The board retreat had been slated for weeks, a twenty-four hour breakaway at a commodious hotel where pastor and deacons would gather to eat, relax, pray, and plan the coming year together. They would rendezvous on Friday evening as soon as each man's schedule would allow, and when the working sessions were completed, their wives would join them on Saturday evening for a candlelight dinner.
But with one ring of the phone early Thursday morning, all that went out the window.
A long-time member of the church, a dedicated Sunday school teacher, had died in her sleep. Within hours it became clear that the wake would need to be on Friday night, with the funeral scheduled for 1:30 Saturday.
Reluctantly the pastor dialed each deacon to say "It looks like we'll have to find another weekend. As much as I hate to upset the plans, my place for now is with the grieving family." The board, while disappointed, could only agree with the postponement.
Calendar upheavals such as this one are native to church ...1