Caption Competition

08 September 2017

John Smith

The shrines to Matthew, Mark, and Luke are located inside the church Don Manley Our jazz-loving Rector always wants a W. C. Handy John Saxbee Have a go at our next caption competition. Send your entries by Friday 1 September. by email to: by post (postcards only) to: Caption Competition Church Times 108-114 Golden Lane London EC1Y 0TG

The shrines to Matthew, Mark, and Luke are located inside the church Don Manley Our jazz-loving Rector always wants a W. C. Handy John Saxbee Have a g...

LAVATORY humour was, I’m afraid, inevitable, given the photo we chose for the latest caption competition. Readers of a more sensitive disposition, look away now. Turned out we were flush with entries. . .

The sender of the photograph suggested the following: “With the closure of the Places of Worship Grants Scheme, the PCC had to lower its horizons for improving facilities” (John Smith). In the same vein: “On this occasion, the National Lottery Fund had not been very generous” (Patrick Irwin). Officialdom was invoked: “That was the closest they could put it without a faculty” (Valerie Budd); and “The PCC at St John’s had heard that the new curate needed to go for potty training” (Daphne Foster).

A few at random: “St John’s pop-up confessional: no waiting” (John Ayers); “Knock, and the door shall be opened” (Angie Lauener); “The church had an open-door policy” (Vivien Moores); and “Approval for the Portaloo will now be but one of many motions passed by the PCC” (John Saxbee).

Several readers turned to the hymn book: “We commence our open-air service with the hymn ‘All ye who seek for sure relief’. Please stand or sit as appropriate” (David Hanford); “Here is the little door, lift up the latch, oh lift” (Bridget Swan); “Where streams of living water flow” (John Saxbee); “Jesus, where’er thy people meet, There they behold thy mercy-seat” (Alan Tadiello); “The choir were unimpressed that their path to church was blocked — but had a good laugh on being told they had been due to practise ‘Before the throne of God above’” (Elizabeth Shearcroft); and “‘Bold I approach the eternal throne’ (with apologies to Charles Wesley)” (Donald Wetherick).

Small blue box? Links to a TV series occurred to many: “Sorry, Vicar. You said this morning’s visiting preacher is Doctor who?” (Daphne Foster); “After the announcement of the 13th Doctor, several churches of the Society moved the Tardis out of the churchyard” (Simon Taylor); “This blue box is certainly no bigger inside, and it won’t time-travel” (Chris Coupe); “The Bishop’s Tardis misheard his <portal 00> command yet again” (David Chamberlin); and “Recognising the importance of St John’s having modern facilities, the Time Lord arranged for the materialisation of: the Turdis” (Nicholas Varnon).


More at random: “The new churchwarden is, it would appear, a privy counsellor” (Ian Barge); “Closet Christians welcome here” (David Hanford); “The CEEC implements its ‘Guarding the Deposit’ proposals” (Richard Barnes); “‘I’m toying with the idea of letting it out. . .’ mused the Vicar” (Avril Rhodes); and “Sometimes you do wonder what delivery men are thinking” (John Rhodes).

Mishearings: “I asked for a lavabo, not a lavatory” (Janet Stockton); “The Revd Bloggs misread the email from the Archdeacon encouraging the deanery to be more welcoming to happy-clappers” (Jane Sigrist); “No, no: I said the sign for the redundant church should be ‘To Let’” (Tom Page); and “I said: ‘Somewhere to display Luther’s theses’” (Richard Barnes).

It is the end of the festival season: “Tom’s attempts to recreate that Greenbelt ambience back in the parish met with a lukewarm response” (Jane Sigrist); and “The vicar’s attempt to recreate Greenbelt at home had only one detail wrong: there was toilet roll in the Portaloo” (Simon Taylor).

A final random selection: “The PCC wondered whether this could be the new church plant” (Philip Goggin); “It was acknowledged that visiting preachers often felt nervous before entering the building” (Michael Foster); “The shrine to St Incontinentia attracted few pilgrims” (Eric Lishman); “The PCC had not realised the consequences of being twinned with Clochemerle” (Edward Mynors); and “St Cuthbert’s took Messy Church very seriously” (Bill Scott).

All these, plus a few more we especially liked: “A Fresh Expression of Cathedra will tame the Bishop’s modernising instincts, reckoned the Dean” (Jonathan Smith); “For the Abba tribute concert there’s a Portaloo, Portaloo — in case the Super-troupers are feeling like a number one” (Richard Barnes); “Oh my, the gates of heaven are not as pearly as I had imagined!” (Tom Page); and The public convenience was very public, but not very convenient” (Valerie Budd).


Thanks to Divine for once more providing our prize of fair-trade chocolate (

Job of the Week

Situations vacant



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