Good morning, y’all. The Republican convention starts today with a novel twist. Ohio is an open carry state. All of the wacky doodles that use an AR15 as a security blanket will be walking the streets of Cleveland; one hand on their weapon, the other hand in their face with the thumb firmly a fixed to their mouth. It will be the greatest collection of onesies in camouflage ever assembled. The Donald’s orange face should have the same effect as a hunter’s vest on the assembled marksmen. He hopes.
Speaking of large assemblages brings us back to the retelling of the history The Full Gospel Original Church of God. Lost in the shuffle of new preachers, and scandal, and intrigue, was the Winter Revival 2015. The Winter Revival was definitely on the church schedule, but it was not promoted like previous years. The urgency to draw new membership to the church was just not there like before. In fact, new membership was now the problem.
After a lot of conversation, it was determined that Winter Revival 2015 would be carried out over a four day weekend, beginning with Thursday, November 12th. The large tent would be setup as usual to host the traveling ministers. Reverend Helena Handbasket would hold court each night inside the main building. Each minister would rotate as the opening speaker for Reverend Helena. The visiting ministers would then rotate for each other in the tent, giving each a turn as warmup and keynote.
News of the success of the little church had spread throughout the Evangelical community. The board was actually receiving requests from ministers to do the revival for free. It seemed that a large number of ministers felt that being associated with the little church would be a great way to get exposure within the Pentecostal body. Since Channel 99 would be broadcasting each night, the opportunity for spreading the names of the ministers was without parallel. There was even talk that some of the broadcast footage might be included in a proposed documentary. The Elders had whittled their minister list down to three, all ministers who offered to do the revival for free. Even the minister’s expenses would be out of their own pockets.
The Ladies Auxillary had once again done yeoman service in setting up the concessions. The Ladies had also “setup” their husbands into providing all of the physical labor necessary to get the tent and concession stands ready. In fact, the “husbands auxillary” was putting the last string of lights up in the parking lot when the sleet started to fall. It was light at first, and then the sleet started coming down as large frozen droplets of rain. The collective group of volunteers knew the mountain roads would be impassable in just a short time. With various explanations of how many children or aging parents that were left defenseless at home, all of the volunteers gave their apologies and left for home.
The board was sitting in the church office going over the schedules when the first volunteers came in complaining of the worsening conditions.
“I think we better make like a tree and leave”, said Elder Diggum as he looked out of a window. “From the looks of things, we’ve got about half hour to get to where ever we’re going to be for a while.”
“Well, I guess if we had a webpage we could post the cancellation on there,” said Elder Cheatum. “Mulva, can you leave a message on the phone that the revival is postponed until conditions permit?” Elder Cheatum asked.
“Sure, I’ll do it right now.” said Mulva.
“What do you want me to do about the traveling ministers?” Elder Diggum asked.
“If they’re still traveling, tell them to stay put until conditions improve.” Elder Cheatum responded. “If they’re here, we need to see what kind of rig they’re traveling in.” “It might be that they may have to bunk in the church.” “I don’t want to put Reverend Helena out by asking her to play hostess.”
“I’ll go have a ‘look see’ around the rectory and update Reverend Helena”, said Elder Wiley. “I’ll check her firewood situation while I’m at it.” “The power lines won’t stay up for long with this much ice coming down.”
“Good thought, good thought,” said Elder Cheatum. “I am less than confident that the good folks at the Blue Ridge Mountain Power Company are ready to handle a lot of downed lines.”
“Ok, ok, time to go”, said Elder Diggum, “I’ll warn anybody that’s here what we’re in for, and offer the sanctuary as a bunk house, then I’m gone.”
“If you’re waiting on me, you’re backing up”, said Elder Cheatum as the group headed for the door.
The ice was forming a thin layer in the parking lot as they walked out of the church. The steps were already slippery, and required the use of the handrail to safely negotiate the descent to ground level. Through good fortune, and the experience born from years of driving in inclement conditions, the group made it safely to their respective homes. Depending on their proximity to Blairsville, or distance from Nunsuch, the group would experience various power losses over the next few days.
Power was lost completely in Nunsuch for three days, though the roads were considered “drivable” after two. “Drivable” was a cautionary word to mountain folk that meant “carry a chain saw with you in case there are still fallen limbs or trees blocking the road”. On Saturday, as soon as the road was entirely passable, Elder Cheatum brought four portable generators to the little church. His intent was to provide power to the rectory, the sanctuary and the two additions. The weather was forecast to be clear with highs in the seventies for the balance of the week; and the Elder knew the faithful would be ready to end their incarceration and return to every day life as soon as possible.
The Winter Revival 2015 had been officially cancelled. As he looked at box after box of items purchased for resale, Elder Cheatum decided that the t-shirts and other preprinted items would be gifted to the folks attending services that weekend. At least the items could return some value as advertising. To that end, Elder Cheatum made a mental note to give a couple of boxes of t-shirts to the Channel 99 crew. The inclement weather was going to cost the church thousands of dollars, and no telling how much good will. Hopefully the gifted items would buy back some good will.
As Elder Cheatum watched the “auxillary husbands” take down the tents and concession stands, he hit upon an idea. He promptly walked to the rectory to run it by Reverend Helena. Since he was bringing the gift of electricity, he didn’t see how she could refuse.