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When things look hopeless, you can call in outside help.

Baaad move.

Hoping to clarify issues in the strife-torn church, a visiting pastor, representing the conference, asked members of the congregation to seat themselves in three groups, indicating whether they preferred a traditional style of worship, a charismatic style of worship, or whether they were comfortable with both.

They followed orders. Looking suspiciously at one another from their new, clearly divided camps, their differences only crystallized. An awkward silence filled the room.

"Well, now we know where we stand," the speaker said. After a few more words that did nothing to ease the tension, the speaker dismissed the now-skittish congregation.

The simmering conflict at Hidden Valley Church was now anything but hidden.

The Fault Line

Hidden Valley Church (in this article, names have been changed) prides itself in being the oldest church of its denomination in the state-more than 100 years old. Born and raised on nearby farms, many of its sixty members have never known any other church ...

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