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Resignation, Part 35

Dale picked up Melissa’s plate and head to the trash cans.  She was talking with Teresa and Tom, seeming to hit it of well with Teresa.  Dale paused for a second.  That was one reason why he wanted his family to stay at their home church if they chose him to be interim here.  He knew that they would make a ton of friends quickly and would have to leave those friendships behind.  There was no need to tear them away from their normal routine only to rip them out of this church in a short time.

Dale threw the typical church luncheon Styrofoam plate away.  How many meals had he eaten off of those during his time in church?  Countless, he imagined.  The kids had already finished and made their way to the playground.  They would soon be running and playing with other children from the church, easily making their acquaintance,  dizzily spinning on the merry-go-round, laughing their way down the slide.

Dale stood back and watched for a while.  He saw husbands and wives, men and women, finish their meals and head to the desert table.  Pecan pies, chocolate cakes, and many he couldn’t identify right off were arranged in an order than he wasn’t sure anyone knew.  If he was going to get him or Melissa anything, he knew that he had better head in that direction.

A few people came his way, complimenting him on his sermon, shaking his hand and introducing themselves.  A couple told him that they were looking forward to him being there as interim, even though the vote wasn’t for another week.  One little old lady even said that she didn’t know why they would just be voting on him for interim, that he should just their permanent pastor.  Dale took it all in stride, shaking their hands and smiling.  It would take him a while to get to know everyone if he was voted in.  Even though it was unusual, he had heard of votes not going well for interims.  He was leaving that int he Lord’s hands.

Fred McGinly made his way over to Dale.  He had immediately liked Fred, reminding him of some of his early mentors in his ministry.  He was the kind of deacon that every pastor needed, one who was there to support them, but who would be frank as well.  He had had one in particular while in seminary who had helped him maneuver some landmines while attempting to pastor his first church.

“What do you think, Dale?  Think you can handle this bunch?” Fred stood there smiling, knowing that this would be as easy as Dale would have it if he came on board following the vote.

“Seems like a good church, Fred.  I’m sure there isn’t anything here I haven’t seen.  I’m going to preach, visit and love on you folks, providing I’m here.  I think that’s what you need more than anything.”  Dale continued to survey the room, smiling and waving back at  a few people smiling and waving and waving at him.  Melissa looked up from her conversation with Teresa, her eyes saying she loved it here.  Tom looked bored with the conversation.  Dale couldn’t figure it out until he saw Teresa reach over and pat  Tom’s hand.  He hadn’t noticed it before, but it looked like the beginning stages of a relationship, so new that Tom didn’t dare leave Teresa’s side yet.

“It is a good church, even though we’ve had out struggles lately.  I’ve been here as long as I can remember.  Everything will swing back in the right direction.  It always does.  That bunch over there, though, may give you a few fits.  I hope they’ll leave you alone, since you’re interiming, but who knows?”  Fred kind of nodded at a handful of people who didn’t look happy, despite their conversation and laughing.

David stood up from his table and walked over to throw away his trash.  He was another that Dale had immediately liked.  He knew that between him and Fred that he would have plenty of support here.    A couple of guys walked by, shook hands with David and Fred, introducing themselves to Dale as well.

David turned to Dale, looking at his watch.

“Are you ready?”  David looked a little tense, as though what was coming would be harder on him than Dale.

“Sure, whenever you are.”  Dale threw started over to the drink counter to fill up.  He wanted something to sip in case his mouth got dry during the next little bit.

David spoke up loudly.  “Everyone, if you’re ready, we’ll move to the Q&A session.”  With that, he brought Dale up in front of everyone.

“Well, here goes!!!” Dale thought as he turned to face everyone.

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