Fergus Butler-Gallie

The Reverend Fergus Butler-Gallie is Assistant Curate at Liverpool Parish Church and the author of A Field Guide to the English Clergy.

The problem with climate protesting clergy

Received wisdom suggests that you would not expect a vicar to disrupt Divine Worship. Now, anybody who’s worked with the clergy up close will know that in this case, as in so many areas, received wisdom is wrong. Still, there was shock in news outlets and on social media this week when a gaggle of

Why are we superstitious about Friday the 13th?

Uzeste contains 387 people and a dead pope. The tiny French village is one of the less glamorous papal resting places, where the earthly remnants of the unfortunate Clement V await the General Resurrection. How much of Clement is left is hard to tell. As his body lay in state after he died in 1314,

Did Jesus visit Cornwall?

I remember the ephemera at the back of St Barnabas. The church stands in Oxford’s suburb of Jericho, near the University Press. It had proper church clutter: stumps of candles, dogeared pamphlets and reminders of long gone diocesan initiatives. St Barnabas – a beautiful Italianate monstrosity, plonked by the high Victorians, with their classic tact,

Why Remembrance is a privilege as much as a duty

It was exceptionally cold, that strange Armistice day. I was used to spending the two minutes silence squinting into the winter brightness at college memorials or in English country church yards. Mid November is rarely freezing cold in the UK: it is often cold and crisp, the temperature is just enough time to stand outside

The depressing rise of the cathedral gimmick

They say that shopping centres are the cathedrals of late capitalism. It is amusing sometimes to think of future generations shuffling reverently around the monumental structures of glass, faux marble and strangely treated wood as if they were structures worthy of awe or wonder, perhaps pausing to peer at the tracery of a former Burger

What the Tory candidates’ logos say about them

There’s a particularly amusing picture from the 1997 Tory leadership contest of Ken Clarke and John Redwood awkwardly paired up under a blue sign with the words ‘Uniting to Win’ on it. Though their campaign for power was forgettable, uniting to lose against William Hague of all people, they can take solace in being an

In defence of meddlesome priests

The British constitution is best understood as a dinner party. Imagine the key institutions of national life personified and sat around a table debating the issues of the day. True, as you and I picture this scene it is now a little late in the evening, the surroundings are worn and some hitherto unheard voices

The Covid trap: will society ever open up again?

44 min listen

Governments around the world have adopted extraordinary powers to deal with coronavirus – but could they end up doing more damage than good? (01:00) Next, is the best way to deal with the threat of Scottish secession to negotiate a hypothetical Scottish exit deal? (16:04) And finally, are Britain’s graveyards suffering a spate of indecent