New Year Calendar Competition

So, here we are. It’s back to work time. For me this means thinking of some church-themed cartoon ideas. In order to start this process I thought I’d do a little giveaway in return for some diagram suggestions. The prizes I have two of my 2014 calendars to give away, and one copy of ‘Peculiar…

2014 calendar

So, here we are. It’s back to work time. For me this means thinking of some church-themed cartoon ideas. In order to start this process I thought I’d do a little giveaway in return for some diagram suggestions.

The prizes
I have two of my 2014 calendars to give away, and one copy of ‘Peculiar Goings On’, my newest (but now not especially new) book. There may be some other minor prizes made up of bric-a-brac from my desk, I don’t know. These calendars are not now available to buy anywhere, by the way.

What you have to do
I will send prizes to three people, picked at random, who post one or more cartoon ideas in the comments below this post. You need to do so from now, Monday 6 January, until 10pm (UK time) on Tuesday 7 January 2014. The ideas don’t need to be brilliant or complete. It could be a topic you think I should tackle, or a entire idea that would work in my cartoon format. One idea is great, but more than one would be, well, marvellous. I’m very happy to sign the prizes. Entries may not show up straight away as I moderate first-time commenters, and I’m away from the computer during the daytime.

Small print
Normally I welcome ideas sent to me by any means, but for the purposes of this giveaway they must be posted on this blog, not on Facebook, Twitter, or sent by email. This is the only way I can keep track of entries. Only one comment per person will be counted, so there’s no point in posting multiple times. The winners will be chosen by drawing small pieces of paper out of a saucepan (probably not non-stick). Please do enter even if you have a calendar – you could give it away. I reserve the right to change the rules.

Many thanks in advance – ideas sent to me by people make it possible to continue doing what I do.


  1. Hi
    How about a cartoon about clearing the church yard? We don’t have a graveyard but it is still a major event involving fixing the broken gate people keep bending, clearing assorted rubbish, discovering a footstone that shouldn’t be there, removing the branches from the tree that threaten to knock people’s head off as they walk down the path, trimming the roses, changing the notices in the notice board as well as weeding etc – Oh and labelling the wheelie bins so the neighbours don’t pinch them!

  2. Alternative congregations I.e. The dog walking fraternity. I meet many people in the woods with my dogs who refer people to me because I am a vicar. Meeting people from parish ministry in the supermarket eyc

  3. Hi Dave

    Couple of ideas spring to mind (apologies if you’ve already done them and I haven’t seen them)

    1. Children’s church with white pearly gates bouncy castle in one transept, a game of pin the bread on the hand in the chancel maybe a Wii running super archbishop karting, no chairs just large carpeted area with some children on dancing to Doug Horly CDs coming from the Fisher Price PA system, parents area down one side with pews showing old videos of songs of praise, slushie machine for after the service or the stone font filled with fruit punch

    2. Messy church – but rather than the innovative and exciting – just the things that make uncared for churches messy, leaking roof, coffee stain from the 1987 incident, pile of unusable hassocks leaking their sawdust, snow blown in through the broken window, a trail of bacon butty crumbs from the vestry to the pulpit, old copies of parish magazine from 1976, tarpaulin covering up 265 ASB 1980, last weeks confetti and rice (from wedding not parish lunch)

    Thanks for the advent cartoons they were great πŸ™‚


  4. What about a cartoon about the baptism party ? Wide, rich, varied topic but with all sorts of hazards for the unwary priest: babe dressed in slidy silk, children running around, expectations of different people, theology wrapped in symbols, things to drop into the font, stuff to trip over, water fight and always the prospect of setting fire to Grandma’s hat. Or is this just my experience?

  5. How about something about ecumenism works? I’m guessing could be some sort of flow chart…
    what about a day in the life of a rural dean? I’ve always pictured someone on a bike in the countryside.
    What the church cat gets up to when no one’s looking.
    How to choose the correct hymn…

    love your work!

  6. Communion wine tasting for new communion wine – different characters with different views, different wines.
    Communion bread- was that home made? Hovis? Mother’s Pride, too grainy, too stale? Crusts left on, making it the right size!

  7. Cartoon ideas (New Year calendar competition):

    Health and Safety Officer in church – only 2 candles allowed for 2 adults to hold at the Nativity, Vicar to wear short cassock in case of tripping, ladies to wear long skirts in case of heart attacks in old men, cold tea served in case of burns, churchwarden to hold fire extinguisher, frisking at the door in case of weapons, non alcoholic wine at Communion to avoid drunkenness, acolytes carrying candles to have their fringes cut off to avoid catching fire, safety net under the gallery, Gospel bearer to wear steel toed boots as book is heavy, yellow safety tape on steps, check harvest goods for sell by date, free condoms to the youth group, check flower arrangements for poisonous plants, use velcro not drawing pins on noticeboards.

  8. Have you a cartoon on the trials and tribulations of the thurifer? We suffer broken chains, coals that won’t ignite, coals that burn up too quickly, the sweetest smells and visuals when the conditions are just so, acrid plumes of smoky reek when they are not, coals flying out and burning holes in the carpet, grumbling parishoners that don’t care for the smoke no matter how good or bad it is, limp-wristed celebrants, those who flail the thing about with great vigour &c.

