Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Proof the Text, Then Proof It Again

Being a staff of one at a small mission has given me a greater appreciation for some of the things I've taken for granted over the last sixteen years. I've always worked with at least a part-time secretary, and sometimes a secretary, administrator and an assistant. I think I've been spoiled.

Consider the time consuming job of proofreading. Bulletins, newsletters, website and correspondence all have to be carefully scanned for errors. No longer can I depend on a second or third pair of eyes to catch my poor grammar, embarrassing typos, atrocious spelling or inaccurate information.

This may seem like a small matter, all things considered. But let me assure you, a couple of real bloopers will be remembered by others years after they occur.

For instance, there was my first ecumenical Palm Sunday procession. I was asked to officiate. To show all those Protestants that we Episcopalians know how to do things with style, I showed up at the city park in a beautiful red and gold cope, with a thurible and aspergillum at the ready. I'd also prepared a leaflet containing the blessing of the palms liturgy. When a sufficient multitude had gathered, I stepped up into the pavilion and with a booming voice launched into the opening prayer;

Assit us mercifully with your help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the contemplation of your mighty acts, whereby you have given us life and immorality; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For lack of one "t" the giggles slowly became loud guffaws.

That was the same year the local paper announced that on Maundy Thursday we would have "the washing of feet and stripping at the altar." Attendance was slightly up that year, but the altar guild was not too pleased.

Here's a few more results of poor proofing that supposedly have appeared in various church bulletins;

It's Drug Awareness Week: Get involved in drugs before your children do.

Illiterate? Write to the church office for help.

Church Rummage Sale: A good opportunity to get rid of anything not worth keeping but too good to throw away. Bring your husband.

The church office will be closed until opening. It will remain closed after opening. It will reopen Monday.

Wanted: Part-time, a Christian nanny to take care of our two-year-old who does not smoke or drink.

We are grateful for the help of those who cleaned up the grounds around the church building and the rector.

Hymn: "I Love Thee My Ford."

Volunteers are needed to spit up food.

The red nose spray on the altar is in celebration of the Smith's 25th wedding anniversary.

Luckily, Demi has volunteered to print up the newsletter and be our webmistress, as well as serve as a second set of eyes for proofing. But, the bulletin is still mine.

I suppose I'd better get back to work on it. I must remember to include an anouncement about next week's cookout, with a reminder to bring a pack of hotdogs and guns. It should be fun.


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