saying "She's'll have many more opportunities to hear her, while Menuhin might retire any time now".
In fact she was never to perform in public again, though I did hear her give a masterclass a couple of years later, and treasured through my teens a dictated response to one of very few fan letters I've ever written. But her music has gone with me through every phase of life since, and has often been the first thing to go on the stereo when trying to make a new place feel like home....She seemed to touch deep reserves of joy which few other musicians could reach, and to share that joy with her listeners with an exuberance that has kept her legend alive 18 years after her death.

Buildings: blessings or millstones?

Lunched yesterday with a gaggle of local clergy, who are part of an ongoing discussion about the shape of the Anglican church here, and how we can more effectively collaborate across parish boundaries, while remaining true to the great ideal of "every blade of grass in the country being within the care of some (horticultural?) Anglican vicar". There is a pretty wide range of views within the group, as those near retirement lament the lost church of yesteryear, while others contribute frustration, depression or, occasionally, just the smallest glimmers of hope. Having focussed on all the positive potential of collaboration yesterday, our conversation turned to the question of church closures,- not an immediate issue, but probably lurking at the back of most minds at Church House.
Realistically, it seems clear that there is no way the number of buildings we have can possibly be kept open...they are a dead weight impeding so much of what we try to do and be. In a room full of clergy, it's easy to accept this and agree that it's a nonsense the way we spend so much time worrying about our "plant", even to reach for the phone to summon the diocesan arsonist! But actually, I'm not quite sure.
In the months since I came here, I've heard so many people talk about what their parish church means to them but have also been startled that talking about this seems to be far more pressing for the majority than any conversation about faith or...dare I say it?...about God.
I've wondered which relationship is really the more important for them...and whether the faithful in the pews are actually as confused about this as it sometimes seems. More evidence there to avoid misunderstanding by dispensing with even beloved, medieval shrines? Maybe...
But , more positively, our building is open every day and I'm encouraged by how often I find someone there at odd times. People pop in after tending a grave, or en route to collect from school, and sit in the dim quiet. Sometimes, these are people I never see otherwise...some are regular visitors, some come only once...but if that once is at an important time in their lives, they will remember it, just as they would remember if they had come seeking peace and an encounter with God, and found the door locked.

An experience from the past supports this, and makes me think there is still a case for a visible, recognisable church presence in each community. About 10 years ago, a toddler was killed by a car in the new village that had been created out of a former airforce base in my old benefice...I went up there the following morning to see his mum, and found a scene which reminded me of black and white film versions of the aftermath of pit disasters in Welsh mining villages. At almost every gate down the street, women were standing....not talking...not doing anything really, just standing. They needed to be together, to express somehow their feelings of grief and shock as a community....and there was nowhere for them to go. That village has no church...we met for worship in the village hall, but that's not the place to go for a quiet prayer. Those women needed to go somewhere where prayer happens, is part of the fabric, where they could feel safe and welcomed by a hug from God. To get into the car and drive the 3 miles down to church in the old village somehow didn't feel like an option ( not everyone would have access to a car in any case). I didn't know most of those women. None of them were part of the congregation that met on Sundays and I remember very few of them openly saying that they needed somewhere to pray, but it seemed obvious to me that day. They needed a sacred space in their midst, but it had been decreed that they weren't to have one. At the time it was made, that diocesan decision had made sense to me, but I'm no longer convinced.
I accept that a known and identifiable prayer room in the village hall would have met the need, and I'm not campaigning with the Victorian Society or English heritage (well, maybe sometimes) to ensure that no gothic stone, however unlovely, is ever shifted a centimetre. Rather, I'm putting in a bid for recognisable sacred space in each community....maybe above a cafe, maybe part of a community centre...I dont mind what it looks like, provided it is known about, prayed in, and open.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Post - Script to the Church from Scratch

Talked about this on the school run and, as had been predicted, the kids were considerably more conservative than we had been last night. Though "worship" had been one of our essential words, all 3 were outraged that we might, even for a moment, consider a church without music.
Needless to say, none of the things that tend to dominate the home church,- choreography, furniture, even preaching,- were core values. do we get to there from here?

