Good morning, y’all. Absolutely amazing that a seventy-four year old man is still leading the charge for doing what’s right in America. Of course, I’m talking about Georgia Congressman, John Lewis. Lewis had the courage to do the right thing for the innocent lives taken in the Orlando shooting. He called for a sit in, exposing the Republicans for the puppets of the gun industry that they are. Is the term “puppets” too harsh? I don’t think so, not when ninety percent of the American public wants stronger gun laws. Who do the Republicans they think they are serving by not doing the will of the people? Are they protecting us from ourselves? Good on John Lewis for calling bull scat on the Republican shenanigans.
Speaking of shenanigans, leads us back to our retelling of the history of the Little Church in the Valley. It is Sunday morning after the Summer Revival 2010. The parking lot looks much the same as the night before with the tents and concession stands still in place. Tear down would take place after Sunday worship service, and would require several hours of service by the volunteers. As the Elders gathered around the kitchen table in the rectory to hear the “almost complete” tally from the treasurer, the Ladies Auxillary placed a gigantic plate of sticky buns on the table.
“I tell you fellows, I’m going to miss this as much as anything.” “Us gathered around this table sharing tales and good food.” said Reverend Daniel as he pulled a hot bun off of the top of the stack. “It has to happen, it’s the right thing, I’m just going to miss some things a lot.”
“I don’t know what’s going to change other than location”, Elder Wiley said. “We’ll just be meeting in the office at the church.” “It’s a little tighter fit, but if we can get Barry to lose a few pounds, it won’t be so bad.”
Elder Diggum stopped mid-reach and looked at his friend and partner, “You know I’ve got a slow metabolism, and I’m big-boned.”
“You should pick on somebody else”, Elder Diggum said as he grabbed a sticky bun. “I can’t help being who I am.” With a flourish, Elder Diggum took a large bite out of the bun.
“Alright settle down, settle down, we’ve got just a few minutes before we need to get over to the church. I’d like to hear the treasurer’s report before we leave.” said reverend Daniel. “Have you got numbers for us sister Mulva?”
“Yes, sir, they’re not final, but they’re pretty close.” said the secretary/treasurer. Mulva looked up and smiled at the men seated around the table. As she placed the neatly stacked piles of cash and checks labeled with a deposit slip and wrapped with a rubber band into her bank deposit bag, she said, “ According to my records, and they’re awfully close, we’ve had a doozy of a revival.” “I can print out a P&L report and a spreadsheet for you now, if you like, or you all can wait for the ‘official’ tally.” Mulva looked about the table for a response.
“I believe we’d like both”, said Elder Cheatum.
“Ok, I’ll just tell you the numbers while the printer does its thing.” Mulva said as she started sending the P&L report to the printer.
“As always, I’ve double checked my numbers.” “I’ve calculated that the church’s share of the collection, after paying the ministers, was sixty-seven hundred dollars.” Mulva said. “Collections were down a bit from the night before, but, because we aren’t paying Reverend Johnstone, our profits are up.”
Mulva continued, “Concessions were over thirteen thousand dollars last night.” “I’m guessing that since we weren’t competing with Reverend Johnstone for concessions, that we sold a lot more of our T-shirts.” “I’m projecting our profit from the concessions to be about nine thousand and eight hundred dollars.” Mulva paused to take a breath, and perhaps for dramatic effect.
“We’ve made over seventy thousand dollars of profit for the revival, unless there’s some big bills I don’t know about.” “I’m so proud of the Ladies Auxillary, I could just bust.” “I’m proud of everybody, really, it’s been a real team effort.” Mulva let out a big breath and got up to retrieve the P&L’s from the printer.
As Mulva passed the reports around the table, the men stared at the proof of their efforts in black and white.
“Dang, it’s one thing to hear it, another to see it in black and white”, said Reverend Daniel, “I’m looking at it, and I still don’t believe it.” “We’ve taken in seventy thousand dollars in profit in just one week.” “My stars and garters.” “Maybe we shouldn’t pass the plate today.” “We could have a collection free Sunday in thanks for all of the efforts of our members.”
“Well Daniel, if that’s what you want to do, we could certainly let that be part of your legacy”, said Elder Cheatum, “Henceforth and forever more, any revival that brings in seventy thousand dollars in profit shall be followed by a collection free Sunday.”
“All those opposed?” No one raised their hands. “In favor?” All of the members raised their hands. “The motion is carried”, said Elder Cheatum. “Daniel, that will be a fine message for you to deliver today, while you’re delivering your other fine message.”
“Oh my stars, look at the time,” said Reverend Daniel as he jumped up. “I’ve still got to think about my introduction of Reverend Bread to the congregation.” “I can’t decide whether to do it at the start or last.” “I think at the start, what do you all think?”.
“I think at the start”, said Elder Wiley, “that way you can call him up for the Testament of Faith and kind of ‘pass the baton’ to him then.” “That would be a nice visual, we need to get lots of pictures today.” “Mulva did you bring your camera?”
“Yes sir I sure did, and my new phone takes movies if we want to.”, Mulva replied as she held up her cell phone.
“Good, good”, said Elder Wiley, “Well, boys, I guess it’s time to start calling them in.” He said as the group got up from the table. “Who’s turn is it to ring the bell?”
“I guess it’s mine,” replied Elder Diggum, “I wish I’d remembered that before eating that third sticky bun.” “That ladder going up into the steeple isn’t getting any easier to climb.” “Hey, maybe we can get one of those automatic bell ringers, since we’ve had such a good revival.”
“That would be a ‘NO’, Barry”, said Elder Wiley, “If you can’t cut the mustard any more, admit it, and one of us young fellers will jump in for you.”
“No, no, I was just kidding”, said Elder Diggum as he headed for the church and his climb up the ladder to the base of the steeple.
As the bell pealed out its call for the souls that were scattered throughout the valley and the surrounding mountains, the other Elders took up their positions as greeters at the front doors. It was nearly impossible to enter the little church without being acknowledged by a member of long standing. When time permitted, a few seconds of personal conversation were passed.
The Elders were in hopes of greeting a lot of new faces at the door this Sunday. They were not disappointed. Neither Elder kept an accurate count, but they felt like two dozen new faces was a good guess. What they could not have guessed, or imagined, was that one of those faces was that of Ms. Crystal Leer. Elder Cheatum said “Welcome,” as he shook Ms Leer’s hand on the threshold of the little church. As the choir began singing behind them there was no more time for conversation. Elder Cheatum took his seat in the last row, on the aisle, on the right side of the church. Ms. Leer wandered to a seat about dead center in the middle of the church.
Reverend Daniel Hawker’s last sermon had begun.