The parson, in a spirit of celebrating the connectionalism of his denomination, an emphasis that had been stressed by the church superior of late, jumped in his auto at Early-thirty Saturday morning. Charlie Brown, his faithful canine companion collapsed in the back seat in a solid effort to demonstrate the problem of being wakened at such an early hour. Princess Penny, Charlie Brown’s girlfriend, quickly occupied the front passenger seat. The parson headed out to their favorite early morning walking spot.
Following their forty-five minute walk, both canines piled into their respective seats, and the parson began the drive toward the morning adventure in connectionalism. The destination was a small rural church on the far side of the county from the parson. The congregation was having a yard sale and a pancake breakfast. The pastor had mentioned their activity to the parson at an earlier pastor’s meeting.
Arriving at the church the parson pulled into the horseshoe shaped driveway in front of the church. The yard sale was taking place inside the horseshoe. The parson waved at the pastor who was staring at his car’s arrival. The pastor either did not recognize the parson or chose to not respond.
The parson continued around the horseshoe drive toward the parking spaces on the far side. At the apex of the horseshoe five members of the church were standing in the middle of the driveway carrying on a conversation. The parson braked, stopped, and waited. After about two minutes one of the women turned to glance at the parson and his canine companions waiting their dispersal. They remained in their group and continued talking. After approximately five minutes they headed down the drive and the parson followed, slowly, ever so slowly, until he finally pulled into a parking space.
“I’ll be right back,” the parson said to his canine companions. They slumped down in the seats in a manner that indicated they’d heard that promise before.
The parson passed approximately twelve people on his way to the entry of the fellowship hall. No one spoke. No one said “Good morning.”
Entering the Fellowship Hall, the pastor’s wife proclaimed, “Parson, how nice to see you.” The parson smiled and engaged her in conversation. He stepped up to the table where the lady was taking up the money for the breakfast.
“How many plates do you want?” she asked.
“Just one,” the parson smiled.
“Okay, that’ll be six dollars.”
The parson paid. He headed down the line and smiled ot the various folks placing pancakes and sausage on his plate. He then picked up a cup of decaf coffee and headed to a table.
About twenty minutes later, the parson exited the church’s Fellowship Hall, stomach filled and spirit depleted. During the entire meal, not one person from the church spoke to the parson. Not one person greeted him or told him anything about the church. Not one person thanked him for coming.
Back at the car, the parson backed from the parking place, maneuvered his car into the driveway, expressed a silent prayer no group was blocking his exit. He turned his car onto the road that led to the highway that led to his home.“You know, Canines,” he said. “Small churches sometimes are small because they choose to be small.”