  9. Coughing in church!
    The dangers of asking the children a question in church (funny answers, parents’ anxiety, vicar’s response)
    Places to hide in a vicarage (from the doorbell/phone)

  10. Vague idea forming in my mind that you might want to take further:
    Why people come to church, why churchgoers think people come to church, why the vicar or minister thinks people come to church. why God wants people to come to church…
    Of course, you could always do one the other way round: why people don’t come to church…

  11. How about holy hand positions during worship, e.g. Receiving hands (palms up), air punches, hands clasped, the Heil Hitler …

  12. People in church praying for the homeless and the hungry – people at home responding in various ways to homeless person having broken in and helped themselves to Sunday lunch.

  13. Something on the proposed new baptism liturgy (and non church attenders wondering what’s the fuss)?

    Or the one-up-manship between the CoE and Catholics… Cool new pope, answered with a relevant new ABC… ABC tackles Wonga et al, new pope loves gays people πŸ™‚ etc etc

  14. Some wonderful ideas!
    I can only offer from my personal experience:

    Family service consisting of not-quite approving, and mainly elderly, ladies and only two small children, who are too shy to speak to the vicar at the chancel step – but not too shy to run amok during the hymns; an indefinable soft toy that everyone is supposed to know what it is; a large table for drawing pictures with dried out felt pens and broken pencils and too many ‘helpers’; a former – horrified – Sunday school teacher; several – equally horrified – churchwardens; and the choir of three middle-aged-elderly ladies in fits of laughter trying to sing songs like: I will Make You Vicious Old Men (sorry, Fishers of Men) or Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam; a disapproving tea-lady who thinks children should only be allowed half a biscuit with their over-weak squash, etc. etc.!

    Or a sketch about the choir ? With an unrobed group of motley singers and all sorts of minor naughtiness going on – chewing gum, whispering, passing notes, dropping their glasses and scrambling about on the floor in an undignified manner; checking their mobiles, checking their lipstick, dropping music sheets for the vicar to slip on as she goes up the sanctuary, clapping and dancing to livelier hymns, munching or drinking things on the back stall, someones dog secreted in a corner that might howl during a hymn.. etc.!

    Oh I wish I could draw like you, Dave!

  15. Clergy shirt styles: tab collar, all-round, for women (have you seen the sleeves on some of them?), colour options etc

    Mapping the graveyard: after a few decades or even centuries of incomplete record-keeping, figuring out where we buried someone (or where we have room for someone) can be… more art than science.

  16. How about a cartoon about social media in churches? i.e – people tweeting during the sermon, using facebook etc. We had some very funny reactions to our vicar asking people to tweet comments about his sermons – the older members were less than enthusiastic…

    I also think there are loads of funny things that church wardens do. I’ve always thought that the ‘warden of the vicar’ with the job of protecting the vicar from the congregation was a funny tradition.

  17. Hi Dave,

    What about something about St George’s Day being five days late and confusion ensuing from that? Or possibly, of the back of a conversation I was having in church yesterday about a late Easter meaning having to move the spring fair, “can’t we just move Easter?”, etc?

  18. I’ve always thought you’d do a perfect “general guide to english awkwardness/bewilderment” Dave. Feeling befuddled by your smartphone, confused in the supermarket, bewildered by a current controversy in the news etc… Basically extending your existing style to various parts of everyday life.

    Not sure if that counts as a cartoon idea, but is certainly a ‘cartooining’ idea…

  19. hi Dave

    How about something about the Church Bookcase – which books should be there and which shouldn’t(similarly rejected things to sell in the church Gift Shop – bobble-head vicar, seasonal colour changing pens etc.

    What the size/style of nativity set says about your church? (you might need to save that up for a few months…)

    play on words of baptismal font (choosing the right font guidelines?)

    ok must get back to the essay

  20. Hi Dave,

    Couple of ideas, one of which was prompted by reading a comment earlier on here:
    The all-age service – why is it only ever designed for 8 year olds? What about 80 year olds? Or 15 year olds? Or, possibly even 44 year old blokes who happen to know a cartoonist? To be fair, the last one our Church did was actually quite good and ticked a lot of those boxes, but still…. credit for this one really needs to go to Hannah Norris, as it was her comment on the family service that made me think of this.

    How about the politics of Church music – who picks the songs? What instruments? Do we really need the organ? I only sing when they’re played on the organ / piano / guitar / drums* – delete as appropriate. We don’t sing enough new songs. We sing far too many new songs that no-one knows? I love the old hymns. Are old hymns relevant today? You get the point – I’ve known all these comments made about the same service!

  21. Different contemporary worship hand positions?

    A few personal favourites…..

    – I’m catching something heavy (the 2 outward palms)
    – I’ve got a question (1 hand raised)
    – I need a good stretch (2 hands raised)
    – I’m releasing a dove (self-explanatory).

