St. James the Least


Happily, the Church of England still retains some singular parish clergy.  Take the parish of St James-the-Least in the county of C- for example.  Here the elderly Anglo-Catholic vicar, Eustace, continues his correspondence to Darren, his nephew, a low-church curate recently ordained... 


Letter from St James the Least of All –  

The Rectory


On war between parishes


My dear Nephew Darren


So, now you have enjoyed your first Summer Fete, don't say I didn't warn you. It may be small consolation, but remember that they only happen once a year - although in your case, you still have another 40 to endure before retirement.


I negotiated our own last week. As usual, the band from our neighbouring parish of St. Eusebius played. There has been much bad blood in the past between our two villages. The trouble started on the day that St. James the Least of All never told St. Eusebius that the Vikings were coming up the river. We may have long since buried the hatchet, but both sides remember where they put it.


Tension between the two communities down the centuries has moved on from occasional slaughter to something a little more refined. Just as I began my opening speech to crown the Rose Queen, the band struck up with the National Anthem. When the hog roast started, they played “smoke gets in your eyes” and when it came to the necessary music for the maypole dancing, they all disappeared into the beer tent.


With great Christian charity, we shall bide our time. In September we have the annual football match between the two church's Servers. Last year, in addition to winning the match, the St. James' boys sent three of their side off with concussion. Naturally, I visited them in hospital.


Miss Prendergast, as always, played Gypsy Rose Lee. If the tall, dark, dear lady tells me one more time that I am about to find romance with a tall dark lady, while she flutters her eyelashes at me, I swear I shall throttle her with a bell rope. Besides, I already have a beautiful dark lady in my life - and my Labrador is devoted to me.


The only real hiccough came when I bought 12 packets of fudge from Mrs Masheder to present to our choirboys. Yet again, she had misread salt for sugar in the recipe. After I presented the packets at Mattins the following day, a formal complaint was rapidly made by a parent to the police that the Rector was attempting to poison their son. But as I explained to the officer, if I had intended to poison anyone, I would have done it far more discreetly - and infinitely more efficiently.


I toy with that possibility for Mrs Masheder before next year's Fete.


Your loving uncle,



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