‘I believe,’ said the Archbishop of Canterbury, ‘that Jesus Christ was a great manager of people… I have seen the management aspect as very much central to the task of being a leader of the Church of God today’

Readers were asked to submit readings, propers and hymn suggestions for the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the Manager, as a helpful contribution to those compiling ASB 2000. Competitors were required to respect the stylistic norms of modern English liturgy, giving preference to inclusive language.

From Mr. Bryan Narey

GOSPEL: (Mtt 20 vv 1-16) And it came to pass when Jesus had finished addressing the Issues, he effectively communicated with his Senior Management Team. He said, the Heavenly Organisation is similar to an Equal Opportunities Employer who wished to recruit vinepersons irrespective of race, gender, age, sexual orientation or disability.

Going out early in the morning he negotiated a conditions of service and remuneration package with a representative group of vinepersons who were in the marketplace marketing their skills. Some time later the Equal Opportunities Employer decided to upsize his human resource capability and returned to the marketplace where he interfaced with another group of vinepersons and explained his recruitment and remuneration package to them. They assured the Equal Opportunities Employer that they were proactive team players used to delivering a high quality service with a high level of personal commitment. On this basis they were engaged on a limited duration open ended contract.

Wishing to improve his business performance and maximize customer satisfaction the Equal Opportunities Employer found it necessary to deploy his recruitment policies on two other occasions in the day. Towards the end of the statutory working day he observed a group of vinepersons in the marketplace and said to then, Why are you not marketing your skills? They replied, Because we are between career moves. He offered them a temporary one hour contract of service with a discretionary level of remuneration which they accepted.

At the end of the day the Equal Opportunities Employer instructed his Human Resources Manager to distribute salary statements to the five groups of vinepersons.

When the vinepersons examined their salary statements those in the first group declared themselves to be in dispute with their employer and invoked the grievance procedure. When the Equal Opportunities Employer received them he explained that he had appropriate policies in place to resolve industrial disputes and would activate them when he knew of their grievances. A spokesperson for the vinepersons asserted that performance targets in people management were not being met, and that the remuneration policy of rewarding everyone equally irrespective of the hours worked was contrary to contemporary vineworking practice.

The Equal Opportunities employer responded by indicating that he had an enviable track record of best practice in the vineworking industry and he invited the vinepersons to re-examine their conditions of service and remuneration package. When they had done this he was confident that they would recognise that they had no grounds for taking the matter to stage two of the grievance procedure. He asked them, Did you not receive timely, adequate and appropriate information pertinent to your role? I have selected a managerial career path which empowers me to develop a focus on new initiatives.

So, the last shall be first and the first last, for many may be called but few have the competencies to transfer from a tactical downstream Earthly activity to a Heavenly strategic upstream operation.

From Anne Kennedy

O Jesus in my contract I’m to report to you, Part of the corporate image In everything I do. I wear the company logo Emblazoned with the cross; O, I’m a company person And, Jesus, you’re the boss.

O let me hear you speaking In reassuring tone Above the laser printers And jabbering answerphone. I shall not fear the challenge To save and to invest, Because I know you chose me By psychometric test.

O let me know your password And motivate me well To spread your group dynamic Among all personnel. Like all human resources I know that I am frail. But keep the memos coming And then I cannot fail.

When I was first head-hunted You promised me a scheme With bonus and incentive To build a stronger team. O guide my erring fingers As soon as I sign on Towards the heavenly terminal Where you yourself have gone.

Tune: Camberwell.

From the Revd Philip Murphy.

INTROIT: In every job that must be done there is an element of fun, Alleluia (from Mary Poppins)

OPENING PRAYER: Heavenly Parent, you have built your Church on the skills of corporate strategy, without losing a sense of inter-personal appreciation for all persons. Empower us to work more cost effectively to reduce the Church Commissioners’ need to subsidise. Grant this through the one who took flesh and became human, who lives and reigns with the Spirit of love and goal achieving, One God along with all the Others, now and forever.

LITURGY OF THE WORD: Readings may as well be taken from Alice through the Looking-Glass for all anyone cares, and at least it would be interesting.

This SEQUENCE must be used: Whistle while you work (from Snow White and the Seven Vertically Challenged People)

ALLELUIA: Alleluia. The moment you walked in the joint, I could see you were a man of distinction, a real big spender, Alleluia!

PRAYER OVER THE GIFTS: Lord, accept this exchange of gifts at a fair market value. We ask this through Customer Relations. (or, if a Bishop be present: Lord, I am an Anglican and we do not use these prayers.)

PREFACE: of British Telecom 2. If the Roman Canon is to be used, the list of saints should include Terry Venables.

COMMUNION ANTIPHON: His mother then took two hundred silver shekels and gave then to the metal worker. Alleluia! (Judges 17:4)


At the end of the service the Priest, President or Chairman of ICI may distribute shares blessed for that purpose.

From Canon Beaumont Brandie

INTROIT: To the one of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow for whom are all meetings and reports and reviews in all plethora. Alleluia!

(Opening her Time Manager, the Bishop shall say: Bp: It doesn’t usually do this!)

OPENING PRAYER: O pre-planner of all our experiences, out of love for personhood you came in time to teach us how to serve. Give us such a sense of all our dealings, that at the last we may achieve all our goals, through the one who shared our frustrations and now has reached the ultimate attainment target.

OLD TESTAMENT READING: I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; but after the set-up problems with these prototypes we believe that we can produce a better target outcome with you, Moses.

RESPONSE TO THE PSALM: By the waters of Babylon, there we blu-tacked our year-planners.

GOSPEL: Any version of the Feeding of the Five Thousand [provided it is interpreted as parable of a mutual problem solving exercise]

PRAYER OVER THE GIFTS: Manipulator of all our existence, we respond to your organisational capabilities with awe…receive our gasp.

POST COMMUNION PRAYER: O Planner Divine, through your Archbishop you have taught that management is of the essence. Give us such a superabundance of this facility, that we may achieve all our targets ahead of schedule and come to the rest period of corporate consolidation you have prepared for us.

Then all assembled shall cry out:

Disposer Supreme, downsize our desires, escalate our expectations, futurise our fantasies, unclutter our utopias -and do it NOW! OK?