I must reveal to you a deep split among the Cathedral clergy and ministers. This has deepened and deepened over the past few years, and has now become quite open.
I am referring of course to our views of the BBC1 programme, The Great British Bake Off.
Some of us (that would be me) rush home eagerly from Evensong, turn off our mobile phones, flick on the television, and sit rapt in front of the screen. Will “pastry week” sink our favourite competitors? Will there be an enjoyable catastrophe (such as Yorkshire Pudding-gate, where most competitors’ Yorkshires were flat as a pancake)?
Other clergy (I refer here, alas, to Canon Farrow) simply cannot abide the Bake Off, finding it trite, false and trying too hard to be jolly. There will be no signature bakes for Canon Farrow.
You may have read that the BBC will be losing the programme to Channel 4 next year, but that three of the presenters, including the famed Mary Berry, have said that they will remain loyal to the BBC. Although this remains unsaid, these presenters must surely have turned down an offer of several million pounds each from Channel 4 to move with the show.
This straightforward loyalty of Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins has really cheered me up, as it is so different from the selfishness and greed of much of our public life.
Loyalty is a little heard emphasis in Holy Scripture, where God shows loyalty to us, and we are often asked to show loyalty to God.
Perhaps most beautifully of all, Ruth, the ancestor of Jesus according to the Scriptures, says:
Do not press me to leave you
or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
and your God my God.
How are we called to show our loyalty to God, and to one another, today?
Peter Bradley, Dean of Sheffield
p.s. Although The Great British Bake Off divides your clergy, cakes do not. We are always pleased to receive cakes, especially chocolate ones!