Taking the sheet given to him at the door, Dave moved inside, still holding Mel’s hand tightly. From the videos, they knew that the church gathered in the big netball hall. That felt like safe ground, so they headed straight there.
That was Dave’s next misjudgement – no netball hall. There were so many chairs. As they looked through the glass doors it seemed more set up for a gig than for church.
Again, they are saved from an attack of butterflies at the door to the hall by a friendly lady who asks if they want help finding somewhere to sit. Dave wants to say ‘yes’. But he doesn’t want to look like the new boy. More than this, Dave is proud of his natural masculine sense of direction. He doesn’t want to look like the kind of weak guy who needs help, especially from a lady who looks like his mum.
His moment of indecision is broken by a slap on the shoulders & a shout of ‘Hi Dave, fancy seeing you guys here!’ Turning around, Dave & Mel are thrilled to see Ian grinning at them. ‘Wow, are we pleased to see you mate’ thinks Dave – But playing it cool he simply says ‘Nice to see you too, we were just about to find somewhere to sit.’
‘Great, Sam & I are over there in the middle, come over with us - Don’t worry, we’re not too near the front.’ Ian pushed off ahead of them, seeming to know what Dave was thinking.
Ian appears to be friends with everyone as they walk through the hall towards their seats. Lots of smiles, handshakes, even a few hugs – ‘They are never doing that to me’, Dave makes a mental note.
‘These are my friends, Dave & Melinda’, says Ian every time. ‘Maybe just a handshake today though, it’s his first time in church!’ He says it with a wink & puts everyone at ease. Another couple are introduced to them nearby. ‘This is Jenny & Graham.’ More handshakes & smiles. Turning back to Dave, Ian continues. ‘Jenny & Graham have been coming here for a couple of months now, but it’s not that long since they walked in for the first time just as nervous as you two.’
‘Tell me about it!’ Graham intervenes. ‘The long walk of fear! Just 20 yards of carpet from the doors to the chair, but the most terrifying few steps of my life!’
There’s a lot of laughter, Dave laughs a bit too loud as the tension is released. He & Mel visibly relax, sitting down between Ian & this new couple. To his left, Mel & Jenny start talking like best friends within moments as only ladies seem to be able to. Dave sits back & reads the sheet he was given a few minutes earlier.
He had no idea there were so many things the church was doing in the week & out in the community. Dave had thought they just had a Sunday service. Wow, they even have football & netball here on a Sunday night. ‘I bet these Christian fellas that like to hug can’t take a proper tackle though’ he thinks to himself.