Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sunday Supplement: This Sermon Brought to you by...

Sir Richard Arcos writes: With my long-lost daughter back on the road doing all sorts of painful things to the bad guys, last Sunday I was able to attend a church on my own. The building in question was Harrison Road Congregational Church, Thorpe-next-No Place in Particular. This church almsot closed three years ago, but the innovative ministry of the Rev. Robert Bollingbrooke has apparently brought it back from the brink. Naturally, I was anxious to find out why. When I took my hymnbook, I noticed that it carried advertiosements on the front cover, like the old paperbacks I used to buy when I was a child. Apparently I could get 50% off my next purchase in WH Smith with the church newsletter, which seemed to be useful. Needless to say, I sneaked one for my daughter. She ought to take up drawing or something. It might take her mind off things.

When the church secretary came to the front, he started off by saying that the announcements were sponsored by Bird's Custard powder. The bible reading was given, together with a suggestion that persons should visit the church the next day for a free demonstration of something or other (I forget what).

The hymns were sung normally, although the hymnbook carried more advertisements than the free papers that some youth at the metropolitan railway stations hand out. What did rather surprise me was the children'd talk, which consisted purely of endorsements of a certain brand of satellite navigation what-not, you know, the device that helps you get lost so much more easily. While a Biblical application was given, it was somewhat spoiled by the mention of the price and the fullsome praise of the thing.

The sermon was scattered with product endorsements, from brands of coffee to the local supermarket. Talking to one of the deacons afterwards, he informs me that there is a sliding scale for such things, and one has to pay more for a mention closer to the application or inclusion in an illustration. The children's talk retails at about £150 a time, which is a fair whack when you consider that's one a week. And the hoardings attached to the galleries advertising all sorts of products were, in my opinion, a wee bit much.
Must go now, as my man informs me that I've received a telegram from the War Office to tell me that my commission is being re-activated due to a shortage of experienced men. Apparently they are giving me command of a spittoon.

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