Mrs. Penner, 83, of Goessel has been responsible for compiling the EMB church directory for more than thirty years and, so far, everyone had been quite satisfied with her work. A little too satisfied it seems, as Mrs. Penner has recently confessed to photoshopping the pictures to make them more flattering ever since the technology was available to do so.
“At first I just took out the red eye or removed that embarrassing zwieback crumb on Mr. Friesen’s slacks, but gradually my editing skills improved and I got a little more….involved,” explained Penner. “Little Timmy isn’t smiling? I’ll give him a smile. Uncle Jakob didn’t show up to the baptism? I’ll splice him in there. Mrs. Buhler wants a bit more thigh gap? No problem!”
Mrs. Penner’s speciality has been in adding bonnets and removing wrinkles, but she also says the pastor has asked to “remove visible cleavage” on numerous occasions.
“The church directory is our public face, so it’s best to err on the side of modesty,” said Mrs. Penner. “We can’t be giving out the wrong impression. The last thing we would want is for people to think we were General Conferencers.”
Some parishioners were shocked to discover their photos had been altered without their knowledge or consent.
“I don’t think anyone should complain. We take all the photos in the church library. When you agree to get your photo taken, you’re agreeing to having your likeness used in any way the Goessel EMB sees fit,” said Mrs. Penner. “So if your smiling face shows up on a billboard out on Bison Road you should not be surprised. Take it as a compliment.”
The church directory is updated once a year, with an annual “Excommunicated” section that continues to grow.
(photo credit: Chelseaapasaga/CC)