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This is a question Churches, temples and holy places

Tell us about the times you've been to a place of worship, and - this being b3ta - how you are now consigned to the everlasting fires of Hell.

(, Thu 1 Sep 2011, 13:50)
Pages: Popular, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Theravada Buddhism
On holiday in Sri Lanka, my wife and I went to visit a small Buddhist temple which was located up some steps from the beach on a secluded rocky outcrop.

Once up there, we found it had a house for the monks, a bigger house containing statues of Buddha, a garden, a spiral thingy and a temple, which was really a dark cave which had been internally plastered and had stone slabs for seats on the floor and it had a cartwheel in it.

Whilst we were in the cave observing some monks meditate and having a moment of quiet reflection ourselves, a scruffy little dog came running into the temple. Not wanting it to disturb the monks I quickly shooed it out of the temple door and chased it back down the steps and onto the beach.

Upon my return to the temple, the monks were less than pleased with me and requested I return their dog and kindly leave.
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 16:43, 2 replies)
Harvest Festival
I attended a Church of England primary school, and every year the school would put on a Harvest Festival. This involved the whole of the school (plus any parents who wanted to attend), piling into the local church where we would listen to the vicar drone on for an hour or so, sing hymns, and the big finale; every child had to give a ‘gift’ to the church, which was then donated to charity. Now, this gift couldn’t be any old thing; it had to be food, and in a bottle or can, as it was packed up and sent to a poor African country. A nice sentiment I’m sure you’ll agree.
I always forgot about the Harvest Festival until I was kust out of the door to go to school, and then I’d see other kids carrying their gift proudly with them. I’d run back inside and my mum would search the back of the cupboards and find anything that she could so that I would have something to donate. I remember taking a tin of peaches one year, a can of sardines the next, and to my shame, one year I donated a pot noodle.

The gift giving ceremony was always the last part of the Harvest Festival. Everyone would sing a hymn called ‘We Plough The Fields And Scatter’, whilst each year group would file out from their pews, walk up to the front of the church, and then leave their individual gift on one of three huge tables, before making their way back to where they were sat. There were strict instructions from teachers on how fast we were allowed to walk (not too quick and not too slow), and we had to have a ‘serious face’. As each child got up from their seat, the rest of the school would watch eagerly to see what they had brought in; eyeing up to see who the biggest cheapskate was or what the strangest item would be. Memorable items include one can of Tesco Value beer, cans of Spam, a bag of Opal Fruits (as they were called back in the good old days), a bag of walnuts and a can of Irn Bru.
As there were so many children, and a total of seven age groups, we would have to sing the same hymn at least three times through, bizarrely stopping as soon as the last child from year 7 (the oldest year group) had sat down. This meant that we could be halfway through a verse and then we’d just suddenly stop, much to my amusement. We would then say a final prayer, whilst most of the children would be looking at the piles of cans of tomatoes, hotdogs and prunes that had been amassed for the African children.

My fondest memory of Harvest Festival is from when I was in year 6, so I was about 11 years old. A boy in my class called Andrew bought in a can of Vimto to donate. I’m sure it’s what every African child would have wanted.
As the teacher took registration, we all had our donations out on our tables, and we immediately spotted Andrew’s Vimto. As Andrew was quite unpopular anyway, the teasing soon began over his choice of gift.

“It was all I had at home. I forgot it was the festival today”, was his response, and it was a response I could relate to. I was ok this year, I had a tin of tuna with me. I’d gone upmarket for a change.

The teasing about the can of Vimto continued as we made our way to the church. It’s funny how the smallest of things can amuse young minds. The festival began, and it was boring as usual, with each and every child waiting eagerly to get the donating his or her foodstuff out of the way, so we could actually go back to school. I sat with my mates pretending to sing the words to the hymn, watching as each year group got up and filed slowly to the front of the church, waiting for our turn. I then heard whispers behind from me. We looked round, and a few of the other boys in my class were sat on their pew, still taking the piss out of Andrew. I heard Rat-catcher Neil say, “God’s going to think you’re a dickhead for bringing that in”, and when Andrew told him to ‘Fuck Off’, Leigh jumped in with “Fucking Hell, Andrew. No need to get eggy about it”. They laughed, and Andrew was visibly rattled.

