Members of St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church opened the church’s school as an emergency shelter for any passing traveller needing shelter or assistance during the harsh winter months. The shelter is administered by the Sisters of Ever Increasing Hope. As you read before, he Baptists use the food drive as a way to bring the lost to Christ. The Nuns, not wanting to be short on the soul count, use the shelter as a way of ensuring your place in heaven. Its been rumored that during the night the nuns organize the baptisms of the non Catholic. Considering a Catholic baptism consists of water dropped over the forehead by a priest accompanied by the Baptismal prayer, the process has been easy. The traveler sleeps peacefully while getting secretly baptised.
"If the Mormons baptize the dead, then we can baptised the sleeping," said the Reverend Mother when I asked her about this unorthodox practice. Of course I was sworn to secrecy so I'll leave you to keep this one locked away in your vault of never to be discussed secrets. Just exercise caution when seeking shelter at St. Batholomew's.
Members of the local Lutheran congregation organized the village’s Secret Santa program. Every gift has a matching gift kept at the church. Retrieving your full Christmas will therefore require a visit to the Pastor's office on Christmas Day. Members of the Seventh Day Adventists are the sponsors of Shop with a Constable Program for disadvantaged youth. No shopping on Saturday's though, that's the Sabbath Day to an Adventist.
Cloverdale’s Methodists and Anglicans are collecting money through the local banks for the Home for the Holiday’s Program - helping the less fortunate unite with their families by giving them train and bus ticket vouchers. There are no strings attached to receiving the travel vouchers. Cloverdale's Methodist and Anglican churches think of themselves as the Country Clubs of the faithful. The down and out might feel uncomfortable attending services with the village's upper crust.
Cloverdale’s Mormons joined forces with the local Salvation Army to raise money for the needy through the Red Kettle Drive. Salvationists and Mormons take turns manning the Army’s Red Kettles throughout the village. You’ll find members of both congregations ringing bells and collecting donations at the following locations:
- The Piggly Wiggly and Red Owl grocery stores.
- Donaldson’s Department Store
- The Hairy Lemon Pub
- The Kicking Donkey Pub
- The Train Station
- The Post Office.
In the picture above you see Sister Stevens, the local Mormon Relief Society President, ringing the bell and collecting donations in her Red Kettle outside Donaldson’s Department Store. Her Kettles collect more money than every else's. She has no inhibitions and has no problem putting herself between exiting shoppers and their cars. She has even been know to place the Kettle right behind the luxury cars and SUVs in the parking lot, forcing a donation before their owners can back out. To thank them for their donation, Sister Stevens will stop all other cars so they can back out and exit without delay. It's just her way of offer that 'extra holiday touch'. Sister Stevens knows nearly everyone in Cloverdale because of her position as head nurse in Cloverdale’s Medical Clinic.
There is another reason Sister Stevens is so successful at getting her kettle's filled faster than anyone else's. She is a loud talker and likes to discuss people's medical conditions. Its her way of giving you a free, parking lot, follow up exam - just to see how you're getting along.
Now, this verbal intrusion into your private life can be handled one of two ways. You can steer clear of Sister Stevens and her Red Kettle, only to have her shout you down from across the parking lot, sharing your ruptured hernia or lose bowels with the whole village, or when you exit your car, wave at her, and WALK STRAIGHT TO HER. She will wait to talk to you until you get to the Kettle. Of course, while you discuss your 'issues', a donation into the bucket will be expected. To make sure you do, Sister Stevens continues to ring the bell while you talk until your donation is properly inserted through the slits.
This uniting of religions is one way our village of the bewildered ensures everyone in Cloverdale has a warm, loving Christmas.