    PS. Loving your work *shameless compliment*

  22. Coming from a personal point of view: the cleaning of the church, how much is there, is there a church hall, should it be done by volunteers or should people be paid – who clears up after the Messy/All Age service? Those items that seem to make a pile waiting for “the fairies” to come and sort it all out.

    alternatively what about rota’s and who’s on them

    how things should be arranged in the church (in real life knew of a situation where the Bibles/hymn books had to be in correct order if not someone would check and change them)

  23. Or odd prophetic word bingo?

    Personal favourite altar call from our church….

    “We were praying before the service and had a vision of someone who’s had a piercing that’s gone horribly wrong. If that’s you, please come forward for prayer.”

  24. Vicars having to ‘fight’ through the over-exhuberant creations of the flower arrangers…..altar arrangements, huge fan-like displays on pedestals which need a safety exclusion zone and free form structures with abstract titles….to name just a few!

  25. Calendar Competition

    Now this may just be a Methodist thing, but something about those bits of blank paper that we are handed as we walk in to church. I’m beginning to think it is all they teach at Methodist Minister training.

    Walking into the junior / messy church nativity service last month I clearly looked less than impressed to be given my little slip of paper, as the hander outer remarked, “I know, none of us like them but I’m not sure anyone is listening.” I will accept that on this occasion there was an added twist as the papers became the straw in the manager all be it with our contributions scribed upon them.

    Loved the advent calendar which I shared with the (non-church) choir I sing with and received a lot of very positive feedback on your behalf!

  26. Things found in the choir vestry: boxed set of nightmare-inducing Christmas baubles, plaster of Paris Easter figures (all badly chipped, one looking like a Hollywood extra with blond hair and a deep tan), one tap, one chandelier, choir attendance record c1973, Girl Guide book on how to be a flag bearer, c3/4 of a table tennis table, and a gazebo.

    Who’s who in the church choir – too dangerous to go any further on that one!

    Rotas for everything – including bringing the bread for communion. One week the person forgot and we shared a salad sandwich from the local petrol station.

    Vestments for all occasions, including the stole with built-in fairy lights for Christmas.

    Reasons given as to why people don’t come to church: because the rector wants them to have a personal relationship with God and they don’t want to do that; because the service time has moved by 30 minutes so now there isn’t enough time to cook lunch afterwards.

    Adding on to the one above about the perils of baptism – removing the tiara off the baby, whilst holding the baby ready for baptism.

    And it’s all true…..

  27. The plight of the shortest staff member – the one who can fit in the cleaning cupboard under the stairs, asked to paint the skirting boards when helping in houses, constantly “lost” at Sunday school groups as the same size as the kids, given a step ladder for Christmas etc…. Not sure how that would appear as a cartoon, but I feel like it’s an idea! (And the flip side of always being asked to get things from the top shelf knowing full well they can’t reach!)

    Building on an earlier comment – ‘things the church cat gets up to when know one is looking’ – things the youth worker gets up to when no one is looking (we have an 8 foot paper mΓ’chΓ© giraffe… It goes for walkies sometimes…. We’ve only been caught once!) we also have ‘cardboard Clive (vicar)’ that makes an appearance when no one is around… It’s life size.

    Church run assemblies – how the vicar does it (sensible) how the curate does it (trying to be cool, not quite succeeding) how the youth worker does it – takes in silly hats and gets the kids to act out the story being looked at

  28. Rotas (in particular being put on them without being told!)

    Little ways the clergy assert their authority (moving meetings, offending the current flower arranging leader to effect a coup, hiding the organist’s sheet music) – possibly Sins Of Commission (with obvious followup Sins Of Omission).

    The ever-growing umbrella collection

    Timing of services (Sunday brunch and Sunday tea times, presumably to encourage fasting and inhibit families with children)

    7 ways to indicate that This Is My Pew

    The secret power of the PA operator (e.g. piping an entirely different song to the older folk when the yoot do a modern version of an old song).

    Things Found In The Filing Cabinet In the Church Office – plans for building work never undertaken, alcohol serving licenses, incriminating photos of the wardens to assist compliance

    Ways we make an old building work for the current church needs

    Compatibility chart for pews and books – which books will balance on the pew ledge and which will fall off mid-sermon

    What I Secretly Do During Sermons – collected confessions

    An Illustrated Guide To Ineffective Visual Aids – one particularly memorably bad sermon was about 5 statements of ‘Let Us …’ from some passage, which the vicar decided to illustrate as 5 Lettuces. That’s precisely all I remember, those 5 damned clip-art lettuces.

  29. The children in our church play football after the service in a room where they have to dodge about 15 buckets which have been carefully placed to catch the drips when it rains. Sometimes, when I am running a children’s group in there I sneakily move a bucket and hope I can put it back in about the same place so I don’t cause a flood.

    Also church hoovers (I mean vacuum cleaners). Why can’t we buy a new good quality one that works instead of using several old ones which have been donated by members of the congregation because they were having a new one or they found it at the tip? We often have 3 different people hoovering with 3 hoovers and still no bits are actually being picked up. It is like a weird liturgical ritual or dance.

