Voting has begun to find the nation’s favourite parish magazine and service sheet typo.
Every week, in churches throughout the country, typographical errors sneak under the righteous radar. A word may be spelled correctly but, critically, it’s the wrong word. For hard-pressed editors, the consequences can be horrifying. For the rest of us, hilarious.
‘Just one letter may be missing – but it’s enough to send parishioners rocking in the pews,’ explains Anne Coomes of Parish Pump, a website providing editorial and graphic resources to thousands of church magazine editors.
Local publications are a special focus at the upcoming Christian Resources Exhibition (Event City, Manchester, 13/14 March) and the event’s organisers are celebrating the unsung work of parish magazine editors by asking the general public to name their favourite blooper.
Ten genuine contributions have been collected by readers of Ship of Fools, the magazine of Christian unrest, and Church Service Sheet Typos, a Facebook page which has gained some 4800 members since its creation just over a year ago. Voting will continue until 12 noon on Fri 1 March, when the Top 10 will be revealed in order of popularity.
‘Most editors will see the funny side,’ explains CRE managing director Steve Goddard. ‘Since computer software offered us generative text and spellcheckers, the number of typos has actually increased. It is dangerous to become too dependent on technology.’
For 20 years Anne Coomes has resourced church magazine editors of all mainline denominations. She will deliver a seminar at CRE North (5pm, Wed 13 Mar), showing editors how to make the most of their much-loved publications.
‘Church magazines still play a critical role in community life,’ said Anne, from Macclesfield. ‘However, every editor can recall that awful moment when they’ve made a mistake and there’s nothing they can do about it. I once ran a headline that should have read: “Make flowers that look like satin.” Instead it said: “Make flowers that look like satan.” Not one of my more glorious moments!’
Back in Manchester for the first time in five years, CRE North, often dubbed the ‘ideal church show’, is a unique showcase where innovative products and services for churches – from pulpits to puppets, sound systems to software – will be displayed by some 150 organisations. More than 30 seminars and presentations will cover areas like cyber security and safeguarding.
The Bishop of Manchester, The Rt Revd David Walker, has welcomed the exhibition’s return to the north.
‘Manchester is world famous as a place where the best is showcased and creative ideas and technologies are quickly adopted,’ he said. ‘I’m delighted CRE is returning and that so many organisations will bring skills, services, ideas and resources to the north west.’
‘CRE is an event that brings together churches from many different traditions and persuasions,’ said the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu. ‘It is an ideal place for positive discussion and agenda setting.’
Credit: Cartoons by Rev Taffy Davies