Have a go at our next caption competition (above). Send entries by email only to email@example.com by 9 a.m., Monday 28 November
Here is the winning entry for the previous competition:
Seeley savours Suffolk sapling success (Tony Redman)
THERE is much talk of planting in the C of E these days — but is this what the Strategic Development Fund has in mind? “Bishop welcomes new church-plant” (Michael Doe); “This wasn’t the church-planting the Bishop had had in mind” (Philip Lickley); “Pioneer minister gives an update on the new church-plant” (Nick Baker); “It wasn’t quite what the Vicar expected when the PCC offered to fund a church-plant” (Chris Coupe); “An advertised talk on church-plants led many up the garden path” (Don Manley); “For the sake of his sanity, the Bishop was merging initiatives — an easy win was Going Green with Church-Plants” (Peter Chapman); “The Bishop’s definition of a church-plant differed from that of the Church Commissioners’” (Janet Chapman); “‘This isn’t just any church-plant,’ exclaimed Bishop Martin, ‘it’s a Suffolk church-plant’” (Geoffrey House).
Whatever the model, it appears that St Edmundsbury & Ipswich diocese remains committed to growth: “The tree was called ‘Liz Truss’ as it was going for growth” (Brian Stevenson); “I have a vision of growth” (Janet Stockton); “Bishop Martin admired the evidence that the diocesan initiative ‘Growing in God’ was working” (Lorna Brook); “When the parish said they had some green shoots, this wasn’t quite what he was expecting to see” (Valerie Budd); “The Bishop’s initiative to grow younger extends even to saplings” (Lynda Sebbage).
Memories of Christmas pantomimes in years gone by: “The finances were dire. Maybe the old Jack and the Beanstalk routine would do it” (Martin Kettle); “Good job Jack’s already bean to see the giant, as he wouldn’t get far on this!” (Meg Gaskell); “Poor Jack’s beanstalk wasn’t tall enough to climb; so he gazed upon it and wished it something divine” (Angella Willis); “Flushed with his success at illustrating the parable of the mustard seed, he turned his attention to growing the prop for All Saints’ production of Jack and the Beanstalk” (Sue Chick); “The Revd Jack despaired of his beanstalk growing big enough in time for the church Christmas pantomime” (Jonathan Haigh); “Should I preach on the tree of life from Revelation 22 — or on Jack and the Beanstalk?” (Michael Foster); “He heard it again: ‘Fe fi fo fum. I smell the blood of a clergyman’” (Alison Tucker)
Some other entries that amused us: “Suffolk bishop promotes ‘Plant a tree in ’23’” (David Lamming); “His annual leaves wood always include retreets for rest and recreation” (John Saxbee); “Yes, you will be a triffid when you grow up. Praise the Lord upon earth, ye triffids and all trees. Cf. Psalm 148.7 BCP” (David Hole); “The Yearning Bush” (Paul Lodge); “O all ye green things upon the Earth. . .” (John Radford); “God may have created land and plants — but I still had to buy it from the local garden centre” (Aaron Milne); “I planted a sunflower seed. He certainly moves in mysterious ways” (Alison Woods); “Not a palm tree or a cedar of Lebanon, but the vicar prayed that his beech sapling would similarly grow and flourish” (Lesley Cope); “Just between you and me, what did King Charles say to you all that time ago?” (Peter Graystone); “Stay true to yourself and remember your roots” (Catherine Thorp); “This is not a synthetic photo opportunity; no, it’s a photosynthetic opportunity” (Julian Ashton); “And that, my friends, is what the power of prayer can achieve” (Brenda Davies).
“Is it Bill or is it Ben?” (David Ison); “The priest would rather talk to his plants than his parishioners” (Mark Parry); “As he gazed at the plant, the priest got a real sense of true be-leaf!” (Alison Parry); “The Lord be with you . . . and also with yew” (Charles Taylor); “I was sold this as the root of Jesse, but it turned out to be a hornbeam” (Peter Sebbage); “I see you’re growing in love and faith; well done!” (Clive Deverell); “The Bishop wondered whether the sapling would grow to outlive the Church of England” (Mervyn Cox); “Investing in those magic beans was the last hope for tackling the diocesan deficit” (John Appleby); “OK, will have an olive branch to give. . . Just got to grow it a little first” (Lisa Day).
As ever, the winner receives a prize of Fairtrade chocolate, courtesy of Divine Chocolate.