Becky was reporting the results of the church meeting and mentioned so-and-so had been elected an usher.

“They have ushers here?” I asked in surprise. Offerings and communion are taken by having the congregation dance up to file past the basket or the elements, and of course, there are no bulletins to hand out, so many of the traditional offices of usher are not relevant here.

“Yeah, that’s the guy who hits the kids.”

Oh, he’s an usher! I had gathered he was working in some kind of official capacity but I didn’t know his title. I kid you not, there is a person every Sunday whose job is to slap, switch (as in, hit with a slim green branch), or bodily remove unruly children. There’s usually some rearranging of children necessary during the course of the service, occasionally the usher will reach through the window with a whipping branch, or a threatening glare and authoritative shake of the head may ward off further misbehaviour. One day the usher kindly but firmly uncrossed Kenneth’s legs as he sat in the front row. But given the benches they sit on, and the fact that the little kids can hardly understand a word that’s being said, the children actually behave very well.


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