Commissioners and county employees point to the Rev. Rick Martindale during an online meeting on Feb. 18, 2021.

Commissioners and county employees point to the Rev. Rick Martindale during an online meeting on Feb. 18, 2021.

Technical difficulties made for a memorable online invocation in Moore County on Tuesday, proving that the Lord networks in mysterious ways.

The Rev. Rick Martindale of First Presbyterian Church in Carthage had been asked to open this month’s meeting of the county commissioners, conducted over the videoconferencing app WebEx, with a prayer, but an audio issue caused the minister to miss his cue.

For several minutes, the 26 other people participating in the meeting watched as Martindale waited patiently in front of his computer screen for a signal to begin the invocation. He appeared oblivious to the commissioners’ increasingly creative attempts to get his attention.

After repeatedly calling out Martindale’s name to no avail, Commissioner Frank Quis scribbled “PRAY” on a sheet of notebook paper and held it up to the camera. Misty Leland, attorney for the county, later did the same.

Commissioner Catherine Graham, who lives in Carthage, at one point offered to step outside her home and “scream” at the preacher.

“Being a Baptist, I can say this: he must be part-Baptist,” Graham joked.

About four minutes into the meeting, a visibly amused Quis instructed everyone on the call to point at their cameras. The grid of heads surrounding Martindale quickly filled with outstretched index fingers and the sound of overlapping laughter.

“If that doesn’t get his attention, I don’t know what will,” Quis said.

It didn't. But Laura Williams, clerk to the commissioners, eventually reached Martindale by phone and reported back to the board.

“He’s having a difficult time hearing us, but he’s going to go ahead and offer the prayer,” Williams said. “And we know God will hear it even if we can’t.”

The commissioners were about to pray with Martindale in silence when his microphone started working unexpectedly.

“Almighty and loving God, we gather acknowledging that our true strength and our true joy does not always come from our abilities and gifts, but indeed it comes from yours,” he said, fighting back his own laughter. “We are definitely frail, sinful beings and we definitely can’t always hear each other all the time. Case in point: today.”

Watch highlights from Tuesday's incident below.

(2) comments

Justin Bradford

Another great example of how faith is a complete waste of time.

Patricia Bryan

That was fun! Thanks for some amusing reporting.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Comments that violate any of the rules above are subject to removal by staff.

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. Subscribe today and support local community journalism.

Digital Only Subscriptions

The Pilot

Get unlimited digital access and support award-winning local journalism, for just $5 a month. This includes access to the electronic replica edition of The Pilot.

Starting at
$5.35 for 30 days

Already have a Print Subscription? Get Digital Access Free.

The Pilot

As a print subscriber, you also have unlimited digital access. Connect your account now. Or, call customer service at 910-693-2487 for help.


Our system has been updated, if you are a current print subscriber and cannot obtain your unlimited access, please contact customer support 910-693-2490. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Home Delivery

The Pilot

Our best deal: Get all the news of Moore County delivered to your home each Wednesday and Sunday — and receive unlimited digital access to

Starting at
$27.82 for 90 days