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Appreciation supper

April 12, 2015

April 12, 2015

The bright sunshine through the window surprised me. That and I had about 5 minutes to get to church. I had wanted to be on time to make up for missing choir practice Wednesday. Laura ended up asking me how Zumba went. I confessed that I had not gone. Instead, I helped watch Becky’s son.
Prior to the service I had asked the minister, “Father, may I make an impassioned plea during announcements?”
He looked at me with suspicion, I thought.
“About the homeless program.”
He relaxed slightly and nodded.
He opened brightly with his usual greeting and very quickly asked for announcements. I stepped on my choir robe as I strode up the side aisle to the front. Two or perhaps three others were ahead of me to announce a film and discussion, an admonition to sign the attendance registry, and to join the hand bell choir. When my turn came I handled the mic carefully, noting that the mute button had a green light. That means it is live, I thought.
My pulse raced. The church was by no means packed. Off to the right was a pair of 20-something men with nerdy glasses and military high-and-tights holding hands the way a couple would. Otherwise, the church had just a scattering of people to invite to the appreciation dinner on Tuesday—the dinner I had no intention of attending even if I had not already had a conflict that night. But I did.
I started off by stating the facts: the who, where, what, why, when and how. In no particular order. Then the story of how I had gotten coerced into making the announcement and why if I had said I had gotten coerced, I would regret it for years to come, so I had to withdraw the part about being coerced.
I thought I was losing my mind.
“Do you want to go to an appreciation dinner?” I asked. Of course there was no answer. I answered for them. “No.” I felt like I was warming up to the task. I continued.
“No one wants to go to an appreciation dinner. The people in our church like to volunteer as hosts for the homeless, but they don’t like going to volunteer appreciation dinners. I wouldn’t consider going to one myself, either,” I said.
“But here’s the thing. The program just has 2 or 3 paid people and everyone else is a volunteer. There wouldn’t be a homeless program if there were no volunteers. Therefore, the directors need to show their appreciation for volunteers. That’s why you people need to go to the dinner on Tuesday evening so that they can show their appreciation for you. All are welcome, even if you are just thinking of being a volunteer.”
It seemed plausible, though absurd, to employ such twisted logic. I think I can safely say nobody in the room will go to the dinner on Tuesday. I should have asked for a show of hands. Let’s see. Of those who would not be attending.

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