This sketch was recently adapted by a church and is included here as an extra PDF download. Thanks to SD for this! The download at the top of the page is the original sketch.
There is a practical need and side to every church. However, we can't accept that it's all necessary. Here we parody a church meeting and the assignment of essential roles. This sketch needs at least 5 people in to make it work. Therefore, we've included 5 characters. Unless you are finely practiced in the art of appearing as both yourself and someone else simultaneously, you'll therefore need 5 actors. Or if not actors, at least 5 people..
Vicar - a slightly old and kindly gentleman. Always sees the best in others. Tends to get a little distracted, sometimes in his own language.
Miss Fenton - a busybody, sees herself as better than the others. I see her like one of the ladies off Last of the Summer Wine.
Mr Jarman - a war veteran who spends most of his time sleeping before randomly interjecting with shouts and violent threats.
Miss Gertrude - a very elderly lady. She is a lovely lady but has dementia at times and can make some zany comments.
Mr Smith - The church organist. A very quiet and inadequate man, very shy. He has a wife, but no-one has ever seen her. He sits in the room, swaying lightly, making infrequent giggling noises.
Vicar - Welcome to the church meeting of St Cuthberts in the valley on the hill. This week, as our pianist, Mrs Miggins is unable to be with us as she is away on a 'using mandarin oranges and assorted varieties of fruit in worship' course, we shall forego the usual necessities and prerequisites of a song before we resume the commencement of the beginning of the meeting. I hope that's clear?
Miss Fenton - (under her breath) Mrs Miggins missing another church meeting.. Humph.. We've seen the back of her no doubt. Probably committed some unforgivable sin I'll wager..
Vicar - Hmm. Yes.. Now, we shall proceed forthwith to the first point on the church meeting agenda. This involves the need for a new door usher, following the tragic death of Mr Peacock, who was taken from us in a tragic accident after he was stuck in one of the church organ pipes whilst tragically attempting to clean it and peering into it to find a missing bristle from his organ cleaning brush. A great loss. And the organ still won't play properly, will it Mr Smith?
Mr Smith - (giggles). No Vicar.
Miss Fenton - (under her breath) That's not what I've been told..
Vicar - No indeed. Something else we must address. But back to the usher role. I'm wondering if we have any volunteers for this valuable and essential role.
Miss Gertrude - Vicar, if I may, I'd like to volunteer for the position.
Vicar - Miss Gertrude, that truly is a magnanimous and most splendid gesture. However, I feel that for someone to be able to greet people at the church door, it is important for them to be able to speak without dribbling. As such I feel it would be best if you stayed in the kitchen making the teas and serving the cakes after the service.
Miss Gertrude - Certainly Vicar.
Vicar - Now, do we have any other volunteers for this essential task? We need someone who will pat the heads of small children and thrust church literature into the hands of unsuspecting visitors, especially the leaflet entitled, 'Give to the church or forever be damned into eternal hell.'
Miss Fenton - Vicar I would like to volunteer for the task. I have made it my duty to gossip about other church members, make them feel guilty for who and what they are, and to meddle in other people's business. Vicar, I feel I am the woman for the job. My hostile glares and malevolent prying will be perfect for the job.
Vicar - Er, is there no-one else?
(Silence, people cowering as Miss Fenton stares them out)
Vicar - (hesitantly) Er, bless you my dear. I will make sure you have.. Oh dear.. Moving on, we have the essential role of maintenance of the church flowers..
Mr Jarman - (who has been sleeping all this time awakes with a start) - Back off Fritz before I ram my bayonet into you..
(Everyone jumps, looks at Mr Jarman, who falls back asleep)
Vicar - Thank you, er, Mr Jarman. We really must do something about these random outbursts. Only last week I was speaking on the peace of Christ when Mr Jarman stood up and started throwing hymn books at a visiting family who he suspected might be German spies.
