Here we go again. The Church of England is telling us how cash-strapped it is.
It’s one of the biggest landowners in the country, but every so often you get bleating stories.
The parish of St Barnabus-under-Flossock in Wiltshire has now ordered its clergy to cut down on paper and ink in the missives that are traditionally still handwritten to parishioners and others within the wider church.
This comes only months after another Wiltshire church, St Cyriac’s in the village of Lacock, was forced to sell a unique silver chalice worth £1.8 million. It was donated to St Cyriac’s about 400 years ago, but had never been accurately valued until recently.
St Barnabus has taken a leaf out of St Cyriac’s book in looking at ways to save money, and, in its case, has ordered priests and church staff to stop using underlinings on their signatures, and full stops where they’re not necessary, such as after a signature or a heading.
The Rev. Mark Write is annoyed. “I can just about get my head around the idea giving up doing an illuminated manuscript for my shopping list – something I have given up for Lent, and now may never be able to resume – but the curlicues I put on letters to my parishioners are what define me,” he said. “I don’t think I can just give up something like that.
“Some of my colleagues are happy with mere underlinings, and even they are being asked to stop doing them. It’s outrageous. And all to save a few pots of ink.”
A church official would not comment, but issued a statement saying, “The Parish of St Barnabus-under-Flossock is very aware of its funding shortage and is doing everything possible to save money.”