Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CALENDAR (10/20/16)
- TITLE: Chance of a Lifetime
By Donna Powers
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Charlotte didn't consider herself a religious person, so it didn't matter to her which church she chose, and she chose the largest church in town. She sat there and let the pastor's words go in one ear and out the other, while waiting for the coffee hour when she could network – er, socialize - and “casually” mention her business.
After a few months, the pastor asked Charlotte to take pictures at the Fall Festival, to use for the church's calendar. Charlotte was thrilled. This was her opportunity to gain a reputation for taking pictures the congregants would flock to buy. The pastor's instructions sounded easy, “Just capture the essence of our church.”
Whatever THAT meant.
But taking pictures at the Festival appealed to Charlotte: the colorful fall foliage and October sky would show off the church's stunning architectural features. That had to be what the pastor meant.
She planned her photos thoughtfully, barely stopping to notice or enjoy the Festival's treats and games. She knew this was her chance: she had to make sure the calendar was a work of art.
An hour before the Festival ended, Charlotte thrilled herself by snapping a picture of evening sky as it framed the roof of the sanctuary. She could envision her pictures being showcased in the calendar. Satisfied, she placed her camera near her jacket and decided to sample some cider and pumpkin bread.
After the festival, Charlotte was lost in her work, until one day she realized she'd completely forgotten to get the calendar pictures developed. And, of course, they were due that day.
Hurriedly, she dashed to a one-hour photo booth and paced until the pictures were ready. She grabbed the pictures and hurried to the church, just in time for her appointment with the pastor.
She handed the photos to the pastor and sat beside him as he looked them over. Charlotte couldn't wait to bask in the pastor's gratitude.
But Pastor Jones didn't show much reaction. Picture after picture: showcasing the glory of the beautiful sanctuary, the stately church building, the gleaming kitchen and the colorful Sunday school rooms evoked no discernible reaction.
“Well, the Pastor must not appreciate good photos,” mused Charlotte. “My pictures would make the perfect calendar.” She'd expected him to be thrilled, but ... it looked as though her efforts had been no use.
Suddenly, she realized there were more photos in the envelope: photos she'd never seen or taken. There was a shot of a rowdy soccer game, and one of a woman letting a family into the food pantry. Another picture showed a group of children of varied ages and races, sharing a snack and giggling. There was a large group saying grace before lunch, and a tired looking man in a threadbare coat, eating a muffin and drinking coffee, as a church member placed a hand on his shoulder.
Charlotte was outraged: how dare someone take her camera and produce these frivolous pictures? What if the pastor thought they were hers?
The pastor looked up. “Charlotte, some of these are pure genius.” She was relieved; the pastor must be overlooking the interloper's pictures. She hastened to explain, “I can't explain where those other pictures came from, Pastor, but I'm glad you like mine.”
“I surely do,” agreed the pastor. Charlotte began to relax, when the pastor held up the picture of the giggling children. “Won't this be perfect for the calendar's cover?”
She blinked in shock. “But, pastor, surely...” she murmured. She hoped he was kidding. But then he held up the man eating a muffin. “Or we could use this one. We certainly don't want those from the beginning of the pile. After all, this isn't an architectural journal: it's a calendar depicting the essence of this church.”
She still didn't understand where those other pictures had come from – or how the pastor could possibly choose them for the calendar. But, for once, her business instincts weren't prominent in her mind. For once, she wanted to understand what he was talking about.
“Pastor,” she said , “can you explain what you mean by 'the essence of the church'?”
He smiled. “I thought you'd never ask,” he began.
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