It was 12am, Friday, January 29th 2016, and I was settling down to watch Doctor Who: Carnival of Monsters, Episode 4 (with my flask of gin) when the telephone rang. I leaped out of my chair, forgetting that Steven was perched on my lap – so he went tearing out the room like a thing possessed.
Just to be clear… Steven is the cat we adopted from Riverdale Animal Shelters, not Steven the troubled young man we took under our wings for a few weeks. I caught him rifling through Carol’s dressing table the other day, so we had to send him packing.
Anyhoo, I wasn’t alarmed by the late night phone call. I’m a pastor of a rather “high maintenance” church, so I’m accustomed to phone calls at unsociable hours. However it’s unusual for the Batphone to ring at that time, and it’s strictly reserved for emergencies.
The “Batphone” is the Loftus landline, a red phone that only takes incoming calls. It’s funny, after using that phone for 6 years I still can’t disguise my disappointment when it’s not Commissioner Gordon on the end of the line.
Jonah Jones, a stalwart member of Riverdale Church (and a Facebook friend since 2009) was calling in regard to a matter of grave importance. Well, to him. Apparently I hadn’t updated the Riverdale Church website since November 23rd 2013.
Initially I was vexed that he’d used my emergency line to discuss something so seemingly trivial, but I soon downgraded that irritation level to just “mildly irritated”. As Jonah rightly pointed out, anyone seeking a church online would have stumbled across our site, noted that there’d been no activity for over 18 months, and immediately navigated away from the home page.
Jonah made me question my commitment to the church and said I was being “flaky” and “lily-livered” which I felt was a wee bit judgemental… but I don’t begrudge Jonah for his opinion. Unfortunately, he often confuses this with “fact”.
I was then reliably informed that there was an uprising bubbling beneath the surface. Four members of the Tuesday night prayer group had set up a “splinter” group to discuss ousting me as the pastor of Riverdale Church. Jonah had infiltrated the group as a “mole” because he suspected skulduggery, and, sadly, his fears were realised when they asked him to swap our French Vouvray communion wine with French Muscat. The latter has a higher alcohol content that would exceed the strict rules set up by the Powers That Be (Riverdale head office, not God).
The Pantheon of Snakes (as Jonah coined the group) had been conspiring in the shadows for several months, plotting my downfall with a number of salacious deeds. Some were so salacious that we’ve named the ringleader “Salacious Crumb”.
Salacious (I can’t use his real name for Christian and legal reasons) seemed intent on knocking me from my perch and taking over as Pastor. He went as far as hacking into my Facebook account and “liking” atheist posts from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Fry (while I’m a huge fan of both Gervais and Fry I do beg to differ with many of their anti-Christian viewpoints). Salacious then posted several inappropriate images and dropped the “F” bomb on two occasions.
For the record, I don’t swear on social media… and certainly not when I’m donning my pastor’s hat (I only take it off for the occasional catnap). It’s public knowledge that I occasionally utter “bloody” and “crap” during my sermons, but I do have boundaries. Having said that I’m still receiving complaints for my “happy as a pig in…” comment at the family service last month. Could we please draw a line beneath that now?
In summery I’d like to underline my commitment to Riverdale Church. I’ve been your pastor for six years now, so I’m bordering on the “Tom Baker” of church pastors. He played The Doctor for seven years, so I’m hoping to surpass that in November 2016.
Please don’t fear, I’m not planning on falling from a scaffolding tower, sustaining fatal injuries and regenerating into Peter Davison anytime soon…
Keep your peckers up,
PS: Last night I was awoken by a barrage of tweet notifications informing me that I’d picked up a flurry of new followers… and I’m delighted to report that I now have 58 minions!
Please follow me. My Twitter moniker is @pastor_peter. I had to insert the underscore because someone else had already snatched up @pastorpeter *shakes fist*