THE General Synod took place while readers were considering their entries in our latest caption competition, with inevitable results: “Nope, Synod’s no better in 3D” (Jan McFarlane); “After a week at Synod he was well prepared for a bit of virtual reality” (John Saxbee); and “Look! General Synod in virtual agreement!” (Chris Coupe).
The Synod’s chief topic of debate also featured: “The Bishops’ marriage report looked little better in 3D” (Christopher Lewis); and “Wow! A Church where same-sex couples are treated equally and with respect. It has to be virtual reality — it could never be the C of E” (David Sparkes). And, although our picture shows the Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, the Rt Revd Martin Seeley, one entrant referred to the Bishop of Coventry’s blunder: “I still can’t see how these voting machines work” (John Hamilton).
The main theme, though, was virtual reality: “The Church looked so much better through rose-tinted goggles” (John Radford); “Does my diocese look big in this?” (Edward Mynors); “Some might say the closest a bishop ever gets to seeing reality” (Dave Blake); and “Well, Bishop, in order to boost clergy morale, these augmented-reality goggles fill in the empty pews with a vibrant and engaged virtual congregation” (Andrew Greenhough).
And more: “At last: a window into men’s souls” (Edward Mynors); “When he saw all the runners in 3D close-up on the special screen, the Bishop was not sure that he had placed his discretionary fund wisely in the 3.30 at Newmarket” (Mary Roe); and “Bishop Martin wasn’t sure that going to the next stage of 3D-printing clergy to fill the vacancies was such a good thing” (Sue Chick).
Several readers showed geographical knowledge: “It blanks out Essex on my journeys up to town” (Richard Hough); “As Bishop of a coastal diocese, he couldn’t resist saying ‘I see no ships’” (Chris Coupe); and “I can’t see the Bishop of Dunwich — I wonder if he’s drowned?” (Rachel Harrison) — which would be tasteless unless you knew that the town of Dunwich disappeared thanks to coastal erosion. Talking of tasteless: “I seeley no ships (sorry!)” (Richard Strudwick).
The nautical theme was continued: “He saw a new heaven and a new earth — and there was no more see” (John Saxbee); and “Oh! I do like to see inside the see site! I do like to see inside the see!” (Ray Morris).
When in search of a gag, two subjects are a gift: “In order to cope with the extra demands made of them by Reform and Renewal, all the bishops had to have their heads examined” (Andrew Hunt); “This model is called the Archdeacon, as it’s the eyes of the bishop” (Richard Hough); “Little did he know that the archdeacon had smeared the viewfinder with shoe polish” (Andrew Greenhough); and “So X-ray vision does indeed go through clothing. Gosh, the archdeacon’s tattoo is rather risqué!” (Nicholas Varnon).
We also had: “Someone please show the Bishop how to take a selfie” (Vicky Lundberg); “For now we see through a glass, darkly” (Rosemary Thomas); “Perhaps the grandchildren will be able to tell me what it actually does” (Richard Hough); and “What the Bishop Saw — the latest arcade game to be installed — had done wonders for the cathedral finances” (Chris Townsend);
Among our favourites were: “Common Worship 3D Virtual Reality Service App was pretty good, but he missed the smell of incense” (Shaun Clarkson); “Using new technology, the church looked full” (Guy Collins); “Lords Spiritual: end of the peer show’’ (Peter Walker); and “I’ve done it twice, but I still see people looking like trees walking around. Should I have spat on it first?” (Andrew Greenhough).
Two readers win Fairtrade chocolate, kindly donated by Divine (divinechocolate.com).