Keeping the faith in doughnuts!
Ever since I was a small child, I have known that there is one thing I can rely on in life, that I can turn to in bad times and that will never fail to bring me comfort and joy; something that, to a great extent, has helped build me into who I am today, writes Canon Missioner Sarah Brown.
When I became a vicar I knew, and still know deep in my heart, that it would always be a vital part of my mission - and indeed, this has proved to be the case, especially here at the cathedral - until today.
Today I’m worried for the future of mission in this place. Because today the one thing is in jeopardy.
I know that there are bigger worldwide concerns: coronavirus, trade negotiations - all sorts of serious and important things like that. But this matters too. To be clear, I’m not having a crisis of faith. I’m not talking about Jesus. He is a given. What with everything else that is going on, I’m not letting go of him.
I am talking about doughnuts. Jam doughnuts. (I’m sure there’s a Bond joke in there somewhere but I can’t quite put my finger on it! Doh…)
I’ve always loved them. They were childhood forbidden fruit. My mother was convinced that if my father was ever so treacherous as to look at one in a bakery window he would immediately fall down dead - though whether this would be due to a heart attack induced by the sight of all that fat and sugar, or because in retribution she would personally inject him with a lethal dose of gloopy red jam - was never clear to me.
Naturally, dad and I bought secret doughnuts every Saturday, hid them in my double bass case and sneakily ate them during Match of the Day. Neither of us died and we were never rumbled. My mum couldn’t stand football.
So, doughnuts have a special place in my heart. Here is the bad news. On Tuesday, the Speedibake factory, which supplies frozen doughnuts to Tesco, burned down. I don’t know if the freezer overheated or something. There are fears of a nationwide doughnut situation and rumours of queues and panic-buying at Asda and Greggs. Maybe doughnut rationing will be enforced, the supply chain will jam, and a black market economy will goughnuts.
Seriously, I am truly sorry for Speedibake and all who earn their bread there. It must be terrible to see your livelihood literally go up in smoke. I hope the insurance pays out so that the business can get rolling again - but let me tell you that, should a doughnut shortage come to pass, the mission of this cathedral is in jeopardy.
Maybe not quite as disastrously as the Viking raid of 870, or the Dissolution of the Monasteries or the Civil War, but certainly a bit inconvenient.
I am probably the biggest single purchaser of doughnuts in this city. No missional event in my care is without them. They are my favourite mission food, being reliable and filling and sweet and generous. Free doughnuts hint at God’s grace and the Last Supper. Everyone loves them.
The Wednesday at One group get through about 40 a week. Any children’s events are an immediate success with doughnuts, and our new monthly City Praise Event at 6pm on February 23 will not be complete, even though the band is fab, without them.
Last month we ran out. I’m thinking of getting 100 next time. But what if I can’t? The prospect is alarming. Christian mission in this place may not be the same again.
In the meantime, there is a solitary stale doughnut in the Sacristy fridge. I reckon it’s worth a fiver at least now. Any takers?