An interim priest, a recovering alcoholic and divorced, is sent by the bishop to serve a northern Maine congregation. The president of the council is biased against women clerics, minorities and alcoholics and attempts to manipulate the head of the search committee. As the interim serves admirably, a movement to call him as the new pastor develops, but the council president conspires with other church members to rig the election against the interim. At a special Holy Saturday election, the church women unite to call a woman priest over the objections of the president. The general theme of the story is that God turns defeat into victory, and the interim tells this to the senior lay reader. The lay reader promises, prophetically, to the congregation that he will be an aanvil of Goda for them.