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Resignation, Part 48

The last few words of the invitational hymn were sung.  Dale looked around before he walked back up on the stage.  He approached the pulpit and sat his bible down.  He adjusted the microphone before he began to speak.  He cleared his throat and began.

“It’s been a good day.  Before we leave, the search team wants to speak to the church.  I’ll turn it over to David as the team makes their way up.”

Dale walked down the steps off the stage and continued out the side door.  Several members of the church looked around with questioning looks on their faces.  More than a few began to whisper while the team was getting ready.  Most remained stone faced, though a few were talking as normal and laughing.

The search team climbed the steps and stood to the side of the pulpit.  David made his way behind the pulpit.  He was shorter than Dale, so he undid Dale’s work on the microphone.  He glanced down at the sheet of paper he had made his notes on.  He swallowed from the nervousness that gripped his throat.  His palms were sweaty and his legs were a bit shaky.  He had wondered how he would react this morning.  He had prayed for strength and wondered how bad it would have been without the prayer.  The team had wondered how the church would accept their recommendation.  They had all been nervous at the time of their last meeting.  Now, with all of the eyes on David, he felt the collected nervousness feeling of the team.  He guessed that came with the territory of being the chairman and the spokesperson.

“Good morning.  We wanted to update everyone on the progress we have made on our pastor search.  We have tried to be totally transparent with you throughout the process, and we aren’t going to stop now.”

Dale glanced over at the team.  Fred McGinley stood there almost as straight as he had countless times before as he stood before the church.  He might be slightly bent and slower than he used to be, but otherwise was the same as always.  Fred’s presence would carry a great deal of weight with the majority of the church.  They were going to need that if what they put forward was going to go through.

Beside Fred stood Tom and Teresa.  An extra bounce was in their step.  Word had filtered throughout the church that they were engaged.  David did not foresee that when they began this process.  He had watched both of them for many years.  He had never seen either one of them with a member of the opposite sex at church before.  He imagined that they had dated before, but nothing seemed to progress to the church-going stage.  Now they seemed inseparable and rumor was that there was going to be a wedding sooner than later.

The spot beside them was empty.  Bill would have been standing there if he hadn’t passed.  How he wished that Bill was still with them.  His presence with them would have carried weight with the majority of that small minority that seemed so vocal.  They were so loud that if folks didn’t know better they would think they represented the entire church.  Bill had made his wishes clear shortly before he had died.  In fact, he had filmed it and wanted them to use it at just a time like this.  David thought that would be in poor taste and the others agreed.  He wondered if that was the best course of action now, but it was too late.  They weren’t going to play the video now.

“We’ve visited a few churches to hear preachers preach.  The only one’s that we have gone to hear are those that have actually sent us resumes’.  We had no desire to show up at a church where a pastor was not looking to leave and cause him any turmoil there.  One that we went to listen to arranged for us to listen to them somewhere else.”

“All of the preachers were very good speakers.  Their preaching ability would all have been more than adequate for us.  Some were from churches smaller than ours.  One was roughly the same size and another was a bit larger.  All in all, I think we did a pretty good job of narrowing down the candidates to those that we thought would be viable options for us.”

David looked around and saw that he had everyone’s attention.  No one was talking or whispering.  It was complete silence.

“The problem that we faced was that none of us were comfortable with the candidates once we heard them.  We can’t really explain that.  Nothing on paper could be shown to back this up.  We simply could not proceed with any of them.  Therefore, we will not be recommending any of those as candidates.”

There were a few murmurs and one hand was raised.  Dale was surprised, but quickly recovered.

“Ms. Pat, do you have a question?”  David looked at Pat Conroy, one of the most respected ladies in the church.  Everyone loved her and her fried apple pies that she brought to fellowships.  In fact, a line formed to obtain a pie as soon as everyone was allowed in.  Many was the boy who vied to mow and work at her place, knowing that part of the payment would be her delicious delicacy.

“Yes, Dale.  You say that none of the candidates will be presented to us.  Why do we need anyone anyway?  Why don’t we just vote for the one who is doing the job now?”  That brought out the noise that David had expected.  It just happened differently than he had expected.

“Well, Ms. Pat, it’s funny that you ask that question.  That’s exactly where the team kept coming back to.  We would hear these preachers preach and always came back to wanting Dale.  That’s what we want to do.  We want to present Dale as our candidate for pastor.  A vote will take place in two weeks in accordance with our by-laws.”  Dale looked at the team and back to the church.  A loud roar was going throughout he church, though there didn’t seem to be much dissent in their recommendation.

Tom Jennings jumped up.  This is what David had been dreading.  He felt like Tom would be the one to cause a ruckus.  The problem was that no one knew exactly what Tom would do.  They had to be prepared for anything, even if that meant nothing.

“Excuse me, but you can’t do this.  This isn’t what we elected you to do.  Bill Johnson would never have stood for this.  I demand an explanation and a different plan.  If you can’t do that, then you all need to resign and we need to start over.”  Tom was red-faced.  David could almost see the spit flying out of his mouth as he spoke.

“I don’t understand what you mean, Tom.  We followed exactly the task we were given.  We searched for a pastor.  Now, we’ve recommended one.  We’re going to vote.”

Tom glared at David.  “It just isn’t right.  This isn’t how it was supposed to go.  Bill said he would take care of it.”

Pat Conroy stood up.  “It seems like the Lord has taken care of it, Tom.  You can vote your conscience in two weeks, just like the by-laws state.”  With that, she sat down.

David almost laughed, but didn’t think it would be a good idea in his position.

“Well, if that’s all, we’ll vote in two weeks.”

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