  30. Ideas for cartoons….

    What the vicar gets up to in church when no one is looking

    The hunt for the new church cooker

    What youth workers think of the kids/church

    What people think happens at bible college/moorlands, what should happen, what I think happens, what actually happens!

    The hierarchy of church vacuum cleaners

    Where are my keys (vicar, curate, administrator, youth worker)

    The pigeons in the bell tower


  31. How about

    1. Vicar’ wives. I dare you
    2. Vicar’s kids. Many suffer from Vicar’s son syndrome. I certainly had one!

  32. How about a cartoon showing the different styles and sets of nativity figures for Christmas? Knitted ones? Wooden ones? Porcelain ones? Etc, Etc?

    Or The flower arrangers hierarchy of windows and places in the Church. They start by being allowed to arrange the flowers for a window which is almost out of sight and progress to the larger windows then to the font and the large displays around the chancel.

    Happy New Year!!

  33. Feng shui in the Sanctuary?
    Roof leaks, servers do synchronised swimming choreography … Or ice skating in winter if cold enough.
    Vicar’s cloak pockets and what’s in them – I once has 3 small children under my cloak at a graveside. Also pen, ciggy lighter for rogue candles or or hand warming, hankies for weeping relatives who’ve never heard of them, spare Prayer Book for comfortable words, etc.

  34. Congregation “meeting” in the local supermarket after the Sunday service; but all hiding in different section so as to avoid being seen to “shop on Sunday”!!

  35. Hi Dave

    1. The Church Shed (contents there-of) – ours is a very remarkable and odd collection of everything from abandoned patio-heaters (that used to heat the inside of church!) to bags of stones for the Nativity (and straw too), cafe tables for the old people’s lunch, bits of flooring, odds and ends of tubes for stuff we’ve forgotten we needed them for etc…
    2. Different ways of parishioners asking to ‘have their baby done’
    3. Gifts received by the vicar in hope of a favourable church school reference
    4. Lost property by season



  36. When to hide/not to hide during the archdeacon’s visitation (s/he)

    In the safe. He’ll want to see records
    In the drains or he boiler room. Those will be inspected
    Behind church candle stands He’ll be counting those
    In the porch umbrella stand. He’ll be inspecting health and safety, annual report notices

    Yes to
    In the pulpit. He’s not interested in the sermons.
    Behind the organ. Or the music (unless there’s a faculty application on it)
    In the youth group cupboard – no interest there
    At the mums and toddler group – definitely safe there under a beanbag

  37. Must be all sorts of fun re Catholic v anglican v baptist esp on the eucarist catholics wine turned into christ. Anglicans wine symbolic of christs death .methodists – vimto

  38. Something about admittance to c of e schools. The guilt felt by many the many genuine church faithfull, sudden conversions,

  39. instructions for visiting minister ie when the children leave- do they need a signal (we often have trouble with knowing if we should just go or keep waiting) , habits of the congregation, the songs that they know, where you stand and how long the sermon should be etc

  40. The Church Fete! (Including the opening of the bell tower for public viewings). We always have the classic stalls – coconut shy, children’s brick-a-brac, tombola etc.

  41. How about the excuses given by the bride for being late for the wedding service? Eg. had to stop and feed the baby! Forgot the bouquet, it’s inside locked house, keys are where? Car broke down etc etc, as a bellringer I’ve heard a few.

  42. Trials of Bellringers – stormy weather = wet ropes, shrinking ropes, wet bells, wind blown bells, up-draught/down-draught from towers stairs.
    Heat wave = dry ropes stretching! Cooling off on the battlements.

  43. Pulpit punch-ups due to preaching rota confusion, (has happened to me twice, score 1 all)

    Choir member rehearsing geological timeline on service sheet during sermon every Sunday

    Nativity play altercations – 3 Gabriels, over keen shepherds rushing to manger before angel appears, Mary responding to annunciation with a flat OK.

    Hospital chaplains’ lot “can you put my teeth in? / Help me to the toilet? / I’m going to be sick”

    All above are true events

  44. A Venn diagram of hymns/beach mission songs/plainsong/contemporary worship and how much each annoys different groups in the congregation. A similar diagram with ones that please different groups. You could have a bit of fun trying to find one universally disliked* and loved.

    * Could be a bit of a minefield. I’d invent a 1970’s style meaning-free children’s hymn title for this one to avoid upsetting anyone/being sued.

