THEY might be a thing of the past, but they live on in church lore. Out of the many similar suggestions, we chose just one: “Nominally he is still a flying bishop, but these days he delegates the practical side to his chaplain” (Andrew Evans).
There were other flying jokes: “So when I let go you float up and inspect the spire” (Netta Gibbs); “The levitation course was still in its early stages” (Sue Chick); “The Bishop was beginning to worry that his chaplain’s new interest in Yogic Flying was, perhaps, taking interfaith dialogue a bit too far” (Stephen Disley); and “The new helium-filled ‘curate’ balloons were proving very popular . . . but they tended to get carried away” (Victoria Ashdown).
A couple of cultural references: “Suddenly the Bishop and the Reverend Toto were back in Kansas” (George Frost); “Peter Pan: The Sequel” (David Gregg); “We’ve forgotten the motorbike and sidecar again” (Eric Lishman). These, though, pale into insignificance when compared with: “Their best efforts could only win third prize in the Chagall Society’s annual ‘Re-enact your Favourite Painting’ day” (Stephen Lamont).
What had they been taking? “Reg had tried breathing helium in an attempt to get the high C#” (Netta Gibbs); “Now how about that for a legal high?” (Paul Reynolds); or something healthier: “Communion with Nimble rather than wafers was controversial but effective” (Richard Barnes).
The soul-of-wit section: “It really was a huge spider” (Alison Rollin); “Thanks, Elijah – it’s been great knowing you!” (Don Manley); “Come down — you’ve only been made a deacon” (Leo Njuguna); and simply “Post Alpha” (Richard Strudwick).
Some entries at random: “One incumbent was already bringing his new curate back down to earth” (Chris Coupe); “Ministry these days is no walk in the park — but it’s fun” (John Saxbee); “The bishop had urged his flock to start practising for the Rapture” (Christopher Wain); “Ben’s re-enactment of the Ascension nearly went horribly wrong” (L. Michael Mayer-Jones); “With imaginary pogo stick and aeroplane simulation, they emerged through the park after Evensong” (David Senior).
Also: “On the day of the Rapture, to everyone’s relief, it turned out God saw fit to take people fully clothed” (Caspar Bush): “There was a reason why Fr Roderick always insisted on black shoes in the sanctuary” (Patrick Irwin); and “If I take the wings of the morning . . . even there your right hand will hold me fast” (Liz Ratcliffe).
Maybe the pair were just hurrying: “They had just realised that the wedding was in fact at the sister parish down the road” (Richard Hough); “How silly to have two St Agathas, a couple of miles apart” (Valerie Budd).
We liked the in-jokes: “Forget the Church’s new proposals for developing leaders. This bishop had his own way of identifying high fliers” (Bryan Kerr); “Illustration from IME training manual: the relationship between training incumbent and curate should be one in which the newly ordained feels well supported and, in time, will fly with confidence in their new role” (Lucy Bolster); and the impressive: “There was great excitement in Little Swinderton that the amendment to Clause 79 (3) (c) of the Clergy Discipline Measure had been passed by a narrow majority at the General Synod” (Richard Hough).
There were many more entries, but among those we especially liked were: “News of the Archdeacon’s retirement was not received with universal sadness” (Jo Saunders); “But Father, you’re supposed to swing the thurible, not the thurifer” (Peter Potter); “Toby had always wanted a dirigible curate” (Bridget Swan); and “Galileo was surprised to find that, when both are dropped from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a bishop will hit the ground before an archdeacon” (Stiiv Knowers).
Once again, Divine (www.divinechocolate.com) has kindly donated a Fairtrade chocolate prize.
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