Problems with peppermints have always existed. "I'd try to open one during the sermon, but the wrapper seemed to send an echo through the entire sanctuary," said Gladys Barnes. "Everyone stared. Some even glared." Bart Edwin agreed, "I have repeatedly made futile attempts to quietly unwrap those peppermint disks with the noisy crinkly plastic."
Of course, TicTacs had no individual wrappers, but posed other problems. "Oh no! I don't even want to think about TicTacs in church, never ever again," cringed a slightly red Carlos Smith. "The noise, the clatter, and then the scatter. I was 5 years old. Mr. Woodrow turned and watched as I picked up every single piece. It took me 20 years to return to church."
Samuel Garland had to change pews. "I was embarrassed more than once when my wife would dig deep in her purse to retrieve some gum. She would unzip the purse loudly, scratch around, rattle a few things, play some gongs, and then hold her hand high so everyone would see her passing me the gum. We used to sit on the front row, but those experiences caused us to move to the back of the church."
"Those fears have now been removed from our services," explained Chandler Nash, Worship Coordinator. "Our services were stale. The new program has managed to swish away the bad 'breath freshening memories,' which by the way, tended to leave a bad taste in my mouth. Pun intended," said a proud Nash.
Here is 2nd Calvary's new worship schedule:
Listen Up! (Announcements)
Look It Up! (Scripture Reading)
Hands Up! (Praise and Worship time)
Stick 'Em Up! (Offeratory time)
Freshen Up! (Breath Mints, etc.)
Shake It Up! (Greet one another time)
Give It Up! (Soloist or Special Music)
Shut Up! (Sermon)
Wake Up! (Invitational)
"Having a designated time for these activities eliminates awkward interruptions during other parts of the service," explained Pastor Donald Jackson. "This is truly a serious time of pleasant spiritual interpersonal reflection before greeting others face to face. It's common courtesy. We're not doing any holy kisses or anything weird like that."
Blake Daniels has grown spiritually because of the change, "I no longer feel like I have to sneak a Certs during prayer time. I can spend more time praying. The Freshen Up time has undeniably strengthened my prayer life."
TBNN representatives overheard the leadership receiving many complimints. "It’s been a life saver! There’s really no estimate to how many souls have been rescued as a result of this change." "In momints like these, I sing out a song." "Most people have taken the change in stride. "
The placement of the Freshen Up time was important. "We originially tried to incert the Freshen Up time just after the opening announcements and prior to praise worship. But we found this tended to eclipse the singing participation during the first song with mouths filled with chewing gum and remaining candy bits," said Nash.
The Freshen Up slot has changed many bad habits. According to Gary Falgar, "I previously used the cough method when opening breath mints. This covered me in two ways. If the coughing didn't hide the sound of retrieving the breath mints, people seemed to understand that I have the right to make noise since I have a cough."
Betty Milton, 16, seemed to be the only one who was not happy with the change. "It's no longer any fun to sneak gum or Altoids any more." Betty said she recently learned to wrap the gum around the Altoid in her mouth and keep both for the entire sermon. "Our pastor preaches long sermons, usually a whole 30 minutes." She perfected the art of keeping the Altoid in her mouth the entire time without it disintegrating. "It would impress my stupid little brother."
Those who don’t have acceptable mints (an official approved list exists) can exchange them. For convenience, several vender booths have been placed in the lobby. These venders are willing to exchange your non-approved mints, gum, etc. for those on the acceptable list. They will do so for a small fee. Credit cards accepted.