Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sunday School in the Hallway

Lydia and I go to the same church. Which is awesome and wrong at the same time. Most of the time we coordinate it so we don't go to the same service, because we giggle at each other from across the room and that's not a good example and the Cap'n gets all twitchy.

So a few weeks ago they changed everything up in the regular schedule and it took the entire congregation about forever to figure it all out. Between actual church and classes and kid classes and choir rehearsal and these things they call Small Groups which mean you get to be with other people who share your same sort of mini philosophy of things, we were like, "Wait. What time is church?"

And then there was this spreadsheet in the bulletin that detailed just exactly where the children were going to be and I have a college degree and all, but it took like forty-five minutes to figure out exactly where all of my children were headed. Whuck? We have this many classrooms? There's a downstairs? In this church? How do I not know this?

McLovin looked at me like I was a moron, and I was all, "Did YOU know there's a downstairs? No? Then shut up. Oh right, we're in church. Shut-up-please-and-thank-you."

But, the point is, after a very long and far too detailed explanation of who and what age kids were doing what activity, one unifying thought suddenly drifted into all of our Mom-heads:

"Between the hours of 10am and 12:30pm, your kids will be...somewhere else."

[cue sound of angels singing]

The premise, of course, being that parents are supposed to be in Adult Education classes and/or decide to join the bell choir or something in that first hour, and then attend a blissful, educational, child-free service during the second hour when we're not shushing and threatening and generally being so un-Christian-like that we really shouldn't even be in the building.

[Editor's Note: Now, to be clear, there is a kid-friendly service at 8:45am, after which your kids get spirited away for you to do the - you know - bell choir, etc etc, but, as for me, hearing the sermon without having to make intermittent threats of "Stop it or I'll make you stand up in the middle of church and apologize..." makes for a much more benevolent Mommy later. And yes, one of them did have to apologize to the congregation once. I interrupted the minister. We now go to a different church. -Kate]

So, of course, Lydia and I parked ourselves in a church pew that's now taken up residency in the hallway. (to make room for the bell choir...awesome...)

Not that we didn't want to go to an adult Sunday School class, but we just wanted to do a quick catch-up first. Then Maria joined us. She's new to the church, but we totally scooped her up quick before The Church Ladies could get her. When Melanie finally rounded the corner, we convinced her that four women with young children constituted a small - yet significant - group discussion.

Which is exactly what we told our Associate Minister, the Ministerial Goddess of Cool (MGC) when she slowly wandered past us, suspicious. She's no dummy:

MGC: This looks like trouble...
Lydia: Nope. Not. At. All. [smiled conspiratorially] This is our small group.
Kate: We meet from ten to eleven in the...hallway. Here. This pew. Yep. As...arranged. By all of us. Just now.
MGC: And the topic you're discussing today?
Melanie: Turning Water into Wine.
Maria: Uhhh, HI! I'm Maria. I'm new here.

MGC smiled and said hello and introduced herself. Then glared at the rest of us, mostly Lydia and Kate. [Editor's Note: I'm not sure she exactly appreciated being introduced as the MGC. But maybe a little she did. - Kate]

Kate: What? You said to practice Radical Hospitality. I was *totally* hospitable! She came back. See?
MGC: You? Really? Ummm, well done Kate.
Lydia: We were equally surprised. It's OK.
Melanie: We were thinking wine could be a useful teaching tool here.
MGC: No.
Kate: What if we include bread? OH! And cheese!
Lydia: [whispering] Shut up, hooker. She's gonna disband our small group.
Kate: [not whispering] NO WAY! She's our first guest speaker. [to MGC] You were *awesome* by the way.
MGC: [curtsied] Thank you! No wine.
Lydia: What about Starbucks?
Maria: Ooh, yeah, that's important on Sunday. Like, fellowship? Right?
Kate: [to rest of group] I love her can we keep her?
MGC: Bring me a mocha and we'll call it even.

A little bit about the MGC - she's young and super cute and blonde and wears heels - well, not Kate heels, but Kate feels there is potential there for a dual conversion.
  • Kate becomes more pious and not so snitchy to The Church Ladies
  • MGC becomes more Prada and way more snitchy to The Church Ladies
By the time our Second Spontaneous Guest Speaker - Church Minister - walked by, we were full on into a discussion about our kids pushing boundaries. He offered up this gem of advice:

"Your kids should know and feel your presence all the time, keeping them on a path of honesty, goodness and openness."

Then he looked at his watch.

