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

23 June 2023

Andrew Hunter

Have a go at our next caption competition (above)Send entries by email only to captioncompetition@churchtimes.co.uk by 9 a.m., Monday 3 July

Here is the winning entry for the previous competition:

Jonnie ParkinJonnie Parkin

Though the video clearly shows bread, wine, and balloons, it was definitely a service and not a lockdown party (Philip Lickley)


VISUAL aids to explain the Trinity are notoriously difficult to get right:

“Al­­though he was new to balloon modelling, the celebrant conjured up an image of the Trinity” (Julian Ashton); “The Vicar’s take on visual aid to help explain the Trinity was certainly novel” (Vicky Deasley); “Oh well it’s less messy than water, ice, and steam to explain the Trinity” (Chris Coupe); “The Vicar’s visual aid for the theology of the Holy Trinity was a bit light­­weight, don’t you think?” (Richard Spray); “At the moment of the epiclesis the visual aid for the Holy Trinity self-elevated” (Paulette Yallop); “Father Brian’s illustration of the Holy Trinity led to accusations that the church was run by airheads” (Michael Foster); “Fr Conor wished he had stuck to the shamrock as the symbol of the Trinity” (Celia Stevenson); “This year’s sermon on the Trinity was full of hot air” (Nigel Harris); “Explaining the meaning of the Trinity to the new server took on a whole different meaning” (Lynda Sebbage); “Blessed are you, Holy Trinity; through your goodness we have these balloons to offer, in three primary colours and filled with he­lium. They will raise our voices to squeak your praise” (Jonathan Young).

Making the ascension intelligible also carries risks:

“Thanks to someone mistakenly filling the balloons with helium, Ascension Day was quite memorable” (Joan Workman); “It is Ascension Day, isn’t it?” (Geoff Clarke); “Ascension!” (Pearl Davison).

Several entries took off from the eucharistic context, among them:

“The high-church administrator’s attempts at getting the new Vicar to elevate the host were now getting out of hand, many felt” (Rutton Viccajee). But if jokes about the sacrament have always been high-risk in the Church Times, so are balloons in general: “The service was about to go off with a bang!” (Sue Chick).

Here are some other entries that we enjoyed:

“Celebrating communion seems to have gone to his head!” (John Saxbee); “The Reverend couldn’t understand why he felt so light-headed” (Fiona Drinkell); “The Vicar had finally found a use for the excessive hot air generated at PCC meetings” (Patrick Irwin); “The Vicar had hoped that his significant birthday would pass unnoticed, but the Mothers’ Union had other ideas” (Richard Hough); “Server Martin was troubled by the balloons. Had not Galatians 5.20 (RSV) warned against bringing ‘party spirit’ into church?” (John Mair); “A not very subtle hint that they thought the preacher was full of hot air” (Valerie Budd).

“The cash-strapped congregation reflected the effect of inflationary pressures on the offertory plate” (Ray Morris); “It wasn’t the first time the Vicar had blown up over the Praise Band’s theology” (Michael Piret); “The Liberal Democrats seem to be well ahead of Labour and Conservatives in the Balloon Poll” (Michael Watts); “As the priest gave the blessing, so the three balloons from the previous evening’s youth event descended, as if on cue” (Lesley Cope); “I found the sermon uplifting, but the preacher had an inflated sense of his own importance” (Lisa Ustok); “The new vicar wanted to really celebrate holy communion” (Mervyn Cox); “La-tex Ministry in action” (Jonathan Jeffrey); “The inflatable vicars filled in the gaps nicely. But the inflatable archdeacons were full of hot air and floated away” (Richard Grigson).

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


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