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Caption competition >

Caption competition


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Our next competition

Have a go at our next caption-competition picture (above). Entries must reach us by Friday 5 September.

by email to:

by post (postcards only) to: Caption Competition, Church Times,  3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG

by fax to: 020 7490 7093


Our last competition


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His retirement present was a walking holiday on the Sea of Galilee

Edward Mynors


THE inflatable retirement present for the outgoing Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd John Goddard (a reference to a canal incident, we understand), brought plenty of suggestions from our readers.

Baptism references were inev-itable. "Following the unfortunate incident at the last Full Immersion Baptism, the Bishop was relieved to announce that armbands would be worn in future" (Audrey Rawlins); "The Health and Safety Executive now requires all candidates for baptism to wear armbands: blue symbolising purity and red our Lord's Passion" (Joy Saunders); and "The Bishop prepared for the inaugural baptism in Glasgow Cathedral's new Olympic-sized font" (George Frost).

That and walking on water: "The Brownies' perfect retirement gift: ankle bands to help the Bishop walk on water" (Hazel Butland); and "Claims to walk on water are inflated, investigators say" (Liz Breuilly). As well as other biblical events: "With his passing resemblance to Noah, the Bishop decided to prepare for the next flood" (Chris Coupe); "And if the Red Sea doesn't part on our pilgrimage, there is a Plan B" (Carolyne Leatherland).

There were several references to Bishop Goddard's traditionalist views: "Despite the rescinding of the Act of Synod, Bishop John's future as a floating bishop was secure" (Joseph Brookfield); "This is what you need for swimming against the tide of the age" (Chris Coupe); and "Gloves on - we traditionalists are now ready to defend our corner" (David Leeming).

Also, speculation on the Bishop's plans: "Was a move to the Baptists on the cards?" (Vicky Lundberg); "The Bishop was clearly delighted to show off the latest episcopal accoutrement for those in communion with the Sea of Rome" (Richard Strudwick); and "Now I can safely cross the Tiber" (Janet Stockton).

To most readers, these were clearly armbands. Not to all, however: "At least the restraints were modern, comfortable and surprisingly easy to remove", and "Sadly His Reverence would need much more training before taking up his new career as a sex therapist" (both Eric Lishman); "And these from the archdeacon - on special offer at Ann Summers, I gather" (Nicholas Varnon); "The Bishop rejoiced that his outsize stress-balls were now redundant" (Ray Morris); and "The Bishop's celebratory farewell fandango was somewhat let down by the ineffective inflatable castanets" (Jonathan Haigh).

A few at random: "The Bishop is preparing to let his supporters down, he revealed today" (Liz Breuilly); "For many years he had been a Fisher of Men, but now, at last, he could venture into deeper waters" (Alison Rollin); "The Bishop was delighted with his gift as his retirement home is on the flood plain" (Vivien Moores); "Look what I got from the See of Burnley" (Dennis Garland); and "In case the roof leaks, everyone will be issued with these" (Chris Coupe).

Also: "The diocese gave Bishop John an environmentally friendly, do-it-yourself leaving present: a chance to go round the world" (Sue Chick); "Oh for the wings, the wings of a dove" (Robert Shooter); and "Yes, it's Christian Buoyancy Aid Week" (Kevin Walsh).

We liked: "Panic over! The Bishop was relieved to discover the source of reports of armed bandits in the vestry" (Andrew Knight); "The bands were announced for the third time of asking" (Richard Barnes); and "Fr Eldred's Mick Jagger impression was always the highlight of the clergy retreat" (Russ Bravo).

Our thanks, once again, to Divine for supplying our prize of fairtrade chocolate (

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