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Church Matters.

Byline: By Francis Wood

Boy bishops are back

there's a long and popular history of Boy Bishops in the Church which has been "rediscovered" in recent years. It goes with St Nicholas, patron saint of children and it's rather like being "mayor-for-a-day" with a full staff of officials, presiding over the town council in session. The tradition has been to express in dramatic form the high regard the church has for children and young people. Originally the boy bishop's term of office lasted from St Nicholas Day (Dec 6) until Holy Innocents' Day (Dec 28). The practice was stopped by Henry VIII, revived in the reign of Mary and abolished by Elizabeth I.

In the Middle Ages, choristers would elect one of their members to be their bishop. The boy selected was dressed in full bishop's regalia, complete with staff. He would preside at services and preach a proper sermon. Both education and fun were included in the Boy Bishop's brief. He was expected to learn about the ceremonies and customs of the church and pass on his knowledge to his peers. And during his period of office he could call for sweets and gifts to be distributed. In the modern revival several parishes have adopted the custom including two cathedrals, Hereford and Salisbury.

Tomorrow morning, at St Nicholas' Parish Church, Gosforth, young Euan Robertson will be installed as Boy Bishop during the Eucharist at 10am. Later he will preside and preach at the Christingle Service at 6.30pm


I HAVE much sympathy with Guy Tindale of All Saints, Gosforth who recently bought a packet of Christmas mince pies bearing the label, "Best before November 4". Obviously they were considered suitable fare for Halloween It bears out the cry I heard in my local, we need to start a new branch of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Advent.

Of course, it may be that the word Xmas refers to a little known festival where X introduces an air of mystery. Could this herald a yet newer New-Age Movement where mince pies are used sacramentally? I have to admit I bought hot cross buns in August but I felt very guilty. Which all goes to show that there is no time with God.


WHY did Good King Wenceslas load his long suffering page with all those pine logs? "Bring me flesh and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither," sings the king, clearly set to assist a poor man on the feast of Stephen.

But pine logs when he lived "right against the forest fence". It was like taking coals to Newcastle.

It's clear that John Mason Neale who wrote the carol had never worked out the finer points of the story.


SUNDAY: Sacred Heart, Gosforth. Christmas Fair. 11am

Stamfordham Village Hall. "Forgotten Carols" Concert. 7pm

St Nicholas' Cathedral. Real Santa Claus Exhibition. All week.

TUESDAY: Brunswick Methodist, Newcastle. United Service with Rev Glyn Evans. 1.10pm

WEDNESDAY: St George's Cullercoats. Brass Ho! Brass Quintet Candlelit Concert. 7.30pm

THURSDAY: Morpeth Town Hall. Christian Viewpoint with Mike Johnson 10.15am

FRIDAY: St John's Edlingham. Cantabile: "Journey Through Christmas." 7.30pm

NEXT SATURDAY: Ridley Park Hotel, Blyth.

Christian Breakfast with Dave Forster. 9.45am (to book: 01670 360303)

Venerable Bede, West Road, Newcastle.

Christmas Tree Festival. 1.30-4pm

Morpeth Town Hall. Parish Christmas Fair. 2pm

NPlease send items for CHURCH MATTERS to Francis Wood, 52 Albemarle Avenue, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 3NQ or telephone 0191 284 5338.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 4, 2004
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