Dreams of a Retired Church Communicator on a snowy night


It was snowing steadily last night and I fell asleep thinking I would have to get up in a few hours to shovel the sidewalk. The meme above must have been the last thing I saw on Facebook before I began to dream.

I dreamed I was in the National Council of Churches offices in New York (as they were in the 1970s, expanding over three floors of The Interchurch Center) and I was preparing two special guests for a videotaped interview: Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The topic would be a measured discussion of the presence of the filioque in the Nicene Creed.*

The two church leaders frowned tensely as large lavalier mics were draped over their shoulders, clicking against their dangling crosses. I smiled ingratiatingly at them, hoping to get them to relax, but it wasn’t working. Bartholomew slapped at my producer’s hand as he adjusted the cord of the lavalier. Francis’ double chin swelled like a balloon as he lowered his chin and scowled.

“You’re not going to do anything about it anyway,” Bartholomew hissed at Francis before we could get a mic level.

“It’s only semantics for Christ’s sake,” Francis replied, smiling at his pun.

“It’s an umbrage to God the Father,” Bartholomew replied.

“Shut up,” Francis said.

“No, you!” said Bartholomew.

I felt a gnawing in the pit of my stomach as I realized the interview was falling apart.

Then our dogs started barking downstairs because someone was outside shoveling snow and I awoke with a start.

This, I realized, was only a dream. But not only a dream, actually: the sort of dream a retired church communicator has in the dead of winter, when the last press release has been long-since posted and the last VHS tape has disintegrated on the shelf.

When I was young, my dreams consisted of Ann-Margret lifting the hem of her dress half-way up her exquisite thigh as she danced to Bye, Bye, Birdie.

 These more edifying dreams are rarer each night.

I would so welcome her back.




* The Creed in A.D. 325 originally stated that the Holy Spirit proceeds from God the Father, which Orthodox churches liked, but in the sixth century the Catholic Church added the words “and son” (filioque) which Orthodox churches disliked because they thought it diminished God the Father. The disagreement led to the schism of 1054.

About Philip E Jenks

Philip, a synodical deacon in the ELCA Metropolitan New York synod, is a retired communicator for American Baptist Churches USA, the U.S. Conference for the World Council of Churches, the U.S. National Council of Churches, and two Philadelphia area daily newspapers. He and his spouse, the Rev. Dr. Martha M. Cruz, are the parents of six adults and are members of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rye Brook, N.Y. They live in Port Chester, N.Y.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s