  45. Churches always think they welcome everybody, but they don’t, of course. A truthful invitation inviting some but not…

  46. You have a lot of very good suggestions already (and some dubious ones…) but I wondered about something that combines your interests in cycling and the church. Bikes and clergy or bikes and church people. What you can learn about people by the bike they ride… Wishy washy liberal on a trendy retro pashley, serious evangelical on an old Dawes tourer, trendy fresh expressions person on an expensive road bike…
    Could do similar with cars… or modes of transport…

  47. How to cause maximum disruption when arriving late at church. Eg. trying to push past an advent procession you did not notice; walk in through a side door carting a bongo; arrive at a wedding at the point the celebrant asks for people to declare just impediments; walk in through the vestry and realise you are between the altar and the vicar and in full view of the congregation. If church has projector, you should also then walk in front of that for maximum effect. (I have done all these things)

  48. What a lot of ideas! Having just survived another School Assembly (which is meant to be called Collective Worship, I understand) how about the theory and practice of taking School Assemblies – or the before and after…

  49. Raffle prizes? Bottle of liqueur which has been a raffle prize seven times already; gift box of toiletries from last Christmas; potted plant(always a begonia); box of chocolates with expiry date next week; scented candle; Winnie the Pooh stationery set; Beard trimmer (or some other unwanted appliance…etc.

    or: What to expect in an Anglican Service – a Guide for the Newcomer (contrast between ‘high’ and ‘low’ church) – elaborate vestments/jeans and t shirt; huge pipe organ/music group and sound desk; pews/cafΓ©-style seating; incense/flags; hymn books/screen

    As you know, I love your work! Thank you.

  50. Thinking of rural multi-church ministry…

    How raffle prizes get recycled between villages. We have a box of raffle prizes with the name of the event it was won at, so it can be donated to another. Don’t worry – we eat/drink the perishables.

    Planning further ahead: The Posada (travelling Mary and Joseph in Advent). Different attitudes to it. I like the plan-ahead, know where it is every night. In this village they get sent out on Advent Sunday and we don’t see them again until (hopefully) the crib service on Christmas Eve. Last year there were no Mary and Josephs at the Crib service. This year there was the potential for three sets. Next year I’m going with the social-media option and tracking them via twitter/email.

    Can you do something on bi-location? Everyone wants the vicar to be everywhere at 10.30am on a Sunday morning. Can we develop a time-turner like J K Rowling gave Hermione?

    How about something on all the different areas of legal knowledge clergy pick up: tree-fellling regulations, graveyard stuff, architecture, liturgy, safeguarding.

  51. Idea 1: 101 (or any random number) of ways you can use a mitre (tea cosy, oven gloves, skittles etc)
    Idea 2: church treasure map, the prize being the Sunday coffee biscuit tin
    Idea 3: church games such as hymn book Jenga or church cludo (who nicked the biscuits) was it the church warden in the north porch with the collection plate or was it the organist in the vestry with the ciborium?

  52. How about the telephone… calls at all times day@ night from people enquiring about weddings/baptisms/funerals/the hospital

    or who lives in the vicarage/manse and who visits & why

    or a flow chart re funerals who attends/family politics

  53. How about the rural multi-parish vicar achieving all the various types of service in different churches with different habits and histories and expectations over one weekend?
    I have had to cut out and save so many of your cartoons. Thankyou.

  54. Just back from a night out…at PCC…how about cartoons from to nights meeting…

    PCC meeting


    Fixing the roof
    Which chairs to buy for the church and hall
    The great importance of the gardening budget
    Why its far too difficult to offer prayer ministry
    Ways to fundraise…sell a podcast, get the vicar to write a book and donate royalties to church, rent out church flat for (inner) city breaks, or a table top sale were the ideas we had.
    The importance of keeping the pews.
    How to make church more accessible for speakers of other languages
    The finance report (in deficit)
    Choosing a day for a church course
    What is the DAC?
    (some of the) women opposing opposing the men’s plans to invite men from another church to a men’s breakfast.
    Topics for Asian awareness course

    Sorry starting to run out of ideas now from to nights PCC

    Our treasurer always puts cartoons on his finance report so please keep him in cartoons.

  55. There is always that one spot in each church where it seems “everything” is dumped and then the eternal question is asked “Does anyone know where the …… is?” How about a cartoon of those “out of the ordinary” things which then forms a liturgical calendar for the year? Rose coloured candles for Gaudate Sunday? A box of chalk for blessing on Epiphany Sunday? A toy dragon for St George?

  56. A few ideas:
    * Extreme Parish Makeover: a reality tv show where a celebrity priest comes in and transforms a parish by doing superficial things-
    *the sacraments that didn’t quite make the cut: imagine if instead of the Eucharist we all played some strange sacred sport passed down from jesus after the third hymn, etc etc
    *denominational boxing matches or WWF style wrestling: Anglicans vs Salvation Army etc, with great descriptions of their super powers
    *worship bands: something on the crazy different kind of odd worship bands or worship leader varitites that appear on Sundays.
    * church websites- the secrets to having a really bad one eg animated email icons, section for vicars blog for photos of his trip to iona, current events that hasn’t been updated in 4 years, roof fundraising page

  57. Also, something on alternative uses for dog collars-sometimes I use mine as a book mark…

  58. The church toy box and what to expect:
    Ladybird books (various sorts) some chewed, all scribbled in none dating from before 1973
    Very very noisy toy with siren whose batteries mysteriously never run out
    Soft toy of questionable sort is it a bear? Is it a dog? Is it a dinosaur? We don’t know but it doesn’t have a CE mark
    Bauble from Christmas tree
    Empty coffee cup
    Blunt pencil crayons
    Shape sorter with no shapes (see also 10 piece jigsaw with 3 pieces)
    Large ride on toy ‘which we were going to take the tip but thought church might want it’ do not let your child near this the last child that did go on this lost a limb.

