A faux pas (pronounced fō pä) is defined as an embarrassing or tactless act or remark in a social setting. It might otherwise be called a mistake, blunder, gaffe, indiscretion or impropriety, and believe me, we have a full quota of them in our churches around the country. No one intends for these remarks to be mean or hurtful, they just come out the wrong way and most of the time, upon reflection they are downright funny. Everything from church signs, bulletins, newsletters, and even quotes from the preacher can wind up saying something the wrong way and it turns out to be hilarious. Of course, there are also a few of these that are purposely trying to be funny. We’ll look at them because there are lessons to be learned and not all of those lessons are from Sunday school.
I’ve taken the time to survey churches from around the United States to cough up their miscues, and today for public consumption, we have the results from that endeavor.
For example, in an effort to get people to come to church and to be humorous at the same time there was a sign in front of a church in Pennsylvania that said, “Having trouble sleeping? We have sermons here.” And then there was one in Athens that gave some food for thought with this one: “Love thy neighbor even if they are an Alabama fan.”
But there are also the church signs and announcements in bulletins that are true bloopers or just plain old grammar mistakes that turned out bad. Here’s a few of those:
- Don’t let worry kill you – the Church can help
- For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs
- This being Easter Sunday we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar
- Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community
Occasionally some of these signs and newsletter messages spill over into a more risqué category. Take these for example:
- Wednesday night the Ladies Liturgy Society will meet. Mrs. Jones will sing “Put Me in My Little Bed” accompanied by the pastor
- Thursday at 5:00 p.m. there will be a Little Mothers Club meeting. All those wishing to become a Little Mother please see the pastor in his study
- A three-bean supper will be held Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow
- There will be meetings at the south and north end of the church next Sunday – children will be baptized at both ends
- Mrs. Johnson will be entering the hospital this week for testes.
There’s also the slip-up that might actually hurt someone’s feelings. Here are a few of those:
- At the evening service tonight the sermon topic will be “What is Hell?” Come early and listen to the choir practice
- Weight Watchers will meet at 7:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use the large double doors at the side entrance
- Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and the deterioration of some older ones
- Please join us as we show our support for Amy and Allen in preparing for the girth of their first child
Then there’s just the garden variety kind of error that’s just makes us giggle a little. Here’s a sampling from the survey:
- Thursday night potluck supper – prayer and medication to follow
- The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind and they may be seen in the church basement on Friday
- The pastor is on vacation – Massages can be given to the church secretary
- The senior choir invites any member of the church who enjoys sinning to join the choir
After much research, I also found this tidbit. A church located above the Mason-Dixon Line was trying to come up with a way to ratchet up giving because they had just made some improvements to their building. Thus the assistant pastor unveiled a well-thought out campaign slogan for their tithing campaign. It read “I Upped My Pledge – Up Yours.”
And finally like the church sign says: “What Happens in Vegas is Forgiven Here.”
I guess we should give this survey and these churches a big Amen.
(Send your funny church stories to firstname.lastname@example.org)