Fr John was excited when the Bishop told him hie was going to be given his own parish, his first one. It would be a challenge the Bishop warned him, the parish had been in decline for a long while and he had been given one last chance to turn it round. When he arrived at the small town, the locals told him he was wasting his time – the parish was dead. So he placed an advert in the local newspaper declaring since the parish was dead a funeral would be held the following week.
The Church was crowded by the curious who were rewarded with the sight of a huge coffin covered in flowers. After reading the obituary the young priest invited people up tp pay their last respects. As the long curious queue passed by each looked into the coffin and then glanced guiltily away.
At the bottom of the coffin lay a mirror solemnly reflecting the last remains of the church in the startled faces of the congregation.
Adapted version of a story by Ann Cooper.