No, I Am Not the Vicar of Dibley (But She Could Be My Cousin)

Last week someone stopped to help me carry yard sale donations from my car into the Vestry.  As we moved the bird-feeders and muffin tins and embroidery books, he asked “Hey, have you ever seen that program The Vicar of Dibley? This kind of reminds me of that.”

You would be surprised how often that comes up in this PBS-loving community. And the answer is yes.  I was a big Vicar of Dibley fan when it was on the air. I once even ordered the VHS boxed set to give as an ordination present.  Given my profession, what’s not to love about a British comedy about the arrival of the first female vicar in a small English village?

There are some parallels between my world and the Vicar of Dibley’s. Geraldine and I both have bangs. We both love the churches we serve and worry about their finances. When we are alone, we both speak to God with a bluntness that borders on irreverence.

But the Vicar of Dibley is younger and funnier than I am and gets more marriage proposals. She is a chocoholic, whereas for me it’s all about licorice. And while my Church Council is a dedicated and entertaining crew, its members are nowhere near as eccentric as those in Dibley.

But there’s a little of Dibley in Hancock, I think. My work as the minister here is sometimes wildly unpredictable, and yet has certain comforting rhythms–times and purposes for every season under heaven. And not a week goes by when I don’t meet someone or hear something that restores my faith in the ordinary, faith in the wonders and surprises that keep surfacing, even out of our foibles and false starts.

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