'Guide to the church' cartoon requests

[How to tell what is going on, another of the 10 cartoons uploaded yesterday to the cartoons section of the main CartoonChurch.com site.] If anyone has any requests for subjects for my Church Times ‘Guide to the church’ series I’d be very happy to hear them. There are probably some aspects of church life (local,…

How to tell what is going on

[How to tell what is going on, another of the 10 cartoons uploaded yesterday to the cartoons section of the main CartoonChurch.com site.]

If anyone has any requests for subjects for my Church Times ‘Guide to the church’ series I’d be very happy to hear them. There are probably some aspects of church life (local, national, or international) that I have omitted to explore. Please post in the comments below or feel free to contact me directly. I can’t make any promises about which ideas I will use of course, but all responses are very much appreciated.

This is my way of asking for ideas without making it look as if I am too desperate.


  1. Dave – the bells in my Parish Church were rehung in the memory of Boris Karloff, the horror actor who had lived in the parish. I’m not a cartoonist but this and the many plaques to actors/actors etc around the place (have you visited St Pauls in Covent Garden) may give food for cartoons.

  2. Something about the Daily Office? It’s still in the rubrics that clergy are to pray it daily, but very few do. If you skip a day you’re supposed to make up for it by adding those psalms and readings to the next day…imagine how much one would have to pray after a year of skiving off.

    Or is that only funny to me?

    I know a whole lot of priests who get into Godly Play far more intensely than the kids.

    The contents of a sacristy/vestry cupboard.

    Memorial plaques.

    Eager curates and rectors who takes lots of vacations.

  3. How about the selection process ?! I can provide you with my dioceses flow chart, it’s quite impressive (2 Vocation advisers before you even see the ddo)

    We had an amusing silliness in our diocese, where when you had been seeing the DDO for number of months, you would then schedule in a conference and go and see the Bishop for a rubber stamping meeting, just so it was all thoroughly epicscopal. But because we only had one Bishop at the time, and he was very busy, he delegated this role to, who’dya think, the DDO! So I had to have a meeting with the DDO, standing in for the Bishop, because it didn’t suffice to simply meet the DDO. It was very silly.

  4. Tiffer – and what about diocese where there is only one bishop anyway. You try and think about going forward for any ministry and if it is a vacant see or the bishop is ill then you are put on “call waiting” – but without the tacky music.

    Dave – have you done one about the differences between Stipendary, Nonstipendary, Ordained Local Minister, Lay Minister, Reader and any other titles we have in the CofE. This is before you get to rural deans, archdeacons, deans, provosts, suffrigan bishops, area bishops, chaplains, vicar, rector, curate, team minsitry. And then you have Holy Orders – the different types of monks and nuns with their abbreviations. Then there are the many different hymn books and versions of the Bible that we have to battle with, like why do we bother putting out the pew Bibles for a family service when we know that the readings are going to be from the Good News. And this before you get onto the different churchmanships (smoking or nonsmoking), surely there is an algebraic formula for how high church the minister is by the variety of clergical garb worn divided by the whatever multpilied by something?

  5. Quite a lot of people visit churches at baptism and weddings….what about an “i spy” church wedding/baptism

    or how to tell which festival it is? eg harvest, remembrance, sunday School anniversary (Methodists), the week before the church fete, Easter, Pentecost….

    SERvices for particular groups: parade service (guides, scouts, brownies etc); Toddler service; mid-week services; late night services…..

  6. Yes, please.

    I would like to know why lecterns are so often made in the form of large, flapping birds. I thought this was an American thing, since our national symbol is a large, flapping bird. But I see by the disused lectern in your “vicar’s study” cartoon that you may have these in England also. That makes me think that this is some ancient tradition that I should be treating more reverently.

  7. Anne – that is easy. The four writers of the Gospels have symbols tying to the four living creatures of Revelation/Ezekial attached to them. The Man, Matthew who emphasises the Manhood of Christ. The Lion, Mark who emphasises the Power and Majesty of Christ. The Ox, Luke who emphasises the Priesthood of Christ. The Eagle, John (who according to tradition wrote the Book of Revelation) who emphasies the Divine nature of Christ. According to legend the eagle could look at the sun without being blinded, this became an image for revelation.

    The Gospel of John starts with the sentence “In the Beginning was the Word”. Lectern means “to read”. As the Lectern is where the word is proclaimed from the Eagle was chosen because of the openning sentence from the Gospel of John.

