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Dozens Of Details

Last Sunday was, of course, the first Sunday of Lent. At Virginia-Highland Church, we change our worship service with every liturgical season, and that means covering dozens of details. As I arrived at church, I was trying to remember all the things I needed to do before the staff arrived, keenly aware that my right arm was missing. This is my first Lent without Bill, and this was a season that we took seriously together.

I opened a desk drawer to throw my keys and wallet in, and there was his nametag, reminding me that I still need to find a new membership coordinator. (We have not had a membership class since he died.) I sighed and ran off to make copies of the new communion liturgy. As I did, I managed to get toner on the cuff of my white shirt, so I had to go downstairs to the kitchen to find something to clean it.

I was standing there scrubbing it with Dawn when I looked up and saw on the wall a sheet of instructions explaining how to make coffee in that huge, old urn that every church has. I’ve never used one because every church I’ve ever been a member of had great servant leaders who arrived early, and then coffee appeared as if by magic. I noticed that the name at the very bottom of the page was “Bill Eure.” Seven months after his death, he still is ensuring that the coffee gets made.

When I got back to the office suite, Chris, a great volunteer, was coming out the door. Chris makes sure that the sanctuary is in order on Sunday mornings and that the pews are stocked with offering envelops and attendance pads. I’m not sure what he was talking about at that moment, but he was telling someone that he simply was doing what Bill had asked him to do before he got sick. In the hallway, the person setting up for communion, another job Bill would have done, was explaining that they swapped weeks with another team member. Someone else was moving candle screens and replacing the votive candles, and still another had a question about the curriculum for the small groups. I had to explain that Bill wrote that material.

By the time church started, I was exhausted for Bill, and the 12 or 13 people it took to replace him on the first Sunday of Lent. When I leave a church, they simply hire a new preacher.




Rev. Michael Piazza

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