Guest blogger, The Rev’d Humphrey Blytherington is former Vicar of St Hilda’s, Little Snoring with All Saints, Great Snoring. He is a graduate of Plymouth University. He completed his studies for the ministry at Latimer Hall, Durham. He is married to Daphne and enjoys home brewing, model railroading and was, until retirement, an avid member of the Great Snoring Morris Dancers. He is now honorary assistant priest in the parish of Dagwood Bumstead in the Gloucester Diocese.

Greetings lads! What a wild and windy day eh? Good thing old Barton has got the fire going.

I don’t mind if I do Trevor. Its a half pint of lager shandy for me, and I say old boy, would you be terribly kind and bring along a chaser for that? A double Scotch if you don’t mind. No ice. The windy weather calls for a winter warmer don’t you agree?

Thank you for asking, yes Mrs Vicar is doing just fine thank you. I realize you don’t see much of Daphne at St Chad’s, but she’s gone over to the Romans you know. Yes, some time ago. I wasn’t very keen myself. I can’t be doing with all that kissing of relics fol-di-rol, but it seems to suit her, and it certainly keeps the old girl out of mischief.

Yes, she told me about the latest headline in the Church of England newspaper. Seems the bishop of Lichfield is encouraging trains people to become vicars, and Daphne was all in a tizz about it.

“Just when you think the Church of England can’t get any crazier” she says, “They go and announce that trans people should become vicars.”

She tried to pick a fight with me about it and asked when I will finally have enough and join her in the Roman Church. Lads, I know I shouldn’t air the dirty laundry in public, but sometimes a chap just has to get it off his chest. So I said to “she who must be obeyed” that I consider myself to be already a Catholic–just not a Roman Catholic. You see, the Church of England is the Catholic Church for the English. Back in the Dark Ages the monks had got rather fat and lazy and good King Henry simply came through and sharpened things up a bit. Somebody had to clean house and he got the job done. Its still the Catholic Church, but reformed, and to prove my case, the Roman Catholics eventually came on board with most of the things Henry put in place. It took them five hundred years, but now they have their services in English and they sing choruses like “Shine Jesus Shine” just like we do, and I expect before too long they’ll have lady vicars and jumble sales and the vicarage garden parties and cucumber sandwiches and cricket on the village green and the Book of Common Prayer just like we do.

For my part, I can’t really see what all the fuss is about. Surely its a good thing to have more people who work for British Rail come on board (har har) the Good Old Church of England. Its not like this is anything new. I remember the patron of my previous parish was an engineer on the local steam railway, and what about the Revd Awdry. He was a vicar who wrote all those delightful Thomas the Tank Engine stories. In fact, vicars are well known for being model railway enthusiasts. My first vicar, The Revd Richard Emery had a train set in his attic. He used to spend hours up there. Always said he was preparing his Sunday sermon, but everyone knew he was upstairs building a new branch line.

So I say “Bravo!”  to the Bishop of Lichfield. Let’s have more trains people in the clergy. No doubt they’ll be able to preach inspiring sermons about all of us being on that great train journey to heaven, and we’d better make sure we get our ticket and get aboard the Heaven Express, and make sure we always stay on the right track!