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The folks in Fairhaven find themselves, along with the rest of the country, reeling in the aftermath of the September eleventh attacks. In spite of the impact on their hearts, most summon the courage to carry on with their lives.
Bishop Jim Shepherd does his best to keep things on an even keel as he ministers to the varying needs of his ward members and tries to bring in from the fringes of Church activity a number of sheep who have wandered.
The bishop walked to his truck, his step a little less springy than it had been a few minutes before. "Somehow," he muttered, "that didn't go as well as I had hoped." He hit his steering wheel a resounding thump.
"Lord, help me to be patient," he prayed. "I'm not nearly as good at this as I thought I was."
Jim Shepherd is as surprised as anyone by the call to serve as bishop of the newly formed Fairhaven Ward. He's somehow pictured bishops...
'Bishop?' The voice was a little quaver; for a moment he couldn't place it.
'Yes? This is...?'
'It's Lula Rexford Bishop. I'm sorry to bother ya'll on Christmas but I'm really worried about T-Rex.'
'What's wrong Lula? Is he sick?'
'He ain't here, is the problem, and he said he'd be back three hours ago! He took his bike out for a spin- got him some new do-dads for it, for Christmas, you know, and wanted to go ride, maybe show it off...
A nasty neighbor who is sponsoring what could be an ugly anti-Mormon rally is just one of the concerns weighing on Bishop Jim Shepherd's mind. In his fourth year of service as bishop of the tiny Fairhaven Ward, he's also dealing with the death of one of his most faithful members and a variety of martial and emotional problems—some humorous, some dire—among the members of his flock. But there is also the joy of his wife, Tricia's pregnancy...
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