Refreshment from the Fountain

Yesterday was not a good day in the life of the home church. A sad little feud that has bubbled away beneath the surface for much too long now, threatens to erupt in a welter of hurts and resignations that say little for the health of the Body of Christ here. Whatever happened to the need to be "in love and charity with your neighbour" before receiving Communion, I wonder?
More feathers were ruffled through a misunderstanding of what the morning's preacher (not me, praise God!) had actually said about ecumenism, and anyone who wasn't already upset about one of these issues decided that today was a good day to take the clergy to task for either a) absence or
b)presence of change.
The impact of all that was such that I came home feeling that, rather than encountering the God who loves us, I'd had a run in with someone very very different.
All the more reason, therefore, to be grateful to Mark who had alerted me to a gathering at "The Fountain" tonight. I skipped the post service coffee (so much for my public committment to ecumenism,- it was "churches together" coffee that I skipped: bad curate... ;-( ) and arrived in the pub in time to hear Justin set the scene by reading from Church Invisible as a prelude to exploring our thoughts on church from scratch. It wasn't easy to strip away the layers of assumptions that we brought with us, and to produce one-word essential ingredients for a new-born church. Words such as "prayer" "fellowship" "inclusiveness" and "food" led us into lots of helpful discussion, but 3 thoughts in particular stayed with me as I drove home.

- that Judas was included among those who shared the Last Supper (so what do we think we're doing, ring-fencing access to the Eucharist?)

-that clergy too often assume that our own experience in ministering is matched by those we minister to. Several of us were anxious about the "conveyor belt" feeling of distributing Communion to a large congregation, but this doesn't seem to be how it feels from the other side of the rail

-that it is very easy to objectify and offload problems and frustrations onto "the Church", when all too often it is we, as individual Christians, who are at fault. This put me in mind of a wonderful prayer by Jeffrey John

Lord, do something about your Church.
It is so awful; it is hard not to feel ashamed of belonging to it.
Most of the time it seems to be all the things you condemned:
hierarchical, conventional, judgemental, hypocritical,
respectable, comfortable, moralising, compromising,
clinging to its privileges and worldy securities,
and when not positively objectionable, merely absurd.

Lord, we need your whip of cords.
Judge us and cleanse us,
break and remake us,
challenge and change us,
break and remake us.

Help us to be what you called us to be.
Help us to embody you on earth.
Help us to make you real down here, and to feed your people bread instead of stones.

And start with me.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Reflections on A. A. Milne

The guy doing the talk at this morning's Prams and Pushchairs session tried to tie in Winnie the Pooh with the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and our ecumenical links here. He did a good job, imo, in comparing the local independent Anglican fellowship with Tigger (bags of energy and enthusiasm) and I could see why he compared the Baptists with Winnie the Pooh himself, in that they are pivotal to all our joint enterprises here, (and host the ecumenical coffee shop in their premsises,-"time for a little something"). I could even, at a pinch, see why the large and active RC church might be rabbit (and his friends and relations). But he rather charitably decidedthat we at the parish church were Wol, venerable and wise...whereas I'm rather afraid we 're really more Eeyore, looking sadly down at the ground beneath our hooves and lamenting
"I don't seem to have felt very how for a long time".
Fortunately the children were too young and the mothers too polite to comment ;-)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Part of the deal as a newly ordained curate is attendance at "Continuing Ministerial Training", a programme of assorted workshops, study days etc spread out across the year. Ever since the timetable arrived last autumn, the dates 24-26th January have been tinged with dread...We were scheduled to spend the time with the armed forces chaplaincy department, learning all about how chaplaincy works in a military context. As a paid-up pacifist, this was not something I could muster any enthusiasm for...and there was the additional fear that there might be awful assualt courses involving high ropes and fast flowing water. Not to mince words, I was scared stiff, but a feeble "Please sir, do we have to..." had fallen on deaf ears when I tried it on the then-CME officer.
Having not received any details of the programme, I reluctantly phoned up this morning...only to discover that,- hallelujah-, my name had somehow erased itself from the lists. Further phonecalls to Church House confirmed that I DON'T HAVE TO GO
It's ridiculous how happy this makes me feel....I've been singing around the house all day as a result and the time restored in the diary has the flavour of a holiday, even though it means I can do Monday's funeral and a meeting or two as well.
Now, of course, if mark is going he'll probably tell me that it was a wonderful and wholly life-enhancing experience...but my life feels hugely enhanced by this escape.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Self indulgent wonderings.

