The Agora
Just For Fun

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That just about covers it!

The first time I ever presided at a sizable interecclesial gathering, I was a young brother, about 25, and I had the task of giving a welcome and an introduction to the classes that would follow, and presiding at the opening class period.

After much hustle and bustle, we were all ready to go; it was 9 am on a Saturday morning, and there were about 100 or so in attendance. I had my carefully prepared program and notes for my comments and introduction.

Everything was set -- except for one thing. The speaker for the first class was late. And so we waited -- which didn't help my nerves at all! Finally, after 10 or 15 minutes, the speaker arrived. Car trouble and a wrong turn (this was a new campsite, and unfamiliar to some -- so understandable).

But, now another delay. The speaker had a very large, very tall chart that needed to be affixed to the wall behind the speaker's podium. This was done with the help of a couple of tall brothers, standing on chairs, and using a lot of masking tape while the increasingly restless audience continued to wait. So finally, after what seemed like an eternity (but was probably only about 20 minutes), we were ready to start.

By now, I had been mentally reviewing my carefully prepared notes --
realizing that I should cut them, due to the time constraints. So I was trying to do this in my mind, as I strode to the podium. "Good morning, brothers and sisters," I began -- when suddenly the whole wall chart collapsed, from the top down. It remained affixed to the wall at the bottom, but slowly the top portion collapsed forward until it had completely covered me as well as the podium where I stood. It was as thought the lights had gone out!

There were a few gasps and giggles. And there I stood. What was the prescribed method for dealing with this? I stood there sort of hoping that all would decide, on their own, to get up and leave. I waited a bit, but I heard no movement. I peeked around the edge of the chart, which was still lying across the podium. No, everyone was still there -- probably waiting to see what the next "act" was going to be.

Now what? I finally decided that I couldn't just remain there, hiding under the chart. So I gathered together all my notes, stooped down, and slid sideways like a crab, out from under the chart, until I was free and clear. "Brothers and sisters, we now call upon brother ______" and then I made a hasty retreat for a chair.

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