“For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, /When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, /Must give us pause.”

The Meenister’s Log

It was almost one of the biggest faux pas ever committed: during a Sunday Service, an old worthy who had been a member of this particular congregation for many moons, collapsed during one of the hymns.

Naturally, fellow-worshippers gathered round him and he was laid down on one of the pews.

A member of the congrgation who was a nurse tried to take his pulse, but after a minute or so, shook her head as tears rolled down her cheeks.

It looked grim.  Obviously, we stopped the service and I announced something like, “If you’d like to leave quietly now, for sadly….(and I was just about to say “our dear friend has passed away”)” and then…. something, somehow, I didn’t say these words which was just as well, as the old boy suddenly sat up (and, no, he didn’t say “that was a rotten hymn”), was taken to hospital, missed the next Sunday, but was back in his usual place the following week.

And he lived for a good few years thereafter.


I once returned to my home Church when on leave from the West Indies. I was the guest preacher and was warmly greeted and especially by old Sam, the Beadle, whom I’d known since I was a kid.

We entered the sanctuary,I was escorted into the pulpit, and then Sam took his place in the first row of the church.

With uncanny precision, he fell asleep the moment I started the sermon; there he was – eyes closed in blissful slumber, mouth open and snoring quietly and gently.

With equally perfect timing, he awoke the moment the sermon was over.

Escorted by him out of the sanctuary, he had the cheek to say “My, yon was a great message you gave.  I really enjoyed it!” 

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Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

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