A collection plate predicament!

From our March 2013 issue

By Ilien Coffey – Vernon, B.C.

It was Sunday and I hurried down from my second floor apartment to catch the bus to get to my church about a mile away.

I was wearing my brand new shoes that had stiletto heels. The heels were about 3-inches high with a ½-inch leather lift on the bottom of each heel.

There was a wire mesh mat at the outside entrance and as I stepped on it, one of my heels punctured the mat.  As I tried to pull it out, the leather lift came off my heel and was stuck solidly in the mat.

By twisting and prying and poking the mat, I was finally able to retrieve the lift, shove it into my pocket, and rush, half limping, to the bus.

I had hoped to be able to find a seat at the rear of the church, however, all the pews were occupied and the usher directed me to an empty seat in the centre of a pew about four rows from the front.

Service was wonderful

I hobbled my way up the aisle and excused myself as I made my way to my seat in the centre of the row.

The service was wonderful, the music was uplifting, and it was time for the collection to be taken.

An usher stood at each end of a pew and passed the collection plate to the person on the outside of the row, who would then pass the plate to the person on his right and so on until it reached the usher on the far end who would then move up one row and pass it to the person on his left .

The plate was passed back and forth up the rows.

When the plate was passed to me I reached in my pocket, placed my donation on the plate and passed the plate to the person beside me.

No sooner had I done this, I realized that I had also passed on my leather lift. What to do?

I waited until the plate came back down the row ahead of me and when it got just in front of me, I stood up, reached over the shoulder of the person holding the plate, grabbed my $5 bill, peeled off my lift that was stuck to it, replaced the bill and put my lift back in my pocket.

Made a quick exit

I suddenly realized just what it must have looked like to those sitting near me and behind me.

After all, I had taken something off the collection plate and put it in my pocket.

The final word of the benediction had barely emerged from the minister’s lips, when I, with downcast eyes, looking neither to the right nor to the left, hobbled back down the aisle and made a quick exit out to the waiting bus.

I will never know whether or not, in retrieving my leather lift, I gained a tarnished reputation.