As the hymn started again for the third time, it was almost my year groups time to walk up to the donation tables. We got ready, and as the row of children in front of us took their seats, we stood up and started walking to the front. It was quite an uncomfortable experience, as it did feel like everyone was just staring at you, looking at your donation or seeing if you'd do something stupid. This year, their stares were rewarded in spectacular fashion.
As I, and the other 7 pupils that were on my pew, placed our gifts down on the tables at the front of the church, I heard a loud pattering of feet. I turned my head to look over my shoulder, just in time to see Andrew in the midst of falling over. It seemed to go in slow motion. His legs slid back from beneath him, his body started to fall forwards towards the hard church floor. As he reached out his hands to break his fall, the can of Vimto flew from his hand, and smashed against one of the tables, spraying purple liquid all over the table and into the air. It landed on the floor by Andrew, who was now horizontal, staining his white shirt.

We were in fucking hysterics, but still the hymn droned on, and we giggled all the way back to our seats, despite numerous glares from the teachers. I was struggling so hard to regain my composure and I still wasn’t sure how he’d managed to fall over. Andrew picked himself up and made his way back to his seat; head bowed as he walked. Most of the school were watching him, sniggering. As he sat down, Rat-catcher Neil looked him up and down.

“I told you God would think you’re a dickhead for bringing that”, he said, laughing to himself, and the rest of us all started pissing ourselves again.
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 16:16, 6 replies)
Beer, Joint, Church.
Oh... and appaling pink jumper.
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 15:51, 11 replies)
Not my side of the family
Despite being fairly involved with the local church, none of my family is particularly religious. My wife's family, on the other hand, does contain the odd fervent god botherer. Chief amongst these is my mother in law. Her faith took a bit of a knock a few years ago though. It was her turn to do a bit of cleaning in the church, so she was busy with the tin of polish and cloth, giving the altar a good old clean when she heard something snap above her. She looked up in time to see the massive cross behind the altar fall off the wall, hit the ground, then tilt forward, knocking her over and pinning her to the floor by her ankle, which broke it (the ankle, not the cross) rather badly. I have to admit that when I was told of the incident I couldn't stop laughing but I managed to refrain from asking if she'd heard a crack of thunder and a disembodied voice bellow "damn, missed!" when it happened.
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 15:46, Reply)
Another grave mistake (pearoast)
Aged about 9 or 10 years old, I was playing with a few mates in a graveyard - it adjoined a park, and was treated as part of the park by all us kids. We were wandering amongst the gravestones, when we came across one of those large stone box-like tombs. This one caught our eye because the side had fallen out, revealing the hollow interior.

Peering in, we saw that the earth within had also collapsed, at one end in particular leaving a deep, dark hole disappearing into the ground. Not surprisingly, we started to dare each other to climb in. Woooo, spooky!

A couple of kids scrambled in then out again as soon as possible, and then it was my turn. I wriggled through the open side, then slid down into the depths. As my eyes became accustomed to the darkness, I saw that at the far end of the pile of earth there was a number of odd white things poking out. For a moment I was puzzled, then realised that they were, in fact, toe bones.

OK, time to leave, I decided. But at that point there was a creaking, grinding noise, and a change in the light - the box-like tomb had chosen that moment to complete its collapse; the other side fell out, the ends tilted and the lid settled down over me with a thud.

So, I'm now trapped in an occupied grave. Oh, terrific. Where's Scooby Doo when you need him? The darkness was absolute, and the shouts of the others seemed a very, very long way away.

Thankfully before panic could really set in, light reappeared as the largest and strongest of the group heaved the heavy slab up far enough for me to wriggle out, and (probably screaming like little girls) we legged it and headed for home. I think I spent the rest of the day under the duvet.

The next day, we returned to the scene, and I was chilled to discover that, without the boost of shock-induced adrenaline, he was unable to lift the slab...
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 15:44, 1 reply)
Oh, Im definitely going to Hell
An evening out in Surrey with some teacher friends of mine ended* with all of us running through a graveyard (which was probably on the way home). I wrote 666 on a gravestone in urine while shouting "I am Satan" at the top of my voice.

