As a pastor is wrapping up his
service, he tells his congregation "Next week I will deliver a sermon on the evils of
lying. To prepare for it, I would like you all to read Mark chapter 17." The next
week in service he asks how many parishioners read the 17th chapter of Mark. Every hand in
the congregation goes up. "Mark has only 16 chapters," the pastor continues with
a grin. "I will now proceed with the sermon on lying."
As AN ordained minister working in a denominational office, I am called upon to be a
guest speaker across Canada. I must frequently remind myself to project my voice since not
all public address systems compensate for an inadequate delivery. This was driven home one
Sunday morning by an elderly woman with a hearing aid who shook my hand and said
pointedly: "That was probably a very good sermon."
WE WERE new in town and met our daughter's teachers for the first time at the school's
open house. The science teacher, with a twinkle in her eye, asked me, "Are you a
minister?" "Yes," I replied. "Why do you ask?" "It was just
a feeling I had after reading one of your daughter's homework assignments," she said,
handing me the corrected paper. Next to the item "Define the Great Divide," my
daughter had written: "When Moses parted the Red Sea.
I WAS in a busy Edinburgh railway station when I was approached by two young boys. A
school assignment, they told me, required them to interview a stranger, and they wondered
if I would help. When they asked what kind of job I had, I explained that I was an
ordained member of the clergy. "I'm a minister back in North America, but I guess you
don't have women ministers over here, do you?" "Oh, yes, we do!" they
chorused "We have Maggie Thatcher!"
Ol' Fred had been a faithful Christian and was in the
hospital, near death. The family called their pastor to stand with them. As the
pastor stood next to the bed, Ol' Fred's condition appeared to deteriorate and he motioned
frantically for something to write on. The pastor lovingly handed him a pen and a
piece of paper, and Ol' Fred used his last bit of energy to scribble a note, then he died.
The pastor thought it best not to look at the note at that time, so he placed it in
his jacket pocket. At the funeral, as he was finishing the message, he realized that he
was wearing the same jacket that he was wearing when Ol' Fred died. He said,
"You know, ol' Fred handed me a note just before he died. I haven't looked at
it, but knowing Fred, I'm sure there's a word of inspiration there for us all."
He opened the note, and read, "Asshole, you're standing on my oxygen
OUR pastor bought a new table. To take it home, he put it
upside down on the baggage rack atop his car. A young boy was driving with him, and coming
to a railroad underpass, the pastor asked the boy to get out and check the height
clearance before going through. All went well and our pastor drove happily on his way.
Arriving home, he forgot about his table, drove straight into his garage and broke off all
four legs. Getting out of the car the pastor looked angrily at the damages, then told the
boy, "You Say it."
As PASTOR of a two-church parish, my husband had to drive
every Sunday morning about six kilometers from the 9:30 service at one church to the 11
o'clock at the other. He would often find the parking lot of the second church full, and
be forced to park down the road and race to the church on foot. The problem was finally
solved when he selected a parking spot near the side door of the church, where he posted a
sign: YOU PARK - YOU PREACH.
THE preacher and his friend had teed off. The friend missed a
short putt for his birdie and swore under his breath. At the third hole, he missed another
easy putt. "Damn! Missed again," he muttered. On the seventh hole, he did it
again. "Damn! Another miss!" he groaned. The preacher kept giving his friend
reproachful glances but said nothing. They started out on the back nine. On the
tenth hole, the ball just missed the cup. "Damn! Missed again!"
"Look!" cried the preacher. "I'm tired of your swearing. If you do it
again, I'm going to call on the Lord to strike you." Yeah, yeah, thought the
friend as he teed off on the eleventh. The rest of his putts were accurate until the last
hole, where a two-meter putt rolled up to the lip of the cup and stopped right there.
"Damn, damn, damn! Missed again!" A huge black cloud formed overhead and
rolled around for a few seconds. Then a lightning bolt whizzed down from the sky and
zapped the preacher. The friend gaped in amazement as the clouds opened up and
disappeared. Then a sepulchral voice came from nowhere: "Damn! Missed again!"
WHEN our local doctor began attending church services the
minister was delighted, and it wasn't long before they were helping each other in their
work - the minister referring people to the doctor, and vice versa. One referral
from the doctor called at the church office with a note prescribing the minister's last
four sermons. The minister was most pleased until he discovered that the patient's problem
OUR parish priest was invited to play golf with two friends.
Although he said his game was terrible, he went along anyway. At the first tee,
another golfer joined them to make a foursome. So as not to make the stranger nervous, the
priest insisted they introduce him as "Ron." On the fourth hole, the other
golfer turned to Ron and asked him what he did for a living. Confronted, Ron admitted that
he was a Catholic priest. "I knew it!" the stranger exclaimed. "The way you
play golf and don't swear, you'd have to be a priest."