Maggi has been blogging about trying some new things, while steve was musing about some things he used to do, which are no longer part of his life. Between them, they got me thinking (which is no mean achievement on a Monday morning) about how I too have abandoned various things that were once very important parts of me. I had kind of assumed that this was mostly because motherhood is such an overwhelming occupation that it squeezes out almost anything that you don't need to do to stay sane...but clearly this is not the whole story, since maggi is a mum and steve (yes you've guessed...) isn't!

It might be worth rediscovering these lost loves I guess, before I wake up one morning to find the children have left home and I've lost track of any identity beyond my involvement with them, or my equally engaging work. So...what about all those things that used to be an essential part of me?

Singing...for many years this was the most important thing in my life, and I came within a whisker of earning a living through it. A wise singing teacher at Cambridge advised me "If you can imagine yourself doing anything else at all with your life, don't even contemplate a career as a pro musician"...and subsequent events would suggest that he was right,- but nonetheless, I do miss it. Perhaps this should be the year in which I make a real effort to find a regular opportunity for good music making (assuming, of course, that I'm still capable of making good music)

I used to play the cello rather badly but with immense enthusiasm...and having 3 musical children about the place, have often regretted the cavalier way in which I sold my cello at 25 to pay for a wedding. However, a recent visit to the Aladdin's cave which is Vintage Strings to buy a viola for Lucinda's 18th turned into a very exciting shopping spree indeed, as the owner decided that I would be the ideal home for an abandoned and damaged cello he had in stock. Emerging with 2 instruments for approximately the price of 1 had not been part of the plan, but it will be so lovely to have a cello about the place again.

I used to write all the time...but on reflection, I still do. It just takes a different form, but is no less rewarding. Perhaps, then, not all is lost,- though I am less convinced about the wisdom of the current plan that, after a 25 year gap, I should take up riding again, simply to keep the family pony happily exercised until the smallest Fleming has grown into him. Falling off a horse at this stage in life is rather more uncomfortable than it was in my teens...and if I damage myself enough, the other abandoned pursuits may become irrelevant after all.

However, assuming that I survive all these revivals, I wonder what new things I should try this year. There's one very big New Thing due to happen to me in July, but that's in a different league really,- so that still leaves the field open for some other "firsts". Suggestions (of a not too hazardous nature) welcome, though I don't promise to try them all.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Another outing

This afternoon I went to the induction of a new priest at a parish not far from here. The service was just the kind of joyful celebration you might expect but it also opened my eyes to an aspect of the Church of England that I might otherwise have forgotten about.
You see, the parish in question belongs to Forward in Faith and the service featured not only our own diocesan bishop but also a Provincial Episcopal Visitor...a flying bishop to the world at large. Both bishops and the new incumbent were gracious and charming, but I was brought up short by one visiting cleric who decided that the only safe policy when confronted by a woman in choir dress, was to pretend you hadn't seen her, even if she was directly in front of you and attempting to share the Peace.
My own parish is well "up the candle" and I know that not everyone in the congregation felt able to welcome my advent, but even those who have the biggest issues with my sex and calling have been uniformly polite and friendly to me personally. There will be some who find that my priesting this summer brings their anxieties to a head, and some who feel that they cannot in conscience remain in a church where a clergywoman ministers, but I feel sure that none of them would ever be less than kind as they wrestle with their consciences. The whole "feel" of the afternoon reminded me very strongly of the Anglo Catholic churches in which I worshipped 20 years ago, and also made me aware of how much my own attitudes have changed....I came back from the service feeling very raw and bruised, but on reflection I'm glad I was there and even glad of that negative experience...I'm also very very glad of our bishop, who was hugely affirming in a climate where I felt unwelcome simply because I was myself, Kathryn.