  59. How about:
    Youth group outing – a survival guide
    A pie chart to show how much of the PCC meeting is spent talking about each agenda item (i.e. most time spent talking about minor niggles)

  60. Just to say Dave that your email only got to me after 10:00 on Tuesday…I know you wanted to make sure I didn’t win!

    How about churches with a music group and an organist having a worship off to decide who play this sunday?

  61. I’d originally arrived with an idea about things that can go wrong at baptisms, but someone’s got there before me. [Although in addition to infant baptism, full immersion of adults comes with its own list of dangers – our church nearly caught fire thanks to a faulty heating element; light clothing goes see-through; churches are cold; often Bishops are present…]

    One of my favourite cartoons is the snakes & ladders board for the discernment process. Something similar for curacies/incumbencies could be good – plenty of ups and downs in both!

    Misheard hymn lines/liturgy – I knew a child years ago who though ‘God of power and God of might’ was “God of power and Mighty White”…

  62. Candlemas is coming so how about a cartoon about things to do with candles, choosing the right candles, the candle procession, health and safety, etc. Some ideas …… maybe candles of different sizes, shapes, colours, scented candles?

  63. Ditto re not getting email till this morning!

    Ecumenism esp in LEPs which ought to know better but still bicker.

    How the unchurched cope at weddings/baptisms etc Went to a wedding where maj of guests obs hadn’t been to church before so sat & chatted, made phone calls & were clearly waiting for ceremony to be over so as to get to the important stuff! And I think I was the only one who knew the hymns!

    The new church member & how they are pounced on as “fresh blood” for all the committees. But only if they look right…

    The scandal of proposing sofas in church…

    The Church charity shop

  64. Thanks for all of these everyone – they are brilliant. Will make a huge difference to me.

    Those who get a blog update notification email – yes, I’m afraid it won’t have come until this morning. But still plenty of time to enter as closing time is 10pm.

  65. We occasionally get clerical confusion when we realised we haven’t agreed who is doing a particular bit. Leads to much nodding, shaking of head, pointing and semaphore.

    And is there a map of the boundaries of church? Who owns which pews, the flower cupboard…etc?

  66. Something about that odd table at the back of church where people put things to sell in aid of stuff. Homemade jam, peculiar novels, odd ornaments, fancy soap etc

    For late in the year – The christingle conveyor belt system for manufacture of said items

    A field guide to the different types of people who turn up to Midnight Mass

  67. How about a cartoon on the new baptism liturgy options flow chart style fairy godmother blessing or hell, sin and repentance…? Guidance for clergy perhaps confused by new options ?

  68. Another receiver of email….
    How about.. The Church Outing
    The Vicar’s Annual Choir Party
    The PCC Barbecue

    Thanks for all you great cartoons.

  69. A simple guide to formatting song words for the data projector (with lots of really bad examples: punctuation, “unfortunate” line breaks, …)

    Where to find seats for everyone at the Crib service (or, cunning places you can squeeze in an extra chair or four on Christmas Eve. Especially if everyone is holding a lighted candle.)

    Things found when gravedigging. (In our case, last week: the foundations of the previous-but-two Rectory.)

    Health and safety guide to changing lightbulbs in church – do’s and don’ts.

    I still reckon there’s a lot of mileage in a cartoon on perils of the “reversing manoeuvre” at communion:

    * Derailed by the presence of small children or pushchairs in the aisle
    * Difficulties caused by the return flow of communicants in an overly narrow aisle
    * Miscreants who sneak out via the side aisle to jump the queue
    * A communion rail operating in two independent halves, causing communicants to return out-of-order
    * Non-communicants attempting to return to their pew after receiving a blessing, but without waiting for their neighbours to receive the wine, again causing people to return out-of-order
    * People who have returned out-of-order hanging around in the aisle and preventing other rows from correctly executing the reversing manoeuvre. (Especially problematic where administration begins at the back row.)

  70. How about questions kids ask? Teaching school aged kids. I teach 3rd graders and they have great questions. This year the best has been “what is a virgin? Why do they call her Virgin Mary? “. This from an 8 year old boy!

  71. Hi Dave

    Thanks for prompting me – I was actually thinking about a cartoon idea during the sermon on Sunday morning! – so here it is.

    How about the contents of the children’s corner. At the last look ours had:
    – collection of 1960s Ladybird books (mostly but not all Bible stories)
    – 1950s (or possibly earlier) Bible stories book
    – box of coloured pencils for colouring in – mostly with broken points
    – no paper for drawing on (perhaps it’s a good thing the pencils are broken)
    – large and very threadbare cuddly toy
    – toy drum (don’t know who thought that was a good idea)
    – tractor with three wheels
    – modern children’s book with title guaranteed to make the hair of the old ladies curl (we have the excellent “Who’s in the loo?”, but I’m sure you can think of something even more shocking
    – box of adult books left over from the Autumn Fair (which doubtless includes some titles very unsuitable for children)
    – two or three Christmas tree baubles that escaped being packed away with the rest

    Thanks for the advent calendar – it was brilliant. I might have enjoyed it even more if I’d discovered it on 2 December rather than 24 December – or perhaps not, it really brightened up my last morning at work before the festivities.

