"Well, here's another fine mess you've gotten me into!"

Fans of the comedy team of Laurel and Hardy will recognize the classic catchphrase that was spoken in many of their films in the early days of American cinema. Sandy and I recently watched the biographical comedy-drama “Stan and Ollie”, a film that focuses on the twilight of the careers of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. The boys starred in hundreds of silent and sound short and feature slapstick films beginning in 1926 and for a time in the 1930’s and 40’s Laurel and Hardy were among the most recognized and popular film stars in the world. Notable works include Music Box, Babes in Toyland, Way Out West, Sons of the Desert and Block Heads. Stan and Ollie’s convincing actors John C. Reilly and John Coogan thoughtfully trace the aging team on their 1944 bitter sweet final music hall tour of England, Ireland and Scotland. The glory days of Hollywood and the big paychecks from Hal Roach Studios had been over for a decade and as the duo struggled with financial issues, constricting contracts, health problems, and with competition from the fresh new comedy team of Abbot and Costello all while struggling to get one final film made. The scenario of Stan and Ollie hits a very familiar note as our church’s high-profile glory days may have also passed decades ago. Financial issues, property maintenance and shrinking resources have become primary focus as our congregation works to remain relevant in a changing world. Perhaps a lesson can be learned from Laurel and Hardy is that evolution is natural and can be managed with thoughtful dignity. Happily, our members and those who have preceded us have provided equity and options and happily we don’t find ourselves in “another fine mess”!  -Bill