A vicar saw his Sunday congregation go up by half after warning on Facebook he would give it all up and become a window cleaner if he didn't boost numbers. The tongue in cheek threat made by Reverend Phil Ritchie turned out to be a holy success when 207 people turned up -seven more than his target.
Rev Ritchie normally sees up to 140 people at All Saints Church in The Drive, Hove, but wanted to get the numbers up on the national annual Back to Church Sunday. As well as telling parishioners at the church to ask one at least one other person to come and join them, he also posted a message on Facebook. He said: “I urged people to come along and then said if I don't get at least 200 I would give it up and become a window cleaner- during the summer months only of course!"
“At first I was quite confident and sure that enough people would come along but when it got closer to the day I started to think I was going to end up with a lot of egg on my face. In all seriousness, I would not have gone for a change in career although obviously I've nothing against taking up window cleaning. It would be a great job and I love being in the outdoors. I'm certainly used to cleaning the lead windows of the vicarage so I've had some practice. I also told the congregation about the window cleaning comment and I thought some of them might think that was a good idea and stay away but everyone came along.”
Rev Ritchie, who has been at the church for three years, says he is keen to get the wider community involved. He said: “This was obviously a little bit of fun but there is a serious message behind it. The church is an important part of the community and I would like to reach out to as many people as possible.”There are a couple of simple reasons for ruling me out of being the brains behind this wizard wheeze. Firstly, I don’t live in Hove and secondly, and more significantly, I don’t like heights so window cleaning is one of the last jobs I would consider. I urge the good folk of our parish not to get any ideas.
By the way, we still haven’t contracted the services of a window cleaner for The Rectory so if Rev Phil Ritchie, All Saint’s Hove, fancies supplementing his stipend…