Skip to content

Gladys’ Boy — part 4 in a series

July 7, 2017

She raised her hand from the second pew to my left, so naturally I smiled and nodded at her.

That’s when she stood up.

— It was my first week as the new pastor of a “county seat church,” which  was a big deal. A very big deal.

I was petrified.

Right after my Greetings to my new congregation, I had told them I had a special offer for them: they could be among the first churches in the country to make their voice heard on a great new project in United Methodism.

“I have a letter here inviting you to help shape our denomination’s new hymnal! They’re asking for your input. I can help you with this.

“Start thinking about your favorite hymns, your Top Ten Countdown favorite hymns.

“Starting tomorrow and for the following three weeks, I’ll be gathering those from you. Then I’ll submit them to the editorial board of this new hymnal. I can help you with this!”

That’s when her hand flew up.

— That’s when she stood up.

“We can do a lot better than just that, Rev. Scheets.”

Not exactly the gratefully impressed response I’d expected from my generous offer to help these people.

But before I could think of something to say to get my smug train back on track after she’d derailed it, she went on.

Ignoring me and turning to the congregation, she proudly announced, “We can so much more than he’s suggesting. Because my son is home!”

“Mom, please, no,” he almost shouted, shaking his head and wiping his face.  “I told you, don’t do this.”

He was a respectable looking, well dressed, almost middle aged man, seated by his standing mother.

Again before I could say anything, she continued speaking to the congregation. “My son is here today, he’s home from Washington, D.C., where he works.”

Turning back to me, she said, “Rev. Scheets, my son can help you. He’s here, and he’s Dr. Stookey.”

I jumped back from the lecturn’s micophone, and handling all this with my usual calm demeanor and subtlety, I raced to the front of the chancel area.

Smiling at me, she sat down.

I heard myself shouting at her son, “What am I doing up here while YOU are sitting there?!”

He again shook his head and wiped his face, but this time he was smiling.

To the rest of the church, I shouted,  “Do you people know who this is?! Dr. Laurence Hull Stookey! He teaches preaching and worship at our United Methodist seminary in D.C.!  Even better: he’s one of the editors of that new hymnal I just mentioned!”

Going back to the lecturn, I grabbed the letter that had started all this commotion. “His name’s listed here on the left margin of this letter, along with a bunch of other big names.”

I looked at his mom. “And you…you’re part of this church?”

She paused, then said quietly,”Well, actually my husband Floyd and I are here for the first time today.”

“Me, too!” I shouted, to a roar of laughter from the church.

Finding some composure from somewhere, I asked, “Dr. Stookey, please, would you preach this morning, or pray, or can I schedule you for the future?”

He stood, turned and waved at the congregation, and everyone clapped. He turned to me and said, “Thank you, but I’m here  to worship with everyone else.” And he sat down.

Gladys beamed. Floyd studied his bulletin. We went on with the rest of the service.

As some friends say, we had church. We continued to have church, and to be the church, for the next several years together.

Flash back to yesterday’s blog with me. If you don’t remember about Clarice, her prophetic insight, and that prayer I quoted, now’s a good time to scroll down and read yesterday’s blog.

That prayer from yesterday’s blog? The prayer For True Singing? It’s in the current edition of our hymnal. It was borrowed from our friends in the Lutheran Church and adapted for our use by Dr. Laurence Hull Stookey.

You and I know him as Gladys’ Boy.

Simple summary? God’s still in business.





From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: