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The Church of England has distanced itself this morning from a newly-launched auction website offering redundant church furnishings - and a church - to online bidders.
CofEBay plans to co-ordinate sales of furniture, linen, vestments, architectural paraphernalia and more in a concerted effort to restore to use a range of items rendered redundant over the last half century by changing patterns of worship and church attendance.
Brainchild of Archdeacon Emeritus of Gridlington the Ven Armitage Shanks, CofEBay plans to serve the dual purpose of raising funds for good causes (to be advised) and clearing the backlog of items remaining in storage since Archdeacon Shanks' retirement in 2008, which currently occupy the 16th Century tithe barn attached to his house.
"There's everything from palls to stalls, cassocks to hassocks, chasubles to thuribles, sedilia to aspergilia, lavabos to baldachinos and pews to prie-dieux," explained Archdeacon Shanks.
He added, "There's a variety of vestments; ill-fitting
fiddlebacks, skimpy scapulars, a crocheted rochet, some appalling
apparels and I think I still have a dalmatic in the attic. But don't ask
about stolen stoles."
"And I suppose it's safe by now to confirm
that the overnight disappearance of St Onking's Church, Scruple Batwell
in April 2007 wasn't actually due to the Great Tempest; it's all neatly
flat-packed in the barn here. Those old tin tabernacles are fairly easy
Church of England spokesperson Dahlia Mailmerge
said, "Assuming all of these items were properly removed from churches
under Faculty, some direction must have been given about their disposal -
we trust Archdeacon Shanks will pay due regard to those provisions and
make wise choices about the use of his percentages."
Shanks added, "CofEBay isn't about the money - it's about getting my
barn back. But it's just a part of the church's mixed economy, and the
tithe from the sales will relieve the Pensions Board of some of the
burden of my continued international personal ministry."