Already everyone else appeared paired up so I sat down, to sit it out. An older woman approached me to answer the opening question, "Name one thing you're grateful for today." I said how well my exercise program has gone this past year. She replied with a general "God's faithfulness" answer, revealing nothing about herself. Then, spotting my miraculous medal necklace, she held on, stretched our exchange.
"Is this your first year?"Often looking, as she asked each question, at my necklace.
"How did you learn of it?"
"Had you been a Bible reader before joining?"
"You joined despite knowing no one?!"1
Registration forms for 2012-2013 were emailed last week and I turned mine in immediately. Even though specific denominations aren't to be mentioned in core group, the registration form inquires about home church and affiliation. As on the previous two forms I've submitted, I didn't shy away from full disclosure. I'm not sure who has access to the registration forms but I assume, wherever women are concerned, there are no secrets. That is, I figure my core group leader and her superiors know, and maybe her close friends. I try not to be "difficult," so as not to confirm their prejudices.
The acting Teaching Director sat in our core group. I was a bit appalled at the sucking up that ensued, many commenting on "how fun" the unique opening activity had been. This year, when the previous director resigned, the Associate Teaching Director was forced into her new position. Every associate needs to be prepared for that possibility, right? She tries to fulfill her responsibilities but it's clear she'd rather not.
Staff sits in our core group from time to time. Everyone's always concerned that they are "evaluating," whatever that could mean. At most, they may be seeing which personalities to place together in next year's core groups. They strive for dynamic groups. Of course, with absences, which seem to be excessive this year despite the mild winter, the group is rarely fully as intended anyway. I tried not to change my demeanor because I want to be properly placed. I have not connected with my core group members this year at all. They all seem too concerned about how they come across to the core group leader and each other. Not very genuine.
Here's to hoping next year is better! We'll be doing Daniel, Job and "Solomon's Wisdom." No, not that Wisdom! Believe me, there was a hush across the audience when the study was announced2 and I was fleetingly hopeful! Someone from the audience even shouted out possible clarifications, "Song of Solomon? Song of Songs?!" But when those corrections were dismissed, I deduced it would be an anthology of Solomon's writings, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs.
1 and, after two years, I still know no one.
2 Community Bible Study Fact Sheets for Courses, 2012 - 2013