IT IS clear that we have many Doctor Who fans among our readers, judging by the number of entries to our last caption competition.
Most readers, naturally enough, concentrated on the Dalek’s main preoccupation: “‘Exterminate’ is not really a Common Worship word” and “The new Reader took the commination service with gusto” (both Patrick Irwin); “The Bishop was pleased with the diocese’s new excommunicator” (Sorrel Wood); “Despite having a limited vocabulary, the Reader could always be relied on to put the fear of God into the congregation” (Guy Collins); “The Mission to the Daleks was making slow but steady progress: ‘Excommunicate! Excommunicate!’ replacing ‘Exterminate! Exterminate!’ in many instances” (Mark Smith).
Also: “Tell me again how you deal with troublesome clergy where you come from” (Derek Wellman); “The Bishop solved his staffing problem by recruiting a Reader who could do extra duties at the crem” and “Messy Church became very messy indeed once the Dalek started to get bored” (both Susan Paterson); and “Early feedback on the new Reader from the congregation was that he had a tendency to speak in a monotone, and that his delivery lacked any trace of human emotion. Those critics proved difficult to locate shortly afterwards” (David Hover).
Other versions were: “Transubstantiate!” (Richard Barnes); and ”Epis-cop-ate! EPIS-COP-ATE!” (Richard Watson).
In the no-agenda-here section, we had: “Please welcome the fraternal delegate from Planet GafCon to the LGBT clergy conference” (Andrew Gore); “Well, he’s not Forward in Faith, and he’s not Reform. What’s not to like?” (Patrick Irwin); “The Crown Nominations Committee suggests traditionalists disguise their true identity” (Andrew Greenhough); and ”Unity in diversity, my plunger!” (Richard Barnes).
Then there’s what might be called the Readers’ friend section: “If Robo can fulfil the versatility of Reader ministry, how long will Bishops survive?” (Jenny Roughan); ”The latest model can conduct Services of the Word and
also hoover the carpet” (Patrick Irwin); and ”Readers: a force to be reckoned with” (Tom Page).
A few at random: ”This is what your parish profile asked for. . .” (Edward Mynors); ”The title of our visiting preacher’s sermon is ‘How I became a pacifist’” (Sister Rosemary CHN); ”Human-AI marriages: a new conundrum for the Church to argue over for the next few years” (Vicky Lundberg); and “‘Cooper P., Dale K., Edwards J. . .’ The list of candidates had seemed so straightforward” (Ray Morris)
When considering Daleks, it is always important to remember their disabilities: ”It was going so well until the Bishop invited him to step up to the challenge of mission” (Wendy Carey); “The Reader invoked the Disability Discrimination Act to complain that he couldn’t get up the step to preach” (Valerie Budd); “The Bishop consoles the lay chaplain, as they realise that prostrating is out of the question on Good Friday” (John Pritchard); and ”He has trouble with the pulpit, and his communication is limited, but he lights up evensong” (Janet Stockton). But a better-informed reader produced: “And with the levitation discs, nowadays they can climb the chancel steps” (Shaun Clarkson).
More at random: “Bishop Christopher was all smiles as usual, but wondered whether the drive for Reader diversity had gone too far” (David Bevington); “Oh dear, I thought this was the metal alien that made mashed potatoes” (Chris Coupe); and, very random: “Not even the most elaborate of gimmicks could distract our gaze from the awful choice of carpets at the Bishop’s house” (Andrew Greenhough).
If the prize were awarded for effort, it would go to Alison Rollin: “The Readers’ course was meant to run over ten terms, but, with the Bishop’s help, this special candidate felt confident of completing the studies within eight, and could frequently be heard boasting about this: ‘X term in 8! X term in 8!’” This from David Cain was pretty impressive, too: “Some on diocesan synod were fed up with the use of elaborate acronyms in the synod minutes. However, it was feared the minute-taker would struggle to avoid yet another one when the new diocesan adviser on lay evangelism and the Kingdom was introduced to the meeting.”
Also we had: “Breaking news: first photograph of Peter Capaldi’s replacement as the next Doctor. The sonic screwdriver appears to have been replaced by something hanging round the neck” (Allan Palmer); “He was a normal human being before he was commissioned as a Reader” and ”BBC budget cuts had led to the amalgamation of Doctor Who with Songs of Praise” (two more from Patrick Irwin).
There was no escaping the puns: “The Bishop assured them the new Reader would be sticking rigidly to the Revised Common Dalek-tionary” (David Hover); “I said that I wanted a dialectical argument, not an argumentative Dalek. I hope my licensing and smiling is working” (Gregory Clifton Smith); and “Go on, Bishop, license him: he’s an Episcopalian” (John Saxbee).
One winner this week, who will receive the prize of Fairtrade
chocolate courtesy of Divine (divinechocolate.com).