Ruins of Whitby Abbey by James Nader. (Image courtesy of iStockphoto - #109404.)
Would anybody like to acquire the domain name taking-the-episcopalian.co.uk? It expires on Saturday 07 April 2012. Contact me if you would like me to transfer the domain name to you.
In 1997 I began a two years course of studies at TISEC, the Theological Institute of the Scottish Episcopal Church, as well as an MTh in Ministry course at New College, the University of Edinburgh.
It wasn’t long before I started editing an “underground”, satirical newsletter that did the rounds among fellow students and a few tutors, mostly at residential weekends. We called it Taking the Episcopalian.
As I wrote later, “my original idea for the newsletter was to provide a forum for a light-hearted look at the life and work of TISEC. My personal interest is in satire – no, not the woodland god with goat’s ears, legs and a tail, that’s a satyr – but, satire: ‘ridicule, irony and sarcasm’.”
Its content was contributed to mostly by the full-time TISEC students, and also a few tutors. Taking the Episcopalian was fun, and it often relieved some tensions and made light of some of the politics, which in turn helped us to cope in a more light-hearted way.
Residential weekends became our deadlines and there was always a flurry of activity in the couple of weeks before the weekend to get articles finished and the newletter typeset (in Lotus AmiPro) and a few copies printed. I seem to remember we would print only two copies to reduce the chances of it being discovered by… well, tutors who hadn’t contributed to the newsletter.
After ordination, and as the world wide web became more popular, Taking the Episcopalian quietly moved online. As we weren’t aiming for regular publications, new articles were added more infrequently. We did, however, acquire a couple of new contributors from the Church of England, and began what turned out to be a very popular new series with images lifted from the pages of vestments catalogues.
This, I think, was my favourite:
I'm a Christmas tree!
I even got an email from someone who works at F A Dumont Church Supplies who said, “I absolutely love your website, especially the model section!”
The feedback was mostly positive.
“Brilliant! More please!”
“Ah, such fond memories come flooding back when I read this post. It took me right back to those dreadful days but oh, what fun we had. Thank you for this trip down memory lane. And I stand by everything I contributed!”
Your work is brilliant and most welcome!!
I even had an email from a bishop from Norway who wrote:
Dear Editor !
I must confess that I have fallen in what St Benedict condemns as a serious sin – and your web site is the reason for it, since it gives ‘anything that provokes laughter” … which he of course “condemns to
Thanks a lot for a lot of really good laughters ! I specially enjoy the chasuble with a thermostat!
During most encounters with my diocesan bishop he asked me when there was going to be more content; particularly more vestments.
But not all the feedback was positive, and in the end I was strongly and politely ‘invited’ to remove the site completely; acknowledging that while I wasn’t the only person involved I was certainly the most public face of Taking the Episcopalian.
Reuben and Joshua had not long been born and I simply didn’t have the energy to do anything else. The site had moved to WordPress.com by then so it was easy to mark the site as private and effectively hide all the content.
That was three years ago, and I’ve not had the energy to do anything more about it.
Occasionally I get asked about the site, mostly asking when it will be back. I usually say that I was asked to take it down, and that I simply don’t have the time or energy to do anything about it these days. It’s just not been a priority.
I do wish that it had grown a bit more, but there you have it.
If you would like to acquire the domain name then please get in touch. It’s currently registered with 123-reg.co.uk (and I’ve just noticed is still registered to my old address in Inverness) and is due to expire on 07 April 2012.
Contact me if you would like me to transfer the domain name to you. You’d be welcome to (most of) the backlog of content too, if you wanted it.