Chapter 39

“We meet in the old gray stone building on Kilgore Street,” Della was saying, as they rumbled along in the old truck. “It’s not really a church, you see, but a church can be anywhere that people have Jesus in their hearts. That’s what Brother Michael tells us to remember. Where we are is not important. It is who we are.” Della sat back and let her words sink into the fledgling‘s heart.

The building didn’t really resemble a school anymore. The windows had been boarded up and the stones were dirty and crumbling. It was a section of town Trish had rarely been in and she had misgivings about entering anything in such a rundown neighborhood. She tried to be encouraged by the enthusiasm of her companions. A small-hand painted sign over the door read “Temple of God’s Chosen,” and it was the only indication that she had come to the right place. A few young people, walking in a tight group, entered the building as they scrambled out of the truck. At this moment her need for companionship far outweighed any misgivings she had, and she followed Della and Dorcas into the dimly lit building as Nevin ushered them in. The corridor was cleaner than the outside suggested, and she found some comfort in the warmth of the hall. The smell of food filled the void.

The main meeting room was a dismal failure compared to the entry. Thought it had once been painted an attractive blue, it was now faded and spotty, with only glimpses of the original paint remaining. Some of the young people were seated on small rugs on the floor, while others sat in a row of splintery looking folding chairs. They glanced at her with disinterest as she entered. She stood for a few minutes, wishing she could melt into the musty walls.

A small, tanned man with wispy brown hair came in, looked at the group assembled, and went out again. In a moment he returned and beckoned to Della and Dorcas who took Trish by the arms and led her to the apparent leader. Dorcas said in a monotone, “Trish, we want you to meet Brother Michael.” She bowed from the waist and placed Trish’s hand in his.

Trish found herself looking into the friendly face of the small, muscular looking man of indeterminate age. He had a narrow moustache and a well-groomed appearance. Her first impression was that he was better cared for than his flock. By comparison they all wore faded blue jeans and sneakers with poor fitting shirts and blouses, while he was in tailored shirt and neatly creased trousers that was definitely a cut above the rest. When he spoke, his voice was melodious and soothing. She was comforted by the feeling of quiet peace he conveyed. He was immediately called away and it interrupted any dialogue between them.

Della whispered, “He gets quite talkative when he’s not so busy. We have just received new members and he has much to do.” She helped arrange the group in a circle and offered a piece of carpet for Trish to sit on.