Friday, January 14, 2005

The right name...

[I feel perhaps I should apologise in advance for all these naked feelings, but hey, this is a milestone in our family life and just for once British reserve seems unnecessary.]

18 years ago my much-loved, beautiful daughter arrived in the world.
Nothing had prepared me for the sheer force of the love which I felt as I cradled her in the darkness of a snowy morning in South London.
I was still less prepared for all the many many gifts that she has brought into our lives; the friendship and laughter, the songs and poetry, the windows onto God which she has opened.
I'd not been prepared either for the mutuality of the relationship...the way she looks after me, at times carrying burdens far beyond her years, and the way we can understand each other's unspoken thoughts ("That's because you only have the one brain between you" her father observed on one occasion, feeling rather excluded from all this feminine empathy...."The Brain" has become a shared joke, a further bond in itself)
When I was 10, reading "Roller Skates" for the first time, I'd promised myself that if I ever had a daughter, she would be Lucinda. Today I am so very proud of the lovely young woman she has become and very grateful that she has so wonderfully lived up to her name as "bearer of the light".
Birthday blessings and great happiness always, my firstborn. Go well, wherever life takes you.

An outing to London...

Taking advantage of a bargain "fun fare" (£1 there, £4 back..which only confirms that it's trickier to escape London life than to get into it in the first place) I felt like the archetypal provincial lady as I departed from Cheltenham on Wednesday. I remember my mother having "little outings to Town" when I was a child, but I'm very sure that none of her trips was ever remotely like this. After a very happy evening with my good friend Humble Secretary, the following day saw me joining several hundred other clergybirds at St Martin in the Fields for "the march of the Dibleys"...or, more correctly, another stage in the campaign to Make Poverty History
I'd been uncertain about whether this march was really likely to be a good thing, and it did feel a little odd, even sad, that the most famous ordained woman the media could come up with wasn't in fact anything of the sort....but it was really good to be there.The weather was perfect...winter at its best, crisp, clear, with Nelson silhouetted against a startling blue sky. The atmosphere was even better..being part of a gathering of so many women, only just over 10 years since it became possible for the Anglicans among us to live out our callings. Best of all, of course, was our reason for gathering. The video "Toddlers", which we saw before we set off, provided more than sufficient reason for all and any efforts to change things...Street children..a tiny scrap being lovingly tucked up, as though she were a doll, by a sister who might have been as old as 5, on the bit of pavement they call home. The toddler would be a wee while learning to walk, as rats had nibbled her toes off.

We can't let these things continue.

Apart from the real purpose of the day, there were some wonderful moments...standing in a queue of dog-collared women in the gents at St Martin's...The way we all helped each other clamber, with varying degrees of dignity, onto the plinth at the base of Nelson's column for photos (so glad I didn't wear a cassock;-) )...The small baby who occasionally made herself heard during the service...Wouldn't it be wonderful if the world she grows up in could be different and better because 2005 was the year things changed.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Change or decay?

Rather later than most of the world, I've been reading Richard Giles's "Repitching the Tent". It's excellent stuff, especially when you are confronted by a church like ours. He has a very accessible style, and it all makes sense both practically and theologically....though I fear it may be a while before we can persuade our congregation to attend a course based on his outlines.
However, one chapter did give me the opportunity to experience something of the feelings of those who sense that their most cherished aspects of church life are under threat,- be they pitch-pine pews or processions for Corpus Christi. Giles does not have alot of time for the "English Choral tradition", feeling that it has little to offer to the 21st century world...but this happens to be the context in which my own faith grew, the route that led me through the deaths of my parents and the tortuous process of growing up. Quite simply, I love it, so reading his words, my hackles rose.
This doesn't mean that I cannot understand that Byrd, Tallis, Howells et al may have little to say to a casual post-modern enquirer....but nonetheless, the prospect of a church without their contributions saddens me. So, I find myself briefly on the other side of the tracks. Instead of frustration at the conservative outlook of my congregation, I feel the anxiety and grief of those who see the things they love swept away in a tidal wave which threatens all that they've considered essential to their faith.
I'm fortunate.
I'm among those who have some say in the way worship is expressed in a local context, but others, with different loves, will feel every bit as distressed at the changes that I embrace with enthusiasm. I pray that God will allow me to hang on to these feelings, so that I can hear their lament clearly.

