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Resignation, Part 12

This is a work of fiction.  You can see each installment at my Fiction page.

Donald walked into the empty classroom where the deacons meeting was taking place and looked around.  Men he had worked side by side with for a decade were sitting around the table catching up on the ballgames and races they had been watching all afternoon.  Several smiled as he took a seat.  A few looked away in shame.  One or two just looked at him without expression.

David walked in shortly after Donald sat down.  He walked by and squeezed his shoulder and grinned.  He had depended on David a great deal and even though their friendship would not end, Donald was going to miss working with him in the church.

Finally Bill came in.  He took his place at the head of the table.  There was no misunderstanding about how he felt about things.  He did not smile.  He didn’t look Donald’s way.  He simply came in and called the meeting to order.

“The first thing I want to say is how terrible I think Donald handled his resignation today”, Bill said casually glancing Donald’s way. “After ten years as our pastor, I would have thought you would have respected us more by giving this body of deacons more notice than simply resigning without giving us a heads up.”

Bill paused and glared at Donald.  Several of the deacons were looking back and forth at each other and then to Donald and Bill.  Bill’s comments were taking everyone by surprise.  David’s jaw was clenched as he was visibly holding himself back from saying something.

Donald simply looked at Bill for a moment.  Finally he just let a small smile be seen.

“What are you smiling about, Donald?”, Bill almost shouted across the table. “Don’t you know what this group of men can do to you?”

The smile left Donald’s lips as he finally spoke up. “What exactly can you do to me, Bill?”, Donald said looking straight at Bill.  He gazed straight into Bill’s eyes as he watched Bill get redder and redder.

“Your month’s notice will not be accepted.  We are going to need you to move out of the house immediately.  You will not be needed to preach any longer.  We accept your resignation immediately.  Get your stuff our of our house tomorrow and begone with you.”, Bill shouted.

A loud murmuring began as everyone in the room began talking.  Donald just sat there and continued to smile at Bill while the entire room became more chaotic.  Finally, the din began to calm.  Donald looked at Bill and the rest and began to speak.

“Bill, after the way you have pushed and pushed me over the last year, I’m not sure that you needed to know about my resignation ahead of time.  Furthermore, I gave the church what is required in the bylaws for a notice.  Notice that I said the church, not the deacons.  Also, according to the bylaws, I have a month to move out of the house.  We will be looking for a new home and move at the appropriate time. ”

Bill looked shocked and angry, almost like a parent when their child talks back to them.  He hadn’t counted on that.

“I don’t care what the bylaws say.  We want you out now.  We don’t want you to preach tonight or any other night.  Do you understand?”

David had had enough at this point.  He finally spoke up.

“Bill, you keep saying we.  Do you really mean you?  How about us find out just how big this we is?  We don’t have the authority to override the bylaws so how about we see how many in the room want to do that and then take it to the church?  I make a motion that we have a show of hands on who wants Donald to go now instead of working out his notice.”  Several head nodded in agreement.

Bill knew that he had to go along with David on this, but he didn’t like.

“Fine.  Let’s have a show of hands.  Who wants Donald  to leave now?  Who wants him to have his month’s notice?’

The results were not what Bill wanted.

Fifteen hands supported Donald.  Two hands supported Bill.

Bill was almost in a rage at this point.

“What is wrong with you people?  Open your eyes.  Can’t you see what he’s done to this church over the last few years.  Are all of you stupid.”

One of the older deacons, Mr. McGinley, stood up.  He had been in the church his entire life and had been chairman of the deacons more times than some of these men had been alive.  He looked around and then to Bill and began to speak.

“Bill, a lot of us have sat back and done nothing over the last year while you have run roughshod over us and over our pastor.  That’s our fault.  I don’t think you understand something.  Your time as deacon chair is up.  Today you’ve prove you shouldn’t even be a deacon.  I move for this meeting to adjourn.”

There was a second and the older deacons began to leave.  The others followed their lead as Bill sat there stunned.  The room was empty, except for David, Donald and Bill.

Donald looked at Bill with compassion and made a simple statement.

“I’ll continue to pray for you, Bill.”

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