The Friendliest Bunch in Town

Shiloh Baptist Church has a motto, “We’re the friendliest bunch in town.”

Janice Waterman noticed something at church one day that made her question the motto. Janice married into the Waterman family and Shiloh was where the family attended. She never approached Shiloh as a first time visitor because she was always Bill’s girlfriend, fiancé, or wife. One Sunday morning she walked through the vestibule just as a new couple entered the building for the first time.

The greeter was having a very loud conversation with one of his buddies and paid no attention to the visitors. This startled Janice. So she watched how they were treated the rest of the morning. No one greeted them during the “fellowship” time, no one gave them a welcome packet, no one sat with them or asked them their names. When the service was over they left as they came in, with no one speaking to them.

Janice addressed her concerns to the pastor and the elders. She spoke to the greeter chairperson. She talked to the worship leader but no one seemed to notice or care. She decided she would address the church leadership board and let them know about her concerns.

They told her she didn’t understand the history and tradition of the motto and that she shouldn’t contradict their carefully crafted saying. She said, “But it isn’t true!” Several on the board got mad and told Janice to remember her place; she was a Waterman and criticizing the church meant criticizing her family.

Janice wrote a letter and mailed it to the membership. She got angry phone calls and threats. At the next business session she was brought up on charges and removed from membership. All this because Shiloh Baptist Church is the “friendliest bunch in town.”

What has happened to Shiloh?

What can be done to change things?

What should Janice do?

Published by David B. Smith

Author, podcaster, pastor, and Big Pappa to my grandchildren.

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