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Adagio for a Pastor: Toward Closer Staff Harmony

I saw him coming. Like a runaway locomotive with steam billowing in all directions, he broke through the line of departing parishioners and screeched to a halt in front of me.

"What's the idea of changing the closing hymn this morning without telling me?" he demanded in a fortissimo voice. "I work so hard to plan the music and coordinate the service, then you have the nerve to throw that clinker in at the last minute."

"Clinker?" I responded weakly, trying to appear calm before the startled people around me. I was a young pastor; he was a talented musician. He was several years older than I, but we had never directly clashed before.

"That last hymn was a clinker! A terrible selection. The congregation couldn't sing it. The organist couldn't play it. And I didn't like it. It didn't fit at all. Never, never, do that again."

He turned abruptly and strode off, leaving me stunned as I mumbled something about the stress of ministry to the curious bystanders still in the hallway. Fumbling my way ...

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