Smile Lines

Things we would not have known without Sunday School

With your eyes closed for prayer, anything can happen in a room full of pre-schoolers.

  • Squash and song motions do not mix.
  • When dropped, offering money always rolls to the other side of the room.
  • Children’s prayer requests reveal a lot about their parents.


A little girl told her mother, “We went to a confirmation service at the cathedral and I saw the bishop. Now I know what a crook looks like!”

Definitions from church life

AMEN: The only part of a prayer that everyone knows.

PEWSHEET: Your receipt for attending Morning Service

HYMN: A song of praise usually sung in a key two octaves higher than that of the congregation’s range.

RECESSIONAL HYMN: The last song at Sunday morning worship, often sung a little more quietly, since most of the people have already left.

JONAH: The original ‘Jaws’ story

PEW: A medieval torture device still found in some churches.

PROCESSION: The ceremonial formation at the beginning of a formal Sung Eucharist, consisting of altar servers, the celebrant, and late parishioners looking for seats.

SIDESMEN: The only people in the parish who don’t know the seating capacity of a pew

From a parish newsletter:  

‘Children are normally collected during the Offertory Hymn’


I got a package in the mail the other day that had written on the front, ‘Photographs: Do Not Bend.

Underneath the postman had written: “Oh yes they do.”

Cats and dogs

Behind every cat that crosses the street, there is a dog saying, “Go ahead, you can make it.”

Dogs believe they are human. Cats believe they are God.

The only domestic animal not mentioned in the Bible is the cat.

Little old lady seeks handsome young man

An advert appeared in a student newspaper of a university: “Sweet little old lady wishes to correspond with good-looking university student – especially a six-footer with brown eyes, answering to initials J.A.D.”  It was signed: “his mother.”

Paradise lost?

A young mother stood in her kitchen and watched her baby screaming, her sons fighting, her daughter crying, the washing machine leaking, and the dog being sick. She sighed and said to her friend: “I sometimes wish I’d loved and lost.”


After a very long and boring sermon, the parishioners glumly filed out of the church past the minister. Towards the end of the queue was a thoughtful person who always commented on the sermons. “Vicar, today your sermon reminded me of the peace and love of God.”

The vicar was thrilled. “Nobody has ever said anything like that about my preaching before. Tell me why.”

“Because it endured forever.”

Knock knock

A conscientious minister decided to get acquainted with a new family in his church and so he visited them one Spring evening. After his knock on the door, a lilting voice from within called out, “Is that you, Angel?”

“No,” replied the minister. “But I’m from the same department.”

Dressed up

An evangelical vicar was asked to celebrate Holy Communion for his Anglo-Catholic neighbour who was ill. Unfamiliar with some of the vestments, he did the best he could.  Breakfasting at the vicarage afterwards he said to the vicar’s wife that he hoped he had got all the vestments on properly. “Oh yes,” she said, “you were quite all right – except that my husband does not usually wear the book-markers!”

Give me a sense of humour, Lord, give me the grace to see a joke,
To get some humour out of life, and pass it on to other folk

Q. What do you give a man who has everything?

A. Antibiotics.

Switched on

A housewife was helping her aged mother get up the stairs on their brand-new stair lift when the minister telephoned her. He was horrified to hear her say: “I’m so sorry, but I’ll have to ring you back. I can’t talk right now because I’ve finally got Mother in the electric chair and I’m eager to press the switch and see if it works!

On offer

A bishop, invited to dinner at a large country house, was surprised not to be offered anything but water to drink, and eventually appealed to his very beautiful hostess: “Do you think I might have a drop of wine?” 

The lady threw up her hands in horror and replied; “Bishop, I am so sorry!  I thought you were Chair of the Church of England Temperance Society.”

“Not at all,” said the bishop, adding “but I am Chair of the Anti-Porn campaign.”

“Oh!” came the reply.  “I knew there was something I could not offer you.”

Headline in a Local Paper

Cadbury’s lorry collides with Lego truck on the motorway. Police said that the road is “choc-a-block”

‘Zoomed Out?’

The Revd Canon Paul Hardingham considers the need to stay connected

‘You’re still on mute!’ If you’ve used Zoom over the past year, you’ll be familiar with this cry! After a day on Zoom, the last thing we often want to do is using it for a chat with friends or a church service on Sunday! Now this reveals a wider problem that we face. We know that staying connected in the pandemic is hard. When we’re tired and busy, it’s easy to stop connecting with others, which would encourage our faith or wellbeing. This might also include not sending a text, Facebook comment or phoning somebody up.

Remember what Paul says: ‘For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.’ (Romans 7:15). It’s often easier to avoid connecting with God and others, when this would be good for our sense of value, purpose and identity. Certain patterns of behaviour can make us feel safer, but in reality they prevent us from living our lives fully as God intends.

Paul adds: ‘What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!’ (Romans 7:24,25). Through the death and resurrection of Jesus we have the freedom to act differently. Lent is an ideal time to develop new habits, especially when we are tired or anxious. It may involve spending less time on Facebook, turning the TV off to call a friend who we need to catch up with, or getting up a bit earlier to spend time in Bible reading and prayer.

Let’s keep reminding ourselves that ‘God is bigger than Zoom’ and make sure that we don’t get disconnected! Let’s be committed to doing the right thing, rather than simply the easier thing.

Source : Parish Pump

Your daily walk should be a sacred ritual

Under lockdown, millions of us who rarely walked around our immediate locality are now well acquainted with every nearby driveway, every crack in the pavement, and every pothole in the road. We have developed views on our neighbours’ gardens, on their oddly coloured garage doors, and on their dogs, children and cars. If we go out at the same time every day, we may even be saying hello to the same people we don’t know every day.

