This weeks prompt for #writephoto is this…
The Reverend Ebenezer Pont consoled himself with the notion that he was doing his bit for Christianity. He couldn’t deny the last few years had been difficult: heightened secularism, scandals, financial irregularities and the shock of the Archbishop being made bankrupt hadn’t encouraged the younger generations to ‘Give God a Go’ as the latest advertising campaign authorised by Lambeth Palace suggested. Indeed, still calling the HQ of Anglicanism ‘Lambeth Palace’ was something of a misnomer since the building had been repurposed as mixed use wellness retreat and Lidl.
Ebenezer scanned the churchyard, hoping to see some sort of reception committee. Mrs Tintagel-Architrave had definitely confined she’d be meeting him at 10.30 and here he was, at the allotted time and in St Paul’s Churchyard. Once again his mind went to the irony of that descriptor. There was no longer a St Paul’s, so no longer a churchyard. The original building, comprising a 15th century nave with 17th century additions had been dismantled and was, even now being reconstructed as part of a theme park, Bibleland. The world, since he’d been ordained fifteen years earlier had gone bonkers.
He wandered towards what looked like a road while digging out his mobile.
‘Where on earth are you, young man?’
Flustered and flattered by the tone and the reference to his long past youth, he didn’t reply immediately. Mrs Tintagel-Architrave took advantage of the silence. ‘The train arrived on time at 10.30 and you weren’t on it. As you well know we have four christenings, and three weddings and I really don’t think you,’ she emphasised the you as if it was Ebenezer and not the Church who might suffer, ‘can afford to upset the clients.’
‘Oh, don’t tell me you drove? Is that why you’re late? The B4732 is a nightmare on Saturdays.’
‘No, no, I think you’ve misunderstood. I didn’t catch the train and I didn’t drive. I…’
‘Young man, how do you expect to get here? Magic? Divine intervention?’
Low blow, thought Ebenezer but he knew better that to rise to her passive-aggressive bait. ‘No, I came in the Chapel Pod.’
‘What on earth is that?’
Ebenezer ignored the incredulity. ‘We pride ourselves on providing a full ecumenical experience for those who value the traditions of a real Church christening and wedding, even where places of worship are, erm no longer available.’
‘And this pod thingy is where exactly?’
‘In the grounds of St Paul’s.’
‘Why on earth would you put it there? The clients have stumped up for a marquee. They don’t need some decrepit old…’
‘No it’s a state of the art mobile place of worship, with…’
‘Listen, Sonny Jim,’ Mrs Tintagel-Architrave hissed, clearly irritated, ‘What I booked was a church themed wedding, not some hymns and hassocks joy sponge, capiche? And the families certainly don’t want their big days to be held surrounded by graves and ghosts. So you get yourself and this Chapel Pod or whatever you call it to the Trouser and Ferret by 11, or you don’t get paid.’
Ebenezer took the directions and walked purposefully back to the Chapel Pod. As he fired up the hover mechanism and rose to the drone corridor, he wondered if he’d be allowed a homily, maybe or some minor biblical references.
He hovered until a space appeared and headed for the pub garden. He saw the marquee, the curious faces and the waiting staff serving drinks. Behind the marquee there was a space. Setting the controls to automatic, he headed to the vestry to change into his SuperRev costume, prime the optics for the various holy waters and took a couple of deep breathes. As he passed the pulpit, he paused and laid a hand on the Bible. ‘Sorry, old friend. I don’t think I’ll need you today,’ before plastering on as sincere a smile as he could manage and heading for the noise.