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Entries must be received by Friday 27 July.
A picture of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, in the stocks, inspired (mostly) good-natured entries to the last caption competition, below. Here is the winner:
Christ Church, OxfordChrist Church, Oxford
For picking a Christ Church fritillary
The culprit is placed in the pillory
So even Dean Percy
Was offered no mercy
But bombed by the college artillery
As for the other entries, one consequence of seeking to be a prophetic voice in the Church is that some will not take kindly to what you have to say:
- The Dean found the reaction to his sermons was not always positive (Michael Foster)
- Well, Dean, you asked for feedback on your last sermon (Philip Baxter)
- Asking the family for their opinion of tomorrow’s sermon was not always a good idea (Edward Mynors)
- His decision to preach at the 8 o’clock service was not well received (John Saxbee)
- It wasn’t the first time that the Dean had been pilloried (John Radford)
There were surprisingly few references to the Sheffield affair:
- Sponges only, please. No Sheffield steel, despite Mawer’s report (Andrew Greenhough)
- Experimental theology: how many of the Five Guiding Principles will stick? (Richard Barnes)
Presiding over both the college and cathedral allows one to make twice as many enemies, it seems:
- Richard was disenchanted with his university course, and decided to throw in the sponge (Daphne Foster)
- And now my thanks for the 2.ii (Philip Baxter)
- I’m really sorry you didn’t get a First (Paul Lishman)
- With horror, the Dean saw that his assailant was a Cambridge man (Patrick Irwin)
- Christ Church felt that this was simpler than invoking the Clergy Discipline Measure (Derek Wellman)
- The Dean had a nagging doubt that the rubrics on the revised Asperges rite had been misinterpreted (Philip Deane)
- ‘You can pelt me all you like, but I’ll never disclose the Da Vinci code,’ Dean Martyn said (Sue Chick).
The whole situation might well have been caused by a misunderstanding:
- Look, all I said was we are going to take stock of the gardens, not that I want to go into the stocks in the garden (Peter Sebbage)
- The Dean had asked his staff to arrange a discussion on the College’s investments, but they had mistaken his reference to stocks (Richard Hough).
Some other entries that we enjoyed:
- The Bishop’s new system dealt with complainants from the parishes simply and effectively (George Frost)
- Health and Safety had wrecked Oxford’s traditional St Stephen’s Day celebrations (David Hill)
- The Dean lived up to his reputation of always being drippingly wet (Mervyn Cox)
- The Head of RE was glad he had not written William’s UCAS reference until after the summer fair (Vicky Lundberg)
- Drastic measures were needed to force a reluctant Dean to rehearse his role as Goliath (Thelma Martin)
- The Dean was regretting agreeing to decide the college’s tiddlywinks cup with a wet-sponge penalty shoot-out (Ray Morris)
- We’ve asked him to turn the other cheek — towards us (Janet Stockton)
- Let him who is without stain cast the first sponge (Alison Rollin)
- After the one without sin had cast the first sponge. . . (Don Manley)
- Renewal and Reform prophet warning: stocks may go up as well as down (Joanne Grenfell)
- Stocks rise in the Church of England (Heather Gregg)
- Only when customers were allowed to choose their own missiles did a queue develop (Christopher Tookey)
- The Penitential Season comes early at Christ Church (Richard Strudwick)
- A Vice-President of Modern Church gives a stock response to the charge of wishy-washy theology (Paul Brett).
As always, the winner receives a prize of Fairtrade chocolate, courtesy of Divine: divinechocolate.com. It will be a while before a limerick wins again; so don’t all rush to abandon prose.