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Caption competition

19 May 2017

Stuart Purfield

The cathedral had been keen to host the hustings, but only the English League and the Greens’ candidates turned up. Ray Morris

The cathedral had been keen to host the hustings, but only the English League and the Greens’ candidates turned up. Ray Morris

The Church Times office was inundated with entries for its latest caption competition. Perhaps not surprisingly, some had an election theme: Do you think that Jeremy Corbyn will give us an extra Bank Holiday for the asparagus?” (Patrick Irwin); The Greens’ highly publicised election campaign in Worcester rather overshadowed that of UKIP’s” (Peter Brierley); “The Green Party’s surprise victory led to substantial changes in the State Opening of Parliament.” (Patrick Irwin).

For others, recent events in the Anglican Communion came to mind: “Anglican splinter group consecrates asparagus” (Jonnie Parkin); “The GASCON (Global Asparagus Conference) missionary bishop blessed the straight and narrow” (Richard Barnes).

Some could not resist a pun: “Whatever next? ‘Lift High the Cress’?” (John Saxbee); “Choral Vegan Song” and “Mr Asparagus appeared to be something of a stalker” (both Carolyn Owens); “Canon Michael felt that this time The Revd Green had gone too far! He thought they were inviting ‘Britney Spears’” (Jillie Owens); “Bring me my spear, O crowds behold!” (John Appleby); “Maybe it wasn’t quite what Blake had in mind when he wrote, ‘Bring me my spear’” (Richard Martin)

It could all have been an unfortunate misunderstanding: “As the knight’s headgear was responsible for muffled hearing, there was some confusion between aspergillum and asparagus” (Michael Foster); “What a pity, reflected Francis sadly, that his idea of a Service of Blessing for the new aspergillum had been so misunderstood” (Diana Jones).

Some enjoyable musical entries: “In all the excitement, the homemade organic pan-pipes could barely be heard” (David Burgess); “Halfway up the aisle, the vicar had to concede that the idea of accompanying the hymns on pan-pipes needed a rethink” (Nicholas Court); “Try as he might, he couldn’t get a tune out of the new pan-pipes” (Chris Coupe); “St George, a Green Man, and asparagus pan-pipes — very few can match my sermon illustrations, smirked Tompkinson” (Nicholas Varnon).

Some at random: The Precentor realised with horror that he had forgotten to bring the butter” (Patrick Irwin); “BBC cuts had led to a merger of Songs of Praise, British Castles, and Gardeners’ Question Time” (Patrick Irwin); The Asparites finally gained recognition as a world faith” (Christopher Lewis); Childish out-of-touch pantomine and fancy dress provokes Twitter storm among adults who like to dress up as a Roman magistrates” (Jonnie Parkin); Preparing the candidates for the forthcoming BAP is so much fun!” (Kerry Peniket); As St George’s Day had to be transferred, they decided to combine it with Harvest Festival” (Valerie Budd)

We particularly enjoyed these: “Asparge me!” (Michael Bourdeaux); “As the procession entered the chancel the choir solemnly intoned, ‘The days of man are but as grass’” (Diana Jones); It was only halfway down the aisle that the deacon realised someone had amusingly replaced the Gospel with a bunch of asparagus” (David Sims); “Worcester Cathedral was diagnosed with Asparagus Syndrome, or High-functioning Anglicanism” (Richard Barnes).

Also “The Apostolic Delegate from Alpha Centauri had forgotten to wear his vestments, but nobody noticed” (Edward Mynors); “The dignity of the solemn procession was somewhat spoiled by the intrusion of a man dressed in nightie and curtains” (Adrian and Diane Copping); and Realising that the service continued until ‘zucchini’, there was a gentle thud as the organist fainted” (Sally Prendergast).

Many thanks, once again, to Divine for supporting this com­petition with a prize of Fairtrade chocolate (divinechocolate.com).

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