Resurrection 65Posted: December 7, 2016
This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.
After everyone had filed out of the church, Ben Garrison convened the Pastor Parish Relations Committee meeting in the Fellowship Hall. He had a clear agenda and this wouldn’t take long. All three of the other members of the committee were weak willed and pretty much went along with whatever Garrison wanted.
“We have a pretty serious problem.” Started Garrison.
“Should I be taking notes?” It was Flossy Canada, a blue-haired woman who had been a part of the church since she was a child. She was designated secretary. She was the silly kind of older woman, overly dramatic. Perfect for what Garrison had in mind.
“Yes, Flo, we need this to be recorded,” replied Garrison solemnly.
“Ok, well let me find my pen and a pad of paper.” She wandered off into the church office.
“What do you know about this Ben, anything?” It was Tony Miller. Tony was a 40-something mechanic with thick black hair and a full goatee.
“Well, I’ll tell you everything I know once Flo gets back.”
“I hope it’s just some horrible mistake,” added Carolyn Dennis, the fourth of the group.
As soon as she said that, there was a loud “Found it!” and Flossy came back into the hall.
“You all heard what I said before the service. J.W.’s been arrested. What I am about to tell you, however, is to be kept confidential. You need to know it because of your important position in the congregation, but it should not leave this room.”
The faces around the table were transfixed.
“The PPR is probably more important now to the future of this church than it has ever been before.” He wanted them to feel as if they were crucial to the church. In truth, Garrison had contempt for the ladies and thought Miller was decent enough, just not extremely bright. The kind of guy who was good with his hands but not with his mind.
“They suspect J.W. of murder.”
“Oh my word!” Exclaimed Flo. “I don’t believe it.” She folded her hands in front of her.
“Now, Flossy, he is suspected. That doesn’t mean he’s guilty. It might be important for you all – again, this shouldn’t leave this room – the details of his arrest. Again, I will tell you what he is suspected of, not what he is guilty of. I think it’s important for you to have all the facts I have.
“Early this morning, Danny Canada was murdered, sitting in his police car.”
“Oh my goodness!” Flo was in rare form.
“You all know Danny, you’ve seen him around town. You aren’t related, are you Flo?” Asked Garrison.
“Well, I’m sure we are. Cousins or something. I never met him that I recall.” Answered Flo.
“He is also suspected of another murder on Friday night or early Saturday morning, of a woman, up at Laurel Dam.” Continued Garrison.
“Ben, do you think that could be true? I can’t believe it’s true. What evidence do they have?” Miller asked.
“I don’t know what evidence they have and they’re not saying,” that was a bit of a lie, Harlan had filled him in on everything in the interrogation, but Garrison was trying to seem as if he were looking out for the church and for J.W. as well. “It’s probably some terrible misunderstanding. But the police were quick to arrest him. They seem to think he’s got something to hide.”
“You know they arrested that preacher up at Garrison for shoplifting. Nobody could imagine, there he was, stealing from PicPac. Nobody was the wiser until he got caught. You never know about people.” Added Carolyn.
“Now Carolyn, we’re not talking about shoplifting, or some other preacher, this is J.W.” Tony had an edge in his voice. He liked J.W., it was him that brought Tony back into the church.
“Yes, I agree,” added Garrison, getting control again, “this is serious and it is about a man we all truly care about.
“Let me continue. We need to think about J.W. and his family. We need to make sure they are taken care of during this difficult time, no matter what the facts are. It’s the Christian thing to do.”
All four nodded in agreement.
“I think the best way to do that is for me to call the District Superintendent and let him know what has happened. He won’t have heard yet and it’s important he be there to minister to J.W. and his family.”
“Yeah, someone needs to go to the jail, too.” Added Tony.
“I’m sure the DS will go visit him this afternoon,” said Garrison.
“Our job, right now, is to care for the needs of the congregation. We need to think about what is best there. The conference maintains a list of ‘supply preachers’ and we can find one who can come and fill in next Sunday, I mean, so even if J.W. gets all this sorted out, he won’t have to worry about a sermon.”
“That sounds kind, he’s been through a lot the last two weeks.”
“I’m sorry,” interrupted Tony. “There is no way J.W. killed anyone. Heck, he’s one of the kindest people I know. Always looking out for others. Now you want to replace him?” He folded his arms and just shook his head.
“No, no, not at all Tony, I agree with you. J.W. is a good man, not a murderer, and we’re not talking about replacing him. On the contrary, we’re just looking out for him. The shock of the past week must be devastating. He needs a chance to get his bearings. A week off from preaching is one of the nicest things we can do.” Assured Garrison.
“I guess that makes sense.” Tony acquiesced.
“So we’re agreed then, I’ll call the DS, tell him the terrible thing that has happened to J.W., and get a preacher scheduled for next Sunday to give J.W. a break no matter what happens. All in favor?”
All raised their hands.
“OK, I call this meeting adjourned.”
Garrison accomplished all he had hoped. He couldn’t call the DS without getting the approval of the PPR, which he now had. He gave Flo enough information she would spread it all around Silerville before nightfall and he could get another retired minister to stand in while this all resolved.
J.W. wouldn’t be preaching there again, no matter what happens. If he were guilty, then of course no church would have him. If he were innocent, then he could easily make the case the baseless rumors “others” spread would cloud his ability to minister here.
J.W. was finished, one way or another.