MY DAUGHTER, Sue, and her husband, an Anglican priest were
being interviewed by a committee selecting a new pastor for a church in a small town.
At one point, the question of my son-in-law's ability to keep a confidence arose.
A member of the committee turned to my daughter and asked, "If one of our
women parishioners went to your husband for advice about her husband's infidelity with
another woman, would you know about it?" Sue promptly answered, "Only if I
were the other woman." In due time my son-in-law received the appointment.
ONE Sunday morning one of our pastors was delivering his
sermon, and his visiting granddaughter, who was celebrating her fourth birthday, was in
the congregation. As the pastor reached a high point of his sermon, he shouted,
"Rejoice! You're free, you're free!" From the midst of the congregation,
four little fingers were held up and a small voice cried out, "No, Grandpa, I'm four
THE pastor of my church was a bit shocked when he heard that
I had just made my first parachute jump with a sky-divers club. He scolded me for doing
such a "crazy thing."
"But," I said "I'm so close to heaven up there."
"Yes," he replied, "but you're going the wrong way!"
ONE Sunday morning, as our young assistant priest was
preaching, a two-month-old baby started to fret, and her mother wisely decided to take the
infant out of the church before whimpers became wails. Their escape to the nearest exit
took them past the pulpit. Interrupting his sermon, the assistant looked down at his wife
and daughter and said, "Ah, yes, your family are always your severest critics."
ONE rainy day, I visited a friend whose father was our local
minister. My friend was away on an errand, so while waiting for him, his father and I
became embroiled in a heated but good-natured debate about the existence of God. Suddenly,
a shaft of sunlight broke through the clouds, lighting up the room. Shielding my eyes from
the glare, I exclaimed, "My God, there is a sun!" My friend's father replied,
"My son, there is a God."
Father O'Grady was saying his goodbye's to the parishioners
after his Sunday morning service as he always does when Mary Clancey came up to him in
tears. "What's bothering you so, dear?" inquired Farther O'Grady.
"Oh, father, I've got terrible news." Replied Mary. "Well what is it,
Mary?" "Well, my husband, passed away last night, Father."
"Oh, Mary" said the father, "that's terrible. Tell me Mary, did he
have any last requests?" "Well, yes he did father," replied Mary.
"What did he ask, Mary?" Mary replied, "He said, 'Please,
Mary, put down the gun!"
A minister, a priest and a rabbi went for a hike one
very hot day. They were sweating profusely by the time they came upon a small lake with a
sandy beach. Since it was a secluded spot, they left all their clothes on a big log, ran
down the beach to the lake and jumped in the water for a long, refreshing swim.
Refreshed, they were halfway back up the beach to the spot they'd left their
clothes, when a group of ladies from town came along. Unable to get to their clothes in
time, the minister and the priest covered their privates and the rabbi covered his face
while they ran for cover in the bushes.
After the ladies wandered on and the men got dressed again, the minister and the
priest asked the rabbi why he covered his face rather than his privates. The rabbi
replied, "I don't know about you, but in my congregation, it's my face they would
A new pastor moved into town and went out one Saturday to
visit his parishioners. All went well until he came to one house. It was
obvious that someone was home, but no one came to the door even after he had knocked
several times. Finally, he took out his card, wrote on the back "Revelation
3:20 " and stuck it in the door.
The next day, as he was counting the offering he found his card in the
collection plate. Below his message was notation "Genesis 3:10".
Revelation 3:20 reads: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If
any man hear my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him,
and he with me."
Genesis 3:10 reads: "And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I
was afraid, because I was naked."
The Reverend Francis Norton woke up Sunday
morning and realizing it was an exceptionally beautiful and sunny early spring day,
decided he just had to play golf.
So. . . he told the Associate Pastor that he was feeling sick and convinced
him to say Mass for him that day. As soon as the Associate Pastor left the room,
Father Norton headed out of town to a golf course about forty miles away. This way
he knew he wouldn't accidentally meet anyone he knew from his parish. Setting up on
the first tee, he was alone. After all, it was Sunday morning and everyone else was
At about this time, Saint Peter leaned over to the Lord while looking down from the
heavens and exclaimed, "You're not going to let him get away with this, are
you?" The Lord sighed, and said, "No, I guess not."
