OF COURSE, there’s nothing funny about defibrillators, and our thanks to Edward Mynors, one of whose entries read: “Seriously, it only costs £861, and it could save a life in your parish.”
That said. . . “Will I still get a good signal if I take him outside?” (Sue Chick); “Do you think that Brexit will help the NHS? The truth monitor will check your answer” (Patrick Irwin); “The Bishop was testing a new technique for monitoring sleep patterns at diocesan synod” (Tom Corfield); and “No one knew exactly what the Bishop had planned for the Sunday service, but the sermon was R-rated, and required the presence of two trained paramedics throughout” (George Frost).
In fact, we had a lot of entries this time round, so, in no particular order: “OK, your heart is sound, but that’s more than can be said for your theology” (John Saxbee); “After the Bishop’s synod address, even the paramedics were feeling unwell” (Patrick Irwin); “I’d be happier to pray that he rest in peace, if his heart were in the right place” (Fiona Wimsett); and “The vicar’s alternative service had raised a few heartbeats” (Kerry Peniket).
In the extreme corner: “He’s gone, Bishop. It was Psalm 119 that did for him” (Eric Lishman); “Thanks, Bish. We never liked him. You’ve saved us an expensive trip to Switzerland” (Eric Lishman); “You mean the dummy comes to life when I press this button? This has fantastic potential for growing our congregations” (Jonathan Haigh); and “Hmm, might try this on that difficult Archdeacon” (John Hutchinson).
Several readers noted that the event took place at a diocesan synod: “In future, all synod members will have to take the Bishop’s new heresy-detector test” (John Saxbee); “Checking the voltage, the bishop demonstrates the latest technology for punishing those caught nodding off at synod” (Kim Fabricius); “There was a shocking end to the diocesan synod” (Daphne Foster); and “After the prayer-induced coma and reprogramming, I’ll get the whole synod doing the timewarp, mwah-ha-ha-haaa” (Paul Taylor).
More at random: “Renewal and Reform meets Gothic Revival” (Richard Barnes); “His Grace just couldn’t get the bionic curate to work” (Eric Lishman); “Job-sharing in the NHS and the C of E had now reached episcopal levels” (Patrick Irwin); “How many volts to wake him up?” (Valerie Budd); “Would this new form of electronic cognitive confession really catch on, he wondered?” (Bill Scott); “Bishop Tom was determined his sermon on Lazarus would not be like all the others” (Vicky Lundberg); and “With only two synod members, the Bishop did all he could to ensure that he didn’t lose one of them” (Chris Coupe).
Two readers highlighted the man in the background: “Part of the bishop’s innovative outreach plan involved reprogramming paramedics to become Irish dancers” (Caspar Bush); and “Preparing to rival the NHS choir, a paramedic in the Thames Riverdance Company needs a jolt to kick start him” (Dennis Abbott). And then we had this rather bizarre angle: “Each time I press this button another green man appears” (Edward Mynors).
As is often the case, we struggled to choose a winner — so we chose three. Each will receive fair-trade chocolate, kindly donated by Divine (divinechocolate.com).