Pastor and his wife are on a week of vacation! Most in the church are glad they could get away and enjoy the time off. After all, everyone needs a break, even pastors, right? Most think so.
But while the cat's away the mice are playing. Here's an opportunity to do some underhanded, covert operations, and Ed and Edith are on it.
First off, Ed's a bit frosted that the pastor would take a vacation now. After all, there are important items on the church calendar and shouldn't the pastor be here? Committee meetings (especially the committee on committees), the choir's progressive dinner, the exterminator is coming for the annual pest inspection. It's January and he needs to be here for the start of the new year, it's May and that's just before the "summer slump", it's summer and everybody else is on vacation, it's fall and don't we have a revival scheduled soon? There's really no good time for a vacation, Pastor. Sorry. And that guest preacher who filled in for you...well, he wasn't what we are used to...
But there are other underlying reasons Ed and Edith are on a mission. Really it's about control, and Pastor has lately been showing some initiative - some would call it "leadership". New people are taking on roles in the church; new ministries are being started. For Ed and Edith it feels like they are losing their grip.
So, as the pastor and his long-suffering wife are enjoying palm trees and gentle breezes, little do they know that a storm is brewing back home. By the way, they would have never been able to afford a vacation like this had not some folks in the church provided it.
Edith, who also has been doing the pastor's taxes the last couple of years is on a campaign to tell everyone in the church that their pastor makes more salary than any other pastor in the county. Actually, he is probably the lowest paid pastor around. In fact, he never got a raise of any kind his first five years in the church. Nada. Because of that, he was forced to take on some supplemental employment as a handyman to help make ends meet. There's nothing wrong with that if that's what it takes. But even then, some in the church, like Edith, resented the fact that he wasn't at her beck and call 24/7.
And Ed? He's started a petition calling for a vote to remove the pastor! It's the American way, right? Before and after church last Sunday he approached those he thought would be on his side to sign the petition. This was something he cooked up on his own, however. The deacons didn't find out about it until one of them was called by a member questioning the petition's legitimacy.
Arriving home, refreshed from their holiday, Pastor and wife find several unsettling messages on their voice mail. "Pastor, the deacons need to meet with you ASAP. There's a petition going around..." "Pastor, is it true you are the highest paid clergyman in the county? Can our church really afford that?" Their hearts sink into the pits of their stomachs. Welcome back to the real world!
Fortunately the deacons, who wield great authority in the church, are visibly incensed at what is going on behind their backs. "We'll take care of it, Pastor." So Ed and Edith get a phone call, telling them what they are doing is out of bounds and to cease and desist with the petition and the insinuation that the church is being robbed with every paycheck Pastor receives. The salary, by the way, is voted on annually by the congregation.
Ed and Edith have a choice. Stay or leave. Shocked that they've been confronted and told what they are doing is not very Christian, they decide they are no longer welcome in their church. "There are plenty of other churches in town that would love to have us as members", they tell themselves. They've had that same conversation with themselves before.
So, the next day they show up at the church with both of their vehicles, including Ed's pick up truck. Since they both have keys to the church it doesn't matter that no one else is there to explain what they're up to. But into the nursery they go, and out with them comes a rocking chair, a changing table, a crib and the curtains (Edith prefers to call them "window treatments"). You see, two years ago, with the arrival of their first grandchild, Ed and Edith joyfully offered to refurbish the nursery. Who knew there were strings attached?
Pity the church that gets the nursery furnishings next.
Meanwhile, back at their old church, for some reason it seems as if Someone has opened up the windows and let the fresh air come in.
(Believe it or not, Ed and Edith's stories are based on real life. I couldn't make these things up! If you want to read other installments on Evangelical Ed and Edith, click on their link under "Labels" on the right side of this page.)