Paul’s Epistle to the Bypassers

Charles No Comments

Paul Sinclair is best known in the world of funerals as the man who heads up Motorcycle Funerals and offers what, with characteristic self-deprecation, he describes as “the most professional, thrilling and coveted motorcycle hearse in the world.” A coldly objective appraisal shows this claim shows to be an understatement. Paul is the best by three laps of the Isle of Man TT course.

He’s not only the world’s best motorcycle-and-sidehearse provider, he’s also one of the warmest, nicest people you’ll ever meet. And he doesn’t just rev up his bikes, he revs up the faithful, too, for he is a fully qualified Rev in the Elim Pentecostal Church, a denomination which likes its preaching hot. The Faster Pastor, they call Paul. A non-conformist in all senses who has dedicated his life to “an adventurous walk with God.” Before he started conveying the dead on their final journeys, he spent nine years as a minister in wildest Willesden, the most violent place in the UK. Now he’s written a book about it, Now Open Sundays!

It’s a great picaresque account of insuperable hardships faced and, by reckless faith, overcome. In one of his first sermons he illustrates his point with a Sex Pistols track. Surveying his congregation afterwards he concludes “It was time to pack my bags before I was thrown out.” But they like him. He lives to tell of adventures which bring him into contact with the Queen, Ken Livingstone and Clint Eastwood.

Paul’s story is woven round the signs he displayed outside his church. We’ve all seen these wayside pulpits and, most often, groaned. But Paul’s messages had a topicality and humour which make them all-time classics of the genre.

Paul is one of the funniest people in the known universe. He has a particular gift for celebrating the absurd. Here’s an example. I was keen to promote a healing service at the first opportunity I could once I had become a minister, but on the day of the first service the healing evangelist called in sick! I tried again with another one and he couldn’t make it because his wife was ill!

In twelve years I can only remember one critic of our Wayside Pulpit in the whole of Brent – an atheist! When we posted our ‘International Atheist Day – April 1st’ sign he was so unhappy he even reported me to Willesden Green Police station. God bless him, I was so delighted with his reaction I kept it up another month!

This book is a great read. Buy it.

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