Good or bad news?

My good friend Rich sent me a link to this news item: “Church mayhem: Rogue choir, earlobe twisting” on the MSN NBC website, asking me the question “Good or bad news?”:

preacherman

CHARLOTTE HARBOR — The pastor of a Charlotte Harbor church had 16 church members booted from a service after they allegedly refused to stop singing and let the clergyman preach.

Deputies were called at 10 a.m. Saturday by Pastor David Noel of the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Harborview Road.

Noel told a deputy he was instructed by regional church superiors to involve law enforcement to remove the rogue choir.

The deputy issued trespass warnings to the group, and all 16 left the church without incident.

Guess what it was all about? Did the clergyman move a couple of chairs and a font? Nope. Was it because Pastor Noel was refusing to include the epiclesis in the eucharistic prayer? Nope.

No, it was that old church favourite (or ‘favorite’ as they would probably prefer): money! Something, admittedly, that Jesus speaks about most in the Gospels.

Deputies say the dispute is rooted in concerns about the handling of church funds. The members of the rogue choir told deputies they’d handle those concerns within the church.

I certainly admire the protester’s method for disrupting a service. None of this storming the pulpit, or chaining yourself to the votive-candle stand. Sing!

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 46 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall. Currently on sabbatical. I am a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir.

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