As an ordained Church of England minister, The Rev Matt Woodcock accepts there are probably some things he should never admit to.

“Like the fact I sometimes don’t particularly like going to church,” he writes at the start of his new book ‘Being Reverend’. “Or the clothes we wear, the traditional hymns we sing and the prayers written for us to pray...

“Too often the C of E’s ways, rituals and culture feel as alien and uncomfortable to me as accountancy. Or wearing a monocle.”

The journey which took Matt - Woody to his friends - from being a cheeky-chappy reporter on this newspaper to an ordained C of E minister and occasional Radio 2 star was told in his hilarious, tell-all 2016 bestseller ‘Becoming Reverend’.

Being Reverend, the follow-up, tells the story of his first 18 months as an ordained priest at Holy Trinity Church in Hull.

Like the earlier book, it takes the form of a frank and often irreverent diary. And it opens with a jaw-dropping account of a ‘Christmas spectacular never to be forgotten’ that he laid on one year.

Matt had arranged for real camels, sheep, a donkey and a large cast of reluctant locals to parade through Hull city centre to Trinity Square.

Road closures had been put in place, and police and stewards in hi-vis jackets and with walkie-talkies were on hand to direct the crowds.

And then the heavens opened...

Matt describes standing in a deserted, rain-sodden Trinity Square, wondering just what he had done.

“I can’t remember a time when I felt more sorry for myself,” he writes. “It was absolutely slinging it down - beyond torrential. My shepherd’s costume was soaked. The hastily erected stable at the front end of Holy Trinity Church looked as if it was about to take off in the strong wind. Hay was swirling everywhere (and) large puddles had formed where our Mary and Joseph would be huddled with baby Jesus."

A text message pinged onto his phone from a friend. “’Too wet’, it read. ‘Sorry, Woody. Break a leg’.”

You’ll have to read Being Reverend to find out what happened next. But just remember, this is Matt Woodcock. Things are never quiet around him...

These days, Matt is based at St Barnabas Church in Leeman Road and St Paul’s in Holgate. He makes regular appearances on Zoe Ball’s Radio 2 Breakfast show - but judging by ‘Being Reverend, he’s still the same mischievous character who used to both delight and infuriate his colleagues on The Press.

He gives a gleeful account in Being Reverend of the first day of a beer festival he organised in Holy Trinity Church itself.

There was no trouble, he stresses. “Even the swearing and beery burps were kept to a minimum’.”

But he got talking to one of the many reporters who had made a beeline for the event, and managed to tell him that if Jesus had been there he would have been ‘propping up the bar talking to people about what really mattered in life’. The comment prompted a debate on BBC Radio 5 Live.

The next morning he was back at the church early to help with the clean-up operation.

“That’s a lie, actually,” he writes. “I got in the way of the clean-up operation. I can never understand why people aren’t as energised as me first thing in the morning. A few of the hung-over CAMRA volunteers shot me murderous looks as I skipped past them riding my mop like a Grand National winner.”

He describes conducting his first wedding. The groom and his two best men kept nipping out for a crafty fag, Matt writes. The bride, meanwhile, was a ball of nerves. When Matt asked if anyone knew of any legal impediment to the marriage, there was a tense silence. Into that silence, the bride burst out: ‘At least I know he’s not gay, then!’

Matt eventually succeeded in pronouncing the couple man and wife - only to get their names wrong as he did so..

He also writes about being presented with a copy of the Bible written entirely in shorthand by two ‘Holy Trinity veterans’.

They’d decided that, as an ex-journalist, he’d love it.

And so he did. But that didn’t stop him from confiding to his diary: “It’s actually how so many people see the Bible anyway - incomprehensible and totally baffling...”

Matt signs off that day’s diary entry with a description of an afternoon walk with his two young children, Esther and Heidi.

“I can’t imagine a happier sight than seeing your children jumping in puddles,” he writes.

You get the feeling he’d probably have liked to be able to do the same himself...

Being Reverend by Matt Woodcock is published by Church House Publishing, priced £9.99.