A young clergyman, fresh out of training, thought it would help him better understand the harsh realities his future congregations faced if he first took a job as a policeman for several months. He passed the physical examination; then came the oral exam to test his ability to act quickly and wisely in an emergency. Among other questions he was asked, “What would you do to disperse a frenzied crowd?”
He thought for a moment and then said, “I would pass an offering plate.”He got the job.
A fellow nurse at my hospital received a call from an anxious young woman. “I’m diabetic and I’m afraid I’ve had too much sugar today,” she said.
“Are you light-headed?” my colleague asked.
“No,” the caller answered, “No, I’m brunette.”
A little, silver-haired lady called her neighbour and said, “Please come over here and help me. I have a very difficult jigsaw puzzle, and I can’t figure out how to get started.”
Her neighbour asks, “What is it supposed to be when it’s finished?”
The little lady says, “According to the picture on the box, it’s a rooster.”
Her neighbour decides to go over and help her with the puzzle. When he arrives, the old lady shows him the puzzle spread out all over the table. He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says:
“First of all, no matter what we do, we’re not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster.” Then he takes her hand and says, “Secondly, I want you to relax. Let’s have a nice cup of tea, and then…” and he says this with a deep sigh…
“Let’s put all the Corn Flakes back in the box.”
One way to find out if you’re old is to fall in front of a group of people. If they laugh, you’re young. If they panic and start running toward you, you’re old.
I called the RSPCA today to report I had just found a suitcase in the woods containing a fox and four cubs.”That’s terrible,” she said. “Are they moving?”
“I’m not sure, to be honest,” I replied, “But that would explain the suitcase.”
A man went to his doctor to say that his eyesight was getting worse. The doctor asked the man to look out the window and to tell him what he saw. “I see the sun,” the man replied.
The doctor replied: “Just how much farther do you want to see?”
Each Sunday morning our minister was mildly irritated by a member of the congregation who was a fast reader. Finally, announcing the 23rd Psalm, he added:
“And will the lady who is always by ‘the still waters’ while the rest of us are still in ‘green pastures,’ please pause until we catch up?”
If you are unhappy with our vicar, simply have our churchwarden send a copy of this letter to six other churches who are also tired of their vicar.
Then bundle up our vicar and send him to the church on the top of the list in the letter. Within a week you will receive 16,435 vicars and one of them should be all right!
Have faith in this chain letter for vicars. Do not break the chain. One church did – and got their old vicar back!
(From a Salisbury Theological College leaflet)
The church newsletter announced details of the church creche: ‘Children are normally collected during the Offertory Hymn.’
An exam for R.E. asked the following question: ‘What does a Bishop do?’
Came one answer: ‘Move diagonally across the board.’
Pray with Grannie
A small boy went to church with his grandmother and joined her when she quietly slipped off the pew to kneel and pray. He even copied her example of burying her face in her hands. But after a few seconds his curiosity got the better of him. “Who are we hiding from, grannie?”
God’s Plan for Ageing?
Most senior citizens don’t get enough exercise. In His wisdom God decreed that senior citizens become forgetful so they would have to search for their glasses, keys and other things thus doing more walking. And God looked down and saw that it was good.
Then God saw there was another need. In His wisdom He made senior citizens lose coordination so they would drop things requiring them to bend, reach and stretch. And God looked down and saw that it was good.
Then God considered the function of bladders and decided senior citizens would have additional calls of nature requiring more trips to the bathroom, thus providing more exercise. God looked down and saw that it was good. So if you find as you age, you are getting up and down more, remember it’s God’s will. It is all in your best interest, even though you mutter under your breath.
I was waiting outside B&Q and my friend called and asked how big the queue was…
I said, “The same size as the B!”
It was the funeral of the inventor of the dishwasher today. The coffin was lowered into the ground only to be taken out by his wife and put back in properly.
My mate was telling me that he failed his exam in Aboriginal music…
The Revd Peter Crumpler, a Church of England priest in St Albans, Herts, and a former communications director for the CofE, considers romantic love.
You do not see many Zimmer frames, wheelchairs or hearing aids on Valentine’s Day cards. They mostly seem to be full of young love, hearts and roses.
Young love is wonderful and beautiful, full of optimism, and plans and hopes for the future.
But love in later life is precious too. It is a love that has been forged through years of shared experiences and joy, maybe raising children together, perhaps enjoying grandchildren.
