‘…But deliver us from email’ Voted nation’s favourite sacred typo in advance of Manchester’s ‘Ideal Church Show’

It may be a glaring error that slipped under the righteous radar but it’s left many wondering whether it was divinely inspired.

A typo ‘got past the eagle eye’ of Archdeacon Colin Williams (pictured), officiating at a wedding at St Laurence C of E in Ludlow, Shropshire in 2014.

The service sheet should have read ‘Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil’. Instead, it read ‘…deliver us from email’. 

‘The bride and groom came up with a draft for the service which seemed good but, in one instance, wasn’t,’

said Colin, currently archdeacon of the Anglican Diocese in Europe.

‘The sheet had been printed before I spotted the error, so before we came to the Lord’s Prayer, I suggested people recite it in the way they remembered it from school! It didn’t seem to worry the young couple, anyway.’

Now it’s been voted the nation’s favourite parish magazine and service sheet typo by readers of www.shipoffools.com, the long-established magazine of Christian unrest, Facebook group Church Service Sheet Typos and the ChristianResources Exhibition, often dubbed the ‘ideal church show’ which takes place NEXT WEEK at Event City, Manchester (13/14 Mar).

Archdeacon Colin, currently based in Frankfurt, Germany, thinks the typo has touched a nerve end. 

‘The truth is we are beset by electronic communications,’ he said. ‘There’s no escape. Smart phones buzz in our pockets every five minutes.’He retires at the end of this month – ‘and finally, this could be my five minutes of fame!’

Local publications are a special focus at the exhibition and the event’s organisers are celebrating the unsung work of parish magazine and service sheet editors through the vote which featured ten genuine contributions collected over the years.

The top three, in reverse order, were:

3 You are butt dust

2 The meeting will be gin with prayer

1 …but deliver us from email

For 20 years Anne Coomes (pictured) has resourced church magazine editors of all mainline denominations though her online website Parish Pump. She will deliver a seminar at CRE North (5pm, Wed 13 Mar), showing editors how to make the most of their much-loved publications.


Image Copyright: Cartoon by Rev Taffy Davies

‘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!’

CRE managing director Steve Goddard said:

‘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, though I have to say that many concur with the sentiment expressed by the winning typo.’

Back in Manchester for the first time in five years, CRE North 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.’ 

• CRE North 2019 at Event City, Manchester opening hours:  Wed 13 Mar 10am-8pm and Thu 14 Mar, 10am-4pm. Visit www.creonline.co.uk for more information. 

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