Dear Aunt Martha


To ensure confidentiality, Aunt Martha will only reply to your letters, never reprint them.

Please do not offend her delicate nature with indelicate language.


Dear Curate - Yes I do sympathise, maybe your church warden is being a little heavy handed but you must remember he is of an earlier generation and I must admit that having a house warming party in the church is a little unusual. Re the matter of the communion wine - I can quite understand the difficulty of getting to the off licence when you ran out of drink, but you should have made sure there was enough left for communion next day instead of substituting black currant squash. Now, that little matter of the church bells, this is where I think the parishioners are being a bit hard on you, I really do think they should have believed you when you said that you thought you were locked in and needed to summon help, though I can also understand how they felt being woken at three O'clock Sunday morning. I think the best angle you can take with the Bishop is that it was the best attendance at church for nearly twenty years and it was a pity the vicar didn't get up and take an early service.

Dear Bishop - I shall write to you under private cover re your 'little problem'. I'm sure we can solve it together but you must be more careful who you give your ring to, mustn't you.


Dear Miss K - I know how you must feel arriving at church and finding somebody else sitting in your pew, especially after having sat there for the last twelve years, but do you think attacking the poor woman with your umbrella was really the right thing to do? Now I know the Arch deacon's wife shouldn't be given special privileges when her husband is invited to preach at your church but I'm sure she didn't purposely break one of the ten commandments by, as you put it, 'coveting your seat'. And you dear, should also remember that another commandment is 'Thou shalt not kill', I do believe you came very close to breaking that one yourself, and if it wasn't for the vicar you possibly would have done. By the way, how is his eye now, tell him I am praying that he'll make a quick recovery and won't need surgery. I don't believe this situation will ever arise again but can I suggest that if in future, someone should inadvertently sit in your seat, you do as it says in the bible, 'turn the other cheek' and find somewhere else to sit. You can then pride yourself and glow with pleasure at your calm and giving nature.

Dear Bishop - Sorry I haven't written yet, but I'm still trying think of a way to get that ring back without a 'breach of promise' case.


Dear Mr. M - I was quite interested when I read your letter with your suggestions for modernising 'Holy Communion'. I do think it's rather rash of you however, to take the matter of the watered down wine to the office of fair trading, or to stand outside the church waving a banner stating 'Fair Shares for All'. I know the vicar always finishes up both the wine and the bread but it does go with the job you know. Bearing in mind what you tell me of your Scottish ancestry, I tend to sympathise with you, but no, I don't think you'll have a leg to stand on demanding whisky instead, even though you are prepared to take that with a drop of water. As for haggis instead of bread, I don't think the church is quite ready for that yet, do you? Though I must say I like your suggestion of you piping it into church each Sunday (what does 'Bread of Heaven' sound like played on the pipes). Suggestion - Perhaps you might be able to arrange a one off trial with your vicar.

Dear Bishop - I'm trying to find someone to represent you in court, I'm sure she won't win you know, so keep your chin up.


Dear Mr. M - I thought I made myself reasonably clear last month, maybe I didn't realise your vicar is an old sot, but I still don't think he'd back you in using whisky instead of wine even if it is the finest malt.

Dear Vicar - Are you really serious about taking commercial breaks during your service? I know takings are down, they are in most churches you know, and I appreciate the roof needs urgent repairs but this just isn't the way. Have you considered sponsorship from local industry, this would be less obtrusive and might only need a mention at the beginning of the service. Your other idea of applying for a license and selling alcoholic beverages during the interval may be a good idea but where in the service book is there an interval? I note what you say about your parishioners considering a small amount spent at the supermarket is too generous an amount to give at church but let's not be too miserly about this, where in the Bible does it say our Lord even asked for money. No, it would be better to sell the lead from the roof to pay the Parish share (it's perished anyway), turn the heating off to cut fuel costs and move to a sunnier Country.

Dear Bishop - I'm so glad I found your new address, how do you like it in Barbados? By the way, when will you be bringing your new wife home.


Dear Mrs. J - Yes it is very unfair that the church should choose that man to play Santa Claus again, we women must really stick together on this. If as you say Mrs. Y... has almost as many whiskers as Santa, with a bit of make up nobody would know the difference. Well I mean, I heard about Mr. D... last year with his squeaky voice, and he wasn't fat, not like you say Mrs. Y... is. Without wishing to sound uncharitable, for as you know this is one trait I do not have, I'm sure you're are right when you say that he only gets the job because he sits near the church warden on Sunday's. I honestly don't think it's because he's the one who owns a Santa outfit, a toy shop and always does it all for free. I should if I were you, insist on sexual equality in your church and demand a parish vote on this matter.

Dear Mr. M - Thank you for your kind invitation, you can call me a traditionalist if you like and may be your vicar is now highly enthusiastic about your idea, but for reasons of anonymity I cannot attend the 'Do it Yourself' Holy Communion at your house next Sunday. I'm sorry, I couldn't make out the name of the whisky you'll be having but unfortunately your writing has become rather indistinct.

Dear Bishop - I shouldn't come home for a little while, your first wife is creating stink about your latest wife. She seems to think she's still married to you.


