*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Caption competition

by
16 January 2015

Have a go at our next caption-competition picture (above). Entries must reach us by Friday 23 January.

by email to: captioncompetition@churchtimes.co.uk

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

 

PASTORAL scenes are still an inspiration to churchgoers, judging by the impressive response to our last caption competition.

We start with a liturgical encounter: "The lord be with ewe" (Michael Doe); "And also with ewe" (Derek Wellman). For those who favour a fresher expression of worship, we had: "Here's looking at ewe, Deano" (John Radford).

This is the place to mention that the cleric in the photograph is the Dean of Worcester, the Very Revd Peter Atkinson. Full marks to him for submitting an entry: "With all other cathedrals showing a record growth in numbers, the Dean of Worcester felt he must hold on to the two remaining members of his flock."

The Green report makes its second appearance in the caption entries: "He thought, wrongly, that the Green report was about getting back to nature" (Michael Doe); "Lord Green's compulsory shepherding module is not proving popular" (John Saxbee); "Ministering to the human flock had been moved to Module 2 of the Bishops' training" (Richard Wise); "Bishop Doolittle remembered when he had been chief pastor, not managing director" (Richard Barnes); and "Having read the Green report, the Dean immediately set about studying for his MBaaa" (Charles Taylor).

We had multiple entries from several readers, among them Chris Coupe: "These weren't the couple of woolies I was expecting for Christmas"; "O come all ewe faithful. . ."; "Two sheep, no oxen, no donkey, not even a vacuum cleaner - some Nativity!"; and "Counting sheep seemed to be having the desired effect". Also Patrick Irwin: "Mr Arabin arrives in Baachester"; "The new churchwardens seemed remarkably docile"; "Sheep may safely praise"; "The shortlisted candidates seemed remarkably similar"; "Father's flock was very traditionalist"; "The Vicar realised that he was too soft-hearted to conduct an animal sacrifice for the youth club"; and "Role-play was now central to the course in pastoral studies."

Only one entry from Yvonne Rautenbach, but it is worthy of special mention: "Sorry, no. I said 'If you were good and tender, your kids would be eaten,' not 'if you were good attenders they would go to Eton.'"

A few at random: "I see the black one's gone astray again" (Diana Jones); "The dean and his pen pals" (Bill de Quick); "H'mm, I fear that the theology of my flock is becoming rather woolly" (Ron Wiffen); "Peter thought he was on a travel company website when he said he was interested in the Cotswolds" (Sue Chick); and "I wonder if there were any two-headed sheep at Bethlehem?" (Bob Torrens).

There was the cryptic: "It's OK, he's from Worcester, he won't have brought any mint sauce with him" (John Radford); and the excruciating "Attendance at the ewecharist was very disappointing" (Derek Wellman) and "He was wondering how two ewes them to his best advantage" (Neil Inkley).

Also: "Sheep cloning perfected, now on to the congregation, thought Peter" (Vicky Lundberg); "The Dean concluded that there were enough woolly-minded liberals in his diocese already without buying two more" (Richard Hough); "OK, own up, which one of you ate the crib?" (Lynda Sebbage); and "OK that's settled: I'll call off the sheep dogs, and you get paid Equity rates for the nativity play" (David Anwyl-Hughes).

And yet more: "A good shepherd would be able to tell them apart. I'm not sure that I can" (Ben Woods); "It doesn't really work without the goats" (Alec Hamilton); "Yes, it's tempting, but to corral my congregation like this I'd need a black belt" (Alec Ryrie); "These sheep didn't seem to listen to his voice any more than those of his other flock" (Christopher Tookey); and "It's about time those shepherds returned from visiting the manger: I cannot look after these sheep much longer" (Bob Weldon).

We like running gags, so a special commendation for Richard Barnes: "Among his interests he listed Extreme Crochet" (see his 5 December winning entry). And don't mind old jokes, either: "The Dean liked talking to his favourite sheep, Rosemary and Minty" (Bill de Quick); and "Shepherd plans to fleece the congregation before leading them to slaughter" (John Barton).

Among our favourites were: "Oh dear, you reminding him he has to lay down his life for us has not gone down well" (John Saxbee); "He was somehow reminded that he had missed lunch today" (Richard Hough); "After a good Sunday lunch, the Dean couldn't resist humming 'All we like sheep'" (Charles Taylor); and "So I guess this makes me a goat, then?" (Alexander Faludy).

We couldn't decide a winner, and will be sending Fairtrade chocolate, courtesy of Divine (divinechocolate.com), to three readers this week.

Peter realised he would need more sheep to count before he would get a good night's sleep
Sue Chick

While away filling the talent pool, his flock had shrunk to two
Richard Barnes

"Love ovine, all loves excelling . . ."
John Appleby

Forthcoming Events

25 January 2022
Preaching Lament and Hope
A Durham workshop from the College of Preachers.

More events

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)