As we draw to a close this year many of the business community in Stoke on Trent gathered for our third  Carol Service to the business community. The theme of Peace and Love featured throughout with a cast of many Christians from  business sharing their talents through song, a choir and poetry. Our guest speaker this year was Frank McGregor who had just played Scrooge to help launch the new Scarlett Theatre Company so we booked him to speak at our Carol Service! 

Why Scrooge? Scrooge was a brilliantly successful businessman! Unfortunately his way of running the business left much to be desired when it came to treatment of employees and customers alike. In the story Scrooge’s life is changed one Christmas Eve from one of selfishness and greed to generosity and grace. He meets the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley who speaks of his regret that he hadn’t used more of his wealth to help the poor and needy. Frank had adapted the text, which is not used in stage or film scripts, but was perfect for his discourse on business today! 

“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

 “At this time of the rolling year,” the spectre said “I suffer most. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode! Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!”

Mankind was my business! A great definition for any business in any age. Frank went on to talk of how local businesses were getting involved with projects such as Sanctus at St Mark’s Church which helps asylum seekers & refugees.  He then turned to businessman and blogger, Jeffrey Meyers and based the business part of his Scrooge talk on Jeffrey’s entertaining blog entitled “Bah Humbug! 4 Business Lessons from Ebenezer Scrooge”. Jeffrey suggests a business run by a reformed Scrooge should: 

1) Strive to be successful

2) Treat employees fairly

3) Delight the customers

4) Never feel too late to change! 

And if we follow the Star that leads to the poorest of the earth we will find the One who is the embodiment of Peace and Love – Christ himself. 

When asked about Peace and Love Scrooges response was to point us to the P+L; the profit and loss so many businesses focus on. He cleverly turned that into Peace and Love and left us with the challenge that as the wealth creators, yes, we need profit and wealth but without peace and love we are not living as contributors to the common good.

Scrooge brought the house down, along with his free humbugs and audience participation – we hope to see you all again same time next year!

As we celebrate the coming of the Christ Child this season, may you know golden moments of love and peace in your lives, and the lives of those you love

Happy Christmas!

Frank McGregor is Creative Missioner with the Church of England Hanley Team Ministry. An evangelist with the Church Army for 25 years he uses arts & crafts, drama & music to communicate the Christian faith

The new Scarlett theatre Company can be found here

Franks talk was inspired by Jeffrey Meyers