The Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Harper, proved a willing model for pa photographer Paul Faith when asked to cast his eye out to sea during a break in last month's Connor Diocesan Synod.
The resulting photograph appreared in the caption competition section of Church Times, where it attracted a range of interesting suggestions. The winning entry – The Bishop felt that the congregation was becoming a little too distant – was submitted by Valérie Falconer.
Other suggestions included: “Using the latest high-powered technology, the bishop was delighted to be able to locate the only remaining priest covering the South-West of England,” from D. Ellis. Jeremy Frost sent: “'So, this is the new Anglican telescope,’ thought the Bishop. ‘You gradually put in all your money, but no vision lasts for more than two minutes.’” And from Christopher Tookey: “I see no splits.”
A few oversight gags: “Yes, I think that’s the Third Province I can see just coming into view on the horizon” (Robin Saunders); alternatively, “Is that an emerging church I can see in the distance?” (Brian Duckett); “Isn’t this taking episcopal oversight a bit too far?” (Richard Mercer); and “The Anglican world holds its breath as Weapons of Mass Oversight (WMOs) are strategically deployed around the Communion.”
A bit of random busking from Bob Pitcher: “The Bishop was now confident that he had put a safe distance between himself and the Mothers’ Union picnic”; John Hutchinson: “Oh, I think I see the congregation coming. Better go and finish my sermon”; and Mary Hullah: “At long last, the Bishop found a way of getting rid of all the old buttons in the weekly collection.”
MJ Leppard, suggested: “At his consecration, the Bishop had been given this text: ‘Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold. Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off’ (Job 36.24-25).” At the other end of the scale, Alison Millard sent: “I joined the clergy to see the world. And what did I see? I saw my see.”
From Stephen Laskey: “With a range of up to five dioceses, the new episcoscope was the new must-have tool for developing episcopal collegiality among neighbouring dioceses”; Richard Tyler: “While on holiday, the Bishop responsible for church growth hit on an idea for increasing the size of congregations”; and Michelle Gillam-Hull: “The mission to deep-sea fishermen was not off to a good start.”
Rosemary Rycraft almost won the prize with “The diocesan profile asked for the new bishop to be a man of far-sighted vision.”
Visitors to the Connor Diocesan website may have their own ideas. Please don't be shy about sending these to the Diocesan Communications Officer whose details can be found in the contact us section.