Have a go at our next caption-competition
picture (above). Entries must reach us by Friday 23
email to: email@example.com
by post (postcards only) to: Caption
Competition, Church Times, 3rd
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"
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
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
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"
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
Peter realised he would need more sheep to count before
he would get a good night's sleep
While away filling the talent pool, his flock had shrunk
"Love ovine, all loves excelling . . ."