It’s a love that’s stood the test of time, and deeper, much deeper, than any shop-bought Valentine’s Day card can describe.
That long-term love can also be shown by the devoted wife or husband who visits their spouse in a care home each day, gently talking with them when they are, perhaps, deep into dementia. Or sitting for long hours by a hospital bed. Or dutifully caring for them at home.
Love is a marathon, not a sprint. It starts with white lace and promises and grows over the years.
Mature love is about the commitment that spans decades and is seldom shown on the cards on sale in the High Street this Valentine’s Day.
As a priest, when I marry a couple and take them through their wedding vows, I hear them make their lifelong commitment “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part…”
It’s so wonderful to see the bride and groom smiling, and enjoying this precious moment, making vows that will, hopefully, span the rest of their lives. I love taking weddings – it’s an immense privilege to be part of a couple’s special day.
And I find myself pondering what the future will hold for them. I wonder what shape that lifelong commitment will take, as I pray a blessing on their marriage.
How much wealth or poverty will come their way? Will it be sickness or health that will accompany them through the years? How will they support each other as the years go by?
‘Love is patient. Love is kind.’ These are familiar words from the popular wedding reading in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. That patience, that kindness are qualities that can develop over years of marriage.
Just how much patience will be needed in the years ahead cannot usually be known on the wedding day.
So, this year, as I look at the rows of red or pink Valentine’s Day cards on sale in the shops, I shall look out for cards that have a deeper message.
I shall seek out cards that celebrate long-term love. Cards that say something about the joys and challenges of growing older together.
Cards that go beyond hearts and roses to the deeper love that transcends love’s first blossoming. I just hope I can find some…
There is a saint for Leap Year: he is St Oswald of Worcester, who died on 29th February 992. His family story was extraordinary, and full of some surprising ‘leaps’, all by itself. It provides a tantalising glimpse of what happened to at least one of those pagan Viking warriors who settled in Anglo-Saxon Britain.
For Oswald’s great-uncle had come to England c 865, as part of the ‘Great Heathen Army’ of Viking invaders. But his son, Oswald’s uncle, Oda, forsook paganism, and not only converted to Christianity, but actually ended up as Archbishop of Canterbury. From there, Oda was in a position to help his nephew, Oswald, which he did.
Oda sent young Oswald to be educated at the abbey of Fleury, then a great centre of learning. There Oswald absorbed the Benedictine ideals which would guide his later life and work. Back in England, he became bishop of Worcester in 961, and with the support of King Edgar, eagerly joined in major reforms of the Anglo-Saxon church. In 972 Oswald was made Archbishop of York, and seems to have taken a great interest in renewing the church in the Danelaw. He founded Ramsey Abbey, which became one of the great Fenland monasteries.
Oswald was popular as an archbishop, and always washed the feet of the poor every Lent. On 29th February 992 he had just completed this service at Worcester when he collapsed and died. In later years, Worcester adopted both him and Wulfstan to be its two chief saints: they flank the tomb of King John, which is before the high altar in the cathedral.
Christianity has provided a blueprint for social improvement, according to the Labour Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer.
Writing in a recent issue of Church Times, he said, “For all the loss and difficulty, we should not let this year be defined by pain. Throughout the pandemic, we have also seen the best of humanity.”
Sir Keir said that during this past year “religious institutions and local communities have banded together for the common good, showing us the very best of Britain.” And he went on to say that “the best of British values” that have surfaced during the pandemic “are also the best of Christian values.”
Fiona Bruce, MP for Congleton, has recently been appointed as the new Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB).
Bruce has long been a supporter of the work of Open Doors, including attending the World Watch List parliamentary launch, visiting an Open Doors exhibition highlighting the plight of Yzidi women in Iraq, and regularly raising the issue of persecuted believers to the House of Commons.
She said: “My post will be placed at the service of some of the most vulnerable people across the world.” She listed just some of the “continuing large scale horrors taking place “ – such as those against Uighur Muslims in China, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and Yazidis in Iraq. She agreed with “the late and much respected former Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks” when he had stated: ‘the persecution of Christians throughout much of the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, and elsewhere, is one of the crimes against humanity of our time’.
Fiona Bruce said: “These are some of the most deeply concerning issues of our generation, on which it will be a privilege to engage as Special Envoy, both nationally and internationally.”
Fiona Bruce has been a friend of Open Doors for manyyears, and is “a real champion for freedom of religion and belief,” says Henrietta Blyth, CEO of Open Doors UK and Ireland.