Frack-handed Archdeacon to chair public meeting

St Luke's could be sitting on a pot of smelly gold.On Tuesday April 1 at 9.00am a public meeting will take place in the organ undercroft* at St Luke's Church, Burton Stone Lane, York, to launch a report into the proposals by St Luke's Parochial Church Council to drill for shale gas within the curtilage of the church and hall.

The report will be published by the commission set up to scrutinise the proposals in the light of practicality, economic viability, legality, public acceptability and theological integrity.

The proposal to extract shale gas from beneath St Luke's originated with the church's Green Group who were concerned that over time the build-up of unrecovered gases beneath the church might lead to an explosion triggered by the weekly lighting of the thurible or incense-burner for the principal Sunday service.

St Luke's Green Group spokesperson Emerald Brunswick said, "Apart from the side effect of demolishing the church, this explosion would release a huge quantity of greenhouse gases in an instant. Since they're bound to get out anyway, surely it would be more responsible for St Luke's to release them in a controlled and phased manner by piping them from the sub-strata into the church hall kitchen to fuel the tea urn?"

However, local resident Millie Tant said, "No-one around here expected this sort of proposal from this fracking church. We're demanding a full enquiry and we're not going to settle for this half-baked commission chaired by a retired Archdeacon."

The Shanks Report (the commission is chaired by Archdeacon Emeritus of Gridlington the Venerable Armitage Shanks) is expected to confirm the viability of the plan and suggest that existing underground piping is suitable for dual-purpose use in bringing the shale gas into St Luke's Church Hall.

"It shouldn't be beyond us to devise a valve or some piece of sanitary ware to make sure that what should go downwards from the hall goes downwards, and only the correct gas finds its way upwards to the kitchen," said Archdeacon Shanks, who has already put his name to many similar appliances.

The meeting is expected to confirm that test drilling will begin in St Luke's pulpit as soon as the cobwebs have been cleared.


*The entrance to the organ undercroft is down the outside staircase adjacent to the church hall - on the right as you enter from Shipton Street.