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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Make Hay While the Sun Shines" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (03/06/08)

TITLE: The Gold Plated Pulpit
By Lyn Churchyard


Peter looked up from the newspaper. “They’re selling the old Methodist church on Henry Street.”


He raised his eyebrows. “What do you mean ‘and’? It’s perfect

“Why is it?”

“Our congregation has outgrown the neighbourhood centre. We need something bigger.” He held up the page displaying a photo of the church in question. “And ...”

“And,” said Jan becoming animated. “It would be perfect!”

“I’ll call in and take some photos on the way to the factory.” He paused at the backdoor. “Can you phone Pastor Goodhew and ask him to come over tonight?”

Jan grimaced. “He hates coming out Monday nights – you know he likes to watch the Sunday football match.”

“Well, this is more important. Tell him it’s regarding the church’s future.” The door closed and he was gone.


“Jan Bygar here Pastor Goodhew. Peter was...” she paused. “Yes, we’re fine thanks. Peter wants to know...” she closed her eyes and mentally counted to ten. “Yes, your sermon was great,” and before he could say more, said: “Peter would like you to come around here tonight on a matter relating to the church’s future.”

Her best friend, Gina, came through the back door and Jan mimed bashing her head against the wall. “Yes, Pastor, I know it’s Monday, but Peter was quite insistent.”

Her friend grinned and poured two mugs of coffee.

“Thank you Pastor Goodhew, we’ll see you tonight at about 7:30.” She dropped gratefully into a chair.

“Here, you look as though you need this.”

A strong, black coffee was placed in front of her.

“Oh bless you my child.” Said Jan, giving her a hug.

“That sounded like a fun call first thing in the morning.”

“Honestly! He can be ...”

Gina blocked her ears. “Noooo, I can’t listen.”

“I was going to say, he can be a pain sometimes.”

“Well, forget about him. We’re going shopping. The market is having a 3-for-1 offer from 9:30 until 11:00.”

Jan gulped down the remainder of her coffee. “Come on then. What are we waiting for?


“So what do you think? The church is ideal. It’s in the CBD, has a parking lot opposite, and the asking price is only $125,000.”

Pastor Goodhew looked at the photos Peter had taken earlier in the day.

“If we ever outgrow it,” Peter continued, “we can always buy the block next door and extend.”

“I shall study these and call a meeting in a day or two.”

Peter and Jan looked at one another as their Pastor drove away.

“I think he liked it.” Jan said, giving Peter a hug.


Two days later, Pastor Goodhew called a deacons’ meeting. “I’ve considered the church in Henry Street.” He frowned and pursed his lips. “However, I don’t like the pulpit; it’s too plain. I’d like something a little more ornate as befitting a man of my position.”

“But it’s no worse than the one you use now.” Peter argued.

“Jesus never had a pulpit – ornate or otherwise.” Deacon Andrews muttered in disgust.

Pastor Goodhew picked up his jacket. “I’ve made my decision; we’re buying a block of land on Bringelly Road.”


Peter flopped onto the lounge and pulled off his shoes.

“Well?” Jan asked, massaging his shoulders.

“Harvey decided we’re not buying it.”


Peter yelped as Jan’s fingers dug into his shoulders. “Honey, I’d like to keep the shoulders for a few more years.”

“What? Oh Peter, I’m sorry.” She looped her arms around his shoulders and kissed him.
“It appears our good Pastor has already agreed to purchase a block of land on Bringelly Road.”

“But Peter, the only block of land for sale on Bringelly Road has an asking price of $220,000!”

Peter nodded. “And we have to build a church to go on it.”

Jan hugged him. “Forget about it tonight. Come on, let’s go to bed.”


Pastor Goodhew gnawed on his thumbnail as he reread the letter from the bank. The church was two months behind in payments for the new building... again. The bank pointed out it was the third time it had happened in the past eighteen months.

He put the letter aside and picked up the local newspaper. His jaw dropped and he turned four shades paler as he read the headline.

