Clergy Clatter

From time to time I hear a story that I think would make a good “Clergy Clatter.” Sometimes I invite the story teller to write a “Clergy Clatter.” My invitation is usually refused, but this month Tina Wright accepted. Please enjoy.

Richard +

A Special Visitor to The Church of the Epiphany

My husband, Len, and I recently went to church to set the altar for Sunday. He walked into the fellowship hall ahead of me while I turned into the office to pick up the bulletins we would need to set the hymn board. When I entered the fellowship hall, THIS was on the floor just outside the nursery door. Had Len grabbed a creepy toy from the nursery to scare me? 

“Did you do this?” I demanded. He turned, and his “What?” response conveyed he didn’t know what I was talking about. A rug was a few inches away, so I used my foot to nudge it near the toy, which immediately sprung into this position. Yikes! It coiled! That got my pulse going. It was small but it was real. Len took this picture before I grabbed a shoebox (thank you, Lord, for that shoebox within arm’s reach) and dropped it upside down over the snake. Len sat in a nearby chair and started googling to identify the snake. 

I texted the photo to the two Co-Wardens just in case they were aware of Epiphany having slinking visitors in the past. As Len scrolled through photos, he looked up and saw a tiny snake head peeking out of a quarter-sized hole in the shoebox. Len stayed on lookout while I leapt over the shoebox toward the kitchen to grab a plastic tub to cover the shoebox. Done! Whew! Okay, but this is new to us, are there any other precautions we should take? Well, it was a skinny little snake, might it be able to slither under the box along the grout line? We didn’t want it to be loose inside the church on Sunday when so many dogs attend service. I grabbed a chair to add weight to the plastic tub. 

We stood back and looked; this was getting ridiculous. I hadn’t heard from the Wardens, so just to be safe, we called animal control. Fifteen minutes later Len ushered smiling Officer C. Durr into the building. I could have kissed her for arriving so quickly. She said it was probably a rat snake, picked it up with her bare hand (it looked even smaller when she held it), placed it in a covered bucket and took it outside to release behind the building so it wouldn’t be far from its family. 

We thanked her profusely but asked that she pardon us for not wanting to shake her hand.

On Sunday, Fr Bridgford’s homily was on our First Reading: Isaiah 43:16-21. 
THUS SAYS THE LORD . . . I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild animals will honor me.

Aha, now I get it. Our little friend heard that Epiphany is an animal friendly church and wanted to visit. 

Tina Wright

April 1, 2022


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A compilation of The Rev. Richard O. Bridgford’s most memorable articles from his nearly 25 years at Church of the Epiphany. Enjoy history, humor, nature, travel, and wacky experiences with Fr. Bridgford, his two-legged and four-legged friends! Recall:

  • the New Year’s resolutions he couldn’t keep
  • the year Santa’s elf delivered Baby Jesus to the creche
  • the volcano that threatened his vacation
  • sweet elderly widows and “a little afternoon sherry”

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