I'm here to talk to you tonight about a wonderful new organisation which is dedicated to promoting your spiritual well-being, enriching your life and securing your immortal soul a front row seat in the eternal paradise of the hereafter. No, I'm not trying to sell you double glazing - although, if you're interested in that sort of thing, I do know a man who can sort you out with a pair of slightly damaged French windows at a knock down price. No, I'm here to introduce you to a marvellous new religious sect called 'Jehovah's Cleaners'.
Now, straight away, let me tell you that we are not a bunch of pushy, interfering crackpots, who will attempt to corner you on your own doorstep and barrack you into accepting our way of thinking. Oh no, not at all. We are simple, god-fearing people who will attempt to corner you on your own doorstep and persuade you to let us in so that we can dust your sideboard, vacuum the hearthrug and generally tidy up about the place. This is because we at the Jehovah's Cleaners strongly believe in the old maxim that cleanliness is next to godliness, and that it is easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a camel, than it is for a scruffy man to enter the kingdom of Heaven. After all, did not the Lord God Himself send his only begotten dishcloth so that we may have a clean bowl for our cornflakes on the morrow? Yea, verily, so it is written in the good book, and also on the label of most family-sized bottles of washing-up liquid.
And so, to this end, we have a highly trained and thoroughly dedicated army of religious skivvies whose job it is to talk their way into your home, polish your china, sweep your stairs and put all your CDs back in their cases before you can say, "No thanks, we're Methodists." But it's not all housework, of course. No - we'll clean your car for you, as well. And if you're very lucky, you may get a personal visit from Ms. Gloria Tightbody, better known as 'Our Lady of the Char', who will appear in your home in a cloud of furniture polish, scrub your cornices and bless your alcoves.
You're probably wondering where our church sprang from? Well, it all began with an honest burgher of our parish by the name of Reginald Prole. Unfortunately, Reginald was also a dirty burgher and the house where he lived was widely renowned as the filthiest in the country. One night, upon returning home from his job in the local abattoir, he found himself stumbling around in the dark and subsequently tripped over some old pizza boxes he had left lying around, knocking himself out cold. When he regained consciousness, he saw the light. To be precise, he saw the light switch, flicked it on and sat looking at the mess and dirt that surrounded him. From that moment he determined to clean up his act, and vowed to carry his message out into the wider world.
This wasn't Reginald Prole's first flirtation with religion. Previous to founding the Jehovah's Cleaners, the Right Reverend Reginald was a keen disciple of the Church of the Cheesy Moon. This was a sect that piously believed the moon was made of cheese, ruled over by the great god Che-Dar, and his two lovely daughters, Gorgonzillia and Primula. This was back in the fifties, when very little was known about the moon, and when observations of mysterious cracker-like structures near the Sea of Tranquillity hinted very strongly at some kind of dairy-based composition. Such ideas were largely abandoned in the wake of the Apollo missions, when astronauts were able to bring back surface samples for analysis. Nevertheless, many initiates of the Church of the Cheesy Moon continued to believe in the cheese theory, and claimed that NASA had perpetrated a hoax. Reginald himself remained devout for many years, finally abandoning his beliefs after a visit to the Kennedy Space Centre, during which he bit into a piece of moon rock - an exercise which shattered his faith and seriously rattled his dentures.
Sadly, our esteemed founder is no longer with our organisation, as he was hit by a steamroller in 1998, and then again six months later. A determined and resilient character, Reginald didn't let either of these two incidents get him down. But when the same steam roller struck him for a third time the following spring, he decided it wasn't wise to tempt fate, and since then he has refused to leave the house for fear of a fourth and fatal encounter.
Nevertheless, our church is still a very lively and vibrant place. Many of our congregation have taken a serious interest in community singing. "Canticles!" I hear you cry, and you'd be right. In a recent competition, our choir went down a storm. The judges were remarkably impressed, and when it came to the trophies, we cleaned up. Pity we didn't win any of them, but at least we did our bit. If you come along to one of our meetings, you'll be able to sample some of our singing for yourselves. You'll also be encouraged to come clean in a confessional. This involves you entering one of our specially constructed shower cubicles and confessing all your dirty little secrets to one of our priests. Patrons are reminded that particularly outrageous misdemeanours may be recorded for training purposes.
And, of course, like any other church, we perform the usual ceremonies. For Christenings we fill the font with bleach, so that you can be sure that your offspring is not only baptised, but also free from 99 percent of all household germs. Marriages are popular, as we provide a full valeting service for the happy couple. Our senior priest will personally take charge of rubbing down the bride, whilst Miss Tightbody will be more than happy to buff the groom. And if you're thinking of dying in the near future - and, let's face it, who isn't? - you might want to consider our increasingly popular four star funeral service. We don't just dump you in a rotten old box and chuck you in the ground. Oh no. First, we replace all your bodily fluids with window cleaner. Then we stuff your orifices with scouring pads, dust you lightly with talcum powder, spray you liberally with your choice of air freshener, and vacuum seal you in Clingfilm for your comfort and enjoyment. Then we dump you in a rotten old box and chuck you in the ground. It's very tasteful, and as an added bonus, your nearest and dearest will receive a commemorative bar of soap, engraved with a suitable epitaph.
As a service to the community, we also arrange excursions for local underprivileged kids. This year we visited a farm, where we spent a very productive afternoon ironing the grass, tidying up the cows and stacking the pigs into a neat pile. Next year we hope to go to Stonehenge, so that we can sandblast the pillars and rearrange them in order of height. Ms Tightbody tells me that she is particularly looking forward to getting her hands on the uprights and giving them a good going over.
But hold on, I hear you say. This is all very well and good, but can it really be right? Is the way to eternal life really just a question of keeping everything spick and span? Where's the evidence for this? What's your reasoning? Well, I say to you doubting Thomases, we Jehovah's Cleaners have no need for reason; we have faith. Complete faith. Absolute faith. Faith that our religion is pine fresh and gentle on the skin. Faith that our religion has a mild bleaching action which can devour the most stubborn of stains. Faith, my friends, that our religion is proven to get your whites whiter, remove limescale, neutralise nasty odours, and clean right round the bend, Amen.
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