Our administrative assistant and I are in the process of inventorying the contents of the church. Last week, I made my way through most of the kitchen, and found what you might expect in the way of appliances, utensils, serving platters, and china and silverware.
I don't recall the china having been used since my arrival two years ago. It seems that there must at one time have been at least 100, maybe 150, place settings of the white china, and possibly another 50 of the flowered china. We have used paper and plastic for everything ~ coffee hours, celebrations, and monthly free community meals. As far as I know, the dishwasher ~ oops, forgot to add that to the inventory! ~ does not work, so using china would add substantially to an event's workload.
I knelt down to open a lower cupboard one day, where I discovered a store of dessert plates, on top of which rested a handwritten note stating that, "These plates have been counted and stacked. Please do not use!"
I've been thinking about that note all week and what it says about the state of mind in the congregation.
What if it had said, instead, "These plates have been stacked and counted. Ready for the next event!"
Or, "Clean and ready to use. Enjoy!"