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the bearded wonder of canterbury
Photo: Sebastian Derungs
Beards only need apply
By our Beard Correspondent
Charles O'Darwin

The Church of England was rocked to its foundations this morning when His Hairiness Dr Rowan Williams announced he was stepping down as Archbishop of Canterbury. It is understood that his beard and eyebrows will also be leaving to seek a new career direction of their own.
A committee of theologians set up by the Crown Appointments Commission have been meeting in emergency session at Lambeth Palace to ask who will now take the Church's top job of Bearded Wonder of Canterbury.

"It's true that we are looking for 'an hairy man', to quote the scriptures," confirmed a Palace spokeswoman. "So it's obviously not going to be Sentamu as he's almost as bald as Kojak. In this race, the beard is king."

Journalists have this afternoon been desperately researching the pitifully few bearded loons among the House of Bishops.
their graces the bishops of london liverpool and chichester
The Bishop of London was a hot favourite earlier today, but his star is now waning. His Grace's beard apparently lacks the wild exuberance of the departing beard of Williams. "Too manicured, pointy, and... well... devilish to be honest," said one of the committee, who asked not to be named.

But what of the facial hair of the Bishops of Liverpool, Chichester, Taunton, Penrith, Maidstone and Buckingham? "These aren't beards in any biblical sense," sniffed one of the theologians. "They just never got into shaving when they were spotty adolescents."
their graces the bishops of taunton penrith and maidstone
their graces the bishops of buckingham and ebbsfleet
Meanwhile, one Bishop who must be rueing the day he left the Church of England is the former Bishop of Ebbsfleet. "He would have made a lovely bearded Archbishop," said a committee member. "Except that he buggered off to Rome."

There is, however, one glorious beard which this evening is emerging as an unexpected front runner. It is the unkempt and fluffy specimen worn by the Bishop of Dudley, a lowly prelate who is not exactly a Prince of the Church.
"He's been hiding that beard under a bushel," said one of the committee. "You can tell that because there are spiders and the Lord knows what else living in that thatch. It's the sort of beard we've come to know and love these past 10 years."

"He could be another Rowan Williams if he just let his eyebrows go a bit," said another.

The nation's bookies have taken note and the Bishop of Dudley's odds have now dramatically shortened to 1000/1.

Note: Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford, who is only just out of short trousers, has not started shaving yet and therefore cannot be considered for the job.
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