Sunday, January 11, 2015

Downton Christian Church cabinet meeting

Downton Christian Church cabinet meeting (transcript)


Rev. Charles Carson: I believe it is time for us to begin. If you will take up your agendas and…


Thomas Barrow, chair of the property committee: Pardon me, but it doesn't look like we're all here yet. Perhaps if we waited a few more moments?


Mrs. Beryl Patmore, president of the CWF: Time's a wastin', I'd say. Those ham loaves aren't going to make themselves.


Miss Daisy Mason, new deaconess chair: Ooh, I could go check the parking lot and…


Mrs. Patmore: Sit down, Daisy.


Rev. Carson: As I was saying, our agenda calls for an opening devotional and prayer, and I've asked Dr. Clarkson to…


Robert Crawley, chair of the trustees (and owner of Grantham Realty): In fact, I had prepared a little something for this occasion, Rev. Carson, if you wouldn't mind.


Rev. Carson: Of course, that would be splendid, if indeed Dr. Clarkson does not…


Dr. Richard Clarkson, chair of the deacons: Mine will keep to the next month's meeting. (Shakes head resignedly.)


Rev. Carson: Why thank you, Doctor, that's very kind of you.


Mr. Crawley: In the later chapters of Isaiah, well beyond the familiar lines of comfort to which I know we all regularly turn in our travels through this vale of woe…


(Ten minutes later)


Mr. Crawley: …and with that brief survey, I fear we must conclude. (Sudden jerking of heads around the table from nearly nodding off.)


Rev. Carson (gently): And the prayer, Mr. Crawley?


Mr. Crawley: Oh, Dr. Clarkson may do that.


Dr. Clarkson: What? Who? Oh, yes, certainly. (Discontented shake of his head; prays.)


All: Amen.


Rev. Carson: So now if we could get started, not that we haven't been engaged in some very productive work (nodding to Mr. Crawley, who beams back at him), but on your agendas, you will next see that we have a special proposal from Mr. Barrow as to the re-roofing of the education wing.


Mrs. Elsie Hughes, chair of evangelism (softly): Now we're in for it.


Mr. Barrow: What was that, Mrs. Hughes?

Mrs. Hughes: Oh, nothing Mr. Barrow, not a thing that concerns you.


Mr. Barrow: Regardless, as I was saying, I have this friend who has been by our church a few times, not to attend, mind you, I'm sure he's very active in a church of his own elsewhere, not that that's any of my business, but when he's come by here, he's noticed our hail damage.


Mr. Tom Branson, chair of the men's fellowship: Hail damage, Mr. Barrow? I'd not noticed anything like that.


Mr. Barrow (archly): Which you wouldn't. That's the sort of thing you wouldn't notice unless you were a roofing expert, which my, um, associate happens to be. He has very kindly offered to re-roof our entire complex for what, I can assure you, is a very reasonable amount, and assures me that we won't be out more than ten percent of the total since he will get it from the insurance company for the hail damage.


Mr. Crawley: Well, that's good, then.


Mrs. Patmore (softly): Ten percent back to him, more likely.


Mr. Barrow: What was that, Mrs. Patmore?

Mrs. Patmore: Oh, just a tickle in my throat. Never you mind.


Mr. Barrow: I see. (Glowers.)


Rev. Carson: Ahem. That's a question that should involve the finance committee, which is chaired by Ms. Mary, Mr. Robert's daughter, who was not able to attend due to a pressing engagement elsewhere. She was going to send her sister Edith, who turns out to be involved with something else tonight.


Mr. Crawley: I'm sure they're spending their time wisely.


(Around table generally): Oh, certainly….of course….yes, yes….


Rev. Carson: I was going to ask of the memorials committee if there were funds there we could use, to initiate this roofing project.


Mr. John Bates, memorials committee: No.


Rev. Carson: Ah. I see. Well, that sounds definite.


Mr. Branson: Could I ask, Mr. Barrow, if he has any details in hand about the type and quality of the new roofing, or what the total cost is likely to be?


Mr. Barrow: I've given this matter my best attention, and am fully aware of everything that goes into the question. The, um, details of the roofing materials are, well, something we can find out quickly from my . . . friend. They will be extremely cost-effective, I'm certain of that. And the overall color scheme will only change slightly, from the grey pebbled look we have now to a more slate grey texture.


Mr. Crawley: Oh. (furrowed brow)


Rev. Carson: Indeed?


Mrs. Patmore: Might one inquire what would be the problem with that?

Mrs. Hughes: Widow Violet wouldn't like it. (General raising of eyebrows.)


Miss Daisy: I don't understand; Mrs. Crawley isn't even on the cabinet?


(Shaking of heads around the table; Mrs. Patmore scribbles something on the back of her agenda, slides it over to Daisy, who quietly says "Ohhhhh.")


Rev. Carson: That would seem to close that line of inquiry rather completely. (Mr. Barrow looks disgusted, says nothing.) Let's continue on through our agenda in order, then, shall we?

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