Writing this down makes it sound worse that it seemed at the time (more than 20 years ago, so the guy in the grave is probably more dead by now)

*there was more hilarity to come

Edit: another one - in Maynooth (wherein there is a seminary) there is a statue of the Pope as a huge beetle molesting a child. I stood on the Pope's back and pissed on his head.
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 14:11, 27 replies)
This might be a repost
A colleague went on a business trip to Germany, and went on a tour of some kind of cathedral or something with the German business.

The tour guide pointed out various things - the heavy oak doors, the ornate coverings on the altar, and a series of iron cages hung around the walls. The guide pointed to the cages and said in faltering English:

"and these cages, this is where we used to keep.... um, here we used to put....."

There was a pause.

"Jews?", suggested my colleague helpfully.

"No... bags of grain to keep the mice away".
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 13:50, 4 replies)
Fired from The Brownies
It was Christmas and as a Brownie, I made a Brownie Promise along with the rest of my fellow Brownies to sing to the old people in church at Christmas.

Onto the stage we shambled, angelic expressions in place and hymn books open at 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'. As our wavering voices sang, the audience collectively 'awww'ed and marvelled at our cuteness. That is until Rebecca Smith started pinching the backs of my arms. After repeatedly pleading with her to stop, I clouted her on the noggin with the spine of my hymn book as hard as I could.

I was then frogmarched off stage by Brown Owl and sacked. From the Brownies!

Bloody Rebecca Smith!
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 13:19, 4 replies)
Organ Humour
This story comes not strictly from a holy place, but does involve a very old air powered organ used for daily hymns at a young Prime's old school.
The size of the organ was, quite frankly, ridiculous in comparison to the assembly hall. Mighty grey pipes stretched up to the ceiling, through decades old intricate oak carvings, waxed and polished lovingly to form the pride center piece of the school.
This organ was located at the very front of the main school hall, in full view of all the students. It was a huge source of pride for the Head Master, an ageing hulk of a man with a fiery temper.

The 800 or so students had filed into the hall as usual for morning assembly and hymns, being congratulated on the school's triumphs and scalded for incidents of bad behavior, nothing unusual. Then came the time for the first hymn, a rousing number with a powerful opening chord. Organist at the ready, head teacher's chest swelling ready to lead the praise, the organ burst into life....

....and promptly fired out hundreds of ping pong balls the students had placed in the tubes the previous night.
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 12:46, 4 replies)
Wasn't sure whether to mention this one.
I do some casual security work, during a major religious figures recent visit to the UK I had the dubious honour of working on one of the entrances to the site. I was specifically dealing with all of the churches and the patrons who had come down by the coachload to witness the proceedings and without exception, each person who came through the door was subjected to a search to confirm that they weren't carrying any restricted items. These are usually things such as cans, bottles, knives, or anything that could be adapted as a weapon or used as a heavy missile to take out the headliner.

Having been their since 2am on what was an annoyingly cold and wet night, I decided to cheer myself up and started to wind up the priests and nuns who aimed any questions at me.

My personal favourite was by far the most common question and response:

Priest: "Why is everyone being searched?"
Me: "Well, due to the high profile nature of the event we need to make sure that no-one brings in any items that are restricted, including cans, glass bottles, knives, handguns, shotguns, crossbows, pipe bombs and especially any chemical or nuclear weapons."

As more and more came to mind, the list grew in length and became more akin to a psycopaths shopping list. With only the odd exception, the visitors took this without any humour at all, despite the huge grin I had on my face while I reeled this off to them.

I only wish I could've plucked up the courage to tell them that we'd be searching the priests on the way out too, to make sure that they didn't have any altar boys hidden under their cassocks.
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 12:38, 4 replies)
Fecal Vocal
A few years ago my best friend Jo died after a long battle with cancer. I was relieved because it had been a hard fight and she was so tired and I am glad to have had her in my life and been in hers but the unfulfilled potential of the life she should have had still rings unjust to me. We were supposed to be god parents to each others kids, chief bridesmaids at each others weddings and bingo partner in later life.

I sent her Mum a card asking if there was anything I could do to help out but couldn't bring myself to write an empty platitude so I decided that I would also tell her Mum why I loved Jo so much, in that card I opened my heart completely and I couldn't re read the note all the way through before the words started to swim on the page.

A few days later, Jo's Mum rang me to say that there was something she would like me to do and that was read the message I wrote to her in the card at the funeral. Of course I said yes but I didn't know how I would manage not to dissolve right there at the lectern.