  8. Phelim, I’ve gone my whole life without ever making the connection between Eagle-as-symbol-of-St.-John with the Word with lecterns. What an interesting bit of symbolism that’s been going on right in front of my eyes all these years. It’s even more ironic when you consider that a number of those years were spent worshiping in a church named for the Holy Evangelists. Thank you. (Seriously.)

  9. Hi,

    How about the joy that is the organising and running of a church fete/fayre/garden party. I have participated in many of these over the years both as an unwilling “child of the vicarage” and more recently the spouse of an ordinand. There is much scope for laughs!

  10. Anne – you are not alone. Most people, even within the CofE and Catholic churches have no idea what the symbolism around their churches mean beyond the Stations of the Cross if they have them. But when we remember that most of the symbolism is there around the church and in the stained glass windows because people couldn’t read the symbolism takes on a much deeper meaning. I agree that this would make a great set of cartoons.

    In the meantime the book: How To Read A Church is a good guide. Get it from Church House Bookshop via this link: http://www.chbookshop.co.uk/product.asp?id=11025

  11. When baptisms go wrong

    Bluffer’s guide to pastoral visiting

    The organist’s control deck (a la Starship Enterprise)

    Welcomers We Have Known

    The children’s talk pie chart (I can give you more detail on this one, Dave – let me know)

    The Harvest Festival – the alien’s guide [you may have done this – haven’t seen the calendar, I’m ashamed to admit]

  12. How about some amazing superheros?

    My seven-year old is in the middle of writing a superhero story about Mr Chocolate Man, the world’s greatest sweet hero and his nemesis the evil Lumpy Custard guy.

  13. Phelim, a somewhat belated thanks. Sorry I don’t have your email address to write to you personally, so am going to abuse Dave’s hospitality by cluttering up his comments. 🙂 I actually make rosaries and prayer bead strands (both Marian and Anglican), and I spend a lot of time working out symbolism as it’s appropriate to that effort–especially the symbolism of colors in the church. I also look for religious or liturgical connections to various gemstones. They do exist in some cases, though they’re hard to find. (You have to cut through a lot of New Age stuff.) I’m sitting here with a beautiful, very old cross that depicts the Four Evangelists with their symbols, with the triumphant Christ at the center. This is recast from the antique original. Somebody will love it when I finish the rosary. I’m going to ask our local Episcopal bookstore (St. Bede’s) to order that book for me. It’ll be a valuable addition to my little bookshelf, and I’ll enjoy reading it. You can see the beginnings of my own little compilation here: http://www.atelier-beads.com/lore1.php

  14. Give us the low-down on what the various vestments and props are really for. I’m not talking about liturgical usage or symbolism here – rather, I’m hoping you can demonstrate how (for example) a mitre is the episcopal equivalent of a superhero’s utility belt, storing lots of essential gadgets within easy reach. And are bishops’ crooks and churchwardens’ – er – stick things really for martial arts, or majorette displays, or something else?

    Something on updating Maundy Thursday foot-washing for the 21st century would also be useful.

    On a possibly related subject: Things you used to be able to do in church, but which are not allowed anymore because of Health and Safety.

  15. Anne – go to the blog on the Former SPCK Staff Gathering and my email is on there as the organiser. The link is http://www.cartoonchurch.com/blog/2008/04/23/former-spck-staff-gathering

    I’m involved in the prophetic movement with the Church (yes I’m a Charismatic but don’t hold that against me) so am use to the concept of symbolism and the New Age issue. One of my hobbies is architecural history/geographical archaeology (think Stuart from Time Team) so this helps as well.

    Tortoise – or Dave could combine the two. What that rope around the waist of a priest is and alternative uses (climbing out the window to avoid the coffee after the service).

    Joe – how about the fact that due to insurance/health and safety some churches will not allow children to make their own pancakes. They can eat them, after parents have signed a forest of forms absolving the group from any responsibility for allergic reactions, but can not make them due to the dangers of floor, eggs, milk and salt as raw ingredients.

  16. Do a mitre thing. As far as hats go, they are really silly. The Archbishop of Cape Town (after Tutu) wore a leopard’s skin on his mitre. Leopard skins are worn by chiefs. Just trying to help.

  17. How about the conflicting demands that prevent clergy having a regular day off? e.g. funerals, conferences, pastoral emergencies, callers at the door, lateness of sermon preparation, etc, etc, Or what they can do on a day off that is fun and not too solitary or expensive.

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