“The old Methodist Church on Henry Street, purchased two years ago for $125,000 by George Morris, was sold today for just over two million dollars. The new owners plan to turn it into a restaurant.”

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This article has been read 869 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Debbie Roome 03/13/08
Good illustration and moved along nicely with good dialogue. Don't forget to close your inverted commas.
Yvonne Blake 03/14/08
This has a good lesson in it.
Good use of dialogue, although I got a little confused with too many characters. Also, put commas around the person who is being addressed, to make it easier for the reader to understand.
Nice ending.Thank you for writing this.
Debbie Fuhry03/15/08
I enjoyed reading your story. I also like the title.
Jan Ackerson 03/16/08
Perfectly on topic, and good pacing.

Perhaps a feww too many characters and scene switches for ultra-short fiction.

Great job with the irony of the ending.
jodie banner03/16/08
What a great lesson for all of us.Everything in God's time.
Shelley Ledfors 03/16/08
This is nice. It is on topic and has a good message. The ending is great! As for improvements, you have already received some great advice above. Keep writing! You have some great ideas.
Sally Hanan03/16/08
Very well done; you had a good opening, a creative entry, and a smacker of a lesson at the end.
Joanne Sher 03/16/08
He certainly learned his lesson, didn't he? Your dialog is very realistic, and I was engaged. Nice writing, Lynne!
Chely Roach03/16/08
Oooh, your title nailed the story. Very good illustration of the topic...well done.
Dee Yoder 03/16/08
The characters are so very engaging and I love the wallop at the end for the persnickety pastor. Enjoyable story, Lynne.
Marlene Austin03/16/08
Great job on the details of character actions, i.e., fingernails digging into his shoulders, arms looping around him to give him a hug, etc. Good writing. :)

Arlene Showalter03/16/08
This is a good story. I would like to have seen one more paragraph in which the pastor falls on his face before God and repents for his pride.
william price03/16/08
A bit much for an old geezer like me to keep up with, but great job. Enjoyed it. God bless.
Mandy White03/16/08
Good lesson here! Great writing.
Kristen Hester03/16/08
Good story. Good use of dialogue to "show." I thought that pastor seemed a tad too selfish to be believable (though I'm sure there could be some like this.) I wanted to wring his neck (which showed your great writing...I was invested in the story.) I liked the irony of the ending. Nice!
Joshua Janoski03/16/08
Too bad the preacher let his pride and vanity keep him from making a good investment. Sometimes we have to learn to just step aside from ourselves and let God move us in other directions. Usually that is when we receive the greatest of blessings.

Enjoyable writing as always Lynne. :)
Patrick Whalen03/18/08
A very good lesson for us all! I too agree that the scene/character switching was a bit much for a short piece but you put it together well and I was able to follow it. :)
Jeffrey Snell03/18/08
A scathing warning to all, not just ministers. Your dialogue was lean and effective. Watch puncuation and spacing--tricky when posting on FW, I know!
Debbie Wistrom03/18/08
Oh that Pastpr!!! You did a great job with your two main characters. Would like to see more descriptions of the holier than thou pastor, keep writing.
Patty Wysong03/18/08
That pastor gave me an icky feeling from start to finish! Makes me want to make sure I'm NOT like him!
Sara Harricharan 03/19/08
heehee, I like your title, a gold-plated pulpit. That's hilarous. I liked how you managed to flesh out all the different characters in such a small piece. That was really good-especially the ending. I wanted to get that 'pastor' who couldn't think past himself. lol. You did good here! ^_^
Loren T. Lowery03/19/08
Your writing style is very engaging and the way you tied everything with the dialogue, tag lines, etc was great. Neat story line, too! Great as a matter of fact.
Celeste Ammirata03/24/08
I liked your story very much. What a prideful man the pastor was. He deserved his lesson in the end, but it's a shame the whole church had to pay for his vanity. Great message. Nicely written.