Chapters 1-4: Barnabas, A Dubious Gift, New Possibilities, Company Stew
• Father Tim lives in Mitford, North Carolina, a small town.
• Tim is a rector at an Episcopal Church with a congregation of 200 people.
• Tim writes his bishop, as he is feeling burned out and ready to move on to something else.
• The bishop writes back, asking Tim to think about things a little more.
• Tim is lonely much of the time, and his secretary, Emma Garrett, worries about him.
• Tim finds a large black dog and eventually lets the dog stay with him.
• The dog, Barnabas, has had no training, but will sit and listen patiently when Father Tim reads scripture.
• Miss Sadie, an elderly wealthy woman, has found a painting she wants to donate to the church.
• Someone says they think it is a Vermeer and rumors spread that the painting is valuable.
• This upsets both Tim...
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