On the day, I sat next to Paul, a mutual friend of mine and Jo's, we were both pretty nervous as he was doing a reading also so I was holding his hand and trying to stop the tears that were pooling in my eyes from spilling down my cheeks. Jo had requested Hymns and as the first bars of 'Morning has Broken' were heard, they were shortly followed by the false start of Paul's flat, nasal, foghorn tenor echoing around the church. At first a smile played across my face, then I could feel the flutter of sick laughter in my gut, our eyes met and that was it, the hysteria could not be contained. We both burst into the kind of stitch inducing, snorting, laughter where you just cannot catch your breath.

All the time it was happening I imagined that Jo was there splitting her sides with mirth too and it helped so much. So thank you Paul and thank you Jo, you were the only reason I managed to get through that reading intact.
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 12:29, 2 replies)
My son...
... was about two and a half years old.

Being an agnostic family at best, our boys had never seen a church from the inside before.

At a time of the congregation's quiet contemplation I suddenly hear the sound of drops of liquid hitting the church floor.

To my left I see my boy - who was actually potty trained by then - grinning like a little beelzebub, quite obviously peeing his pants on purpose.

The light from one of the stained glass church windows gave his skin a distinct reddish tone, and his untamable hair only supported the impression that this child was not to grow up a devout christian.

Funnily enough my response to the wet trousers - despite my upcoming duty to get him changed -was an approving "Attaboy!" which might not help matters in the future.
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 11:41, 4 replies)
A Roasted Pea
My elder brothers and I were fans of the film "Coming to America" from an early age, however, this meant most of the humour went over my young innocent head...

So when my brothers encouraged me to quote from the film in public I saw no problem with this...

We were all forced by our mum to go to church until we were 12 and old enough to make up our own minds about religion..

During one Sunday service- (I was 5/6 year old blonde haired, blue eyed girly) I was nudged by my brothers and therefore given my cue...
So I looked up at the nice old lady next to me, gave her my most innocent look and told her I had a secret to tell her. When she'd leant down to be face level, I whispered clearly and calmly into her ear "I worship the Devil", then looked in her eyes and smiled sweetly.

Her eyes went wide as a wide thing and her mouth dropped open. She then took my mum aside to have words with her about me... Sorry Mum!

I think the good people of our church couldn't wait for my 12th birthday to roll around..
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 10:46, 1 reply)
my cousin recently got
transmogrified into a Vicar in ST Pauls. He was a little psycho but is much better now so the church does some good.

Also! not so much churchs but worth repeating i think. When i was born my mum and dad couldn't choose a name. Due to my last name (Brown) most of the normal ones are out of the question (charley, tom, etc) due to poems and serial killers and such. So she went with Robert (Bob Brown ffs) and explained to my Uncle "Well i thought it would be good to have a name not already used in the family."
The reply? "Apart from Mad Uncle Robert!"

why mad? He was a part of a religion he had invented and of which he was the only member. A fact I only found out about when i was 10 and explaining to said Uncle that i had had enough of the CofE and decided i would write me own. I should have followed through with it, theres a bunch of money to be made right there.

(for the geeks out there this question of the week has inspired me to RP my Second Life character to declare himself Pope. should be fun)
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 9:38, Reply)
Bet hedging.
Reading Smashes post reminded me.
When I was about 13 (& just starting to go off the rails) my mum decided I'd best get baptised & go to communion. Prior to that the most I had to do with chuch was Sunday Chapel in order to get a square feed Sunday night (see my earlier post). So 1st up I had to get god-parents, get splashed on the bonce etc. in order to get confirmed. Then the Archbishop of Perth confirmed me in St. Georges Cathederal a couple of weeks after my baptism. After we had done he came over to me and asked me "What was it that had prompted me to do this at such a late stage?" As in why had it not been done as a kiddly-wink.
My answer - "Oh, it was my mum's idea. Just in case... You know."
Not that I believe in either but if there is a Hell I'm going & Satan's cleaning it up for me right now ready for the rent inspection.
N.B. - midori has NO spellcheck!
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 8:43, Reply)
I'm not from a particularly religious family
but I like to think that I can be at least tactful when the situation demands it. My cousin however? Not so much.

