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Have a go at the Church Times caption competition, and read the latest winner and top entries

21 July 2023

Anne Brand

Have a go at our next caption competition (above)Send entries by email only to captioncompetition@churchtimes.co.uk by 9 a.m., Monday 31 July

Here is the winning entry for the previous competition:

Rebecca ChapmanRebecca Chapman

Has been saved, will be saved, or is being saved?’ asked the theologically canny bishop (Martin Kettle)


PROFESSIONAL footballers are frequently seen petitioning God before a match starts. Who could blame a bishop for doing the same?

When in goal, always be aware of the clergy’s powerful cross” (Philip Lickley); “So desperate was the Bishop to win, he called on a higher authority to quietly floor the opposition” (Jeannie Chamberlain); “The children reckoned that the purple team had an unfair advantage by calling on assistance from on high” (Michael Foster); Bishop invokes ‘Hand of God’ to score goal” (Malcolm Brownless); An ‘immaculate interception’ and shot on goal” (Aaron Milne); “Bend it like Bishop” (Graeme Denman); The Divine Dribbler: When the priest prays, goals are raised!” (Kristyn Harris); “When you play football with a bishop, don’t expect him to believe in being saved!” (Avril Forrest).

Holding ecclesiastical office brings certain limitations, however:

“Since he could only move diagonally, the Bishop was no use whatsoever as a reserve for the Sunday-school team” (Denise Noble); “The Bishop of Southwark was as sick as a parrot when his penalty in the pre-season friendly was ruled out by the Archbishops’ Council” (John Radford); “You’ve got to hand it to them — when bishops score an own goal it’s always a belter!” (Charles Taylor); “When the Bishop scores, even the ball is surprised” (Paul Lodge).

Which game, exactly, was being played? There may have been some confusion:

“No, Tommy, this isn’t cricket, you’re not supposed to try to catch the ball” (Richard Hough); “Baseball, Bazball . . . and now Bishball!” (John Saxbee); I thought the game was It’s A Knockout” (Andrea Dimmick).

Some other entries for readers’ amusement:

“The Boys v. Bishop game failed to attract any spectators — even neutral ones to sit on the fence” (Jonathan Young); “Saving Grace!” (Helga Brandt); Bishop accepts his first penalty” (Janet Stockton); “Beating the under-eights 10-0 was not the aim of Holiday Bible Club, Bishop” (Vicky Deasley); “There was some confusion about who was organising which game. The fielders took their positions — and the Bishop scored a goal!” (Valerie Budd); The Bishop was amused as his shot on goal landed the boy to the ground — saving the two cones!” (Eunice Owens); The Bishop was delighted to score goals and save souls!” (Mark Parry); “The Bishop had an uphill task to teach the local children to play living chess” (Ray Morris); “The goalie expected the Bishop to move diagonally” (Michael Doe); “Unfortunately, the Bishop failed to achieve yet another goal” (Mervyn Cox).

“Saving Grace is one thing, but saving goals is quite another, the Bishop admonished” (Richard Strudwick); “Despite the Bishop’s obvious ball skills, the kids weren’t too keen on his proposed Sunday League kit” (Paul MacDermott); “The Reverend liked to encourage the children to take a closer look at nature” (Fiona Drinkell); Football’s answer to cricket’s latest craze: Bishball!” (Peter Beal); “Slain by the Spirit — or was it the football?” (Sue Chick); “The Bishop attempted to attract younger members by acting out the OT lesson instead of reading it. ‘He has blocked my way so I cannot pass’ (Job 19.8)” (David Sims); I said ‘divine’, not dive in!” (Pearl Davison); “The Bishop wanted to be goalkeeper — living in glove and faith” (Chris Hammett); “Not a spot-the-ball competition but spot-the-Bishop’’ (Peter Walker);True faith means holding nothing back, and the Bishop gave the children a run for their money to prove he was going to get that goal!” (Kim Willing); Train up a child in the play he should know” (Alison Woods); The Pink Panther strikes again!” (Howard Foster).

As ever, the winner receives a prize of Fair­trade chocolate, courtesy of Divine Chocolate.


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