Patrolling

Normally on Sunday morning, I go to my church. There are two church services on Sundays: one a nine o’clock, which is the one I attend, and one at eleven o’clock. I usually volunteer in the café during eleven o’clock service. When I do, I make all the blended drinks – normally. But two weeks ago, as I was leaving first service and getting ready to serve; the woman who runs the café told me, “I’m sorry, but we don’t need you right now because all our blenders are broken.”

I wasn’t the only person she told this to either. Three other volunteers and I simply sat in the café not knowing what to do since we were not needed behind the counter (It is hard to go elsewhere in the church since every ministry is like a job – you have to have some training before you jump in.). My dad volunteers in security; and since he saw I was just sitting there, he invited me to go on patrol with him. By “patrolling” I mean that we drive around a golf cart to check on the rest of the campus, see if people need assistance, or help another security person. It is a cool opportunity to see the church from a different point of view. So when my dad asked me if I wanted to patrol around with him I said, “Of course.”

To which he replied, “Woo-hoo!”

The golf cart looks old. The church logo on the front of it is faded and cracked; the backseats are faded and cracked, as well. The wooden backs of the backseats are faded and cracked, too – faded and cracked seemed to be the theme of the golf cart. Though it is old and looks worn down, it still runs like new. My dad gave me the keys and moved the cones in front of the cart out of the way. It turns on silently and does not go more than ten miles an hour. The pedals can be touchy; but once you get the hang of them, the drive can be smooth.

The other part of patrol is dealing with lots of different people. Security is like a filter for people coming into the church. They make sure dangerous and intrusive people do not get into the sanctuary. What I mean by “intrusive” are people who come to the church just to look for things to steal. Most of these people have been caught before, so security has a picture of them. If they show up and do not attend service, security can check on them. This happened last Sunday.

My dad approached an older man who security knew was not allowed on campus and asked, “Excuse me, sir, is there anything you need help with?”

The man replied, “No, I’m just trying car doors to see if they’re unlocked.”

I was surprised that the man just said it as if everyone is allowed to do that. At that answer, my dad calmly asked the man to leave. Thankfully, he did so without complaint.

Other ways that security acts as a filter is when there are people walking in drinking beer or smoking marijuana. Security tells them that they have to leave while they are using those substances, but are welcome back anytime they are not doing those things. The last person we asked to leave that day was a homeless man. He was very polite and not being disruptive; but unfortunately, he was drinking on the church campus. He was a tall, thin man, probably in his early forties. He had long, white hair and wore a baggy, brown sweat shirt and faded jeans. As he was leaving, he said goodbye and waved. Security does not just ask people to leave, though. If there is an elderly person walking through the parking lot, security gives them a ride to the car or to main sanctuary. Sometimes, security wishes they could filter out rude people, too, but that is not a possibility since it is a church that welcomes as much as is safely possible.

The whole church looks much different when driving around than walking around. When I am just walking around the church, I only notice the tall sanctuary building on my left and a parking lot on the right. But when I go driving with my father, we will sometimes park all the way in the back of the parking lot; and from there, I can see an ocean of cars – all different colors and sizes and shapes. I notice the morning breeze swaying the trees that are scattered throughout the parking lot. When service is over, all the people flooding out of the sanctuary look like happy ants crawling toward their cars. I like the silhouette of the two sanctuaries bookending the courtyard at the other end of the parking lot. Both buildings are tall, tan, and have square windows in the front framed in brushed grey metal. The main sanctuary is on the right, and the café and youth sanctuaries are both in the left building. The courtyard is in between the two buildings and is where everyone hangs out and talks after service. The courtyard floor is made of tan and brown bricks that always make the campus feel warm, no matter the weather.

In the corner of the courtyard is the baptism pool. When baptisms are not happening, three spouts in the center shoot the water up like a fountain. At the far end of the courtyard, on the right, is the children’s area. It is a much smaller, shorter building, but it is longer than either of the sanctuaries. The whole front of the children’s building is floor-to-ceiling windows that let in sunshine and showcase the rainbow mural in the front hallway. The whole church has tan, brown, and grey colors that almost reflect the kind of people inside – warm, polite, and happy to be there.

Usually, I only encounter people inside the church. But for the past three weeks, I have encountered all the people outside and around the church. I have met nice and rude people and driven a seasoned golf cart around. Doing so allows me to appreciate how wonderful my church is. I have enjoyed doing this and have decided that I want to serve in security, too.

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