Strange Church Signs and Equally Strange Reactions

Check out this church sign:

Strange Culture: Church Sign #17

I am sure there are a lot of strange church signs out there, and people’s’ reactions to signs can be quite strange as well.

I remember my first few months as the pastor of First United Methodist Church in Tamaqua.  The church had been involved in major conflict, and I was sent there to calm things down.  Apropos of nothing, I decided to use the church sign as a way of sharing some interesting and provocative quotes.  One of them was a quote by a poet, and in the spirit of making sure the poet was credited for his work, I also decided to put his name and the work from which the quote was taken.  In  order to fit this all in, however, I had to remove my name from the church sign.

A week later the Presbyterian minister saw me at a local deli and walked up with a look of sadness on his face.  “I was sorry to see it,” he said, “How long before you have to move?”  I had no idea what he was talking about, so I asked him, “What are you talking about?”

“I saw the church sign,” he said, “I saw that the church has a new pastor . . . someone named Auden.”

I finally understood.  You see the quote I had used was from W. H. Auden’s long poem, “For the Time Being,” and at the end of the quote I put the name of the author and the title of the poem.  It looked like this:

– W. H. Auden,
For the Time Being

And since the church I was serving had become known for its recent conflict, my Presbyterian pastor friend just assumed that Auden was now the interim pastor.

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