Speed Reads

Where's the sprout liturgy?!

Worcester Cathedral's asparagus blessing goes awry when Gus the Asparagus Man attends in costume

An asparagus blessing at Worcester Cathedral went awry last Sunday when Gus the Asparagus Man joined the procession while dressed as a giant asparagus spear, BBC reports. Many of the Anglicans in attendance for the crowded St. George's Day service called the display a "pantomime," with the lobby group Christian Concern complaining that Gus' inclusion "made a mockery of Christian worship."

To mark the start of the British Asparagus Festival, a bundle of asparagus spears had been brought to the cathedral from the town of Evesham to receive a blessing. Canon Precentor of Worcester Cathedral Rev. Michael Brierley called the plant "a sign of the abundant provision and generosity of God" and he defended Gus' inclusion, saying it added "a bit of color."

Canterbury priest Rev. Peter Ould disagreed. "I think the service itself is a good idea — there isn't anything wrong in praying for a good growing season," he told The Telegraph. "But someone dressed up as an asparagus and a bloke in a St. George costume behind him holding a sword — that just looks a bit silly."

Others expressed concern about the lack of inclusion of other produce. "Why only adoration of asparagus?" a post on the Church of England blog Archbishop Cranmer said. "Where's the sprout liturgy, or equality for mushrooms?"

Gus is one of several asparagus characters that help celebrate the annual asparagus festival. He attended the St. George's Day service absent of Asparamancer, Eve the AsparaFairy, and the Asparagus King.