In Case I Die - Part II
It has been one of the greatest disappointment of my life. My mother church is treating me like a fanciful child. I asked for help with the infestation. The Archdeacon responded by questioning my sanity! He is sending someone from the Deliverance Ministry to make sure I am not about to chop up my parishioners!
It seems I am on my own then. Professionally and locally. No one comes to service anymore. During the last one, the metal crucifix standing on the altar toppled over for no reason. It was right in the middle of communion, and it made a loud bang. Gina, a lay minister, dropped the wine chalice. It created quite a mess. We had to pause to get extra purefactors to clean it up. I stood there staring at the red wine that had spread out over the marble floor. The blood of Christ, cast onto the ground. It even looked like real blood.
A tap on the shoulder roused me. It was Gina, wanting to continue the ceremony. “Are you alright, Father?” she whispered. There were about thirty people in the congregation all staring at me. Some in the communion line, some in their pews. All I could see was the blood on the floor.
This strange behaviour, and the sturdy cross falling over was enough to keep people away. And after my performance at Midnight Mass, rumours were inevitable.
St. Dunstan on the Green is haunted!
Reverend King is seeing things!
St. Dunstan on the Green has a demon!
That next Sunday, not even my support staff turned up. Gina phoned in with an obvious excuse. It didn’t matter. I was on my own at the open door of the Church, waiting for my flock. I waited, in fact, for twenty minutes before deciding I looked pathetic. A few people drifted past and nodded hello. Clearly, they had not heard how crazy I was.
That evening I began to lay out bowls of sanctified water around the Church. If the thing was roaming around inside the building, perhaps I could rein it in somehow. I emptied the font, then took to blessing buckets of tap water, two at a time. My church now looks like there are hundreds of holes in the roof, and there is a rainstorm!
I will pray at the altar again this evening. I am going to set my phone to record what happens as I do so. At least then I will have some proof that it is not all in my head. Reassurance for me as well as the diocese!
I recorded something! No footsteps this time. Did the sanctified water work? There were voices, distant, guttural. I will send it to the Archdeacon. He has to believe me then.
Today day did not go well. The Rev. June Kinney, a member of the Deliverance Ministry, came to see me. It was all smiles and support at first, but then took her into the church. At that point, I didn’t much care if she saw the bowls on the floor, so I hadn’t removed them. I could see that she had decided I was a kook from that point onward.
To my shame, I could not let my anger at the Archdeacon go. I ended up ranting at her for a full ten minutes before breaking down in tears of frustration. It was not my finest hour, especially when I was trying to appear calm and sane.
It has come to ahead at least. God is leading me in another direction it seems. My time at this church as a vicar is at an end. I have started to doubt if the Church as an institution is the right place for me any more. Don’t get me wrong. My faith in God has never been stronger. But my faith in the bureaucracy and structure of organised Christianity is now all but gone!
I have begun to research the phenomena I have been experiencing. As you can imagine, there is a whole lot of information on demonology, most of it garbage. I trawled through sites devoted to demons and possession. You would think that they taught us the specifics of this in seminary school. Demonology is an arcane and specific branch of study seldom needed by a parish priest.
I ended up posting on an old fashioned forum. The site claimed to belong to ‘The Paranormal Society’, but for all I knew it was run out of a back-bedroom somewhere. The anonymity of the internet has always… scared me.
I was careful not to give away too many details. I explained that I was a parish priest and that I thought my church was infested. I also told the story of the strange woman and the kiss.
I had a few responses quite quickly, all of them accusing me of making it up. They found it very difficult to believe that a priest needed help in such matters. Welcome to my world!
And then, more than a week later, I had a reply that was more credible. He claimed to be a student of comparative religions and said that it was the kiss that had caught his eye.
In his second message to me, he asked, “Are you sexually active?”
I was suspicious of his intent, but I answered him truthfully. “No. I am not sexually active.”
He responded with this:
Begin the rite to free the beast.
The held to steal a kiss from one chaste priest.