OUR thanks to the Bishop of Repton, the Rt Revd Jan McFarlane, for allowing us to use her picture for this week’s caption competition. Given her previous incarnation as a diocesan communications officer, she is used to dealing with newspapers.
Scriptural references to weapons and armour came readily to some readers’ minds: “The Church Militant believes the pen is mightier than the sword” (Bridget Swan); “But would the whole armour of God pass a fire inspection?” (Edward Mynors); “The whole armour of God was looking a little battle-worn” (Tom Page); “The paper is mightier than the sword?” (Martin Hood).
There was disagreement about which particular rag the Bishop was sporting: ”The new advert for the Mail on Sunday” (Richard Hough); “Oh Lord! It’s another Mirror crusade!” (Diana Jones); “She readily embraced the role of Guardian: but perhaps needed to look in the Mirror” (Richard Martin); “At least it’s not the Church Times!” (Patrick Irwin); “In no circumstances should The Independent be worn due to confusions with the FIEC” (Andrew Greenhough).
One reader detected a professional PR-strategy: “Combative Christian achieves widespread newspaper coverage!” (David Hanford).
No, no, it’s about evangelism: “The Good News is bursting to get out” (Robert Shooter); “Has she got news for you!” (John Saxbee).
There was a suspicion that someone had lost control of the youth group: “At least the youth group didn’t use a red-top newspaper” (Chris Coupe); “The youth club’s design for new vestments was original, if not very sensible” (Patrick Irwin); “She hoped they realised that the flaming darts were an allegory” (Valerie Budd).
Others pinned the blame on the post-Brexit era of austerity (perhaps Wednesday’s Budget was on their minds): “The new Bishop was keen to make savings as an example of fiscal responsibility” (Tom Page); “The Readers had asked for an inexpensive option for their new uniform — and this one seemed particularly appropriate” (Michael Foster); “Vanpoulles’ austerity Episcopal range went down like a lead balloon” (Richard Strudwick); “Traditional eucharistic vestments were unobtainable after Brexit” (Patrick Irwin).
Some other entries that we enjoyed: “The Bishop wasn’t sure if it was Messy Church or the Crusades re-enactment; so she played safe” (Susan Chick); “Yesterday’s news is today’s Messy Church” (Che R. Seabourne); “So much for the paperless church” (Chris Coupe); “The Bishop felt that ‘dress-down Sunday’ wasn’t really her forte” (Peter Chapman); “If you must go over to Rome, at least don’t do it by halves” (Ray Morris); “The PCC voted ten to one in favour of paperless ‘hymns’” (Jane Sigrist); “Measures to deal with the bats had become something of a crusade” (Jo Saunders); “Amending Canon 36 had unintended consequences” (Richard Barnes); “The attempt to follow Karl Barth’s dictum about a Bible and a newspaper had not gone well” (Tom Brazier); “Lambeth announces new Bishop for papering over the cracks” (Richard Barnes)
And it wouldn’t be a caption competition without some puns: “I’m on the side of the Prints of Peace” (David Hill); “I asked for wrapped attention” (Janet Stockton); “Lift high the crossword. . .” (John Appleby); “I said ‘tabard’, not ‘tabloid’ (Tom Brazier).
A prize of Fairtrade chocolate, courtesy of Divine (divinechocolate.com), goes to the two winners.