Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Next Line 11

“Impressive,” Michael said.

“Wasteful,” Indigo replied.

Though nearly empty at the moment, the cavernous cathedral could seat over a thousand. Behind and above them was a balcony area where two hundred more parishioners could share space with a sizeable choir. Indigo pointed these facts out cheerlessly, like a tour guide in a museum of the mundane.

“Too many empty seats?” Michael asked.

“On the contrary, the place is filled every Sunday.”

“Shouldn’t you be happy, then? I mean, to reach so many –”

“Many are here, detective, but I wonder about how many we reach. Most seem to enjoy the anonymity afforded by such a large gathering.”

“Anonymity? As if church were someplace they don’t want to be seen?”

“I think some don’t want to be noticed on the Sundays they are here so they won’t be noticeable by their absence on the Sundays when they aren't.

Michael nodded. He had never been much for attending church himself.

“They needn’t worry,” Indigo continued. “Beyond the core group that sit up front and volunteer for every project, I couldn’t name many names. Do you know how we keep track of our active parishioners, detective? Personalized envelopes. We send them out to everyone at the beginning of each month and use the ones that get dropped in the collection plate to take attendance. Can you believe that? We count the faithful like box office receipts.”

"And what are the latest trends?"

"This March saw a 15% rise compared to the previous year, due largely to the release of our double Bingo program. We expect a strong April, as we've booked a choir conductor with some of the sweetest buns this side of Jericho--he really packs the old ladies in."

Dialogue: jrmosher....The Next Line: Pacatrue

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