For many of us, that daily walk has become the high point of our day. After all, it is one of the few liberties we have left.  Some of us go early, to enjoy the relative peace and quiet.  Some of us go midday, to at least see other people, even if we can’t talk to them. Others of us opt for dusk, the dark comfort of a street with lit houses and stars in the sky.

Whatever time you most enjoy, make sure you do make the time to go for your walk.  Your mental and physical fitness can only improve!

Source : Parish Pump

The rites of growing up

David Pickup, a solicitor, considers the laws on growing up.

Now every year His parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up as usual… When the festival was ended …the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem …After three days they found Him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. From Luke 2

This familiar story is the only account of Jesus in His boyhood years. Because of her fright, it would have been one family story that Mary never forgot. At the age of 12, in that culture, Jesus would be just about to become a young man, and therefore have been eager to begin adulthood. Jesus knew He was not lost but in the right place. He said, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

Children grow up by enormous leaps and bounds. Turn your back for a minute and they have aged years. In Britain, the law does not fix any one age for when a child is suddenly a grown up. Instead, it is a gradual process.

At age 10 you can have your ears pierced, but your parent may have to be with you, and you can be convicted of a criminal offence.

From age 13 you can work part-time. I remember getting a card from a doctor to show I could legally work. I carried it around with me on my milk round and was slightly disappointed the police never asked for it!

At 14 you can enter a pub, but only if the landlord allows it. You cannot buy or drink alcohol, only soft drinks.

At 16 you can marry, with your parents’ consent. You can also ride a moped, and drink alcohol in a restaurant with a meal. You can open a bank current account and get a debit card.

Once you are 17, you can hold a driver’s licence.

At 18 you can vote, get a tattoo, bet, and buy and drink alcohol in a pub.

At 21 you can apply to adopt a child, become a driving instructor and apply for a licence to fly commercial transport aeroplanes and helicopters.

I suppose reading all this you might be wondering “why didn’t I do all these things as soon as I could?!”

Source : Parish Pump

March is for daffodils, leeks, shamrocks, salt, music, and Woodbines!

Most people will be aware that March begins with St David’s Day on the first day of the month when the Welsh wear daffodils, and some still proudly pin leeks to their chest — leeks were the traditional emblem but today the daffodil seems more popular. Then 17 days later the Irish wear shamrocks to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, and, of course, there’s Mothering Sunday. But March is also the time the Church has 14 other special days, some well-known, others not so.

Among the other well-known saints celebrated by the Church this month is Joseph of Nazareth (19 March). Often overlooked in the early Church, Joseph has become an icon of the working man. There are many churches dedicated to ‘Joseph the Worker’. He stands in the Church calendar for the ’ordinary’ person, a straight-forward craftsman who never expected or chose to be in the spotlight of history. He did what he could, and he was obedient to everything that he believed God required of him. To do the ‘ordinary’ thing well, to be was visited by the Angel Gabriel who announced that she was to become the mother of God’s son.

One of the lesser known saints of March is Chad, sometimes known as the recycled bishop (2 March). He died kind, caring and open to guidance: these are great gifts, and Joseph seems to have had them in abundance. Closely linked with Joseph is another special day in the Church calendar – The Annunciation on 25 March. It celebrates the conception of Jesus exactly nine months before his birth on 25 December. It was when Mary in 672AD after being consecrated as bishop, deposed, and then reconsecrated again. The two bishops who consecrated him first time around were, it is said, ‘dubious’. Chad took his dismissal with good heart, and peacefully retired. But then Pope Theodore had second thoughts: Chad was of excellent character: humble, devout, and zealous. So, he reconsecrated him as the first bishop of the Mercians. Second time around, Chad was a great success – again. When Chad died, he was quickly venerated. People took a great fancy to his bones, believing that they would bring healing. Even today, four large, recycled bones, dating from the 7th century, and believed to be Chad’s, are in the Roman Catholic cathedral in Birmingham. 

Another less well known saint from the same era is Rupert (27 March). He is the saint for those who like The Sound of Music -or salt with your food! Rupert was bishop of Worms and Salzburg, and he founded the great monastery of St Peter in Salzburg in the 8th century, firmly establishing Christianity there. True, it would be another 11 centuries before a certain young Julie Andrews wandered about singing of her Favourite Things and Something Good, but today Salzburg is the ‘Sound of Music City’! Not only did the real Trapp family once live there, the movie was filmed in and around it. Rupert helped the people by developing the local salt mines and his emblem is a barrel of salt.

Although not venerated as a ‘Saint’, the Church of England remembers on 8 March a WWI hero best known today as ‘Woodbine Willie’. He was the Rev Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy MC, a much-loved army chaplain who served on the Western Front in WWI. When the war broke out, he was vicar of St Paul’s Worcester and he volunteered to go to the Western Front as a chaplain. Life on the front line in the trenches was a desperate affair, but he hit on a way of bringing a few moments of relief to the stressed soldiers — as well as good cheer he handed out ‘Woodbines’, the most popular cheap cigarette of the time. He once described his chaplain’s ministry as taking ‘a box of fags in your haversack, and a great deal of love in your heart.’

March is the month to remember God’s extraordinary work in our world with simple ‘Favourite Things‘ such as daffodils, leeks, shamrocks, salt, music and even Woodbines – but not on 10th March which is No Smoking Day!

Source : Association for Church Editors