Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Article excerpt

Byline: By Francis Wood

Cooke's CORNER

Sunday morning will never be the same. With church service at 10am, I wake up to hear Alistair Cooke's Letter from America (8.45am on Radio 4). Tea and toast with Alistair has been on the menu every Sunday for years. Now he's called it a day.

"Good Morning," he would say and launch into the passing scene from across the Pond. He held me in thrall for his full 15 minutes, drawing into his thoughts the War in Vietnam, past golfers, old presidents, the Kennedy assassination. He'd seen and known them all in 58 years of reporting. He reminded me of Ralph Lynn from the days of the Aldwych farces of the 1930s. The same every week, yet refreshingly different, reminding you of what had passed, what was happening and where we were going if we didn't watch out.

People sometimes comment on church services in the same way. "They're always the same. See one, you've seen them all." But you could say the same about steak and chips, or a bottle of Brown Ale. The attraction is that they are always the same. I take a pill every day of the week. At the time it doesn't seem to be doing me much good but I'm told that it keeps me alive. So I go on taking it. Of course, Sunday morning will never be the same. I hope I shall find another pill to take the place of Alistair. For now, I wish him every blessing in his retirement.


I KNOW a man who never says, "Yes" or "No". He responds more positively than that. I ask him, "Are you keeping well?" He answers, "Very well, thank you." "Did you have a good holiday?" "I did." "Nice weather?" "It was not!"

There's never any doubt about his answers. No grunt or nod of the head and certainly no spin. Just like the marriage vows in Church. "Will you have this woman "".?" "I will," comes the answer, loudly and clearly. Or the godparents at a Baptism. "Will you pray for this child? …

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