NORTH DAKOTA – Despite narrow votes on both sides, the Church of All Saints of Southwestern North Dakota held its quarterly young-adult social event last week, bringing together the 18-30 crowd from both the Church of All Saints, and the Church of Some Saints of the 29th of February. The young adults shuffled in silently to the walled patio in front of the church. The first to speak was Father Alexander.
“Welcome to the Orthodox courtyard court! We are very glad we can have this event. Both Father Boris and I know that it’s not easy for you. I heard people express reservations about coming because many of you have an ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend attending the other church.
“I know it’s difficult,” Fr. Alexander continued, “but these are the only two Orthodox churches in this end of the state, so if we want to have these events, this is how we have to do them. Maybe you said or did some things that you regret, but we have to remember that church is the place where we can come together as brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of what came before, sort of like Luke and Leia in Star Wars.
“In that spirit, we need to get past what happened before. Therefore, this social event is going to start with Apology Hour. And I don’t mean we’re reading Justin Martyr. Then we can get on to Dessert Hour.”
A woman’s voice bellowed from inside the fellowship hall, “Speaking of which, you could apologize for letting the kids baptize the cat!”
Fr. Alexander looked annoyed at first, then said, “When they promised me it would be a pretend baptism, I thought they meant no water.”
“Well, it didn’t! That cat shredded our nicest embroidered baptismal cloth,” she went on.
Fr. Alexander paused, then looked at the young adults. “Yes, Matushka is right. I am sorry I didn’t supervise our children well enough. See, that’s how it’s done.”
The young adults stood up staring at their feet, until Euthymia walked quietly over to a boy and said, “I’m sorry I told you to go to the outer darkness where men weep and gnash their teeth.” Her ex-boyfriend nodded.
On the other side of the room, Barry Barsanuphius said, “I’m sorry I told you I was called to be a monk when really I was just interested in another girl.”
Thekla responded, “I’m sorry I said, ‘Woe unto you, Pharisees, hypocrites and fake monks.’”
Eupraxia then volunteered to Hermocrates, “I’m sorry I got you banned from your altar-serving job when I snuck in to the sacristy and put popcorn kernels in the censer.”
“WHAT?” exclaimed Hermocrates. “That was you? Fr. Boris, did you hear that, see, it wasn’t me!”
Fr. Boris said in a steady tone, “Remember, this is about moving on, Hermocrates.”
Cosmas then said to Seraphima, “I’m sorry I said that you have no hope of being a virgin martyr.”
Seraphima replied, “I’m sorry I said that even if you got to heaven, your only friend there would be Moreover the Dog.”
“Moreover the Dog?” asked Cosmas, puzzled.
“He’s the only dog mentioned in the New Testament, you know, from the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16, where it says, ‘Moreover the dog licked his wounds,’” Seraphima explained.
Siluoan then volunteered, “I’m sorry I broke your heart. But I really agaped you.”
Tamara replied, “I’m sorry I broke your nous.”
Silouan asked, “So, what have you been up to lately?”
Tamara said, “Oh, you know, reading the Bible. It’s really long.”
Fr. Boris piped up, “Thank you all for taking that initiative! Now, let’s switch to talking with other people.”
A tense silence gripped the room as the young adults stared at their feet again, until Cosmas turned to Thekla and said, “So, what’s your favorite hymn?”
This report was filed by Recovering Reporter Thomas Ruthford
Copyright © 2012 Thomas Ruthford. All Rights Reserved.