Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Gossip Mill (05/08/14)
TITLE: Imogene and the New Preacher
By Christina Banks
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“So, it’s true.” Imogene gestured at the banner’s bold proclamation: Welcome Pastor Vick. “You really invited that young man to our ladies’ gathering? How could you, Bonnie Mae?”
Bonnie didn’t want the confrontation, but this was ridiculous. They had just voted in the new preacher and already Imogene was against him. “He’s our pastor, Imogene. We need to make him feel welcome.”
“I heard the church he just came from didn’t even have a women’s group. Can you imagine?”
“He’s a single man, what do you expect?”
Imogene clicked her tongue against her teeth and shook her head. “What were the deacons thinking bringing in an unmarried man to lead the church?” Imogene’s ranting was drawing a crowd as the other ladies arrived for the meeting.
Bonnie could feel her smile slipping. She checked her watch. Only ten minutes until the pastor arrived. “Ladies this probably isn’t the right time for this.”
“And when is the right time?” Imogene insisted. “Are we to sit back as this young preacher tells us we can’t meet any longer?”
“He’s shutting down our group?” The others began chattering at once. “What are we going to do?” “Why would he do that?”
Bonnie closed her eyes and sent up a prayer for patience. Sure, she’d been unsure when the deacons said the pastor wanted to meet with the group, but she didn’t want to feed this fire that Imogene had started. How could she bring order to the meeting when all these wild accusations were flying through the air?
“Bonnie Mae, I demand that you put a stop to this.” Imogene stomped her foot.
“I intend to.” Bonnie took the cane from Imogene’s hand and rapped the table. “Ladies! This is enough. All of our questions will be answered in just a few minutes. Please calm down and find a seat. Pastor Vick will be here momentarily.”
Bonnie was relieved as the women scattered to their seats. She went to the podium and looked at her notes. She could feel Imogene’s dark look follow her. She already knew the agenda by heart, but she needed a moment alone.
When the whispered conversations suddenly died, Bonnie knew the pastor had arrived. She offered the young man a smile. He might not receive one from the other women. As she introduced the man and welcomed him to the podium, she couldn’t take her eyes away from Imogene’s look of suspicion. Would this man really end their program?
Pastor Vick’s smile was disarming, but as he spoke about the good that women’s groups can do, Bonnie’s heart pricked. When was the last time that she had challenged the group to reach out beyond the borders of the church? Were they doing good for anyone or had the group become a breeding ground for discontent and rumor?
“Ladies,” Pastor Vick said, “I’ve heard what is being said about me. I want to put those stories to rest. I have no intention of stopping you from meeting together, but I do hope you’ll be open to some suggestions for projects. You may not know, but my grandmother is at the nursing home on Sunset Street. Would you ladies be willing to start a ministry to the women there?”
Not even Imogene could deny that was a good idea. Her sister was also in that nursing home. Bonnie wondered why they hadn’t thought of it before. They’d put it to a vote, but Bonnie was sure it would receive unanimous support. It was time to put their energies to a good use.
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