Reverend Jenkins pulled his ego up from the basement and grabbed a jacket. As he picked up his brief case, he smiled. “Not yet, not yet,” he thought. “It will be all right, in good time.” He whistled a low tune as he headed out the door. Once in his car, he mentally began practicing a humble posture. He saw himself, with head bowed, eyes riveted on the pastor, nodding in agreement to whatever was going to be said. He practiced appearing interested in the pastor’s personal life by determining what kinds of questions he wanted to ask and to feign surprise or interest. This meeting was important. He had to make the pastor feel comfortable with him in order to get him where he wanted him—out of the church in disgrace—was his plan. And he had already figured out how to do it. With a little bit of help, he would soon be the rightful pastor of Christian Faith Ministries, the way it should have been.
He groaned inwardly when he thought about how he had been cheated with the appointment. He had been warned when the church joined the ecumenical organization that a church appointment was not automatic, simply because someone had been a member of the church. He knew that most of the congregation had really enjoyed the ministry of the Recinoire’s; he just didn’t think he had to worry about the appointment. Wrong. He had misread the entire situation. That wouldn’t happen again. He had plans and nothing was going to get in his way. “Nothing, nothing, nothing,” he muttered aloud.
Pulling into the parking lot, he took a deep breath, rotated his head and neck to relieve the pressure and prepared to play the role of his life. He turned off the engine, snatched his brief case off the passenger seat and climbed out of the car. After locking the doors, he walked confidently into the church, ready to plant the seeds of his plan.
“Come in,” Cal responded to the knock on his door. Looking up from his notepad, he waited. When Reverend Jenkins entered, he rose, came around his desk, with extended hand to greet him.
Reverend Jenkins took the extended hand and shook it warmly, clasping Cal’s wrist in the process. Smiling, he sat in the chair indicated and sat back expectantly. Cal retreated to his chair behind the desk and sat contemplatively.
“Thanks for getting here so soon,” he began. “Your message seemed a bit urgent, how can I help you?”
“Well now, Pastor, I didn’t really call you because I needed help. I called to see how I could help you. It’s been a pretty busy first year, so I figured, you could use a little more help around here. I’m at your disposal to do whatever it is you need done,” Reverend Jenkins’ smile stretched across the lower half of his face without reaching his eyes.
“I must admit I’m surprised at your generosity. You know the rumor-mill has it that you were upset with not getting the position here.”
“I was disappointed. Now that I’ve had a chance to see what you’ve done in just a short period time, I’m relieved that I was not appointed pastor. I don’t honestly know if I could have accomplished what you have. At any rate, I do know about the rumors and I decided that it’s time to put them to rest. I wanted to make sure that at tonight’s meeting there is no doubt in anyone’s mind about where I stand. I want to see this church grow into everything God intends for it to be.”
“I appreciate your attitude Reverend Jenkins and I welcome your assistance. At the moment, I don’t have anything specific in mind, but I’m sure something will surface soon. We have more than enough to do to keep everyone busy. Did you have anything specific in mind?”
“Well, you know we could stand raising some money around here to develop the surrounding land. Our young people are pretty talented and I was actually thinking about having them perform a knock-out concert.”
“That’s a splendid idea!” Cal exclaimed. “I was thinking about something similar.”
“Wonderful! Perhaps, we should present this idea at the meeting tonight. You know, in order to prepare a concert the magnitude that I’m thinking about, we’ll need at least a year to get everything in place.”
“That’s fine. I’ll just add it to my agenda under new business. I’m glad we had this chance to talk and I look forward to working with you on this. I’m sure the congregation will be glad to see us on the same page as well. How’s your son? Doesn’t he sing with the youth choir?”
“Yeah, Vernon sings with the choir. He could do a better job with some additional training, but it keeps him involved in the church. He’d rather play basketball than sing, but I’m working on him.”
“Perhaps, we can utilize him to organize some basketball tournaments. I’m sure he knows other young men who would be interested in playing.”
“I’m sure he would. I’ll run that by him when I see him later. Well, I’ll get going so you can get ready for tonight. Thanks for taking the time to see me.” He stood and extended his hand, ready to leave.
Cal stood up and shook hands with Reverend Jenkins across his desk. As Torrance Jenkins walked out the door, Cal felt as though he heard a faint siren. He went to the window and looked out, but could not see any reason for an emergency. He stopped and listened again, but heard nothing. Shaking his head, wondering if he was hearing things, he sat down and took up his notepad.
(Excerpts posted in random order–book available very soon!)