Just then Father Norton hit the ball and it shot straight towards the pin,
dropping just short of it, rolled up and fell into the hole. It Was a 420 Yard HOLE
IN ONE! St. Peter was astonished. He looked at the Lord and asked, "Why
did you let him do that?" The Lord smiled and replied, "Who's he going to
A shy gentleman was preparing to board a plane when he heard
that the Pope was on the same flight. "This is exciting," thought the
gentleman. "I've always been a big fan of the Pope. Perhaps I'll be able
to see him in person. Imagine his surprise when the Pope sat down in the seat next
to him. Still, the gentleman was too shy to speak to the Pontiff. Shortly
after take-off, the Pope began a crossword puzzle. "This is fantastic,"
thought the gentleman. "I'm really good at crosswords. Perhaps, if the
Pope gets stuck, he'll ask me for assistance." Almost immediately, the Pope
turned to the gentleman and said, "Excuse me, but do you know a four letter word
referring to a woman that ends in "unt'?" Only one word leapt to
mind. "My goodness," thought the gentleman, "I can't tell the Pope
that. There must be another word." The gentleman thought for quite a
while, then it hit him. Turning to the pope, the gentleman said, "I think the
word you're looking for is 'aunt'." "Of course," said the Pope.
"Do you have an eraser?"
MY FATHER, who is a minister, was anxious to get home to his
family after several days absence. He was traveling just over the speed limit when he was
pulled up by a police officer who was unimpressed by my father's explanation. "A
minister, eh? How would you like me to preach you a little sermon?" "Skip the
sermon," my father replied with a sigh. "Just take up the collection.
A SOMERSET, England, parish magazine tells how Methodist
ministers from the Welsh valleys were distressing the older members of the chapel by the
length of their sermons. On one occasion an elderly man asked the minister, "And what
is the subject of your sermon this morning?". "The milk of human kindness,"
replied the minister. "Condensed, I hope," said the parishioner.
ON ARCHBISHOP E. W. Scott's tenth anniversary as Primate of
the Anglican Church of Canada, I sent a telegram to him and to his wife. After sending my
love, I quoted a text, Philippians 1:3-5, from the New Testament. In my field that could
be nothing but a biblical reference. I did not reckon on a telecommunications clerk whose
field was sports rather than the Bible. The wire that reached the archbishop's office
read: "Love to you both, Philippians won three to five." The puzzle now is how
Philippians won if the score was three to five.
THE new minister was touring the neighborhood, getting
acquainted with his parishioners. At one house a feminine voice from inside asked,
"Is that you, angel?" The minister hesitated for a moment and then
replied, "No, but I happen to be from the same department."
MY FATHER was an avid storyteller and his yarns were so
animated and expressive that he could turn an ordinary event into something exciting.
However, he was not above spicing up his stories with a little exaggeration,
which was the case at a church supper where he was telling one to our pastor. The
pastor would occasionally say, "Amazing, quite amazing!" "Reverend
Jones," my father asked, "you must speak with a variety of folks. Tell me,
how do you react when you're sure someone is really 'shooting the bull'?"
"Well," said the pastor, "I never want to hurt anyone's feelings, so I
usually just say, 'That's amazing, quite amazing.'"
OUR parish priest had a flair for the dramatic. He got the
idea of having a pigeon released from the belfry on Pentecost just at the moment when, on
the church steps in front of the procession of worshipers, he would say, "Come, Holy
Spirit!" Pentecost came, and the sacristan put a pigeon in a bag, went upstairs
to the belfry and waited. When the priest pronounced the words, nothing happened. A
few seconds later, we heard a voice from the belfry, "It's stifled!"
MY father, pastor of a church on the outskirts of a large
city, was accustomed to receiving calls from transients down on their luck requesting some
sort of assistance. One evening he had a phone call from a man requiring transportation to
a neighboring community about 20 kilometers away. My father met the stranger and drove him
to his destination. As it was a cool evening and the fellow was lightly dressed, my father
insisted that he take his overcoat. When the man got out of the car he thanked my father,
buttoned the overcoat, tucked a large heavy shopping bag under one arm and hastily walked
off. The next morning, my father had a call from the police informing him that they
had apprehended a man trying to unload some rather suspicious items at a local pawnshop -
candle holders, vases, ornaments, all of distinctly ecclesiastical origin. They had found
my father's name on the label inside the man's overcoat. Asking the constable to hold the
line a moment, my father went next door to the church for a quick inspection. Sure enough!
Someone had broken in the night before and had made off with a variety of items. My
father, the pastor, had unwittingly driven the getaway car.
OUR minister also performed a weekly worship session for
inmates at the local jail. On one of those mornings, his wife, who was 8 1/2 months
pregnant, went shopping with their two young children. While paying for her
purchases after a lengthy wait in line, she had finally listened to enough of the
children's entreaties to go to the playground. "You can't go today," she
scolded, "because mother has laundry to do and your father has gone to jail."
Suddenly aware of the reason behind the sympathetic glances from the cashier and
waiting customers, she quickly gathered her parcels and ushered the children out the door.