For the first time in his then twenty-odd year life he was required to attend a church for a wedding or a christening or something like that - I forget which. Almost everyone who was attending was a local and a regular, he was neither and felt very much out of place. He wasn't even sat near anyone who would be able to assist him in common etiquette. At some point during proceedings a collection plate was passed around, and all the regulars had their donations ready prepared in crisp, white, envelopes.

The lady next to him gave him the plate without even looking him in the eye. He looked at the envelopes for a few moments - I imagine him in my mind's eye blinking uncomprehendingly with a little bead of sweat running down his forehead - and then the penny dropped. Feeling somewhat foolish for not understanding and not wanting to hold anyone up further he took one, and passed the plate on.
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 7:00, 7 replies)
at his own mother's funeral
One of my remote in-laws had found god and finagled this into running his own little church, though it sounded more like a faith based enterprise, because while it lasted it was pretty lucrative.
Skip fifteen years forward, halfway through his own mother's funeral he stood up and said "Thank you all for coming, but I have to go now."
We stayed to the bitter end even though we had 'No need for that particular hypothesis',in the words of Voltaire, because we thought she was a lovely old lady.
(, Tue 6 Sep 2011, 4:31, Reply)
I must have been about 11 or 12.

My friend said he had heard of a kind of youth club at this church in the country - they had giant volleyball, free food etc. Not the greatest night out, but with it being the summer holidays with nothing else to do, I agreed to go along just for the jack.
The giant voleyball was mediocre at best. When it finished, the dude running it said we were going to have food, so we should thank God first. Okay, I thought; I suppose this is a church setting - let's get the God stuff over with and stuff our faces.
After being given less crisps than you'd find in a packet of Walkers we were then subject to an hour long plus lecture about how we were all going to go to hell for our sins unless we repented. We (physically) were't allowed to leave until we'd asked Jesus to repent us of our sins. Now, if I were a few years older I would've stood up for myself a bit more but, just wanting to leave, did as I was asked.
To cut a rather long and (doubtfully QOTW winning) story short, it turned out these guys had actually physically beaten some other kids the week before. My school asked me to write a statement - so I wrote a couple of pages explaining how I was coerced into doing as they told me, which ended up getting them convicted and put away. I've always been sceptical of religion since. It's crazy how something with a good underlying moral code can breed such halfwits.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 23:57, 1 reply)
School trip to Belgium
about 14 years old.
We went into a huge cathedral with amazing architecture..

"Fuuuuuucking hell, it's amazing" I declare

"Don't swear in the house of God, you little bastard" replied my history teacher.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 20:20, 13 replies)
my christening
my parents were all set to get an 18-month-old Smash christened, when mum found out she was expecting again, so they decided to wait and get us both done at the same time. my new baby sister was a bit poorly, so by the time of the christening, she was 6 months old and i was 3 years.
according to mum, all was going well. sis was done first, then the vicar put the holy water on my head.
"get off!" i shouted, "i've already had a bath today!"
the vicar laughed, the congregation laughed, mum went atomic red with shame.
in the following 33 years, she hasn't set foot in that church again.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 19:06, Reply)
Not essentially a holy place...
...but it can be if requested. As a new employee of the local authority I was offered a 'corporate induction day'. I had already been in the job 3 months and as such it seemed and entirely useless excercise but as my boss said, "it's a day of not being sat at your desk and a free lunch". Need not have said more than free lunch...
After a morning off arse numbing tedious and redundant talks we had a minibus tour of the local authority. Starting at the depot, a nursing home, call centre, leisure centre and finishing off at the Crematorium.

Obviously the only bit we tired public servants were looking forward to was the crematorium and I have to say it was quite an interesting experience after the rest of the ball-achingly uninteresting day. The small staff that ran it took great pride in showing us around and their work. (Probably had something to do with the fact it was a semi-independant operation and the only service in the council that still turns a tidy profit). We had a look at the big ol' ovens and saw a bit (a bit too much for some) of the remains of the remains of the recently cremated (the cremation doesn't leave everything as ash, big bits of bones need to be ground up and hip replacements etc removed).

