ONE of the delights of editing the caption competition is the insight it gives into the minds of Church Times readers.
Some, when in search of a quip, turn to ascetic Florentine reformers: “Her mind wanders to the words of Savonarola: ‘Once, the vessels were made of clay and the Bishops of gold. Now it’s the other way round’” (John Saxbee).
Others are closer to the mainstream of modern thought. When they see something brown, they think of only one thing: “If only it was Divine chocolate. . .” (Chris Coupe); “While the Divine chocolatier prepared the ganache for the Bishop’s birthday truffles, he assured them there would be some left over for the caption-competition winner” (Shaun Clarkson); “I said we should have stuck with biscuits for after-service coffee: this chocolate mould is taking far too long to make” (Sue Chick); “The Fairtrade chocolatier from Divine soon had the clergy eating out of his hand” (Ian Garrod).
Another popular line of thought: “As the rota got increasingly out of sync, the bishop regretted agreeing to shared facilities with the local arts and crafts club” (Ray Morris); “The joint use of St Agatha’s as pottery centre and worship space only worked when the pottery classes finished on time” (Patrick Irwin); “It is good when church buildings serve the whole community, but double bookings can be a nightmare. When, during a confirmation service, Martin insisted on pressing ahead with his pottery demonstration, Anne faced the toughest diplomatic challenge of her entire ministry” (Tom Corfield).
There were a couple of neat puns: “When you said, ‘Shall we go for a potter round the church?’ I thought . . .” (Valerie Budd); “Alternative sermons: the clergy are idle while someone performs a feat with clay” (Tom Corfield). And a couple of groaners: “The bishop looked on with concern as he realised he had been asked to speak on clay ministry, and not as he had thought, lay ministry” (Derek Hollis); and “Even a practical demonstration failed to convince the Bishop of the validity of the Wheel Presence” (Jo Saunders).
Two or three of the entries suggested a Doctor Who connection: “Despite the bishop’s prayer, even a picture of William Hartnell on the wall couldn’t make time pass faster” (Laurence Young). (One reader, Patrick Moles, tells us that it is actually a portrait of the late Hugh Rogers by Martin Beek.)
A few at random: “The Bishop wondered what sort of blessing he could muster for what was being created before him” (Chris Coupe); “How is it that whenever there’s some tricky or messy activity, there’s always an apprehensive bishop waiting in the wings?” (Alison Rollin); “As the congregation left in droves, it dawned on the bishop that this was not the Harry Potter they expected” (Vicky Lundberg); “In the old days, selection conferences were more cerebral” (Patrick Irwin); and “Shut up and read Romans — the potter can do what he likes with the clay!” (Don Manley).
We especially liked: “Two feet of clay coming right up, Bishop” (Paul Roberts); “The C of E’s Meissen Commission members opt out of team-building exercise” (Richard Barnes); “There was a problem, but he could not quite put his finger on it” (Peter Richbell); and “The vicar had doubts about her idea of having every biblical reading illustrated by a practical demonstration” (Richard Hough).
Our thanks go again to Divine (www.divinechocolate.com) for the donation of a Fairtrade prize, which this week goes to two entrants.