Good morning, y’all. How do we sort out the news? Positive speeches from the DNC, Hillary and Bernie making nice and we find out the Russkies feel like they have a stake in our election. Seems like the DNC mail server hack originated in Russia, and one can only wonder if the Donald asked his old friend “Mad Dog” Putin to do him a solid and see if he could dig up any dirt on Hillary. Meantime, the Donald won’t reveal his tax returns which would certainly reveal the source of the money he’s used to build his empire. Would there be sweet irony in Trump’s run for the presidency ending in a charge of treason?
Speaking of digging up dirt brigs us back to the retelling of The Full Gospel Original Church of God. The Elders were still abuzz with their visit to the Crystal Palace when they met after Wednesday Night Prayer meeting.
Elder Cheatum started the group discussion, “Now, lest I get prideful, and we all knows what happens when we get prideful, I would like to say that a move to a properly sized house of worship is something that this congregation deserves.” “The parishioners at The Full Gospel Original Church of God have endured a lot of hardships in 2015, and met them all head on.”
Elder Cheatum looked about the table, “Let’s all be honest folks, when you’re strapping single wide trailers onto the side of your church to provide ample seating, well, it’s time to step up and make a bold move.” “Taking over the “Crystal Palace” will be a bold move on several fronts, but I think the congregation should take the step.” “Our congregation is made up of good folks who have been loyal and true to their beliefs.” “Now that our ‘brand’ has become popular, I think our followers should enjoy the fruits of their labors.”
Mulva Lite voiced her concern as soon as she was able to speak. “I think you all may be putting the cart before the horse a little bit”, she said as she handed out the weekly profit and loss statements. “Not everybody is going to be jumping up and down to drive to Blairsville three times a week to go to church.”
“You’re right Mulva, we’ve thought about that, a lot”, said Elder Cheatum, “but let me tell you the positives.” “First, the building and grounds are in perfect condition.” “Architecturally it is one of the most striking buildings in the area.” “It is glass and steel and looks like a piece of cut crystal coming up out of the ground.” “It’s at the end of the street, with woods behind the pavilion, so we’d have our privacy.” “There is a ton of parking, and I think we could continue our growth there for years to come.”
“Well, that’s all well and good for you fellows that live in Blairsville”, Mulva replied, “I’m just not sure how that’s going to play with the people here in Nunsuch.”
“We understand”, Elder Wiley jumped in, “but we’re putting possibly losing forty regular church goers at risk to capture four hundred in house and thousands more at home.” “Economically, it clearly is a no-brainer.” Elder Wiley paused and continued,”And, I think if you’ll think about the opportunity of spreading our message, you’ll see the sense of what I’m saying.”
“Mulva, the telecasts from inside the Crystal Palace would rival any of the mega-churches in Dallas or Atlanta”, said Elder Diggum. “I think they could place the cameras and microphones to where you wouldn’t even see the cameraman anymore.” “It would be a much better experience for the worshiper.”
“I feel like you all have made up your minds, and I haven’t seen the place”, Mulva replied, “Well, I’ve seen it from the outside, but not gone over everything like you all have.” “I feel like I’m going to need to do the tour before I can get on board.” “You all haven’t already signed the lease have you?”
“No, no, I’ve contacted the listing agent”, said Elder Cheatum, “but that’s as far as it’s gone so far.” “Look, we want everybody to be on board and as excited about the opportunity as we are.” “It’s important to us that you share our enthusiasm.”
Mulva lowered her eyes as she said,”Thank you”, to the collected Elders. She looked back up and determined that the Elders were finished with the details of their field trip. She looked from face to face and began delivering the weekly totals. “Our collection for this past week was five thousand five hundred and eighty five dollars.” “Our donations from TV land was twelve thousand and thirteen dollars.” “We have gone through our first four thousand bookmarks and I’ve ordered twelve thousand more.”
Mulva paused at this point to look around the room, “I’m sorry, I didn’t ask, we just got down to the last hundred bookmarks and I ordered the amount that would give us the biggest price break and had free shipping.” “So, from that bottom line total on your P&L, subtract about three hundred dollars for the new bookmarks.” “We’re going to start adding self addressed envelopes with the bookmarks and our ‘ask’ letters.” “We’ll try that a while and see if it ups the donations.” “If not, we’ll spare the expenses and the aggravation and just send the bookmark and the ask letter.”
“Outstanding Mulva”, said Elder Cheatum, “just outstanding.” “And have you gained any insight into the total viewership of the broadcasts?”
“Well, we had gone through the first four thousand in about ten days after the service”, Mulva replied, “Once we go through this next twelve thousand it should give us a much better feel.” “Of course our premise presumes that everybody wants a bookmark blessed by the Reverend Helena, but that’s a pretty good premise.” Mulva smiled.
“That is a good premise”, Elder Diggum agreed.
“Ok, I’ve just got one more little bit of business to discuss”, Elder Cheatum began. “I mentioned earlier the ‘fruits of our labors’.” “I am of the opinion that our church is doing well enough that we are in a position to fund the Reverend Helen Handbasket, and possibly a few Elders, on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.”
Mulva Lite’s eyes popped wide open as she listened with her complete attention.
“Turns out, one of the new Elders in training, Waldo Inacrowd, owns a travel agency in Blairsville”, Elder Cheatum continued, “And he tells me that he is in a position to provide the ‘very best accommodations’ at a ‘reasonable rate’ to any of the faithful who might want to take the trek to the Wailing Wall.” “I have taken the liberty of purchasing tickets for the Reverend Helena Handbasket and the group seated here.” ” The first junket is tentatively scheduled for the first week of August 2016, which is kind of the slow season in the Holy Land.”
Elder Cheatum basked in the glow of the warm smiles from the board members.
“If you would like to bring a plus one, I’m told that the second ticket would be at a reduced rate,” Elder Cheatum said, “Also, Brother Waldo says that August is a great time to visit the Middle East because even the Isis stay inside in August.” “You can pass that on to your significant others if you like.”
Back slaps, ‘hear hear’ and thank yous filled the room. When the moment passed, Elder Cheatum looked at the group. “I think that’s enough excitement for one night.” “I move we adjourn this meeting, any objections?”
There were none; and the board of the little church returned to their homes filled with the spirit and the good news of the evening.