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

24 November 2023


Have a go at our next caption competition (above)Send entries by email only to captioncompetition@churchtimes.co.uk by 9 a.m., Monday 4 December

Here is the winning entry for the previous competition:

John GillibrandJohn Gillibrand

Bishop John: “Hey Pikachu how do I get more people into church?” Pikachu: “You Poke ’em in” (Sian Parkhouse, on behalf of Freddie, aged 12, and William, aged 8)

MORE than seven years ago, the popularity of the game Pokémon Go was soaring, and even churches were getting involved (News, 22 July 2016). So, we are not surprised by the enthusiasm with which readers greeted the presence of a Pikachu not only in church, but standing next to a bishop.

The joke about how to get a Pikachu on a bus is old, but here are some inspired variations (some with explanations): How do you get Pikachu (& co) to a choir stall? Easy: poke em’ on!” (Mark Parry); “What do you do when the minister falls asleep? You ask Pikachu to Pokémon (poke him on) the arm!” (Elizabeth Gaskell); How do you get a Pikachu into a pulpit? You Pokémon!” (Bridget Swan).

Pikachus entering a liturgical setting could lead to misunderstandings: “‘Are you Pokémon?’ ‘No. Pikachu.’ ‘Bless you!’” (Charles Taylor); “‘Pikachu!’ ‘Bless you’” (Paul Taylor); “I did not sneeze. I said ‘Pitachu’!” (Patrick Irwin); “I actually said ‘Peace be with you’, but it’s always nice to welcome new members of the flock” (Alison Woods); “When I was telling you to pick a costume for the Christmas play and then sneezed, this wasn’t what I had in mind” (Rachel Winter); “Er, actually I asked the congregation to pick a tune. . .” (Rob Falconer); “‘Pick-A-Pew Sunday’ didn’t turn out exactly the way the Bishop had had in mind” (James Handley); Well, he was asked to pick and choose the hymns” (Alistair Bolt); I asked for Hook from Peter Pan, not Pikachu from Pokémon” (Deborah Mcgreavey); “‘The Lord be with you.’ ‘And also Pikachu’” (Martin Little).

We wish to emphasise that the Pokémon catchphrase is owned by the franchise: “A crosier comes in handy when you’ve ‘gotta catch ’em all’!” (Pearl Davison); “Gotta catechumen ’em all” (Tim Goodbody); “Fr Pikachu’s motto: gotta bless ’em all!” (Laura Edwards); “Sermon Level: Pika-Peak Spirituality! When your congregation expects a sermon, but you bring out the real ‘Pokepreacher’ for that divine Pikachu-tion. Gotta preach ’em all!” (Kristyn Harris)

Some other entries for the Pokémon enthusiasts (and others): And the Winner of The Masked Vicar is. . .” (Valerie Budd); “‘Perhaps if I confirm him, he’ll never return!’ mused the Bishop” (Philip Deane); “The ideas to get the youth to church are getting a little out of hand!” (Tammy Tudor); Bishops in Need has failed in many a diocese” (Don Manley); “The Bishop prayed for forgiveness before striking the huge piñata with his crosier to release the goodies” (Brian Stevenson); Pikachu was delighted with the new ‘Bishop Go’ app on their phone” (John Appleby); “Pikachu, the Mouse Pokémon is here today to remind us all that we can’t always Pick and Choose in life” (Helga Brandt).

“Outreach to all faiths and none took on a completely new meaning” (Lynda Sebbage); “Pikachu was disappointed to discover that Ash Wednesday wasn’t a day to celebrate his owner” (Philip Lickley); The Lord Bishop is here: His episcopuss is with us” (John Saxbee); “One was a cuddly character with nothing to say, and the other. . .” (Michael Doe); “There was joy all round when Pikachu promised to get Jigglypuff to join the church choir” (Sue Chick); “Don’t worry, Bishop ; it’s quite ’armless” (Bob Torrens); “And let’s extend a warm welcome to our new Pikachurchwarden” (Pauline Williams); “The incumbent’s fear of being seen in public was getting worse” (Chris Coupe); “Some Clergy got the wrong end of the stick when the diocese suggested that their sermons could be a little more animated” (Mick Dean); “I think I’ll share the unconsumed communion wine with the deacon next time” (Michael Parnell).

“‘And who do you evolve into?’ asked Pikachu” (Gavin Williams); “The Episkachu is one of the most prized Pokémon” (Jonnie Parkin); “The virger was on his final warning. Last week, it was Peppa Pig” (Martin Kettle); “The Bishop has a reputation for making strange appointments” (Michael Watts); “Congregation numbers are up since someone put a virtual Pokémon in the choir stalls. Perhaps we could try an orienteering point in the nave” (Paul Vincent)

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


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