Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church
Sunday 16th December 2018
Duncan Bartlett, Luke Dowding
Charity Representative: Excuse me sir, sorry to bother you but may I have a few minutes of your time? I am fundraising on behalf of the Quirinius Census Association’s Action Campaign “First Christmas Crisis.” Merry Christmas to you, Sir!
Innkeeper: (Raising hand in refusal) Thank you for knocking on the door of Bethlehem Inn Ltd. Your call is important to us and you are held in queue. Your current waiting time is two thousand and eighteen years.
Charity Rep: Oh, very droll, Sir! Most amusing! But you know, this is the festive season, good will to all men and all that - better to give than to receive, eh, Sir? Consider what difference a gift of just three pounds a month would make. That’s less than the price of cup of coffee and it would really help to change the lives of those in need. Just three pounds a month would buy enough hay to fill a whole manger. And it’s tax deductible! Would you like to tell me your bank details and I can I set you up a nice little direct debit, Sir?
Innkeeper: Look, mate, this is a challenging economic environment right now. There’s a real squeeze on the high street; inns are going out of business right, left and centre. Besides, I’ve had no end of families knocking on my door in the past few days asking for somewhere to stay. I’m afraid we’re full to bursting. It’s not my fault if the authorities can’t provide affordable housing solutions for vulnerable members of society… and their accompanying donkeys.
Charity Rep: I hear what you’re saying, Sir. But as this is the first Christmas, why not crowdfund us with a few sheckles? I’ve been having a chat with your neighbour over there at Cambridge Analytica and he’s been doing a little data harvesting for me. He tells me that you’ve got a bit of a preference for online shopping at Cripps and Pemberton and that you’re planning a holiday to Egypt next year. Lovely country, Sir. Can I interest you in a book of raffle tickets? Top prize is a day out fishing for souls on the sea of Galilee. Only 20 shekels, Sir. Payroll giving, perhaps?
Innkeeper: Have you been going through my internet history?
Charity Rep: Oh, Sir! Would I do that without your permission? Look, I’m only trying to help people here. Sometimes donors need a little extra motivation, don’t they? Only natural, isn’t it? Tell you what, how about donating assets instead of money? I’ve got a vulnerable family here waiting for universal credit who are seeking short-time housing provision. It shouldn’t take long to fill in the forms.
Innkeeper: Oh, I hate paperwork! I’ve got enough of scrolls to fill in it as it. Have you got a charity shop? I’ve got some old sandals and a couple of amphora of olive oil which the misses got given for Passover last year. I can drop them off to you in the morning.
Charity Rep: Oh, thank you sir but we’re a bit short staffed in the shop at the moment sir. The manager’s been busy resetting all the calendars since the year dot. I’ll tell you what, Sir. How about if I do a sponsored fast in the wilderness - nothing but turkey sandwiches and satsumas?
Charity Rep: I’ll grow a moustache - just the way you like it, Sir!
Innkeeper: Not interested.
Charity Rep: I could wear a santa hat? Play the accordion? Donate ten pence from every sandwich sold? It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
Innkeeper: Look, will you just shut up and leave now, please?
Charity Rep: OK, Sir. I understand. Look, I give up. I’ll sling my hook, shake the dust off my feet and all that, Sir. But that family, I mentioned… the ones with baby? They’re still here, you know. I suggest you talk to them directly.
(Turns to leave and then has the final word)
Or at least send them a Christmas card.