Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: PRIDE (inflated opinion of one’s self) (02/19/15)
TITLE: St Groanings'
By Katherine (Kat) Kane
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[Village church hall: Ron sits at a table, reading. Gertie bustles in and sits beside him.]
Ron: Ah, there you are, my dear. I was beginning to wonder if youâ€™d nodded off in there.
Gertie: What a terrible sermon today! Complete and utter tosh!
Ron: Couldnâ€™t agree more. Thought Iâ€™d better get myself out of there before I blew a gasket.
Gertie: Quite so. [Pauses, looks around. Whispers:] Have you seen those floral monstrosities this week? Cheap carnations!
Ron: Oh, yes. Bally disgraceful! Hardly the image we want here. Dorisâ€™s handiwork, I believe.
Gertie: Iâ€™m thinking Joan requires our sagacity in weeding out unsuitable flower arrangers from her team.
Ron: Something must be done, and quickly. [Bangs table] This lowering of standards at St Groaningsâ€™ wonâ€™t impress donors.
Gertie: Perish the thought! Fancy a cup of tea [emphasises â€˜cupâ€™]?
Ron: Absolutely, [leans back in chair] now weâ€™ve finally got the Hospitality Committee to see reason and replace those common-as-muck mugs with proper bone china cups. Weâ€™ve excelled ourselves on that score.
Gertie: Wasnâ€™t that a far better use of the outreach budget? Iâ€™m so relieved we persuaded the Church Council the money is best invested in seeking to attract refined folk. I couldnâ€™t believe the ridiculous nonsense Suzie was spouting, proposing to waste the money on new equipment for the Toddler Groupâ€“
Ron: [raises voice]Preposterous woman! Wanting to recruit families to the church, indeed! We donâ€™t want hoards of screaming brats disrupting our hallowed sanctum of tea and coffee after Sunday service. And who knows what kind of riff-raff her utterly irresponsible idea would bring tumbling through our doors?
Gertie: Quite right! [Smirks] And on that note, Iâ€™m pleased to report that I finally persuaded that Robinson woman to leave.
Ron: The single mother and her brood?
Gertie: The very one. I tactfully pointed out that thereâ€™s no place for the immoral at St Groaningsâ€™. [Wags finger] Canâ€™t be leading others astray. Whatever next?
Ron: It doesnâ€™t bear thinking about. A masterstroke, my dear; one that calls for a celebratory tea.
Gertie: Right-o. [Ron leaves, returns shortly with a tray and two cups.]
Ron: Here you are.
Gertie: [sips, spits it out] How vile! Itâ€™s clear that the Coffee Team has no standards. They let any plebeian onto their team, regardless of their tea-making abilities.
Ron: Or lack thereof.[Glares at kitchen]
Gertie: Precisely. The members of the Hospitality Committee have proven themselves to be sensible, like-minded folk. Iâ€™m sure if we put the matter to them, theyâ€™ll take action.
Ron: If they feel that a new leader for the Coffee Team would be the solution, I would be more than happy to offer my services.
Gertie: Splendid idea, darling. [Pats his shoulder] Youâ€™re just the sort of sensible chap whoâ€™ll disabuse them once and for all of this â€˜making everyone feel they belong hereâ€™ twaddle. [Shudders.]
Ron: Come to think of it, that was exactly what got my goat in this morningâ€™s service. [Stiffens.] Whatever was Reverend Jones thinking? Reading stories about Jesus consorting with prostitutes, lepers and the like, indeed! We donâ€™t have to look far to ascertain the cause of the influx of undesirables at St Groaningsâ€™.
Gertie: Quite so. Sounds like another letter to the bishop is in order. I believe youâ€™ve corresponded so often that youâ€™re now on first-name terms. Pity the bishop remains impassive to Reverend Jonesâ€™s blatant attempts to force us to associate with the wrong sort of people, despite the distress it causes us [rings hands].
Ron: Maybe Iâ€™ll take it to the top â€“ try the archbishop, instead.
Gertie: Good idea. Something must be done about Reverend Jones. He didnâ€™t seem troubled by what some little hooligan did to our prayerbook! [She opens a book, shows Ron, reads:] Property of Mr & Mrs Arrow-Gant. Can you believe they didnâ€™t delete the W?
Ron: Abominable! Donâ€™t children know how to spell these days? Donâ€™t tell me weâ€™re going to have to eradicate the blight of illiteracy from St Groaningsâ€™, too.
Gertie: Quite possibly, starting with this Jesus character that Reverend Jones keeps droning on about. From what I can tell, the man was only a lowly carpenter who could neither read nor write. Hardly someone qualified to be listened to by others.
Ron: No wonder he didnâ€™t understand the folly of fraternising with lowlifes. What a shame he doesnâ€™t come to St Groaningsâ€™. We couldâ€™ve set him right on a point or two, couldnâ€™t we?
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