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

31 March 2023

Diocese of Newcastle

Have a go at our next caption competition (above)Send entries by email only to captioncompetition@churchtimes.co.uk by 9 a.m., Monday 10 April

Here is the winning entrys for the previous competition: 

Lynda SebbageLynda Sebbage

Gold lace, frankly sensible, and mirth (John Appleby)


AUDITIONS for the nativity play seem to come around earlier every year:

“Because of the threat of future teachers’ strikes, auditions for the 2023 nativity play started earlier this year” (Lesley Cope); “She thought it was funny auditioning so early for a part as a shepherd” (Claire Driver); “Rather early audition for the nativity” (Pammie Cooper); “Casting nativities gets harder ever year” (Aled Seago); “The actors in the Ambridge village nativity play decided to dress the part for their Christmas radio broadcast” (Mervyn Cox); “Nativity play rehearsals were not going well” (Pearl Davison); “Phil was determined to get his part as a shepherd word perfect for the nativity this year; so started early” (Vicky Deasley).

At least there’s time for a giggle during rehearsals:

“You might well laugh: I think it will bomb!” (Fiona Waterworth); “‘It’s the way I tell ‘em!’ joked the shepherd” (Philip Deane); “I don’t know what you’re laughing at: this towel smells like someone dried their dog!” (Joo Dee); “The moment just before the principal corpsed was captured for posterity” (Bridget Swan); A dramatic reading of Genesis 21.6, perhaps? ‘Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me”’” (Richard Spray).

Some readers detect ulterior motives for dressing up:

“The Vicar would do anything to avoid drying the tea cups” (Valerie Ganne); “We need to speed up, they want the tea towel to finish the washing up” (Nicholas Brown); “The Messy Church children’s dressing-up box obviously needed a stronger lock” (Michael Foster); “Qatari sponsors had insisted on the dress code” (Patrick Irwin); “That’s because it’s not a costume, madam: we just can’t afford to heat the place” (Martin Kettle).

Some other entries that we enjoyed:

“The Open the Book presentation was a real giggle” (Jenny Francis); “The Status Quo tribute band wasn’t what everyone was expecting” (Fiona Drinkell); “She clearly thinks the shepherds’ version of events none too convincing” (John Saxbee); “The Tower of Babel had nothing compared with the sermon competition at St Philip’s” (Sue Chick); “Joseph and his technical-audio streamed-note” (Philip Lickley); “His immersive rendition of ‘The Lord is my shepherd’ did not meet with the expected response” (Alison Woods); “Not sure if we can use that to dry the dishes in the vestry ever again” (Sheena Batey); “She was expecting the British, not the Foreign, Legion” (Michael Doe); “I think there’s a misprint here. It says ‘blah blah’, not ‘baa baa’!” (Paulette Yallop); “The answer to the winning charade at the parish social evening was ‘Sheikh with laughter’ (Charles Taylor); “While we cannot bring you Top Gear, the BBC is showing the fascinating story of camel racing — we present a spitting image of Top Gear!” (Julian Ashton); “She hadn’t realised before that that passage in the Bible was meant to be funny” (Richard Hough); “And the award for the most imaginative new trio goes to ‘Johnny and the two Mikes’’’ (Ray Morris); “With so few volunteers, the nativity play was reduced to one shepherd and one of the magi” (Valerie Budd); “Oh, Larry, you are a scream! It reads ‘A man sick of the palsy’ — not ‘sick of parsley’!” (Eunice Owens); “When I was asked by the BBC to preach to my flock on the radio, I didn’t envisage I’d be a shepherd in The Archers’ Christmas nativity play” (Janet Bennett); “Headgear was optional” (Richard Strudwick); “New army chaplain seconded to the SAS hosts radio show” (Helga Brandt); “You’re supposed to fit the kilt around your waist” (Ken Wilkinson); “The final of the national Keep a Straight Face Competition” (Janet Stockton); “I think we have finally found the proof that God has a sense of humour” (Brenda Barwick); “At a last-minute audition for the church nativity concert, the vicar had had to raid the tea-towel drawer before delivering ‘While shepherds watched’” (Paul MacDermott); “‘No, I’m sure,’ the ghost said. ‘Trout or Plaice?’” (Robert Shooter)

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


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