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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: See (07/22/10)

TITLE: Extra Lessons
By Anita van der Elst


Findley plugged in the percolator and set the teakettle on the burner. Serving refreshments to the congregation after evening services was a responsibility the facility custodian took seriously. He opened the cupboard. Shoot! Guess I left the paper plates in my car. Walking past the Children’s Church classroom, he heard them singing one last chorus.

“Oh, be careful little eyes what you see,
Oh, be careful little eyes what you see.
For the Father up above
Is looking down in love,
So be careful little eyes what you see.”

Findley hummed the tune and occasionally sang a word as he toted the groceries back into the church foyer. Shadowy movements near the sanctuary door caught his eye. Brother Jobe’s back was to him but his voice carried clearly.

“You girls had all the right answers in Children’s Church tonight,” Jobe said to the seven-year-old twins at his side. “Isn’t it nice your parents had Miss Hutchins give me those extra lessons to go over with you?” Jobe opened the sanctuary door. His hands gently nudged them into the darkened room. “We can leave the lights off, don’t you think, girls? Since I know these memory verses by heart, we won’t need them to read by. Okay, I’ve got peppermints! And who gets to sit on my lap first?”

Findley grinned. Those Hennessey girls are the cutest things. Must like old Jobe too. See them going in there just about every Sunday. Wonder what curriculum Miss Hutchins has him using. One of these days I’ll have to ask her. Wonder if she’d go out with me.

With a start Findley realized he still had paper goods to deliver and cookies to set out. Never let it be said that Findley didn’t see to his responsibilities.

Miss Hutchins waved as Findley trotted past. She shoved the last small chair back into place, straightened the Bibles and smiled with satisfaction. All appeared as it should. Except…where was her purse? She’d had it at the beginning of the service, before dismissal to Children’s Church. I must’ve left it in the sanctuary.

Her high heels click-clacked on the tiled corridor as she hurried to retrieve the handbag. She didn’t want to miss out on tea and the latest gossip. The bag was where she’d thought, second pew from the back on the right and no need to turn on the light to find it. She jumped when Jobe spoke.

”Hey there, Miss Hutchins. We’re just admiring the moonshine through the colored-glass windows, Dottie and Frannie and me.”

“I see,” Miss Hutchins agreed. “And thank you again for all your help in the children’s classroom, Brother Jobe.”

“No problem, dear. You know how I love the little ones.”

“You coming to fellowship now?” Miss Hutchins asked.

“Having some fellowship with these two cuties but we’ll be right along. Won’t we, sweeties?”

It was too dim to glimpse the girls but Miss Hutchins figured they were nodding their heads.

“See you there then,” she said. Going out the sanctuary door, she almost collided with Pastor Verne.

“My apologies, young lady,” Pastor Verne said, stepping back to let her go by. “Everything okay?”

“Yes, Pastor. Just had to get my purse. Forgot it earlier.”

Pastor Verne chuckled. “Seems forgetfulness is catching. I left my reading glasses on the podium. Can’t catch the finer print without ‘em. Join you in the fellowship hall shortly!”

“We’re heading that way too, Pastor,” said Jobe, leading Dottie and Frannie down the aisle.

Pastor Verne watched until they were out of sight. An ugly suspicion had nagged at him since he first noticed Jobe taking them into the sanctuary weeks ago. He shook his head and frowned. He’s the head elder and a substantial giver. Wouldn’t want to rock any financial boats. Besides he couldn’t be doing anything terribly bad to those little girls, right here in church…could he?

Grabbing his glasses, Pastor Verne detoured to his office and locked the door. His disturbed emotions needed settling. He dropped to his knees behind his desk. His hand reached under the bottom drawer on the left side and pulled out a secret tray. Without bothering to take a seat in his chair, Pastor Verne placed his glasses on his nose and opened his hidden magazine. He prayed no one would ever spy him with this material.

A child’s voice echoed outside his door, “Be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little eyes what you see…”

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This article has been read 476 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lisa Keck07/29/10
Well written story with an unexpected ending. We think that simple song is just for little children. Our eyes are children's eyes as long as we belong to the Father so we must always be careful. Good message.
Mona Purvis07/30/10
This is a very hard subject to write about and I praise you for doing so. It makes readers uncomforable, but that doesn't mean it should be avoided...to the contrary.
This is happening in our churches and the sexual predators are getting by with it. Just as you portrayed in your story, people think it couldn't be really happening.
I lost my best friend last year due to her husband being the character in this story. She stands by him. He is now in prison, not for the children he abused in the church, but for a child they adopted and he abused and it was found out after the last church incident.
Bravo for giving this attention.
Totally on topic as well.

Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/30/10
My stomach lurched when Jobe said to the girls to keep the light off. I was sure Miss Hutchins was coming to the rescue, then when she didn't I thought surely the pastor... It's scary to think what might be happening in our own church right under our closed eyes. Powerful story, you showed courage ending it the way you did without the longed-for happy ending.
Danielle King 07/31/10
This was very disturbing to read but let's face it, this sort of thing happens all too often, and with the people we might least expect. You dealt with a delicate subjet very well.
Laury Hubrich 08/02/10
Oh my. Okay. I can relate to this. An affair happened right under my nose when I was a church secretary- our pastor and the worship leader/custodian. Devastation to all when it finally came out.

We don't want to think bad about people when we see things when God is clearly telling us to open our eyes and really see.

Such a sad commentary to our churches. Eye-opening, this entry is. Good job on a touchy subject.
Robyn Burke08/02/10
You painted a horribly sad and realistic scene... please take that as a compliment. You created the perfect tension for the topic.
Strong writing!
Rachel Phelps08/02/10
Too true to life to be comfortable to read. My hat is off to you to be brave enough to tackle this subject and do it so well. Excellent, and terrible.