But the best moment was right at the beginning of the tour when we were being shown the service area (or chapel depending on if you wanted a religious ceremony or not)by the 4 old chaps that run it. They no longer keep an organist on staff as so few want organ music these days and have invested in a flashy sound system with access to an online, prepaid, database. So you can have any music you like (My way is apparently most popular, there are a few funny ones that escape me at the time of writing). The guy who operated it had a favourite request however which he piped through the system stifling a giggle. Frankie goes to Hollywood's Relax.
I quote "cos it's about...you know..." Wry smile.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 18:07, Reply)
happy clappies
My sister in law joined one of those new age cult type churches, so when she married into the zombie sheeple and had resulting offspring i've since been sex-blackmailed into attending some of their services. They're a real eye opener.

I've never encountered such a bunch of conceited ignorant arrogant fuckwits in all my life. Talk about blind faith... They lap up the bullshit fervently and look to the pastor eagerly for more. The really scary thing is that a lot of these folk are doctors, teachers and lawyers. It really does beggar belief.

On the most recent occasion, they were convincing eachother about the power of prayer. One stepped up and explained hey she'd been congratulated on good performance at work but was praying over money issues. Lo and behold her boss offered her a promotion a few months later. Fuck me! A miracle! Others were praying for babies and wowser, their last chance of IVF worked. Erm no that was the NHS you poor misguided twat!
There are more but i'm getting off the bus now....
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 18:00, 19 replies)
In days of yore in a small village in Germany

In a vain attempt to snatch away the kids from the Catholics, some pentecostal church offered free day care for the little ones. My parents were kind of desperate to get rid of me at least sometimes, seeing how I was the worst little shit even I could think of. So, on a rainy autumn day they brought me to this “church” which was looking surprisingly like a community centre, and trusted these awfully nice people who were always smiling, with the apple of their eye.

Though my parents weren't too religious, I was rather well acquainted with all the stories about Jesus. And they were nice stories, though hardly very convincing to my little mind. So guess my surprise as suddenly all these people around me seemed to be really REALLY positive to be talking with god. Not wanting to be the one out, I immediately started telling everyone how just lately I had a nice chat with the big man, and how his angels had taken me home when I had grown tired of walking etcetera. They believed me. I couldn't believe it.

Now, the following weekend, we were back at the real church, the only church, the Catholic church. Not quite aware of the fine differences in religious exegesis between the various confessions, I just continued my stories where I had left. Here however, people didn't seem to be so accepting and encouraging of my statements. They listened, yes, but no ohs and ahs. Only the priest smiled at me with unencumbered glee. He bent down to me and with a hush, as if sharing a secret with me, asked if there was an angel present in the room right now. I answered in the affirmative. He nodded calmly, showing that he obviously had been suspecting this before.

Being really small then, I entirely forgot about this episode, until years later I became an altar boy. The priest welcomed me to the group, vaguely alluding to me being special in a way, but not going into any detail. The others didn't give it much thought, and I had long stopped talking about god at that time. It needs to be said that at the time I became an altar boy, I had long come to the conclusion that I couldn't believe in god. I had other reasons. But still, the priest always gave me a little wink, thinking I was his direct line to god, until he died some years later of a heart attack in front of the local toy shop's window. Who knows what he might have seen there...
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 17:35, Reply)
Another altar server story
Being a short arse I didn't often get to swing the thurible (incense burner) during mass as it got bloody heavy after 1/2 hour and I usually kept smacking it into the floor. Anyhow, on one occasion I was somehow picked to be the bearer, at the end of the service as I turned to leave the altar, the backswing arced out and cracked poor old Fr. M in the shin. His muttered 'Ow, fuck' would have only been heard by the altar servers if he'd only switched off his radio mike but it was projected round the whole church.
I was never allowed near the incense burner again.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 17:20, Reply)
MatJ’s answer reminded me of time...
I used to work for an organ festival (the instrument not the um, well you know) and there were all sorts of pranks we used to inflict on the normally slightly odd young organists (I hasten to add here that I do know lots of normal, well adjusted organists, but there does seem to high number of them that think everyone wants to see slides shows of various organ pipes from around Europe- no, tragically, I’m not making this up).