Miss Fenton - Mad as a hatter. I've always said it. Mark my words, there'll be more trouble with him.
Vicar - Yes, now back to the role of flower arranging. After my training in this as one of my core subjects at Bible College, I've carried this role for some time. However, I could be spending my time in more valuable ways on Sundays, such as replacing my vicar's hat which has grown a bit old and frayed. It wouldn't be a problem but Mrs Vicar's sewing machine has packed up. A terrible thing really. She was sewing up my vicar's collar when a small surge in the electricity grid caused the machine to pack up. Gave Mrs Vicar a frightful shock. We've been buying hair gel for a week now just to try and push her electrically charged hair back down. Every time she combs her hair she jumps like a kangaroo. Most unfortunate but really quite amusing.
Mr Jarman - (Jumps up and pretends to stab the vicar with a bayonet. Then falls back into his chair, dozing..)
Mr Smith - Vicar. My wife and I would like to volunteer for this role.
Miss Fenton - Your wife? Oh, you've a wife have you? Where is she then I say? I've never seen her? A man should be at church with his wife, that's what I say. Together. Anything less isn't proper.
Vicar - Mr Smith has kindly volunteered to undertake in the partaking of this role. I would like to welcome you on board Mr Smith as our chief flower arranger. Certainly until the organ pipes are returned to their once wonderful state. I can't wait to hear those old pipes resound once again with the saintly sounds so sweet.
Miss Fenton - (under her breath). Sweet would be one description. Shocking would be another..
Miss Gertrude - Vicar, there is another role which I would like to offer my services for..
Vicar - Please go on Miss Gertrude
Miss Gertrude - Oh dear, I can't remember. I am terribly sorry.
Mr Jarman - (awakes, jumps up screaming incoherently about Germans and runs around and out of the door. You may want to get him to shake a few young people who you know can deal with it saying, 'The Germans are coming' or something else. Make sure 'Mr Jarman' runs off, preferably out of the room and down the corridor..)
Vicar - Oh dear.
Miss Gertrude - Ah yes. Vicar, I would like to volunteer to lead the music while the organ is out of action.
Vicar - I see. And what instrument of delight do you play Miss Gertrude? (Mind starts wandering..) The piano? The harp? A small winded instrument? Maybe you're skilled in the fine art of playing the glockenspiel? Or maybe a light touch on an assortment of gentle bells is your forte? I know, you pick up shells from the beach and allow gusts of passing wind to lightly aerate the shells thus providing a light melodic hum..? (looks at Miss G inquiringly)
Miss Gertrude - (Dramatic pause). No Vicar. (Pause) I play the drums..
Vicar - (almost splutters..) The drums? Ah.. While I appreciate the offer of a an occasional lightly dribbling 87 year old lady randomly bashing some skin-covered metal cylindrical and spheroid shapes with small sharp pieces of wood, I'm afraid I will have to decline your kind offer. Now, there is one final thing that we must turn to. Oh dear, this really is most vulgar. We must turn to the small matter of money and donations to the church roof.
Miss Fenton - Ooh, is that the time Vicar? Ooh, I'm afraid I'll have to be off. Got bingo tonight, with Gladys. Bye bye Vicar. (off she goes)
Miss Gertrude - Vicar, I must be leaving now. Medication needs to be taken. (shuffles out)
Vicar - And you, Mr Smith?
Mr Smith - (mumbling). I, er, well, you know, I, erm, the thing is, I, erm.. (rushes hurriedly out of the room, looking bashful and embarrassed).
Vicar - (turns to the audience). Oh dear. What about you, have you got anything to give?
END. (Applause! Please..!)
Questions to think about
1. Do we value people of all ages in church, or do we resort to stereotypes? This question is equally for young people's attitudes towards 'old' or 'older' people, as well as older people's attitudes towards teenagers.
2. What makes up 'church'? Do we do things that aren't essential while missing out on our real calling?
3. What are we prepared to give or give up for Jesus?