I’ve been dipping into Kilvert’s Diary again.

Old Mr Thomas the Vicar of Disserth … would get up in the pulpit without an idea about what he was going to say, and would begin thus, ‘Ha, yes, here we are. And it is a fine day. I congratulate you on the fine day, and glad to see so many of you here. Yes indeed. Ha, yes, very well. Now then I take for my text so and so. Yes. Let me see. You are all sinners and so am I.’


  1. And I’ve heard some lousy ones – although I have a friend who says that each of us only has one sermon anyway. Sometimes we begin at the beginning and sometimes in the middle … My current practice is to get into the pulpit with a script as tightly written as I can manage and then not to read it. The theory is that this enables one to combine economy with spontaneity. More often it leaves me feeling like an Easyjet pilot who can’t quite find the runway.

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