  72. As mentioned on twitter, I’d love to seen an cartoon exploring/describing the creative process behind a Dave Walker cartoon – perhaps a unique insight into the workings of your mind? I’m imagining drawings of little people shuttling about in your head with thoughts/comments/suggestion before commanding the hands into action…

  73. 1. Church choir politics: the out of tune one, the tone deaf one, the one who thinks she’s a bit of an unrecognised Kiri (or Kylie), the dreaming up of ‘alternative’ lyrics to hymns, the audible farting competitions, the silly pointy hats and sleeve covers, the piles of hymnbooks, the prima donna tenors, etc.?

    2. An imitation of the fb pictures where it goes “JOB” (parents/teachers/ but in this case clergy ) and ‘what my parents think I do/what my children think I do/what my parishioners think I do/what the neighbours think I do/what I actually do?

    3. The Archdeacon’s visitation (hastily polished pews/newly printed order of service (unspotted typos)/ironed surplice/flustered Reader/churchwardens with pointy sticks they don’t know how to use)

  74. Writing this at 6:30 a.m. on 7th so hopefully can slip in under the wire. How about:
    Celtic Christianity – ways it shows up in church music and food and does anyone celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (or St. Brigid’s for that matter). Someone mentioned the vicar’s trip to Iona.
    Saints in general – someone mentioned a dragon, is that to illustrate St. George?? What happens on All Saints’ tide?

  75. Wow, Dave! You have a full year of cartoon concepts here! You’ve trained your acolytes well (and, they all want your calendars)! Happy New Year!

  76. How about things that church cleaners find while cleaning?

    How about one where during the sermon someone starts cutting their fingernails, the sound ringing out and people listening to that and not the sermon. Happened in my Iowa church!! Several times until I guess someone told them to not do that!

    I was the janitor for 8 years in my church, and when I first took the job from a less enthusiastic man, I found cobwebs on the cross and other dirt but that would be excellent thing for a cartoon if you could do it somehow. I also found gobs of cobwebs on back stairs, carpeted. Lots of dirt in the church then.

    Thanks for the chance. karen608 at yahoo dot com

  77. Hi Dave,

    We at the Diocesan Office love your cartoons, and always manage to find one to fit the occasion….

    However, what about something about the Diocese? Who works there e.g. Ministry (they are in another office so I don’t know what they do), Finance (where I work – we are often described as the trolls that never go home – the only department working at end of Dec/beginning of Jan when everyone else is on holiday), Property (deal with Vicars’ houses, and seem to offer ‘cooker loans’ which are loans to buy cookers, not loans of actual cookers), DAC (they deal with all the lead being nicked off the church roof, a tree collapsing on the wall, or if you want to put a picture on the wall of the church), Education (none the wiser! πŸ™‚ ), Clerical Registry (apparently they don’t just register clerics…) and Communities Engagement (er, engaging communities it seems…)

    Or possibly a hierarchy in the Diocese from the Bishop downwards (with special mention of any special clothing they get to wear!) and what kind of event will merit a bishop rather than say, and archdeacon…

    The last Diocesan thing I can think of was that we had a Special Diocesan Conference last year – allegedly this was not a chance to go on a jolly for three days, although I know that many people spent a lot of time playing with plasticine…. They did come back with lots of new ‘statements’ which I still don’t understand πŸ™‚

    Keep drawing!

  78. 1. The perils of the Parish Picnic (where is physically safe to sit (vicar’s dog’s wasteland…, children’s group playing rounders etc.; where it is sensible to sit (dangers of being caught by various members of the congregation and local community!)).
    2. The life and work of The Parish Administrator
    3. Kneeling at the Altar: a technical guide (Girl-Guide style, hands raised for wafer at earliest opportunity; leaner who looks like they might be aiming for the other side of the rail; ninja who leaps down at the latest possible moment etc.)

  79. None of you have mentioned the church car park! Rules about which days church members can park there if they are off into the city on the train – depends which groups are using church, places no-one is supposed to park on busy days, but do, people not displaying blue badges (hanging office at my church) and notices at various points of church car park, and it one way system.

    And the various room lets, people/groups who use the building, and in a church with several rooms, the effect of a Zumba class next to a prayer and meditation meeting.

    And church toddler group must be a fund of ideas.

