Comic tales from the church side


Christmas tree

Christmas tree image courtesy of sullivan, Morguefile.

For some unknown reason, funny incidents happen a lot at the churches I’ve attended. Once, a bat flew into the room during choir rehearsal and somebody chased it out with a rolled-up newspaper. There was another time when the Advent wreath caught on fire at a country church I attended or the time when a young choir member accidentally dropped a church bulletin over the choir loft railing and it smacked a startled parishioner on the head.

When I was younger, our minister held up a sprig of some three-leafed plant (three leaves to represent the Trinity) during one children’s sermon and asked the kids to identify what it was. One kid hollered “POISON IVY!” and the minister laughed, “Oh, I hope not!”

Then there’s baptisms, which are always fun to watch. Baptisms involve one set of parents, one set of godparents and a baby. Each baby reacts to the baptism differently; some roar and some wail. (I can’t blame ’em; I don’t think I’d like cold water poured on my head from a stranger, either.) One baby I remember appeared comically bemused by the entire process. (“Who ARE all these people and why are they staring at ME?”)

One really funny baptism incident involving an older baby occurred during a church retreat. The baby gazed at the minister, turned her head downward to check out the font containing the baptismal water, looked up at the minister again and said, “Phhbbbt!” as if to say, “If you think you’re putting that cold stuff on ME, buster, you’ve got another think coming!”

But the most comic happenings occur at Christmas, it seems. We have two Christmas Eve services, an early service that happens around dinnertime and a later service that ends at midnight. At the late service, two acolytes carry torches, one carries the small cross and another carries the big cross. One year, a torch-bearing acolyte accidentally inhaled some of the candle smoke from the torch, got woozy and fainted. A young parishioner turned to her mother and said worriedly, “Mom, is he dead?” Her mom hastened to reassure her that the acolyte had only fainted.

Another year, our minister was doing a sermon at the late service. And then we heard it: “BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP,Β BEEP!” Somebody’s watch was sounding an alarm. Our imperturbable minister, used to these kinds of interruptions, calmly kept going while the watch’s owner hastily shut it off.

I remember another service where there was a Christmas pageant. Kids dressed up as the various people from the Nativity, animals and angels. I was sitting and waiting in the parish hall prior to the service and one angel bent her Christmas-tinsel halo into a different shape than the usual circle. She looked at me and explained in a mock-haughty huff, “Circular halos are so last season!” I had to laugh at this fashionista in progress.

But the best Christmas story (so far) involves a children’s sermon. The minister requested the parents to send their kids to the front of the church in order to tell them a Nativity story. The minister asked the kids to explain who was in the stable that night. Β The kids guessed cows, sheep and other animals. “Who else?” the minister wanted to know. One little girl piped up at the top of her lungs: “AND MARY’S BOYFRIEND!” which caused the entire congregation to erupt with laughter at the way she phrased it.

One day, I’ll have to collate all of these stories from everybody at church and publish them in a small book, I think. It would be a good thing to collect all of these stories before they’re lost and forgotten.


Filed under Writing

101 responses to “Comic tales from the church side

  1. Great idea, a book of stories! I have my own such, which involves our Christmas eve service and my sons turning their candles (the ones all congregants hold to light en masse) into torches by peeling back the wax and extending the wick. If it hadn’t been so dangerous and I, as the mother, so responsible, I probably would have thoroughly enjoyed their inventiveness.

  2. The book idea is a good one. Christmas pageants certainly are full of more than one story!

  3. May you have a most comic Christmas this year and find more material for your book!

  4. They are good stories and you definitely should collate them. Would make for a great book one day, I am sure.
    Mary’s boyfriend πŸ˜€

  5. Book idea sounds great, something that I would love to read!!

  6. These remind me of those church bulletin bloopers, have you seen them? Here’s one collection if you haven’t –

  7. Impybat

    One of the best moments I’ve seen was when a G.O.D. (Guaranteed Overnight Delivery) truck was in the church parking lot. It was so appropriate.

  8. A collection of these church tales would make for a great book! I think my favourite ones though are the baptism episodes—you just never know how a baby is going to react on their special day and I’ve seen a whole range of amusing emotions from all the baptisms I’ve attended! πŸ˜€

    Congrats on being FP!

  9. Mr. M

    I think people don’t realize the comic aspect of religion and they feel like God wouldn’t have a sense of humor, but that’s why I love this blog. It showcases that aspect, and it is refreshing to read. I know that the man upstairs is probably enjoying it too. Keep it up!

  10. During last Christmas morning’s mass our priest got a little carried away with the buring frankincense and a plume of it threatened to overtake many of us. My 12 year old nephew turns to me, coughing, and says, “We must be in the smoking section.”

    I lost it!

  11. …yet another reminder that God has a sense of humor!

    Fun stories — thank you for sharing. πŸ™‚

  12. J. G. Burdette

    Freshly-pressed, again? Congrats! πŸ˜€

  13. For some reason I always slip around this time of year…this is mostly due to all the ice that has suddenly decided to come back for its wintery revenge.. and that fact that I buy my new shoes in the January sales thus they are now worn at the heels resulting in less grip to negotiate said ice. Hmmm. Great post!

  14. That would be a wonderful idea for a book! I would definitely read it. πŸ™‚

  15. Your writing is always on point! This is no different. A great read!

  16. What I love most is that all the stories you have mentioned have been repeated in churches all over the world. I think if you put the book together you would have an immediate audience.

  17. I would love to see a book written regarding this subject matter! It would be a good thing to share with family after I have read it. The Christmas holiday can actually be the funniest time of year. Get started!

