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Encouraging Diversity

Under fire vicar of Our Lady of Ingrowing-Toenails, Turbary Park, the Revd Agge Nostik, came in for further criticism today after a poster depicting her in what local church authorities described as "a welcoming pose" was "mounted"* outside the picturesque mediaeval Church. Part of the Church's diversity drive, the refurb is unashamedly aimed at younger and middle-aged men who, statistically-speaking, form a very small part of a typical congregation.

* by person or persons unknown but believed to have been a well-known gang of priapic youths already suspected of stealing condoms from a local pharmacy.

Our Lady of Ingrowing-Toenails, Turbary Park - with the new sign in place.

The new Parish sign was installed late last week but was not unveiled until after the vicar's sermon on Sunday [Isaiah 47:3 “Your nakedness shall be uncovered, and your disgrace shall be seen. I will take vengeance, and I will spare no one”]. According to one observer, "the crowd was more than a little nonplussed when the Rev Nostik was revealed in quite a lot, if not quite all, of her glory". Several attendees had to be treated by a St John's Ambulance crew happily already on stand-by for the Turbary Park v Chetnole Sunday League game on the nearby recreation ground. "We had been told to expect the unexpected", says trained first-aider - Fürst Aydér - "and had been warned to make sure the defibrillators were ready for action. But we never thought for a moment it would be the church-goers. Quite a few in the congregation are getting on a bit and probably hadn't seen anything like it in a while - and certainly not with the lights on". It was later reported that one man had been admitted to hospital with a swelling he hadn't experienced since 1986 and of which he certainly hadn't thought himself capable, whilst another was treated for hyperventilation, high blood pressure, over-excitement and a blow to the head inflicted by Evie, his enraged wife of 44 years.

The redesigned Parish Church Sign has divided opinion on notably gender-based lines. 98% of men approve, 98% of women believe the vicar should favour wincyette and a girdle.

Defending both himself and his Parish Council colleagues against charges of "opportunism, cynicism, bringing the church into disrepute and falsely raising the spirits of parishioners", Parish Clerk Donald Chronicles said that the redesign of the sign had been the result of deep and considered thought in which all involved had been on a spiritual journey, seeking guidance at all times from a higher authority - mainly the vicar herself. After a period of retreat and a short photo session with her boyfriend, she had given the scheme "a firm thumbs up" saying that their communion had confirmed her in her view that "she had a lot to give and that, unlike herself, the local population was in need of a serious uplift ..." "It was", she said "incumbent upon her to bring whatever she could to the table and try to stiffen all our resolves at a difficult time".

That Parish Magazine: surprisingly the lockdown hit of late 2020. 8 ot of 10 non-traditional church-going men admit they have "glanced at it".

However, several parishioners - including a group of young mothers who have to walk past the sign every day to drop their children off at school - branded the new design "ecclesiastical pornography". Several said they had declined to accept their husband's sudden and unexpected offers to take their children to school and added that they thought the new sign was more than likely to be "taken the wrong way" suggesting that "the vicar's idea of how she could exercise their demons and our husbands' are probably two very different propositions"**.

** not necessarily - see The Parish Magazine of Our Lady of Ingrowing-Toenails, Turbary Park, December 2020.

Evidence that putting the Vicar "upfront and centre" might yield dividends was provided in several forms: [a] a huge increase in pre-registration numbers for the Vicar's February "come as your are" cheese and nibbles, [b] significantly increased interest in the organ restoration project and [c] sales of December's Parish Magazine.

Sales of the Parish magazine show a marked upward trend when the Vicar is featured.

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