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Lines written in praise of Geoffrey Shattock

on the occasion of the twentieth Anniversary of his ordination into the Christian Ministry, after the manner of Sir William Topaz McGonagall, Poet and Tragedian

I write in praise of the ministry of Geoffrey Paul Shattock, BSc
A man whose credentials have always been obvious to see!
Who was ordained a minister on a sabbath day in December Nineteen Hundred and Seventy Nine
A fact which will affect us all for a very long time.
His calling was clear at an early age,
As he spoke well and always looked good in beige,
And as a young man keen to impress,
He did write the famous song Progress,
About revisiting a church which had become a bingo hall,
And which though not precisely true in the literal sense was clearly a paraball,
Insofar as it meant anything at all.
For this at his University he was something of a sage
Who did bring John Stott and Cliff Richard to the stage,
One of whom was still quite a young man, though Cliff was already in middle age.
And so inspired, Geoff enrolled as a student to be
At a place called LBC
But discovered too late his aberration
For he had thought it was a radio station
And thus suffered the first of many setbacks thus far
In his plan to establish a career in the media.
But his academic prowess was plain for all too see,
For he could pass exams effortlessly
And not having to attend lectures give him plenty of time free
And there did he also meet his future bride, Maria
And said to her with great charm “Hey you, come here”
And for her great beauty unto her he did marriage propose
(Not forgetting her parent’s holiday home in the Algarve I do suppose)
And Maria, her English not yet being quite up to speed,
Thought he was offering to help with her homework and so she agreed,
And so they were married (twice so it was told to me,
Giving us a new perspective on serial monogomy)
And thus he was ordained into the church at Knighton
Which event many in the establishment did frighten.

His first job was surely not an option that was soft,
Being the Brethren Cathedral of Woodcroft,
But his words did branch out and catch fire when he spoke
For he lived in Burnt Oak
(that was a wee joke)
Of which truly it has been said (by him) and offen
That in the morning you woke to hear the birds coughin.
And there in a flat he did instal his hi fi and his wife, it is true,
The great love of his life (and he was fond of Maria too).
But at this point she was not showing maternal inclination
And so he had no children he could use as a sermon illustration
So instead they got a boxer dog called Hutch
Who endures in our memories for his lightness of touch
And who did see off the drunks on the stairs to their flat at night,
But after a while he got to recognise Geoff so that was all right.

And Geoff was a travelling musician, as you may guess,
To Holland or Bulgaria or anywhere they would listen to Progress
And at this time he did venture to God’s own land
For a mission at the University of St Andrews, which was grand,
But where things got somewhat out of hand
For there he met with the poet and occasional Art Garfunkel impersonator Godfrey Rust
Sorely testing the theory that in God We May Trust
Their musical alliance was ordained from above
And you could tell from their first public performance of Bye Bye Love.
But whether anyone was saved in that mission is not recorded
And thankfully neither were the songs for a decent PA system as usual could not be afforded.

Back at Woodcroft everything was being turned upside down,
And it is true that sometimes the elders there did frown
When they sang choruses and the local punks did come and pogo in line,
Which Graham Kendrick had not anticipated when he wrote Shine Jesus Shine
But none of this did cause the congregation as many hurts
As did the colours of Glyn Burns’ shirts
And so although he spoke with passion
Geoff can be said truly to be a victim of fashion…

And so after a famous operation upon his big knee,
He joined he Society of Shaftesbury
And carried the gospel forth
Moving upmarket into Kensington brackets North.
And there by where the A40 Motorway thunders
He served out his ministry of Signs and Logos.
Many will remember his work who will enter
What is now known as the Latymer Christian Centre.
For a small and British congregation he was soon able
To turn into a passable imitation of the Tower of Babel.
And here he learned the lesson that would save him much time wastings
That its not what you know that counts, as long as you know Mike Hastings.
And he did train many of the local unemployed,
Who very much his overhead projector slides enjoyed.
And to help him Maria could not have been keener
So he employed her as the centre’s cleaner
And in the winters it was cold and dark on many a lonely night
And so Susannah was born and brought them both much delight.

But at Latymer he could not stay
For he was called by the LBA
Who coveted his gifts and were so determined to get ‘em
They offered him the chance to live abroad, and so they moved to Streatham
Where they found him a palatial house fit for his needs
With a cupboard big enough at last for all his speakers, microphones and leads.
And he fulfilled his task as a great encourager and church reviver
And gained sufficient working knowledge of London to become a minicab driver.
And Shattock and Rust did perform their legendary show with wit and joy den
Bringing fame and glory as far wide as Peckham and East Croyden
And with Breakthru and Manageable Missions many did hear the call
And now they know how many Baptists it takes to fill the Albert Hall.  

But at last came the job that he did not shirk
As he broke the habit of lifetime to Wake Up To Work!
And his career at last is set
As head of the Great Corporate Partnership of WorkNet
Where Bill Gates does his ministry anoint
For he has traded his overhead slides for Powerpoint
An the amazing range of services and training now offered is a dream
And they are all fulfilled by WorkNet’s highly skilled and dedicated consulting team.
But yet in this it must be confessed
That Geoff has been quite highly stressed
But his anger and wrath, as I must report
Is focussed mainly on those who own a Ford Escort
and certainly their fate will be much worse
If the driver should be a dental nurse.
Geoff is now, I must relate,
The only boy racer to own a Volvo Estate
(For in truth in his early ministry he a car did not drive
But went everywhere in a Renault 25).
And now he is an author and on Premier Radio is often heard to talk
And only last week someone almost mistook him for Steve Chalke
And he has shared a platform with Anne Widdicombe
(or perhaps that was the Millennium Dome?)
His gifts are many and his skills are Meta
And even his piano playing is getting a wee bit better
So let us drink our red wine in his honour (before he empties the bottle)
To a man who balances life and work and while doing both at full throttle
whose spiritual stature exceeds even that of his physique
And who exercises at least twice a week
Whose power in speaking is not called into question
So that nowadays he is only heckled by his own digestion         
And so we praise of the ministry of Geoffrey Paul Shattock, almost MSc
A man whose credentials have always been obvious to see!
Who was ordained a minister on a sabbath day in December Nineteen Hundred and Seventy Nine
A fact which has affected us all for a very long time!

Read at the celebration of this event, December 4th 1999.