  18. My first thought was that you must have an affinity for churches with lots of hi-jinks! I have attended church for five decades and most of the drama I experience is people-driven. Sometimes it would be good to have some mishaps just to keep things fresh!

  19. Lol. Those are hilarious! Congrats on being freshly pressed again! It makes me feel special when I can say, “pssht! I knew Eagle-Eyed Editor *before* the freshly-pressed-ness! :p

  20. Funny how you can find humor at church! Good to see, don’t you think?

  21. There you go being Freshly Pressed again! Congrats! πŸ˜€

    One of the most confusing Christmas masses I have ever been to was in France a few years ago. We went to this super crowded children’s mass that included a Christmas pageant. I only went out of duty to my grandmother (nobody on the French side of the family goes to Mass anymore except on Christmas) and I was mostly tuning out. When I did mentally check in, the birth of Christ was being described by the priest and he was holding beakers and test tubes as props and some kind of plants that reminded me of palm tree leaves. I wasn’t too sure where I was: a church or a science classroom? I went back to daydreaming soon after that, the whole thing was just too weird. Even for a children’s mass!

  22. I have worked with kids in the church for years! There is NEVER a dull moment! Thanks for the laugh!

  23. Kids are actually hilarious! Just so, outright and truthful and they say it how they see it without any fear. Shame we learn to curb that trait!

    • Kids are an endless source of hilarity, aren’t they? I once attended a relative’s wedding where a tiny flower girl went up to her dad (an usher) before the wedding and said, “Daddy, when are we going to have wedding cake?” Everybody giggled.

  24. I was an acolyte for years. I am both delighted and a little disappointed that nothing ridiculous happened during my tenure.

  25. I love it! Such wonderful, hilarious stories. πŸ™‚ I would gladly read that book! Also, if you like hilarious Christmas stories, check out Stuart McLean’s stuff – it’s pant-wetting brilliance! x

  26. This was wonderful to read. Laughter really is the best medicine. Thank you for sharing this.

  27. Wherever two or more are gathered … something funny is bound to happen. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the post. πŸ™‚ Merry Christmas.

  28. Great post, and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! I think I’ll keep coming around.

  29. Yes, a book can lighten up some who need it most.

  30. Lovely post – thanks for making me chuckle! A few years ago my nieces, aged 4 and 6 became confused as the Christmas story was told to them. They asked what the nativity had to do with Babybel cheese (small bite-size portions of edam cheese). It turned out they had confused “Baby Jesus” for “Baby cheeses”, and every time they heard mention of the Baby Jesus, they imagined small pieces of cheese. The entire story must have seemed horribly strange to them!

  31. lizzieme

    Hahahahahhahahahaha πŸ™‚
    I come from a church with a lot of drama (of the tea towel on the head variety!) always a source of extra lolz! Thanks for making laugh muchly!

  32. karenspath

    We had a young man about to leave for a mission talk in church a couple of weeks ago, He stated that he was relieved he didn’t have to learn a foreign language because he wasn’t that great at speaking English. A few minutes later he mentioned that something was “more better.” I giggle about it every time I think about it.

  33. madiebeartri

    My youngest child went to a Methodist preschool. On Tuesday they went to church. While attending church, she learned about the prayer rock. You put the rock on your pillow in the morning. When you go to bed at night you bump your head on the rock. The rock reminds you to say your prayers. At night you toss the rock onto the floor. In the morning, you stub your toe on the rock and it reminds you to say your prayers. One day I found the rock on my pillow. πŸ™‚ LOL!

  34. It’s good to see the fun side of religion. I’m trying to write a comedy/fantasy at the moment.

  35. I like your writing style, very engaging — funny material too. Congrats on Freshly Pressed!

  36. Very cute, “Mary’s boyfriend”.

  37. Funny church stories remind us that God has a sense of humour. Thanks!

  38. Super congrats on being freshly pressed. This brought back so many memories of my days at church — I particularly loved the Christmas concerts because kids are so unpredictable and cute.

  39. I remember one of my pastors doing an object lesson once, and the topic of discussion was addiction. I suppose, in order to get his point across he thought he would bring in a beer can to really drive the point home…one young girl stood up and said “I want some! My daddy drinks it all the time.” The teenagers in the back erupted in laughter, and the rest of the congregation really had no idea what to say to the poor little girl….

    You are right, the strangest things happen in church.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  40. mysweatyshirt

    Totally! That book idea is great, you should do it. I love reading through this post and if you do make the book, be sure to tell us in WP. Can’t wait. πŸ™‚

  41. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. I read this the other day and got sidetracked before I could leave a comment…very funny.

  42. Congratulations on being pressed again. I like your stories and could add many more from my experience.

  43. Last year at Christmas the grades 1-3 Sunday school class put on a little birth of Christ type skit. The audience kept laughing and awwwing at them that the little boy playing Joseph got up to the front of the stage and shouted “shut up!” which only brought about more laughter.

  44. A long time ago I didn’t have Christmas stories to tell, I will certainly pass it alone like many at the four corner of the planet.
    Merry Christmas to all.

  45. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! πŸ˜€

  46. Finally made my way over here! I’d go to church if it was as funny as yours. Congrats on Freshly Pressed Part II.

  47. There’s been much debate over the years — at least within the churches that my husband and I have attended — whether or not children should be present along with the adult portion of the congregation. Usually there are two opinions on this matter: either they are being forced or allowed. To be honest, I vacillate in how I feel about this, but there is no doubt about it: children add variety and colour to every situation.

    Happy New Year to you!

    ~ Cara

  48. Your stories are more than entertaining, I lived several of them. Thanks for letting me recall the hilarity of days gone by.


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