OUR photo of the Revd Laura Hill went down a storm with our readers over Christmas, as the real thing did in the parish in Bridgnorth, we are told.
It is clear that she has a good relationship with her Rector, the Revd Simon Cawdell. Otherwise, why would he start a sentence: “This might be unfair, as I am the training incumbent, but. . .”
His entry, “The curate wondered whether this constituted cruel and unusual punishment,” was one of many prompted by the photo. Others included: “The camouflage for the new telecom mast on the church was a little OTT” (Tom Page); “Laura felt more like the unfortunate star of an anti-bullfighting film” (Russ Bravo); and “The new ‘Reform and Renewal’ vestments policy was clearly starting to unravel” (Derwyn Williams).
Embarrassment featured large: “Laura bluffed her way through what she had thought was a fancy-dress party” (Robert Shooter); “Laura had been on her own for quite a while before she realised she was in the wrong church for the Christingle service” (Sue Chick); and “Laura tried to explain that she represented the world, but the children thought that she was going to have a baby” (Patrick Irwin).
Another theme emerged: “The demonstration of the Soyuz take-off was not quite what Tim was expecting” (Chris Corteen); “Laura prepares for blast-off to be the first chaplain aboard the International Space Station’’ (Peter Walker); “When they lit the blue touch-paper on that little lot, Major Tim Peake got a surprise Christmas visit from the vicar” (Charles Taylor); and “The Bishop had told her she should be ‘in the world but not of it’” (Tom Page).
Then there were the phone gags: “Laura could never get more than four bars on Orange” (John Lloyd); and “Having failed for years to get a mobile signal in her rural parish, the Revd Chris Tingle finally changed to Orange” (Charles Taylor).
In a class completely on its own (oddly): “‘Ah valued thriller’: it’s an anagram of ‘The Revd Laura Hill’. How appropriate” (Ray Morris).
Other plays on words: “Lecherous Christopher blushed in the congregation; in fact, the sexy outfit made Chris tingle” (Don Manley); “The Rhythm Of Life is a powerful beat, puts Christingle in your fingers and Christingle in your feet” (Richard Barnes); “And now for the pithy sermon. . .” (David Hill).
Then, in no particular order: “Light-headed, well-rounded, and a little bit fruity, the Vicar of Dibley returns for a festive special” (John Saxbee); “Mr and Mrs Tingle never envisaged the potential embarrassment for their daughter when they named her Chris” (Chris Coupe); and “The collection for the Bridgnorth Christmas foodbank had got off to a good start” (Sue Chick).
In the painful corner: “The Vicar was beginning to think that the idea on the Fresh Expressions website to combine the Christingle with the Patronal Festival at St Sebastian’s wasn’t such a good idea after all” (John Radford); “And the costume would come in handy for the St Sebastian memorial service later that week” (Diane Murphy); and “Having been stabbed several times, she began to realise she was actually a blood orange” (Alison Rollin).
A few more at random: “Perhaps wearing a Vivienne Westwood creation on Gaudete Sunday was a little over the top” (Lyn Kenny); “And my parents were so relieved when I gave up my childish ambition to be a clown” (Valerie Budd); “Laura would become completely spherical once the injections took effect” (Paul Taylor); “Laura felt like a bit of a lemon in her outfit” (Bridget Swan); and “Anyone who tries to light my candle will be put on Messy Church duty for the next six months” (Richard Hough).
And yet more: “After sitting through this, the Jaffa Cakes are mine!” (Chris Coupe); “No one had yet told her that the PCC had recently invested in a parish juicer, and had been looking for an early opportunity to try it out” (Alison Rollin); “Combining the Christingle service with Guy Fawkes’ Night had seemed a good idea at the time” (Patrick Irwin); “No one was convinced that Laura did it for the fruit” (Vicky Lundberg); and “After the Christingle service, Laura was left feeling somewhat deflated” (Daphne Foster).
We especially liked: “Laura was actually the prize in the Church Times caption competition” (Patrick Irwin); “My other outfit is from Walnut Wippell’’s” (David Hill); “To be fair, the Bishop had charged her to go into the world and bear fruit” (John Saxbee); “That’s the last time I ask the children what I should wear for Christmas” (Richard Hough); and “Clergy Code of Conduct para 37(b): ‘Never ask a parishioner to make you a Christingle’” (Derwyn Williams).
It was hard to choose, yet again, but we selected two entrants who will each receive a supply of Fairtrade chocolate, courtesy of Divine (divinechocolate. com).
by email to:
by post (postcards only) to:
108-114 Golden Lane
London EC1Y 0TG
by fax to:
020 7490 7093