By Christin Kuck
This skit is based on the social issue of female clergy. This sketch is not designed to make a statement one way or the other regarding women in the ministry. It is a view of a particular struggle which has occurred within the life of the church.
The year is 1910. The setting is an evening church board meeting. Period costumes.
(Scene opens with all members of the School Board)
Ephraim: Ah hem. May I have your attention please. Yes. Thank you. All right. If I may, I would like to call to order the Board meeting of the Wigginsville Episcopal Methodist church . Mr. Abernathy. Would you please be so kind as to read the minutes of the last meeting?
William: Why certainly Mr. Jones. In attendance last week, were Ephraim Jones, Reverend Beasley, Horace Wiggins and of course myself, William Abernathy. Also in attendance were Mrs. Theodore Vander Pelt and Mrs. Horace Wiggins. Our first order of business regarded funds for the church organ. At that time we did not know the total amount collected to date. The Board agreed to raise Reverend Beasley's salary by fifty cents per week. Mrs. Vander Pelt indicated there were five new members added to the Wigginsville Ladies Temperance Society. Mr. Wiggins recommended new hymnals for the pews.
Ephraim: Very good. And what old business do we have to discuss?
Rev. Beasley: I received a letter from the American Hymnal Company. They've sent a quote of two dollars per hymnal. I propose we bring it before the Board of Deacons.
William: Duly noted, Reverend.
(Pauline Howard enters)
Rev.: Pauline... er, Miss Howard. How good to see you this evening.
Pauline: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I am sorry to interrupt.
Ephraim: Miss Howard. What brings you to our Board meeting this evening?
Pauline: I have a matter of new business I should like to discuss with the Board.
Ephraim: I'm afraid we haven't reached that portion of our meeting yet. Please. Have a seat Miss Howard.
(Pauline quietly takes a seat)
Mrs. V.: May I have permission to speak, Mr. Johnson.
Ephraim: Why, of course. Yes, Mrs. Vander Pelt.
Mrs. V. I would like to report that the Ladies Temperance Society held a statewide meeting in Grand Haven, Thursday last. Mrs. Jason Smythe sang "Rescue the Perishing", which, of course, was most uplifting. Was it not, Mrs. Wiggins?
Mrs. W: Nods emphatically.
Ephraim: Very good Mrs. Vander Pelt. We certainly do appreciate the fine work these ladies put forth to stamp out the evils of alcohol. Any other old business?
(Mrs. V. waives hand)
Ephraim: Mrs. Vander Pelt?
Mrs. V: I would also like to announce that the Temperance Society has requested that the next statewide meeting be held here, at Wigginsville Episcopal Methodist Church. I accepted, of course.
(All members emit soft sounds of happiness.)
Ephraim: That is wonderful Mrs. Vander Pelt.
William: And I should like to report that the newly formed group called-- er, Boy Scouts of America would like to meet at our facilities every Wednesday evening. Fine group of boys, if I do say so myself.
(Everyone nods in agreement.)
Ephraim: Well, I believe that covers it all. I motion that this meeting is adjourned. Mrs. Jones is waiting at home for me with a pot roast dinner.
(All board members begin to rise.)
Pauline: Oh, no. But wait. Please.
(Members' attention turns to Pauline. All nod agreed. Sit down again.)
Rev: I believe you all know Miss Howard. She is our school teacher out on Seven Bridges Road. Miss Howard, how may the Board help you.
Pauline: I thank you all for giving me this opportunity to discuss my needs with the church Board. Rev. Beasley, Mr. Jones, Ladies and Gentleman of the Board. After much consideration, I have decided to discontinue my position at the school house to pursue another career.
Horace: Does this mean you're finally going to accept Reverend Beasley's proposal of marriage?
(Group erupts in laughter.)
Pauline: No. That isn't why I've come before the Board. You see, I've received a calling from the Lord. I've decided to return to school. And, I would like the church's support. Spiritually and monetarily.
Mrs. V: Mr. Chairman, may I speak?
Ephraim: Yes. Of course, Mrs. Vander Pelt.
Mrs. V: Pauline, there is no need to return to school to accept a call into the mission field.
Pauline: Well. You see. I am not going into the mission field. I've been called to become an ordained minister.
(Gasps of shock.... then laughter.)
Ephraim: Now, now Miss Howard. That is beyond the pale. We've always known you for a prankster, but this...
Pauline: I assure you, Sir, this is no prank.
Mrs. V: May I speak Mr. Chairman.
(Ephraim waves a hand at Mrs. V.)