Anyway. Being very keen organists they would sign up for the chance to play the, apparently, very special awesome organ in the chapel where the festival was based. As they all wanted to do this the practise sessions lasted well into the night where the they would sit in the dark church and play til 2am.
As we knew the chapel fairly well we knew a) where the light/fuses were, and b) how to work the radio mic system they had there.
It was funny to see how scared the organists would get when plunged them into utter blackness and scream into the mic “GET OUT! YOU ARE NOT WORTHY TO BE IN MY PRESENCE! BEGON OR FOREVER BE CONDEMNED TO THE DEPTHS OF HELL...”
We got forced to stop after one wet himself though....
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 16:33, 2 replies)
When I was still doing my GCSEs, one of the A level music technology students was a guy called Owen. I didn't know him very well, but I knew that he had - at one point - done quite a lot of work as a church organist. I happened to mention this to a mutual friend, who laughed and asked me if I knew why he had stopped. Apparently one day the vicar of the church where he played had recieved news that the local bishop intended to visit - quite a big deal for a small church in the middle of nowhere. Owen was drafted in for the service and asked if he could play some film music. The vicar, seeing no harm in this, agreed.

Picture the scene. The bishop was proceeding down the nave in a stately fashion, flanked by his attendants, in front of a packed congregation when the organ struck up. What did Owen play? This.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 16:07, 7 replies)
In Paris
I met the bishop of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. He was looking for a new bell ringer. He told me that he had he would conduct the interviews personally and went up into belfry to begin the screening process. After observing several applicants demonstrate their skills, he had decided to call it a day - when an armless man approached him and announced that he was there to apply for the bell ringer's job. The bishop was incredulous.
"You have no arms!"

"No matter." said the man, "Observe!" And he began striking the bells with his face, producing a beautiful melody on the carillon. The bishop listened in astonishment, convinced he had finally found a suitable replacement for Quasimodo. But suddenly, rushing forward to strike a bell, the armless tripped and plunged headlong out of the belfry window to his death in street below. The stunned bishop rushed to his side. When he reached the street, a crowd had gathered around the fallen figure, drawn by the beautiful music they had heard only moments before. As they silently parted to let the bishop through, one of them asked, "Bishop, who was this man?" "I don't know his name," the bishop sadly replied, "but his face rings a bell."

Unbelievable, you cry!

It get's weirder though. The following day, despite the sadness that weighed heavily on his heart to the unfortunate death of the armless campanologist, the bishop continued his interviews for the bell ringer of Notre Dame. The first man to approach him said, "Your Excellency, I am the brother of the poor armless wretch fell to his death from this very belfry yesterday. I pray that you honor life by allowing me to replace him in this duty." The bishop agreed to the man an audition, and, as the armless man's brother stooped to pick mallet to strike the first bell, he groaned, clutched at his chest and dropped dead on the spot.

Two monks, hearing the bishop's cries of grief at this second tragedy, rushed up the stairs to his side. "What has happened? Who is this man?" first monk asked breathlessly. "I don't know his name," sighed the distraught bishop,

"but he's a dead ringer for his brother."
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 16:04, 7 replies)
I'm a gay.
I'm going straight down...
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 16:04, 6 replies)
Problems at Temple.
A long time ago I used to hang out with this bloke we'll call J. J was a sound bloke, and always up for a gathering, but that's another story.
Now, J's dad was something of a MR Big type figure, meaning J sometimes got carried away and caused all kinds of problems.
One such occasion was when our group of friends were visiting Temple. For some reason J got pissed off at these currency exchange stalls that had been built at the enteance, and started smashing them up and throwing money everywhere.
Thankfully, we managed to get J under control and out of there before the law turned up.
Sadly he was eventually sent down, and given the death penalty.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 15:22, 4 replies)
The bikers of the apocalypse
Attending a friends' wedding, I travelled up with my GF on a motorcycle. Unfortunately, due to unfamiliarity with the space-warping mindfuck that is Maidstone's one-way system, we managed to make it to the church only just in time - we actually passed the bride on the church path, half way between the posh car and the church door, at a dead run.

Skidding comically around the corner as we entered the church, stared at by the whole congregation because the Wedding March had started, we bolted for our seats - which were quite near the front because the couple were close friends - just in time. And stood there, panting, sweating and dishevelled, in full black and studded biker leathers and huge metalled boots, with long hair untamed, oily smudges on our faces and flies between our teeth. We must have looked like Satan's little helpers. I think several older aunts fainted.

Couldn't help noticing that the groom was chuckling, though.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 14:27, 10 replies)

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