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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Gossip/Rumors (either or both) (10/28/10)

TITLE: Sanctuary Scuttlebutt
By Kristi Peifer


It was an especially boisterous meet and greet time at Living Water Christian Church. The Sunday morning worship service was packed to the brim. Reverend Adams made his way through the crowd, stopping here and there to talk or shake hands with someone. He loved this part of the service—except for when old Mrs. Dillery tried to buttonhole him.

He glanced over his shoulder and sure enough, there she was, charging toward his position like ants to a picnic basket. Something about that I’ve-got-an-earful-for-you look on her face always made him shudder inside. He quickly excused himself from the conversation he was having and made a beeline for the pulpit.

The Reverend grabbed the microphone and signaled it was time to wrap up the chit chat. “My, what a lively group we are this morning!” he said. A few congregants chuckled.

“Let’s start our prayer time this morning with praises,” he continued. “I trust someone has something good to share with us this morning?”

“My Grandma Sue just got out of the hospital. She’s doing much better,” a young woman said.

“I’m so glad to hear it!”

A man added, “I have a second interview for the job at the school!”

“Praise the Lord!” Reverend Adams nodded as he scribbled down the praises. “Anyone else?”

Mrs. Dillery stood up. “I have a prayer request,” she announced. “Jeff and Julie Reilly’s teenage daughter—the younger one—recently came up pregnant!” She paused for effect.

A collective gasp rose from the mothers in the sanctuary.

“They’re saying Joey Billingsley is the father,” she continued. “I tell you what, if that was my daughter, I wouldn’t have let him within ten feet of her. Look at the stock he comes from! The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, after all.”

A teenager snickered from the back pew.

“Now, Joan,” Reverend Adams started, but Mrs. Dillery wasn’t about to stop talking.

“Poor Julie is just beside herself! You know, her blood pressure wasn’t so good to begin with—now she’s probably halfway to a coronary!”

Reverend Adams took a deep breath. “Joan, this is prayer time.”

“Yes, I know, Pastor. Isn’t it so much easier to pray for someone when you know specifically what they’re going through?”

She barely stopped to take a breath before answering the question herself. “Of course it is!”

“Thank you for your concern, Joan. I’ll be sure to pray for you…uh, them.”

Mrs. Dillery sat down with a flourish, obviously pleased with her selfless regard for others. Her neighbor in the pew started peppering her with questions. Their whispering was less than circumspect.

Reverend Adams chose to ignore the distraction, instead opting to start his sermon.

“Please turn in your Bibles to Proverbs, where we’ll continue our study of chapter ten. Let’s begin with verse nineteen. ‘Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.’”*

*Proverbs 10:19 (NLT)

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This article has been read 553 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/04/10
I really enjoyed this. I thought about doing a story where a prayer chain turns into a gossip chain. This seems to be happening more and mote. I'm glad you showed this ugly aspect in your story. Great job!
Gregory Kane11/08/10
Strong case for church discipline here - and not for the teenager either. Well told.
Sarah Heywood11/08/10
That old woman just made me shudder! I hope the next installment in your story is how Biblical church discipline was applied to Mrs. Dillery!

Great writing!
Rachel Phelps11/09/10
So realistic it's frightening - well done!
Lollie Hofer11/10/10
Oh my, what a sad character. Unfortunately, this does happen a lot under the justification of "praying more informed prayers." A rose by any other name is still a rose...gossip is gossip, no matter how the enemy tries to disguise it.
Carol Penhorwood 11/11/10
Loved the title; hate that it's too often true. Well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/11/10
Congratulations for your high ranking!
Noel Mitaxa 11/11/10
Sanctuary much for that insight. I thought the pastor tried to handle it well, but when gossip is sanctified into confessing other people's sins for them, it can be tough going.
Overall, a positive challenge with enough humour to keep us reading. Well-deserved placing.
Henry Clemmons11/11/10
There have been some great titles this week. Loved this one too. And I enjoyed the entire entry. By hitting the topic square you ministered the point right on. Great job and congrats!