St. James the Least of All – June 2023

Beware the Church Microphone!

The Rectory
St James the Least

June, 2023

My Dear Nephew Darren,

Despite my assurances that it was unnecessary, it was kind of you to loan us your sound equipment, so we could experience the advantages of using radio microphones in church.   Your assurance that everyone would then be able to hear with absolute clarity seemed to miss the point that everyone does not necessarily want to do so!

I have no doubt that members of your congregation hang on to your every word, eager to make sure you remain theologically sound.  But for us, those who had blissfully slumbered throughout my sermons for the last 30 years found themselves unable to filter out a single syllable.

Colonel Wainwright decided to change the start of his Bible readings from the customary “Here beginneth…” to, “Testing, Testing,” before giving the microphone a good biff, which made the verger dash outside to check if yet another medieval gargoyle had fallen from the roof.  Also, forgetting that microphones pick up asides just as effectively, his own comment to his wife in the front pew, “I thought I read that rather well,” did nothing for the pride he has always cherished for his humility.

I was also not convinced that the 16th century workmen who had devoted the greater part of their lives reverently carving the Lady Chapel altar had intended it to support an electronic console that would have looked more at home in an aeroplane cockpit.

However, the event which finally decided us against microphones came about an hour after the service.  Several of the choir boys had crept back into the church and decided to improvise a rock concert with their guitars and the mikes turned up full blast.  The church exploded in a perfect cacophony of noise which panicked a horse and rider going by.  The horse bolted down the road, which caused two cars to veer violently to avoid it.  One car ended up in a pond, the other in a field, having ripped off a great deal of old fencing.

Whoever fixed the fencing failed, and later that night all 43 cows in the field escaped and ended up in the Colonel’s flower-filled front garden, where they spent a comfortable night slicing his velvet turf with their sharp cleats and chomping everything in sight!

Your Loving Uncle, Eustace

(The Revd Dr Gary Bowness)

To find out about the conumdrums involved in trying to sort out an adequate sound system in the Grade II listed Church of Ss Simon & Jude Cockshutt, please go to From the Treasurer.

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