    And the church kitchen on the day we offer lunch – a group of ladies cooking, toddler group same day so other ladies offering drinks to them, a small service elsewhere, washing up of cups from end of that, getting tables out of rooms which have been used and into the right rooms for the lunch, the various alternative lunches – vegetarian, vegan, coeliac/gluten free, baby and toddler, mums, “seniors” (people who happen to be in church for some reason and stay for lunch)

    Lots of ideas, I too loved the advent ones

  80. Legitimate uses of a mobile phone in church:

    Checking the lectionary
    Looking up the weather forecast for the parish picnic this afternoon
    Organist (in gallery) texting instructions to the choir (in chancel) e.g.: “Descant last verse”
    Choir (in chancel) texting back “Can’t – Angela’s lost her voice”
    Calculator for hymn board sudoku
    Looking up the cricket scores*
    Churchwarden furiously taking notes of sermon ahead of “ministerial development review”
    Clergy spouse ditto to prepare the case for the defence
    [tricky to draw, this one] carelessly leaning chin on hand with earphone lead running up sleeve to listen to music/last week’s sermon from HTB/cricket scores/Archers Omnibus
    Setting timer to avoid Sunday lunch over-cooking in event of over-long sermon
    Setting timer to fake phone call to avoid over-long sermon, whispered “sorry, must go, Gran’s just died”**
    Timing over-long sermon
    Taking candid shot of attractive young person in row ahead while pretending to check phone
    Hurriedly making “previous arrangement” in diary to avoid PCC meeting
    Following readings line-by-line from on-line Bible
    Following sermon line-by-line from plagiarised sermon (identified by a-very-well-known-internet-search-engine)
    Calling ambulance for lady who fainted when someone suggested sharing the Peace
    Ordering preacher’s recommended reading from a very-well-known-on-line-book-store
    Looking up preachers long words in a very-well-known-on-line-encyclopedia
    Placing bids on some rare and exotic second-hand ecclesiastical haberdashery on a very-well-known-on-line-auction-site
    Checking road conditions on route to next three services this morning (vicar in in rural benefice)
    Phoning the pub to summon the baptism families at 12:10.
    Using torch to celebrate mass during a storm-induced power cut
    *Not strictly legitimate unless carried out by the vicar surruptiously during a hymn
    ** Only suitable for use once per year

    And one visual idea: the announcements at the end of the service drag on and on: banal mumble, mumble from vicar, “sharing time” from children, famine relief fund-rasing talk, five sets of banns, talk from visiting missionary, message from Gladys in hospital, string of tedious trivialities…. Meanwhile. the choir have crept out, organist gone home, congregation drifted to coffee point at the back …. You get the picture?!

    1. Andy – you forget to add “using to lead service/preach from” to your list of legit reasons to use phone in church

  81. You’ve covered so many issues, it’s difficult to think of something new. My all time favourite was the one transforming the avoidance of women in the ministry to the avoidance of unsuitable administrators of coffee.

    Health and safety issues are always good for one more. what about changing nappies on the church bats?

  82. Hi Dave,

    The use of a projector and the person who meant to control the Powerpoint often worry me.

    Sometimes we are meant to ‘look at the screen’ (not the hymn book), and read prayers from the screen. Disasters often strike. My peace is disturbed.

    Quite often, the person who controls the Powerpoint tends to have a fit, and the computer is often manned by the sons of the vicar or a church leader, or a bored teenager, and the slides go up and down and run randomly and I get panicked. The congregation looks at each other and we are not sure where we should look.

    There are often spelling mistakes on the Powerpoint of hymns and they spoil my day.

    Last Christmas, the minister realised his iPad was not with him when he had just started the Christmas Eve service. He left the hall and looked for it. When he found it (a warden passed it to him), he told the audience the iPad was his life – his whole evening service was in the iPad.

    Finally, some people use their smart phone extensively during the church service. Perhaps they are reading a digital Bible, cross-referencing, searching for a prayer, or texting God.

  83. Here are a few ideas, mostly genuine PCC agenda items.

    * Choosing a new priest – interview ordeals and unsuitable candidates
    * Tips for recycling a redundant tea urn
    * Alternative shapes for scones
    * Security measures required when leaving church unlocked during the day
    * Where you can go in the village to locate a church key
    * Methods of winding the church tower clock which comply with health and safety

    Actually if you have any suggestions on any of the above ….

  84. How about the real life re-enactments that occur at Easter and Christmas, using real people and animals – what could go wrong?!
    Churchyard wars with opposing sides of parishioners – those who want it to look like a bowling green against those who prefer it to look like a jungle.
    The pet service – which animals should be included and which barred? Horses? Snakes? Is there a table or scale of allowable animals by size or dangerousness, like the things they use in post offices to decide if your parcel is a small package, or passes through a slot and is a letter? Would animals have to pass through something to allow their entry into the church?
    Liturgical colours – update? Based on what criteria?
    Keep up the good work Dave!

  85. I’ve seen variations on most of my ideas above, and had a good laugh reading through the suggestions.
    Appointments process, roles (or otherwise) of clergy spouse & family, what clergy do on their day off (we love the one Rachel commissioned from you for Ian’s birthday).

  86. How about a cartoon on the subject of people I churches who leave everything until the very last moment?

  87. A. The induction of a Scottish Episcopalian priest.
    B.Risk assessment for the full immersion baptism of a sumo wrestler.
    C. Seminar on most enterprising Street Pastoring techniques on St Kilda

  88. I declare this competition closed. 100 entries – that really is great, thank you.

    I’ll announce and contact the winners shortly.

Comments are closed.