Schism Ch. 1 – Pt. 1: Bertha’s Warning

February 29th, 2010


The first topic of discussion in the February Call Meeting was that Pastor Payton would not allow some programs, festivals, or celebrations to be carried on in the church. The Pastor’s decision prevented Chairman of the Deacon Board Dewey “Doughy” Holly’s band of worshipers from performing in the church. There was noticeable frustration coming from Deacon Holly as Pastor Payton expressed his feelings on there being no part of God in the entertainment the programs brought. Dcn. Holly bit his tongue and remained silent, letting the meeting continue without rebuttal.

Changing the topic to the church member’s thoughts on the church’s spiritual growth saw current Senior Choir member and former Church Secretary Bertha Cooke speak for nearly five minutes on how the people weren’t showing the love needed to make our church thrive. Bertha predicted that certain members who believed they are going to heaven really aren’t!

Deacon Holly jumped out of his seat and use Cooke’s words to talk about something that had bothered him for a while, “I just don’t understand how we keep bringing in new members, but once they’re baptized, they leave.”

Chairman of the Pastor’s Aide Amos “Baritone” Macklin tried to sooth Dcn. Holly’s confused mind on such an important problem.

Macklin stated that he believed newcomers didn’t know who was really leading the church and, “How can you walk the line if you can’t lead yourself?”

Several people gave “Baritone” a standing ovation over his bold words until Deacon Samuel Travis reminded Amos that Macklin didn’t come to church when Pastor Payton can’t attend.

Rather than defend his actions, Macklin calmly replied, “I know that’s right,” before taking his seat – not saying a word for the rest of the meeting.

Things were starting to take a turn for the worst when Pastor Payton said that God had given him the Word to preach to us like adults, but we were still unable to move past simple matters like this meeting.

Deacon Roscoe Calhoun took offence to Payton’s claims from seconds ago, asking Pastor Payton, “Do you really judge us like that? And don’t lie and say you don’t.”

Dcn. Calhoun believed that Pastor Payton was not being honest with himself when he judged the congregation according to the Word that God had given Payton. A slight stomp was heard coming from Dcn. Calhoun when he sat down following Payton’s declaration.

Dcn. Holly returned to a standing position to reemphasize his disagreement with Pastor Payton over the allowance of programs, festivals & celebrations in the church. According to Dcn. Holly, Pastor Payton put a stop to a church program Holly and his band hoped to play in the church over a year and a half ago.

Since that day, Holly saw Payton in a different light and verbally admonished Payton in front of us, “You have authority, but not that kind of authority!”

Bertha Cooke hated hearing people of God bickering over petty things like programs; asking us to show love to not only each other, but also other churches. Then Cooke took things to another level by saying the Holy Spirit had shaken her during the previous night (something that occurred in the past with Mrs. Cooke), and demanded she write down what the Spirit told her. Cooke retrieved a folded note from her right pant pocket, squinting her eyes in an effort to read her writing. I, like most people I talked to after the meeting, had no idea what the incomplete, seemingly misspelled or misread words Cooke read meant.

When Cooke took her seat, Pastor Payton had a statement for the pro-program members, “Programs will ruin (this church). They’ll become bondage tools used by Satan. But I’ll let you have whatever you want to have. Before you answer yes or no, think about this: Before or after I came here, how much have programs helped the church … spiritually?”

Silence spread throughout the room when this spiritual bomb was dropped.

After several awkward seconds of quiet, Dcn. Holly audibly disagreed with Payton’s assessment about church programs being tools of the Devil’s bondage. In Dcn. Holly’s mind, the entertainment his band would’ve provided celebrated God. For the first time since the meeting began, Payton appeared disappointed, shaking his head in a “no” fashion as everyone reentered their seats.

As the meeting returned to the agenda, Sister Bertha leapt out of her seat, shaking as if she had been electrocuted. According to the trembling, sweating Mrs. Cooke, the Holy Spirit was moving through her right here, right now! Through the Holy Spirit, Bertha blamed the deacons for the Youth Wednesday Nights destruction because no deacon would attend.

No response from the Deacon Board allowed Bertha to continue her Spiritual, verbal assault with her fists pointed at her targets, “You better drop whatever you holdin’ against Pastor Payton ‘cause we ain’t gonna get nowhere! And Pastor, I don’t wanna hear you sayin’ nothin’ bad about the Deacon Board! And I better not hear any of you talkin’ bad about Pastor! Let me hear it! Let me hear it! I’ve heard things, and it’s not of God!”

Everyone watched in shock as Bertha’s body quaked until she abruptly stopped and sat down.

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