Dear Mr. W.. - I'm sorry, but I really have to agree with the vicar about this one. You may have been an usher at your church for twenty five years and the church may have been crowded for such an important occasion as the Bishop coming to preach, but to cram up to twelve people into a pew intended to hold eight is going a little over the top even if your motive was good. i.e. being nearer the front and able to see that much better. I also know that the incident provided a suitable practical example to go with the Bishop's sermon on the raising of Lazuras but when two people of the congregation need resuscitation at the same time, it must be considered an exaggeration, don't you agree? And then to say Fire Brigade on the telephone when you meant ambulance was unforgivable even if as you say the timing was perfect. Well let's face it, the vicar couldn't help knocking the altar candle over in his haste to help could he? Not with his bad eye anyway.

Nevertheless, I'm glad it all turned out okay and the bell ringers were rescued before the bell tower burnt down and I do consider the vicar was more than a little uncharitable when he suggested that you should try another religion far removed from the Church of England. Please keep me informed as to when the church will be re-consecrated.

Dear Bishop - Will you let me have your new address please, I've had a few people wanting to pay you their respects, hoping to hear from you soon.


Dear Michael - I hope you won't mind me calling you Michael. I have to agree the vicar could have let you play baby Jesus in the church nativity play, though at 25 you might be getting a little old to play babies even if as you say, you can do it so well. And if the vicar let you be a palm tree again, you can obviously play that very well and you must be getting quite experienced at it by now. No, I don't think palm trees should be indoors, not even in a church. I have to concede, there may have been a Christmas tree in church but that's traditional, I wouldn't expect to see palm trees in there, would you? Why don't you ask him if you could play the Inn Keeper next year, he might even allow you to stand in the doorway.

Dear Bishop - Please, please, please send me your new address, so many people have been asking for you. I think they're getting quite worried for your safety because I had such a nice policeman round here the other day and he seemed really concerned about you.


Dear Mrs. T - I think you should write to the Archbishop concerning your ideas about a 'Political Correct' Bible. Yes, in these enlightened times, I do think it's a good idea and the feeding of the five thousand may have been as you say, as many as ten thousand if you count the women and children but I'm not altogether sure that it will catch on. Perhaps you could rewrite two or three of the longer Gospels so that it will give people a 'feel for it' and ask your vicar to read them out during one of your Services.

Dear Archbishop - I'm sorry, I still have no forwarding address for the Bishop.

Dear Miss K - (Are you the same Miss K that wrote concerning a certain Archdeacon's wife sitting in your seat). Believe me, I know how you feel, a hot Summer's Sunday morning, a rush to get to church on time and then to find somebody else in your parking place, as you say not for the first time but the third time in as many weeks. And you'd politely asked them not to park there on both the previous occasions. What is more, I definitely think the owner of the car is bias, just because he's a petrol pump attendant and sold you a can of petrol the day before, doesn't mean to say you purposely set fire to his car. I fully believe you when you say you saw some grass on fire, looked in your boot for water and saw a can and used that to put the fire out (how is the gardener). It is a great pity about the other cars though, but I'm glad yours wasn't touched. By the way who was the 'ranting lunatic' as mentioned in the local paper who set fire to three fire engines, two police cars and the 'Jingle Bells' ice cream van.

Dear Bishop - Thank you so much for your card from Argentina, you must be having a wonderful holiday but you haven't told me where you're going next. By the way, have you seen the diocesan cheque book - they can't find it anywhere.


Dear Mr. M - Thank you for your report on your 'Do it Yourself' communion. I'm so glad it went so well. How many bottles of whisky? I'm afraid the paper was smudged and I couldn't read that bit very easily. It seems the vicar thoroughly enjoyed himself but what did he say when you starting dragging in people from off the street. I must say, when you sent me that invitation, I certainly had my doubts, but by the number of converts you made it was certainly worth it. However, your ideas on the baptism service are very unorthodox and I really do believe that total immersion is out of the question.

P.S. Has the Archdeacon recovered yet?.

Dear Bishop - Yes, you've gone on your travels again haven't you, you naughty little man. Can you please tell the Archbishop where you put the Cathedral silver. They can't seem to find it anywhere.


Vicar - It's no good asking me for ideas on what name you should trade under, I was very disturbed to read that you intend to build a still in the crypt. May be it would solve your church's money problems but it is most certainly against the law. And it's no good saying the the Chief Constable is amongst your parishioners, he is in the position to uphold that law and see you put away for a long time. What's this.. Oh, it may be his idea but I still don't like it, the Church of St. Joseph is no Benedictine monastery and whilst I don't know how they get away with it, I do know you most certainly won't!

Dear Bishop - You'll never guess, we had a terrible thunder storm the other night and the Cathedral was flooded - Do you know, someone had actually stolen all the lead from its roof and when they caught him, he had the audacity to say he gave you a receipt for it.


Dear Vicar - Yes I do think it is a good idea setting up a 'fruit and veg' stall at harvest festival but I can't quite get this idea of holding harvest festival three times a month and am of the firm opinion that his will digress from the true meaning of harvest festival. However, I really must thank you for that wonderful liquer you sent me. What a delightful fragrance and colour, it's such a shame about the taste but you did explain about it being very new. Incidentally, I have been asking around for unwanted hollyhocks and roses and will soon let you have some more, all my friends agree it's a lovely thought having a fragrant compost heap in your churchyard, where did you get such an idea from?

Dear Bishop - Have you a twin brother by any chance, for I was sure I saw you in town the other day. I believe it must have been last Tuesday, for it was the day before the Bank was robbed.




Aunt Martha