This weekend, something very new and different happened at my UU congregation: we presented a humorous skit during all three worship services -- with adults playing all the roles! This is unheard of for many large congregations, where a skit could happen in August or at a special intergenerational service, but would include children and youth.
I wrote this skit about our annual pledge campaign, daring to cast myself and three other grown-ups in the roles. Because the skit characters are four adult members having a conversation about pledging, I decided the actors should actually be adult members of our congregation. (Plus, someone else wrote a different skit, to be presented next weekend by groups of youth.)
We get to have all this fun because members of the annual pledge committee set the intention of a lighthearted approach to the campaign. The committee asked a member who is a good actor to write a skit. He didn't have time, so asked a different actor-member to do it, but she didn't have time, either. Meanwhile, I had a skit idea, so approached the committee independently. Suddenly, I had permission to write it! Hooray!
As all of our weekend worship services must be "excellent," our three ministers approved my skit's script. In past years, lay people who gave short testimonials didn't need them approved. But because last year's pledge testimonials failed to include any mention of pledging, this changed.
We presented the skit at all three worship services to rave reviews by the congregation. Even the youth liked it! I've copied most of the script below.
The title is "Working on Balance."
A: Long-time member
B: enthusiastic member (Me)
D: New member
B: (To A) What meeting do you have now?
A: Annual Campaign Committee.
C: Yes, the Day of Promise is next month.
D: I’m not familiar with all our UU Holidays. What’s the Day of Promise?
B: The Day of Promise is when we promise to recycle.
C: It’s the day the Meeting House Chorus will sing “Pennies From Heaven.”
A: It is when we begin our annual pledge campaign -- the day we promise to commit, or re-commit, our resources to First Society.
B: I already re-committed! In December, I added to my pledge. We have several years left to pay, so I won’t pledge again until 2012.
C: That’s different.
A: (to B) C is right – you’re talking about your Capital Campaign pledge. This pledge is different; it is for our annual campaign.
D: This is so confusing. I need to sit down.
B: Of course! I forgot. Yes, our capital campaign pledges are for our fabulous new building -- growing right outside! Picture it, D -- 500-seat Auditorium, large fellowship area, lots of classrooms....(In raptures with hands in the air.) Aaaah!
A & C: (in raptures also) Aaaah!!
A: But our annual campaign pledges form our budget: our day-to-day operations for the next year: all our worship services and events, our social justice work, Children’s Religious education --
C: Adult RE
B: Chalice Groups
C: Three ministers
A: Lay ministers
C: Wonderful music program
A: Councils and committees
D: Everything we do, in other words?
A: Yes, well said!
C: I’ve been thinking about increasing my pledge this year.
D: I have to decide what to pledge. I’ve been a member for one whole month.
[A, B, C congratulate.]
B: Some of us give a percentage of household income, say 2-10 percent. Sam and I usually give 4%. It’s important for each of us to decide for ourselves what we can give, based on our means.
C: I think of it as “Put your money where your heart is.”
A: Years ago, I heard that most people could double their pledge and not feel a thing. So I tried it, but it’s not true that I didn’t feel a thing. I felt great!! I discovered that I can usually find money in my budget if I care about something enough. And now I've joined the annual campaign committee.
D: You’re a hero!
A: No, no, absolutely not. I’ve gotten much more from this place than I ever gave – FUS has been my anchor for twenty years.
D: Really? That’s great. But, with my finances, I don't know...once I pledge, do I have to start paying right away?
A: No, it’s for the next church year – July '08 through June of '09.
D: The fiscal year?
C: Academic year?
B: Congregation year?
B, C and D: (shouting) Society Year!!
This was my favorite part:
I had to put in this true story!
C: My most memorable moments have been when I’m singing in the Meeting House Chorus. Singing the Missa Gaia last April was my favorite.
A & B: (blissful) Aaaaah!
A: That was one of the most moving services I’ve been to. That whale song!
B: And the wolf! Haunting! (Pauses) Hey, remember back when a bat flew around during a worship service? I loved it. First the bat was over here on the stone. (hurries to one side, points, with the others following) Then it flew all the way over there. (scurries to other side, points, with the others following)
A: What was the sermon about that day?
B: (walks, points) During the sermon, the bat flew over here -- above the pulpit.
The whole congregation enjoyed this so much that I may explore the possibility of presenting more skits. According to my friend E, who formerly attended a periodic-skits-during-services congregation, we need a Playwright and a Producer to be successful. Finding actors is easy in a large congregation. Hmmmmm....