Monday, July 11, 2005

Funny church conference moment #1

The kids and I are at our Presbytery's annual summer conference. (T didn't come along--it's not really his thing . . .) Most conference logistics snafus go largely unnoticed by participants, but I happen to be on the planning team for this one, so I can tell when something "off script" is happening. Our Presbytery is quite large geographically, and many people travel long hours to get to the college campus where the conference happens. The conference starts on a Sunday evening to give folks plenty of time to make the trip. We try to keep that night simple: registration, dinner, introductions of staff and speakers, and a brief opening worship service. This is about all folks can take in after travelling all day or after doing church, frantically packing, and making a shorter journey.

Last night's worship was supposed to last 30 minutes. At the twenty minute mark, our keynoter got up to speak. Twenty minutes later he was still holding forth. The sermon may have been quite good, for all I know. I was no longer alert enough to tell. My daughter was asleep in the seat next to me. A quick glance around the room betrayed many of our Presbytery's finest staring slack-jawed in the general direction of the pulpit.

The preacher himself seemed to be aware that this thing was taking WAAAAAY too long. (My theory: he grabbed an old sermon out of the barrel shortly before leaving his home on the east coast and did not take the time on the plane trip west to check if it fit the time perameters we sent him for this service several weeks ago.) But I guess he's not the "edit-on-the-fly" type, so he kept going.

My seven year old son was not sleeping or slack-jawed. He was writhing in agonies. He turned back-flips in his seat. He whimpered. He lay on his belly on the floor and tied my shoe laces together. He checked to see if his seat cushion could be used as a floatation device. Still the sermon went on.

Finally, after fifty minutes of service and thirty minutes of sermon, the preacher said "Amen" and headed toward his seat. At which point my son's voice rang loud and clear through the auditorium, "He's FINALLY done!"

You know what they say about preacher's kids . . . .

9 comments:

Apostle John said...

My preacher teacher in Seminary said "you know when to end the sermon when people start looking at their watches. When they tap their watches and hold it to their ears to see if the watch still ticks, you've gone way too long."

Friday Mom said...

Love that kid of yours. Clearly he is used to a preacher who knows how to keep it short. :-)

Quotidian Grace said...

As my husband would have said, "He missed several good stopping places in that sermon!"

LutheranChik said...

That story reminds me of one Sunday in my church, when the pastor finished his sermon with an "Amen" and a very loud young voice piped up from the back of the church, "Can we go home now?";-)

I used to know a PK whose father used to say that any sermon longer than the Sermon on the Mount was way too long.

the reverend mommy said...

I am SO HAPPY I'm not the only one.

Heh, but I've been known to go more that 30 minutes. But, but, but -- they still looked interested!

Songbird said...

Man, reverend mommy, you were brave!
Not me. I just assume everyone sitting out there has adult ADHD.

St. Casserole said...

Great story! Why can't it all be said well in 12-16 minutes or less?

PPB said...

hee hee

Kathryn said...

My youngest learned very early on that "Amen" usually meant that whoever was talking had stopped...so in late toddlerhood, when he'd had enough of any speaker, he would climb onto the pew and say with great clarity "AMEN".
It usually worked, as the speaker would be laughing too much to continue ;-)