Star man
“Back when I was at uni, I had the sad experience of going to a young mate’s funeral. He’d been ill for a long time and knew it was coming. He was also the single biggest geek I’d ever met. Honestly, his bedroom looked like Forbidden Planet. As a result he asked if we’d honour his obsession by dressing up as his heroes for his funeral. Which is how various characters from Star Wars, Lord Of The Rings and Batman ended up bellowing hymns at the top of our voices in church. We felt a bit self-conscious ’cos his family were in suits, but afterwards they told us they all loved it, they knew what massive nerd he was.”
Pete, via email

Last call
“Like something out of Four Weddings And A Funeral I was running monumentally late for a good friend’s wedding. I ‘parked’ the car in a hedge down the road from the ridiculously hard-to-find church and bombed up the quaint path to what I thought was the main entrance to the church. It wasn’t. I heaved open the doors, fell through, panting heavily, and found myself standing directly behind the minister who was addressing an unamused-looking bride and groom. They laughed later, but for a while it was touch and go as to whether I would get any cake.”
Ian, Wentworth

Holy moly!
“We’d gone away for a gentleman’s holiday in Barcelona when I had my brush with the almighty. Having made a solid attempt to drink the city dry, we felt duty bound to attempt to at least see one bit of culture. Luckily there was a lovely little church just a few doors down from the hotel. So, one bleary-eyed morning, in we popped. I don’t know if it was religious fervour or just a second wind of the hangover from hell, but I got the shakes really bad. So much so I thought I was going drop. I reached out to steady myself and my hand found a very unstable font.
The result? Me pulling over a possibly pricely religious artefact and spilling precious holy water all over the floor of the church. If it wasn’t silent before, then it was certainly silent afterwards. I felt pretty bad. Having to mop up the holy mess with nothing but a poor quality replica Barca shirt was a bit of a rub too, I can tell you. Still got the shirt, mind.”
Matty, via email

Stench of hell
“When the vicar at my friend’s wedding asked if anyone saw any reason why the couple should not be wed, there was the mandatory moment of silence, before the groom’s ageing grandad let out an enormous fart which echoed through the church. Bless him.”
James, via email

Fallen angel

“When I was about eight, I was in the synagogue, doing what any child would do during a religious ceremony, I was messing about. I don’t know if what happened next was some kind of punishment, but it certainly felt like it. While performing a particularly precarious balance on a chair, it gave way. I flew forwards into the row of people in front and smashed my nose. I laughed really loud, then cried a lot louder, and continued doing so as my dad carried me out, while my nose did it’s best to drain my body of blood.”
Joe Stern, via email

The Godfather
“People often start these stories with the words, ‘this wasn’t my finest moment’, and then follow it up with a tame little tale about getting drunk and being sick or something. Well I can categorically, without the slightest shadow of a doubt, say that this was not my finest moment, this was a very long way from being ‘fine’.
Earlier in the year I went for an evening out with some chums. I did this knowing full well that I had a very, very important event to go to the next day, the sort of event that should I balls it up, would dictate the way the rest of my life went. I’ll fast forward through the boring bit and continue the story at the point where I wake up after an almighty session that culminated in a costly encounter with a woman of the night. Pure class. But as I mentioned earlier on, I had an important event to go to. So, mere hours later, having had no time to get ready, I stood, unwashed and still wearing the clothes from the night before in front of a Lincolnshire church congregation and agreed to ‘guide my mate’s son as his Godfather’. I couldn’t have been worse if I’d had ungodly relations with a women dressed like Mother Theresa. Really sorry, God – anything I can do to make it up?”
Rob, via email

Gods and monsters
“Years ago, I was working in a supermarket, and one night a priest from my old school came in. He must have recognised me, so along came the awkward conversation. I didn’t think anything of it at the time and just thought the old man was being friendly, but then he must have figured out my shifts, because there he was, lurking at the end of my checkout every single week! Two years later – when there’s the whole thing with priests being “too friendly” with the kids – there’s my stalker in the paper saying he’s to step down from his post as the police investigate some accusations against him from the ’70s!”
Anonymous Jim, Ireland