A strange church

Ebenezer Tabernacle New Testament Church of God

Ebenezer Tabernacle New Testament Church of God

In the summer I would often go past a small church on a summer’s evening and hear singing from the open door.

Last summer, at a flower festival in another church, I met three women from the little church, and they invited me along Sunday evening

Sunday arrived. It was a very hot day. The last thing I felt like doing was moving from my garden and walking to a church. But I had been invited and I felt it would be discourteous not to go, so along I went, only to find the church was closed, a note pinned to the door saying that Sunday they were meeting in a church in a nearby town.

To say I was not pleased, would have been an understatement. I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt, try again the following week, and let them know what I thought of being sent on a wild goose chase.

Exactly the same thing happened. The church was closed, only this time not even a note was pinned to the door.

I tried three times, each time to no avail. I may have even called the listed number.

I found a group of Blacks in the street outside. Aha, maybe they will know.

They did not know, did not even know there was a church, even though they had come from the church across the road, a local Baptist Church, though they were not Baptists, they merely used the Baptist Church.

Curious why they were all dressed in white, the women wore white turbans, I asked.

I was told it was the dress code laid down by the Bible. News to me. I asked for the relevant Biblical passage which they were unable to provided.

This afternoon, I found two Black women outside the strange little church. One was about to drive off, I said it was ok, the other one could answer my questions.

I asked why it was never open. She told me they met later, the sign was wrong, they met at 11am, not 10am. And that the name of the church was wrong, it now had a different name.

I said I had been invited to the evening service. We do not meet in the afternoon, you can come to our 11am service.

Why then do you have a misleading sign outside, that has been wrong for at least a year?

We are aware, and we are dealing with it.

Does that then mean I can come back next week and see the correct times?

No, we are dealing with it, but it will not be next week, nor next month, nor next year, we work in God’s time not man’s time. She then told me I was being impatient and snapped her fingers in my face, which I thought was extremely rude, saying that is man’s time, not God’s time.

I pointed out that far from being man’s time, God’s time was far faster than her snapping her fingers and that far from being impatient, I had taken the trouble to stop and make inquiries from her.

She saw no requirement to change the sign as I now knew and the whole community knew.

Not true, I said, as the people I had spoken to last year from the church opposite knew nothing of her church, they were not even aware of its existence.

How therefore was anyone passing by to know when the church was open if the sign was wrong, or were they a church that held secret sessions?

She turned her back on me, walked into the church, shutting the door on me.

Later, as if on cue, I met the people dressed in white who used the Baptist church. I again asked who they were, why in white?

I was told that was how the apostles dressed.

How do you know?

We do not know, but it how we imagine they dressed. The white dress was also a uniform, everyone the same. The men had white lab coats, but I noticed the women had varying degrees of finery.

They explained theirs was only one church and that they travelled all the way from Essex and Hertfordshire. The service lasted four hours or longer.

Pollution, global warming, and environmental damage was not something that figured high on their agenda.

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