"And now you all better run and hide because those same honest, good, open children are all about to change rooms and you're gonna get caught."

Yes. We hid in the stairwell. The bathroom was closer, but then we heard one kids say something about having "to go" and we hightailed it down the stairs.

It was a proud moment.

Five minutes later, we came out of hiding re-emerged from our break to find the MGC sitting in our meeting room on our pew.

MGC: Have you learned anything during your [did the fake quotation marks in the air] small group?
[We all nodded.]
Kate: Peace be with you, particularly between the hours of ten and eleven.
Melanie: You said to find the small group that speaks to you. [did the  Price Is Right TA-DAA! to the rest of us] And I did. They totally speak to me.
Maria: We practiced Radical Hospitality. It worked. You're welcome.
[Kate fell off the bench at this point. Kate is subtle.]
MGC: And the part about hiding from your kids?
Lydia: You know about that? [sighed] Well, we were trusting the skills of others to lead the little flocks.
MGC: I'm coming back next week. Just to make sure you don't bring wine.
Kate: You said "little flocks." That was awesome.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010


  1. "We practiced Radical Hospitality. It worked. You're welcome." Ahh, Kate, I do heart you so =)
    A small group Mommy Ministry, plus nourishment, plus legal stimulants, and..are the heavens opening up?...the kids are taken care of for two hours?!? You ladies may have the most popular new small fellowship group in your church!
    Blazing trails into the spiritual nurturing of Mommies in the Blur. You ladies ROCK!
    I want to go to your church...

  2. My church doesn't have classes going on during service, but seriously I've thought of dropping my kids off then sneaking out to my car and leaving them for 2 services while I nap in my car. Our church meets in a movie theater so I could probably sneak in one of the unused theaters and nap too. Best part is I work nights and the children's director is a friend, so I could totally get away with it. But I'd feel all guilty and stuff.

  3. What a fun post! It sounds like a great group for moms. Hope you meet every Sunday!

  4. I clearly go to the wrong church....how do you keep the church ladies off your back?

  5. "Peace be with you, particularly between the hours of 10 and 11." Pure awesomeness - epic, actually.
    Off for a run and then some Shredding with Jillian...who's with me? (on the Shredding, that is...)

  6. I'm obviously going to the wrong church as well.....we don't even have a children's church or nursery or anything.....sigh....

  7. Please may I go to your Mommy group? I will bring the wine. er, I mean Starbucks. I work in our kids part of our church for 2 of our 3 services. I also have two kids. I also work at my kids' school. And I am the coordinator of the American Heritage Girl troop at our school. And I teach piano lessons to kids. Obviously, at some point in my life, my brain has fallen completely out of my head. Pray for me.

  8. That was fantastic! I'd love something witty to say, but all I can come up with is yet another LOL.

  9. Having two sets of twins made me desperate, no, let's call it creative. The summer I found out about VBS (Vacation Bible School) was the best I ever had. I dropped them off at 9 a.m. and picked them up at noon. They went to the Baptists, the Methodists, the Lutherans and the Presbyterians that summer. The Episcopalians were planning one, but my daughters begged me to stop already. It was a great summer for me!

  10. Love.It.

    As a pastor's kid and Bible college (drop-out...), married to a pastor's kid/ current minister... I *totally* need to go to your church. I was a church secretary for a few years and sometimes "made copies" during Sunday School (read: check Facebook on the church computer).

    Yours sounds even awesommer.

  11. Where. is. this. church.??? How far from good ol small town PA?

  12. That is awesome. I will bring the skinny cinnamon dulce lattes next time.

  13. Haha, I love it! We have 3 hours of church, and I only have 19 more Sundays until my boy is old enough to go to Nursery for the last two hours... It will be magical!

  14. This makes me want to join your church and I'm not a church-goer. :) Maybe cause the churches I've been to don't have any MGCs....

  15. I just....I love you guys. Seriously. Without you guys, I would be thinking I was the only mommy who ever needed time away from my kids, had a near constant stream of snarky thoughts and sometimes fed my kid cookies for dinner, just so he will be quiet for a little bit. *sigh* Thank you...so much.

  16. I love, love, love this post! I love that you're not all precious about being "spiritual" but are just real. Love it :)

  17. LOVE IT!!! I'm a pastor's wife, and I could so use a Sunday morning like this!! Actually a few of my good friends get together for "fellowship" (our code word for drinks and girl time!).

  18. This makes me want to go to church!




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