Nobody owns the Church... Part 3
In Part 2 Jean Fiscalini addressed the Thompsonville SDA Church
Nominating Committee with his concerns regarding the re-election
of Danny Shelton as a church elder. In neither his previous term
as local elder, nor in respect to the election in question, was
the title of elder bestowed upon Danny Shelton as an honorary
position. At that time all church officers in the Thompsonville
Church held functioning positions which they agreed to fulfill
upon accepting the nomination for a particular office.
The pastor held up a paper in his right hand and referred
the congregation to the copy they had received in the church
bulletin, "Each of you has the Nominating Committee Report in
front of you. If there is no discussion, we will now vote to
accept the report as written." As his eyes scanned through the
pews they came to rest upon Jean Fiscalini. Dumbfounded, he realized
that Jean had raised his hand and stood waiting to be recognized.
The pastor acknowledged Jean and invited him to speak. "For reasons
that I have already expressed to the Nominating Committee, I
would like to recommend a change be made before the vote is taken."
As Jean sat down his wife moved closer to him, placing her
hand in his, she whispered into his ear, "You realize that you
are committing career suicide." Squeezing her hand, he said,
"I have to follow my conscience." "I know", she replied, "I just
wanted to make sure you realize where the consequences of you
actions are leading us." "Honey, I know what I have to do..."
Looking into his wife's eyes he understood that she was not questioning
the necessity of his actions, but merely voicing her skepticism
of Danny's assurance that "...whatever happens in the Thompsonville
church does not effect someone's job at 3ABN. Even if Jean and
I were to disagree about something at church, it would not effect
Assuming the congregation was unaware of the nature of the
objection being raised, the pastor asked the Nominating committee
to immediately adjourn, accompanied by Jean Fiscalini, to another
room for private discussion. Passing Danny Shelton, Jean leaned
over to him and requested that he join them since the discussion
was in regard to him, "Danny, can you join us, it is about you
and I want you to hear the information first hand."
For fifteen minutes, like the buzz of a swarming hive of bees,
whispered voices fulled the sanctuary of the Thompsonville Church.
Sitting silently, Kristina Fiscalini was aware of different individuals
attempting to catch her eye. She looked down at her open Bible
and tried to imagine what was happening behind the closed door
where her husband was now facing Danny Shelton and the Nominating
Committee. For her it was as if time stood still. She became
aware of the soft sound of a woman's dressing sliding along
the pew toward her. "Kristina, what is going on in there?" She
looked up into the eyes of her trusted friend, but her only answer
was to shake her head and return her eyes to the same passages
she had read repeatedly for what seemed like eternity, as everyone
Without warning a rush of silence engulfed the Sanctuary as
Jean Fiscalini and Danny Shelton walked in together, followed
by the Nominating Committee. His back turned to the Congregation
and speaking in a hushed voice, what Danny had to say was intended
for Jean alone, "That was ridiculous", he hissed. An expression
of controlled rage welled up upon his face he continued, "All
you did was waste fifteen minutes of everybody's time! You kept
everybody waiting fifteen minutes for a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y nothing!"
As Jean turned toward the front of the church to rejoin his wife,
Danny took his accustomed seat in the pew that was situated against
the back wall of the Sanctuary.
Looking up into her husband's face as he sat down beside her,
Kristina moved closer and squeezed his hand. A sad smile greeted
her questioning glance as the pastor moved up to the microphone
to address the congregation... "We will now continue the vote
to accept the report of the Nominating Committee as written."
From his position in the rear of the sanctuary, Danny surveyed
his realm—everyone entering or leaving had to pass before him.
This vantage point gave him the opportunity to observe the raised
hand of Jean Fiscalini as he voted according to his conscience
based upon Biblical principle, an action which Danny Shelton
would interpret as Jean placing himself in direct opposition
to his authority.
Raising her hand to vote in unity with her husband, Kristina
looked over her shoulder and saw the look of disgust and contempt
on Danny's face. Later, as her husband recounted what had taken
place with Danny and the Committee, the image of Danny countenance
as the vote was taken would surface in her mind. She realized
her husband had made a very dangerous enemy that day, although
he appeared unaware of the ramifications his simple act of conscience
would cause him.
To be continued...