Mrs. V: Miss Howard. Let us reason together. Surely you have not received a calling from God. It is a well know fact that women should not govern over men! It states so in the Bible.
Pauline: With all due respect, Mrs. Vander Pelt, I have searched the scriptures and have been unable to uncover one verse forbidding a woman from becoming an ordained minister.
(Mrs. V sits up tall, holds hand to chest as if taken aback by this bit of news.)
William: Now come, come, Miss Howard. It is a Biblical principal that women tend the home, the children, while men tend to leadership. We all know that a woman is frail, given to bouts of hysteria.
Pauline: That is utter rubbish, Mr. Higgans. A holdover from the dark ages. Why, the virtuous woman spoken of in Proverbs was hailed as a prosperous woman. Known throughout the village for her business accumen.
William: Poppycock!. Next you'll be telling us you have decided to obtain your doctorate of Medicine, or become an attorney. Even run for president, aye, Miss Howard?
(The board erupts into laughter.)
Pauline: And what if I did. Is that so outrageous, Mr. Abernathy? I will agree that physically I am frail in comparison to a man.
(Mrs. V and Mrs. W. gasp at the mention of the physical, fanning their blushing faces.)
Pauline: However, I am just as intelligent as any man.
Horace: See here, now, Miss Howard. It is a well known fact that a woman's brain is comprised of finer fiber than that of a man. A woman does not have the intellectual capacity of a man because the brain is smaller and more delicate.
Pauline: That is pure balderdash, Mr. Jones. Do you suggest that I am so feeble minded I could not compare to a man, yet I am intrusted to the shaping of the young minds of this community.
Mrs. V: May I speak, Mr. Chairman?
Ephraim: By all means, PLEASE SPEAK!
Mrs. V: Miss Howard, Pauline, I am very much afraid you have been taken in by that Suffragist movement.
Pauline: And what if I have? I have the upmost respect for the likes of Miss Susan B. Anthony and Miss Anna Howard Shaw.
Mrs. V: Why, they are nothing but brazen hussies. Their only desire is to upturn the family structure. Women should remain in their customary roles, that of caring for their husbands, their husband's children and their household.
Pauline: Mrs. Vander Pelt. I can hardly see how answering the call of God could cause such a schism in society.
Horace: You didn't happen to hear God while you were talking on the telephone now, did you Miss Howard? Because I'll tell you, I've heard all manner of unnatural occurrence while talking on that new fangled contraption.
Pauline: No, Mr. Jones. It was during a time a meditation, if you must know.
Mrs. V: May I speak, Mr. Chairman?
Ephraim: YES, dagnabit, speak, will ya!
Mrs. V: Well! ( Pauses) Miss Howard. This is utter nonsense. You have obviously been given over to a bout of hysteria, and I, for one, believe you should be removed from the position of school teacher.
Pauline: Mrs. Vander Pelt, I would gladly resign my position if I never had to spend one more day teaching your son! He is the most intolerable, disrespectful young man of the entire lot! I don't believe he's been taught a single, simple manner in his life.
Mrs. V: Why I never!
Rev: Pauline, Mrs. Vander Pelt, please. That is quite enough. We are in the house of God after all.
Pauline: Yes. You are right. I apologize Mrs. Vander Pelt. However, I do not recant my request for aid. I have heard God speak and I must respond.
Rev: Yes, yes. You've made that quite clear, Pauline. May I suggest that we table Miss Howard's request until the next board meeting. Perhaps by then we can look at this in a more rational manner.
Ephraim: I agree. I'd like to get home to my supper. Not listen to this mindless gibberish! Meeting is adjourned! (Ephraim rises and leaves)
(Members gather together in the corner and begin whispering to each other. Rev approaches Pauline.)
Rev: Well. My goodness. That was quite a surprise.
Pauline: Yes. I suppose it was.
Rev: No warning whatsoever. Pauline, even if you did hear the calling of God, do you really believe you would be accepted to seminary?
Pauline: I received my letter of acceptance yesterday.
© Christin J. Kuck - 1999. All rights reserved. This script may not be altered without permission from the copyright holder. This script may be freely copied and distributed, providing it is done so in its entirety. This copyright notice and the performance license information must be reproduced on all copies of the script.
No performance is permitted unless a copy of the script is licensed to at least one member of the cast OR licensed to the drama group, theatre company or organization performing the sketch. Lincense can be obtained by forwarding a check made out to Christin Kuck in the amount of $5.00 US to 13341 86th Avenue, Seminole, FL 33776. An original licensed hard copy will be mailed upon receipt of check. Christin Kuck can be reached by email at email@example.com