Pastor Kent sat at a table facing a hall full of weak-from-the-fast, shocked-from-the-announcement pastors. My journalist ears were ringing louder than a church bell on a Sunday morning. I wished I could take pictures, as some of the new-general-overseers burst into tears. Not a single face had a smile.
Out of the over five hundred pastors in “Rev”, only three hundred and twenty had showed up. I wondered what Kent planned to do with the remaining churches who didn’t present anyone.
“You can go ahead and open your envelopes,” Kent said when the uproar calmed. “I will entertain questions in ten minutes’ time.” He stood and left the hall.
I knew the content of the envelopes would again numb the pastors. Kentoroabasi had been fair, and generous. Pastors would own everything under their roofs, including the building itself, and there were parting gifts, fat amounts to help the church start off on its own.
Kent had near-depleted the heavy “Rev the World” accounts he met. Many would question this action, and I saw it already. Some people liked the “bigness” of the church, being a part of a vast thing, the fame, the reputation, having an archbishop as their head, all the “feferity” as Dad would say. There was also a disclaimer, an offer-rejection, which must be submitted not earlier than one month from date.
When Pastor Kent returned from his ten-minute break, Mr. Obi, who had come earlier in the week was with him.
He pointed at one of three seats separating his and mine, and Obi took it.
He raised his voice so he would get everyone’s attention. “This is my attorney, Segun Obi. If you have any questions about your documents, he will answer them.”
Many of the pastors were still overwhelmed by the announcement and had not opened their envelopes. In slow motion, one by one mouths closed and fingers moved over the sealed envelopes. I had a heap in front of me, the remaining two-hundred-plus belonging to no-show pastors.
A pastor raised his hand, and Dad motioned to him to speak. “I have three churches under me, sir.” His voice broke, and for a few seconds he swallowed convulsively to prevent tears. “Only one of my pastors is here—”
The pastor he referred to stood. “I can’t be on my own.” Tears streamed from his eyes.
“Then, you can continue to be under your senior pastor,” Obi said. “What are the names of the other two churches under you, sir. I will hand them over to you as well.”
The pastor mentioned the names and I found the envelopes and gave him.
Gradually, the envelopes depleted, some went with four, some five, others one and two. The meeting closed. Most of the pastors were weak from the fast, and developments. Some wanted desperately to talk with Kent, but he told them to meet him at the headquarters in a month’s time.
We returned to the hotel, and was I grateful to my maker for luxury. We all needed a good bath, and good food. Many of the pastors had opted to fly back to Lagos, or book the hotel for the night. They could afford it. Our churches had more than enough.
Mum told me all she just wanted to do was soak her weary body in the Jacuzzi, eat a healthy portion of vegetable soup with plenty of fish and meat, and sleep for twelve hours. I totally agreed with her.
We were halfway through our indulgence when Dad got a call from Pastor Favour. The man didn’t have a church he led as a senior administrative pastor in the church, so it made more sense to stay out of what just happened. But we were about to hear what none of us ever imagined could come out of the man’s mouth.
First of all, he had full information of what had transpired, which was not a surprise. In a church like ours, nothing could be secret except the serious scandals, which were no secret anyway. Secondly, we all knew people had allegiances. Some came only to keep tab so they could report back.
When Pastor Kent hung up, he sighed. “Favour just threatened to wipe out my family. He said he is contesting the will archbishop left, and will fight me to death if he had to.”
Mum shuddered. “Call Obi.”
“I know. I have the call recorded. I’ll just send the recording to him. I am not afraid of course.” Kent rubbed his hands together. “On other matters, how will you like to live in Uyo?”
Mum arched an eyebrow. “Are you serious?”
“Yes. I’m not going back to that densely populated controversial property. Rev the World is still my church. I am its leader. But now I choose where my headquarters is.”
“Not if Pastor Favour and his pack of wolves have anything to do with it.”
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/ready-vicar-church-religion-faith-1153149/