Blessed are the Cheese-makers

or, to rephrase this in terms which I learned after this morning's Eucharist
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be shouted at by both parties in any argument".
I know I've only been here for 6 months, but I'm wondering if I ought to start compiling a list of attributes to avoid at all costs when looking at parishes in the future. Possible contenders include
  • no organist
  • no bell ringers
  • no open churchyard
  • no possible architectural or historic merit.
I'm very willing to consider other do please let me know

Thursday, January 06, 2005

On reflection...

Tom and Mark
have been discussing the way in which their own reactions to the tsunami seemed to be out of step with those of other Christians about the place,- and, without wanting to simply agree with whoever I've spoken to last, I think I'm coming round to their point of view. I guess early on I felt the need to come up with a coherent intellectual explanation, which squared the circle of God's omnipotence and his omnibenevolence, in case anyone asked me,- and my failure to do this felt rather huge and uncomfortable...but when it comes down to it, very little of my faith is expressible in coherent intellectual terms and it's not usually an enormous problem.
Maggi had already pointed me in the direction of the age-old voice of lamentation, which makes it clear that though monstrous things do happen, and we are right to rage against them, God is still God, and the truths we've experienced remain true.
I'd agree that there's plenty of evidence of God around in the aftermath of awful events, and this speaks to me of Resurrection hope, of transformation and restoration. With regard to the appalling here and how, though, co-incidentally, my training vicar gave me a copy of the Praxis book Using CW Funerals, and I found, flicking through it over lunch, some words of John Robinson's, from his final sermon "Learning from Cancer", written 22 years ago. They seemed at least as relevant and helpful to me now as they did when I first heard them in Trinity Chapel
"God is in the cancer as much as in the sunset...."
"Christians above all are those who should be able to bear reality and show others how to bear it."
So...the reality is that unbearably messy things happen...and we are called to hold them in tension with our belief that God is love and cares beyond all our imagingings. That feels more manageable, somehow, because it builds on a real experience. Rock bottom, I've found, is often the best place to meet him.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

More on Virtual bands,- and how to find them

For Dylan, and anyone else interested, the mysterious details have now reappeared on the Make Poverty History website...
For some reason blogger won't let me cut and paste them here, but if you hurry to the page above, they are lurking at the bottom of it at the moment....

There has been a amazingly mixed reaction to the Vicar of Dibley programme I mentioned here
but a friend who works for Christian Aid says there is a plan afoot to send a posse of female clergy, led by Dawn French, to call on Tony Blair as part of the campaign. Would it be shameless exploitation of my calling to volunteer to join them, do you think?

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Make Poverty History

I must confess to having, as a general rule, a love/hate relationship with
The Vicar of Dibley. Being female, clerical and inclined to chocoholism, people somehow feel the need to mention Dibley to me on a fairly regular the stick-on clerical smile has been rather necessary at times. Good comedy, though,- if at times disturbingly akin to my past life in a Cotswold village.
Last night, however, was something different.Sitting amid the debris of New Year's Day chez Fleming I was suddenly on the verge of tears as Jim read his letter to Tony Blair
" more children dying..."
The whole family froze amid the torpor of the evening and when the programme ended there was silence for a good two minutes, before the inevitable question
"Do you have any white ribbon anywhere? I think we should wear armbands to church tomorrow"
I've just visited the BBC messageboards, where reaction was mixed, but for me this was the most amazing use of comedy to make a point that needs making more now than ever.
Could we maybe, possibly make poverty history this year?
Please God. Please.