Transcript of a sermon by the Bishop of St Pancras 18th July 2010.
We live in an unneighbourly society dear parishioners.
I'm sure we can all remember a time when you could hang out in your garden all Sunday afternoon, chatting to your neighbours, exchanging Jeyes Fluid, passing on lubrication tips for a stiff knob and slipping each other a home grown parsnip through a hole in the fence.
It only seems like yesterday when I could sunbathe nude in my garden and no-one would complain. Sometimes my neighbour would throw his balls over my fence but I never made a fuss, just headed them back over - or invited him round for a spot of mutual fertilisation on the flower beds. He was a lovely chap - always ready to let me borrow his extendable hose. Oh the happy hours we spent sprinkling each other on the lawn on really hot days.
Of course he's been gone for years now. He moved to Brighton to open a Horlicks Lounge and Show Bar. I've never been there but I hear he's got the best froth on the South Coast.
These days it's rare to even get a neighbour to raise their homburg at you.
I watch with sadness, day by day, as our loving society crumbles. There was a time when a neighbour was always ready to bend over backwards to give you a hand, but now you're lucky if he'll give you the finger. What sad times we live in, when neighbourly harmony and consideration smoulder on the garden incinerator - with the grass cuttings, diseased tomatoes and 'Boys' Life' magazines.
So today, I'm asking my parishioners to help me turn things around this summer. I'm asking you to extend an olive branch to your neighbour and turn the other cheek. Go on! Turn to the gentleman next to you now, give him a good firm handshake, say "How do you do and when can we do it?" then invite him home for a nice game of naked Twister, a cream tea and a splash in your paddling pool.
NEXT WEEK: the Bishop takes a 21st century look at the Ten Commandments and asks the question - What does the bible say about coveting thy neighbour's hot tub?