Holy place for sale or exchange

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The Independent Online
AT THE weekend I passed through the far-flung village of East Horrington. Dusk was falling, but it was still just light enough to read the sign high up on the side of the village church. 'Sale or Exchange', it said. And as I drove the rest of the way to Wells, I wondered what possible applications the outgoing owners might receive . . .

Dear Rev, This is Jack Paddock from the farm here, we haven't ever spoken because I don't come to church and you don't come visiting farmers much, but anyway the thing is, I'm running out of places to store hay nice and dry, and the church would be just the ticket. Could you let me know if you can get a tractor through the door, thanks. Yours etc

Sir, I am planning a documentary TV programme on converted churches, and the strange uses to which they are sometimes put, so if and when you find new owners please contact me, especially if the new usage involves: a) black magic, b) martial arts weekends for fretful and stressed businessmen, or c) a permanent indoor site for rave parties? Could you let me know if you have already got planning permission for any of the following: 1) restaurant, 2) artist's studios, 3) disco, 4) casino? I look forward to hearing from you. Yours faithfully

Sir, I am at present the owner of a large rural recording studio which specialises in Third World music, in an effort to raise the taste of modern youth from their diet of straight rock music. However, I am told that the swing among the young is now away from music to stand-up comedy - the sort of young man who used to want to be a new Eric Clapton now wants to be a new Frank Skinner.

I foresee a day when Third World Comedy will be the new vogue thing that World Music is now. If I am to keep abreast of the times, I will then need another large studio somewhere in the country that can become a premiere venue and recording spot for stand-ups from Zimbabwe and new Connollys from the old colonies (good one, eh]). Your church may well be what I need. Can we touch base? Yours

Dear Sir, About 200 of us are looking for a place to rent this winter, we have a few caravans and camper vans, also dogs, but they will be no problem, please could you let us know your rates, also do you have a licence for music (we would bring our own cider)? Love and peace

Sir, I am a bishop of a northern urban see, where many of our clergymen often need a complete break from their arduous pastoral duties. It occurs to me that a time-share arrangement - whereby they could relax in your delightful church for a fortnight before returning to the dark Satanic mills - might be just what they need. Could you let me know: a) if they would have to preach a sermon or not, b) what average level of sin you encounter in your parish, and c) which sins are most popular in the West Country? Yours gracefully

Sir, I run a commercial TV company that recently successfully bid for one of the new franchises. However, we had to pay so much to the Government for the privilege that we have been losing money hand over fist ever since. We therefore have to move into new premises very soon, and your church looks the only sort of thing we will be able to afford. Even if we survive, I feel I shall have to do a lot of praying and meditation, and your church would also be ideal for this. Yours

Sir, I am shortly returning to my home in the United States. My wife asked me to look out, while I was in England, for a small historic conservatory suitable for re-erection against our house wall, and I believe your church is the very thing she has been looking for . . . Yours

Dear Sir, We are a national newspaper dealing with confidential stories and top-level revelations, for which purpose we need to hide people away from time to time, either to write their life stories, or hide them from other newspapers - I'm sure you get the idea. Anyway, your church sounds ideal for our little hidey-hole. If interested, please ring the newsdesk and ask for Reg, ta. Mum's the word

Sir, It may well be that you have not recently read the small print of your lease. If you had, you would have registered that we, as your parent company, have right of first refusal re any offer made on your property before it goes on the open market. Please reply to the office of the Bishop of Bath and Wells (Property Division) as soon as possible, and I mean pronto. Yours

in heaven