Have a go at our next caption competition (above). Send entries by email only to firstname.lastname@example.org by 9 a.m., Monday 20 November
Here is the winning entry for the previous competition:
You promised me a dog’s dinner, not another outdoor service (Clive Deverell)
YOU never quite know what’s in store at the annual blessing for animals service:
“‘I would keep that one at arm’s length, if I were you!’ advised the Vicar during the annual pet blessing service” (Philip Deane); “Attendance at the annual pet service is always somewhat unpredictable” (Michael Foster); “Most people were unsure that licensing the first dog to take pet services was a good idea” (Lee Cogger); “The furry dog came in very useful at the chilly outdoor pet service as both a member of the congregation and a cosy neck warmer” (Lynda Sebbage); “What do you think? An exorcism isn’t quite right, and the blessing of pets seems a bit tame” (Don Manley); “The Lion Poodle of Osnabrück was plotting his revenge at being excluded from the blessing of the animals” (Paulette Yallop); “Recently sanctioned by the Synod, the Vicar imparts a blessing from the Book of Common Bear” (Richard Strudwick); “We’d all like to welcome Bungle to our congregation today” (Rena Plumridge); “I hope we’re using the Bark of Common Prayer today; Common Woofship brings out my feral side. . .” (Che Seabourne).
Wearing a collar grants certain privileges, and, sometimes, suspicion:
“There’s confusion when the verger asks for the little chap with the dog collar to lead the morning service” (Philip Lickley); “He must be one of us, he’s wearing a dog collar!” (Rowland Crook); “Now that’s what you call a dog collar” (Janet Bennett); “I’m keeping my distance — I’ve already had three collars nicked this year” (Martin Kettle).
Perhaps there’s a film star in our midst?
“The Star Wars service was a surprising addition to the church calendar” (Peter Sebbage); “Chewbacca realised too late that this rebel bass was of the choral variety” (Tim Goodbody); “Let’s venture a ‘hello’ to this strange creature resembling Chewbacca from Star Wars, and, who knows, perhaps Han Solo will come to claim him” (Lesley Cope); “While Yoda’s student described the plan, Chewbacca scanned the area for storm troopers. . .” (Lorna Bradley); “Through a matter-transfer force-field the Vicar had been able to invite Chewbacca, from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, to preach on Jediism and the rebel alliance” (Robin Morgan).
Some other entries for readers’ amusement:
“Come off it, Bishop, you really don’t have to wear such a heavy disguise to remain anonymous” (Richard Hough); “He’s just showing off because he solved the lion wall on Only Connect” (Ray Morris); “With falling numbers, the church was looking to encourage a less critical congregation” (Jeannie Chamberlain); “My God and my Dog — they both give unconditional love” (Mark Parry); “Security guard spots Rasputin getting behind prayers for the great Russian bear” (John Saxbee); “The new Pomeranian fellowship approved of services which took place outside, as this enabled those needing regular comfort breaks to attend with minimum disruption” (Paul MacDermott); “We’ve got the church mouse, we might as well have the cat as well” (Chris Coupe); “With hindsight, perhaps the re-enactment of 2 Kings 2.23-24 should have been rehearsed before the live performance. . .” (Mick Dean); “The C. S. Lewis gatherings gravitated towards the Red Lion” (Julian Ashton); “The deacon is trying to find Pekingese in the epistle” (Jean Crees); “Barney the Dog was not impressed with the Vicar’s sermon. He thought it was ‘Ruff! Ruff!’” (Nick Baker); “It’s a bone of contention for me!” (Helga Brandt); “The sermon was paw-sitively enlightening . . . it raised the woof and the crowd broke into a-paws!” (Lisa Grabham); “Neither of them could find anything written down that would prevent Wolfy occupying the Archbishop’s throne” (Vicky Deasley); “Latest church news: vicars to be issued with dog tags” (Ken Wilkinson); “I can’t see them on the VIP list” (Julie Duggan); “And the first reading comes from Paul’s letter to the Pomeranians” (Graeme Denman); “They went out to the highways and byways to compel people to come in, and all they found was a fuzzy bear” (Peter Walker); “Health and safety concerns meant that the lion promised for ‘Daniel in the Lion’s Den’ had to be downgraded to Mrs Brown’s Chow” (Lynton Buxton); “‘Now Esau was an hairy man’ somehow suggested itself as the text for his next sermon” (Philip Deane); “The Vicar’s experiment with open air services to try to attract more worshippers managed only the usual one man and a dog” (Mervyn Cox); “My brother is an hairy man, but I am a smooth man” (Robert Shooter).
As ever, the winner receives a prize of Fairtrade chocolate, courtesy of Divine Chocolate.