Here at St Luke’s, we celebrate the value of every individual, and we’re not too impressed by ‘celebrity’. However, it’s quite exciting when your vicar hits the news!
Dave Tomlinson, vicar of St Luke’s, is already known outside the parish for his bestselling books, including How To Be A Bad Christian. But lately, he’s been in the news for another reason – taking the funeral of the notorious ‘Great Train Robber’, Ronnie Biggs. Suddenly, our beloved priest was popping up all over the websites of tabloid and broadsheet newspapers, where we were amused to see him variously described as ‘the villain’s priest’, ‘unrepentant reverend’ and even ‘trendy vicar’! (Not bad for a cheeky Scouser in a frock.)
Not all the responses were positive and Dave was later invited to write a piece about the whole furore for the Church Times, and was interviewed for the Salvation Army magazine War Cry (plus he continues his regular spots on Pause For Thought on BBC Radio 2).
To be honest, we’re slightly baffled by all the fuss. After all, every person in the country is entitled to a Christian funeral if they request one, regardless of their history – so quite what Dave was meant to apologise for is a mystery to us. However, if you’d like to check out a few of his appearances in the press, you can visit the links below.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/03/ronnie-biggs-train-robber-funeral-golders-green http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-25594688 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2542456/RICHARD-KAY-Widow-Battle-Britain-air-ace-Sir-Douglas-Bader-neglected-nursing-staff-says-daughter.html (scan down halfway).
And here’s the piece Dave wrote for the Church Times: http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2014/17-january/comment/opinion/was-ronnie-biggs-repentant
Well done for flying the flag, Dave. We hope your new-found fame doesn’t mean we’ll soon be fighting our way through paparazzi to get into church on a Sunday morning, and catching reporters rifling through the vicarage bins!