Brother Larry seemed incapable of comprehending the painful loss and sense of utter rejection that I was experiencing

Brother Larry seemed incapable of comprehending the painful loss and sense of utter rejection that I was experiencing

Sitting in church the next Sunday, my deacon resignation letter in hand, I noticed Brother Larry’s wife Sarah sitting on the front row

I needed comfort and compassion; he offered only coldness and cruelty. “The Apostle Paul was clear,” he was saying as I reeled from his verbal blows, “deacons are to be the husbands of one wife. That means nobody who’s divorced.”

“I like things neat and tidy,” he replied, “I’ll expect your written resignation by next Sunday. We’ll start the replacement process the following week.”

I didn’t know whether to scream or cry. I was angry at his callous and cavalier attitude. I was deeply saddened by the double whammy of losing my wife and my ministry in one fell swoop. I walked away to avoid saying something I’d later regret.

As we all stood to sing a hymn, my eyes remained on Sarah Kershaw. She was at least ten years younger than Brother Larry — probably about my age. Her personality was a stark contrast to his — where he was confident, loud and brash, she was mild-mannered, quiet and cautious.

The thought crossed my mind, as I sang and watched, that she almost seemed to blend into the background — not just here and now, but in church life generally. The spotlight was always on Brother Larry, whereas Sarah was always in the shadows.

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