Those funny Episcopalians

I really like jokes. This is partly because I simply enjoy laughing, but it’s also because I think there’s a lot to be learned from humor. As I learned in my undergrad mime class (yes, I’m serious), humor and laughter have the power to open us up to be more deeply touched by things.

I also like jokes that are somehow about myself or groups that I belong to, because they tend to be very telling, sometimes without really trying—and they also form a part of the fabric of an “in-group.” So when I joined TEC, I intentionally sought out jokes about the denomination—and there are some good ones (Garrison Keillor’s got a great little bit, actually).

I had an interesting conversation with our interim rector not too long ago about how some of the jokes (you can guess which ones) have actually become rather outdated. In large part, TEC is no longer the “Republican Party at Prayer” it was a few decades ago. The demographics are changing. Have changed. (Though another, more recent conversation with Episcopal sorts assured me that there still exist Episcopal churches that embody these jokes.)

So with that brief introduction, I leave you with a pre-Lenten, pancake-worthy dose of silliness, a few collected jokes from an amalgam of sources. Feel free to add any in the comments section!


An old Episcopal grandmother finally decided to read the Bible. She purchased a large-print edition and read it cover-to-cover. When she finished, she pulled the rector aside at coffee hour and confided, “I really enjoyed reading the Bible, but I was surprised how much it quotes the Book of Common Prayer!”

Episcopalians drink coffee as if it were the third sacrament.

An Episcopalian is nothing more than a Catholic who failed Latin.

You might be an Episcopalian if while looking for a can opener in the church kitchen, all you can find are four corkscrews.

Do you know why Episcopalians are lousy chess players? Because they don’t know the difference between a Bishop and a Queen!

Where two or three Episcopalians are gathered, there’s a fifth.

A woman dies and goes to heaven, and St. Peter takes her on a tour. They pass a pit where people were gnashing their teeth and wailing, and the woman asks, “Who’s down there?”
St. Peter says, “Oh, those are the Catholics who ate meat on Fridays.”
They walk a little farther and there’s another pit with more groaning and wailing, and she says, “Okay, who’s down there?”
St. Peter answers, “Those are the Baptists who went to dances.”
A little farther along, there’s another pit filled with people gnashing their teeth and crying and ripping their garments. The woman asks, “And those people?”
St. Peter replies, “Those are the Episcopalians who ate their salads with their fish forks.”

Q: How many Episcopalians does it take to change a lightbulb? (in ascending order)
A: Two. One to mix the martinis, and one to call the electrician.
A: Ten. One to change the bulb, and nine to say how much they liked the old one better.
A: Twelve. One to do the work and eleven to serve on the committee.
A: Change the lightbulb?! My grandmother gave that lightbulb!


4 thoughts on “Those funny Episcopalians

  1. In the 1500’s, the Spanish Padres walked from Mexico to California, risking their lives to introduce Roman Catholicism to the New World. They lived in dire circumstances at best, often starving to death or dying of thirst, if not being butchered by natives. The Episcopalians waited til the Pullman Car came along!

    • Indeed! The funny thing is, I grew up hearing my cradle denomination (the Christian Reformed Church) referred to as the “frozen chosen.” A riff on our more-northerly climate together with views on election/predestination. When I changed denominations, I was surprised to find that one thing had not changed. 🙂

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