It never rains, it pours. I’ve always wondered why people say that. Especially in California. We’re always having a rainfall shortage, but when it rains, everyone goes on about it pouring. Not that it’s raining right now, but I was thinking about that because this past week it’s been murder at the church. Busy-like murder.
Not murder in the murder sense. Not like a Miss Marple mystery. Although, I would love to have a mystery. Even Walt is a mystery. He shows up at odd times…either just when I arrive or before I have to leave. What do I really know about him? But it has been soooo busy that I didn’t have a moment to myself.
Funeral bulletins. That’s what took up all my time. It seems like a bunch of people from our seniors group decided to pick this week to die. Not that I’m blaming them. That sounds awful, it’s just that they all died this week. Not all, of course. That would be really, really weird. But poor Mark and Tav had so many funerals to do, and I had yet to get back to Sally.
“Which of you wonderful pastors can do a memorial service on Sunday?” I ask at our staff meeting.
“One of our members?” Mark asks.
“No. It’s from Community Cov.”
“Then Tav can do it. He’s the more wonderful one.” Mark playfully punches Tav’s arm.
“The servant-life of the Associate Pastor.” Tav’s pretending to be so humble.
“Very sad story. Wait, I hear the violins.”
“Feel free to fire her,” Kate suggests.
“I thought you told me slaves had to be sold.”
“I’ll start the bid,” Brad offers. “One dollar.”
“I’m so impressed. Your entire year’s salary.”
“Ooooh. Ouch. You have to watch out for her, Brad. She can be brutal,” Tav’s warning him.
“Okay, children behave.” Kate’s pretending to rebuke us, laughing.
“Are we ready for the prayer requests?” I’ve sorted them out into different categories—Urgent, FYI, Gossip, and Round File.
The pastors open their iPads, ready to take down any necessary details they may require.
“Dear Lord, please have Mark visit Thelma.”
Yes, it’s about Thelma again.
“Sweet Jesus, may the youth leader not use heathen music in our church.”
“Brad, we keep telling you not to bring your evil ways into the church.” Brad groans, and slouches further down in the sofa.
I continue through the prayer requests. Some are from our missionaries, parents, visitors—so many needs.
“Pray for our Missions’ Weekend.” Reminder to self: Finish the mission prayer booklets or Faith will be so ticked off.
“There’s just one more. ‘Lord, Pastor Tavish is so hot. Please let him ask me out on a date.’”
“You’re not serious!” That got Brad’s attention and he grabs the prayer card out of my hand.
“Fine. Read it for yourself.”
“Just as I thought,” he tosses the card back at me. “It’s Natalie’s handwriting!”
“Natalie, you could just tell me yourself.” Tav’s grinning.
“In your dreams…”
“Hmmm…I should tell you about my dreams.”
Now they all are laughing at some inside joke that I obviously know nothing about! And Tav’s got this…never mind, not thinking about it.
Some days, staff meetings are just so much fun.
I’m waiting for the computer tech. Of course, the computers would go down at the worst possible day…Friday!
“Don’t do that. It only leads us into trouble,” Kate warns, while I follow her around like Mary’s little lamb.
“Very funny. Actually, I’m wondering…”
“What’s taking the techs so long?”
“No. Who has the least respect in the church?”
Unfortunately, Kate’s phone rings, and I have to return to my desk.
“What are you doing?” Kate’s back.
“I made a list. Well, the bottom of the church hierarchy totem pole list. Here take a look.
Custodians (they’re not on the bottom, because they’ve figured out ways to hide from church members…or just ignore the requests), missionaries (they’re out on the field), and then secretaries.”
“Natalie Taylor, you must be bored.”
“Yes, I am. But that still doesn’t change the fact that church staff is not treated well by many of our members. I know church secretaries who would rather be in high-risk security work environments than a church. Some would even consider signing up for combat duty or as mercenaries. Actually…you know…I’d love to have a Glock.”
“Clock? Why do you want a clock?”
“Or a PPK…” Kate’s staring at me confused. I guess she hasn’t seen Spectre as yet.
“Well…Some days, I would prefer to be elsewhere too.” Kate’s carrying on the conversation and I’m still thinking about PPKs to James Bond to Tav, of course. I wonder if he has a Glock. “I think when the secretary is also the custodian, she wins least favored status.”
There’s this silence and Kate’s waiting for me to respond—but I haven’t been paying any attention to what she has been saying. I’m still thinking about the Glock. I wonder if I could keep one in my filing cabinet. Should find out from Kate about how the church feels about guns.
“Natalie, you’re not listening to me.”
Sweet Kate repeats herself. “Some churches expect their office staff to work as the custodian too.”
“Yes, I’ve done that too,” Kate nods.
The joys of being the secretary.
“But what’s the church policy on guns?”
Kate has this horrified expression. “Guns? Why guns?”
I’m so random. And Grandpa was in the military so I’m not being political or anything. But I’m thinking of settling on a G27 as an EDC. Now I need to find a job to go with my EDC decision. I’m so done with the church secretary/administrative assistant thingy.
I’m still waiting for Tech Support and going through the papers on my desk.
“These are our keynote speakers for the weekend?” I call out to Kate.
I’m checking their bios. He looks like your typical Southern type preacher. You know, the one they show in the movies who’s always the crook. She’s smiling brightly. I’m picturing a halo shining above her—the perfect partner in crime.
“Who are they? Bonnie and Clyde?”
Kate’s laughing as she walks into my office. “Have you met them?”
“No, but they remind me of the typical charlatan missionaries who go around ripping money out of the church’s pocket,” I respond promptly, encouraged by Kate’s laughs. She shouldn’t encourage me.
“Maybe they carry guns on them. You’re outrageous!”
“Then don’t laugh!”
Kate shuts the door leading to the pastors’ offices.
“Just don’t let Mark hear you say that. He’s known Clyde for a while and thinks the world of him. Clyde was like a mentor to him and seems to have pulled the wool over his eyes.”
“What about Bonnie? Does he like her?”
Kate seems a little uncomfortable. “Well, Mark’s not too fond of Bonnie, but she seems to have the money and Clyde gets a lot of it for his needs.”
Now I’m getting the impression that Kate’s hiding something, but I just can’t put my finger on it. I’m going fishing.
“Have you met them both?”
“Yes. They’ve been over here before, but not for a missions’ weekend. Bonnie is very nice—a prayer warrior.”
Hmmm…I can already hear her praying. Jesus, yes Jesus, please Jesus, yes Jesus…
“Where will they be staying?” I press on. I have to find out what the missing piece is.
“They prefer to stay at a hotel.”
“I thought Mark would host them seeing that Clyde is his mentor.”
“Not enough room at his place. I offered to host Bonnie.” Strange. I know Mark had an extra bedroom. Other visiting pastors and missionary couples have stayed at his place before.
Houston, we totally have a problem.
Maybe Kate will tell me later. But I feel like I’m catching a very smelly fish.