The Program Committee
by Denny Hartford
The scene opens at a kitchen table where five women have been enjoying pastries and coffee. The curtain rises on the planning portion of the meeting just getting underway.
Missy: "Okay, okay, girls! Let's get going, alright?" (She bangs her spoon lightly against her coffee cup.) "The meeting of the Women's Spring Conference Program Committee is officially underway."
June: "Great, I'd like to make as the first program suggestion that we bring back Glenda Brownley. Her seminar last year on 'Giving Up What You Don't Want to Get What You Do' was a real winner. She was great."
Blythe: "And more people attended her session than any other. I don't think we need to even vote on this one, do we?"
Katie: (Amid general sounds of approval.) "Well...I...I'm not sure."
June: "What's wrong, Katie? You don't think Glenda's presentation was terrific? I mean, she was funny and provocative. And the sexual angle was a stroke of genius!"
Zelda: "Remember that quiz she gave! And those cartoons! Why on earth wouldn't you want her again, Katie? She'll be just as popular as last year, I guarantee."
Missy: "Yes, Katie, what is it?"
Katie: "Well, I don't know. To be honest, I found her presentation rather odd. I mean, it was more like listening to some late night comedian than it was a Christian leader."
Missy: "Oh, come on now. It was all in good, clean fun."
June: "Well, good fun anyhow!" (Laughing.) "Hey, I'm just kidding. Everybody loved her. She was a great addition to the conference and, like Zelda said, she'll sure be a draw."
Blythe: "Actually, I can sympathize with Katie a little. I was kinda' embarrassed by Glenda's presentation last year. For example, there was no way I could have told my husband what she was telling us.”
June: “Oh, don’t go all prudish on us, Blythe. She wasn't that bad. A little racy perhaps, but where’s the harm there? No, we need to concentrate on speakers that will get women to the conference in the first place. And she most certainly will!"
Zelda: "Exactly! So, who all is in favor of inviting Glenda back?"
Three hands shoot up. A bit slower comes Blythe's hand and then sheepishly, Katie's.
Katie: "Okay, I'll vote yes too. But I do hope we also invite some...you know...more serious speakers this year."
Zelda: "Like who? Ms. Boyce-Jackson was popular last time around with her investment seminar."
June: "Yes. And Bibi Anderson's 'Divine Decorating' seminar was excellent."
Missy: "Uh huh. And the lady from Western Bank who gave the talk on dressing for success. Wasn't that an effective seminar?"
Katie: "Well, yes, I guess those were all okay but...I don't know. Couldn't we have some more specifically Christian seminars?"
Zelda: "Come on now, Katie. I understand your point, I guess; but isn't the whole purpose of the conference to get more ladies involved in the church and to reach out to new women?"
Missy: "And to have professional-types lend us their expertise on practical, day-to-day things?"
Katie: (With only slightly disguised sarcasm.) "Like Darlene's session on flower arranging or that other lady's presentation on, what did she call it?" (She opens last year's program.) 'Building Bridges through Beauty: How the Christian Woman Can be a Looker for the Lord'?"
June: "Oh, lighten up, Katie. Like Zelda said, all of these sessions are for good purposes – and that's to present a more attractive face to the community and to get our own ladies to branch out a bit and not be so, well, you know...so like the stereotypes of religious women that people in the community think we are."
Blythe: "Well, I must admit that I see Katie's point. I mean, I went to that 'Looker' session myself and it was more than just corny. It really did present a very unbiblical picture of Christian womanhood."
June: "Okay, sure; we may have had a clunker now and then. And yes, we can agree not to invite that gal back again. So, what's the big deal?"
Missy: "Katie, you obviously are thinking on a different wave length than the rest of us here. What kind of seminars would you like to see us put on?"
Katie: (She pulls out a small sheet of paper for reference.) "Well, okay; I did have some specific ideas and I guess I was hoping that we might okay at least a couple of them."
Blythe: "You mean sessions that would be on more traditional topics?"
Zelda: "We already have the pastor's wife. She always does a little thing on prayer."
Missy: "And there's Mrs. Stamp, a woman who my sister knows who works at the downtown library. I thought we could invite her to do her talk on what American Indian religion has to offer today's churches. She has a college degree in something like that."
Blythe: "Go ahead, Katie. You had more to say, I think."
Katie: "Well, yes. Thank you. You see, I think Mrs. Gate’s session on prayer would be great but, I guess I was thinking more about some Christian ministries specifically concerned with women which we've never properly addressed."
June: "Like what?"
Katie: "Well, there's Allie Grosovich. You all know her. She's a nurse who does volunteer work down at the pregnancy center. She counsels there and she's involved in doing ultrasounds so that the abortion-prone girls can see their children – you know, bond with them. I think she'd be terrific and she could tell us how we could get involved in helping out with that ministry. And there are the women who do sidewalk counseling down at the abortion clinic or Dr. Leddivol – he’s a nationally-known expert on women's health issues but he practices from a strictly Christian ethic and...."
Zelda: "Whoa there, Katie! Before you go on, are all the people on your list anti-abortion folks?"
Katie: "Well, no, but I think the issue certainly is relevant to Christian women. I mean, there isn't…"
Missy: "Wait a sec, Katie. Now just think for a moment. We're trying to develop an upbeat program here, one that will let women have a fun time, one that will give a positive spin to being a Christian woman today. And you want us to put in sessions about abortion?"
June: "The most controversial issue there is? Honey, you couldn't get more downbeat...or make women feel more uncomfortable. And it surely would create divisions of opinion. No, I agree with Missy here. Having speakers bring up abortion or anything like that would certainly kill the thing for sure."
Katie: "Well, what about Lacey Rodriquez? She's a woman who's walking in the victory of Christ's forgiveness even though she's had an abortion in her past. Her story is very inspiring and joyful."
Zelda: "Downer, Katie! Big, big downer! I agree with the others. We can maybe consider putting something a bit more serious in the program, I guess. But there's no way we can even think about bringing anti-abortion activists in for a Christian women’s conference if we want it to be successful."
Missy: "No way."
Blythe: "But, you know, girls; Katie does have a point here. There is hardly an issue that concerns today's woman more than abortion does and if we selected balanced pro-life speakers who...."
June: (Laughing.) "Balanced pro-life speakers? Are there such things?"
Blythe: "Oh, come now, June. That's uncalled for. You know better."
June: "Yeah, okay. I'm sorry; it's just that...."
Zelda: "It's just that we're getting nowhere here. Suddenly a nice friendly meeting has turned sour and we're starting to get snippy with each other and it all started..."
Missy: "Right! It all started when we began talking about abortion. I’d say that rather proves my point, don't you think?"
Blythe: "Well, it may prove a point, Missy. But I don't think it's necessarily the one you tried to make."
June: "Okay, girls, lets just drop it, okay? Remember, we only have this afternoon to make our suggestions to the general committee. So, can we please get back to our task here?"
Missy: "I agree. We voted for Glenda already and we're admitting we have to have pastor's wife do her deal on prayer. Okay, next up; I move we accept the proposal June made earlier. So, all in favor of a seminar about volunteering to help the public broadcasting station raise your hands.”