Thanks for the Memories

“Well, this is it.”

 “Well, this is it.”  … that was the statement that I gave the leaders of WCC in a meeting I called for in my office at the end of last month, and I am echoing that same statement to you today…. “This is it.”

I am stepping aside as minister of Woodland Christian Church the last Sunday of this month, February 28, 2016 culminating fifteen and a half years of privileged ministry.  I asked for the leaders blessing … and their peace.

 The leaders, in a demonstration of solidarity, wanted to be on stage with me as I made this announcement in church and I appreciate their graciousness in the reception of mine and my wife’s decision to leave. In that meeting no one was mad, upset, or angry, but…  cordial, understanding, and supportive.  We are at peace with our decision but not without tears.

 The obvious question is “Why”… “Why are you leaving now?”  

 There are two reasons.  My wife’s parents are getting on up there and it is our desire to be close to them during this time in their lives.  For now they are managing… but… need some help and a comforting presence of more family members.  Ageing has a way of drawing others in.

 The second reason to “Why” is the fact that I have worked multiple occupations simultaneously for multiple decades and feel it in my best interest to place myself in a situation where I have just one occupation.  For the entire time that I have been in East Texas I have worked in such a manner.  I will be running one of the family businesses in Jennings, Louisiana.  I feel that one move alone will lengthen out my life.  

 I will leave behind more than I could have ever imagined.  People who were nameless faces 15 years ago have become close and dear friends… both inside and outside the church setting.  Scheduled appointments morphed into cherished memories.  

 Thanks to the publisher/owners of this paper. I have become close to many Christian and, more notably, non-Christian people via this weekly column.  Many impromptu friends have given me their verbal support and gratitude for what I have written and, while we’re on the subject, I want to thank the Editors of T&T News and Our Town Times for publishing my views without restraint or editing for these past 6 years with over 300 entries.  It began a great discipline for me to think carefully about my thoughts.  The Scriptures talk to us about every facet of life in this universe and I felt much freedom to do the same. For some reason you turned to this column to read what was on my mind.  Thanks for doin’ that.  I hope that what was on my mind spoke to your heart, piqued your curiosity, expanded your understanding, and grabbed your attention and caused you to think… of our Lord.

 I will miss the ministers of other congregations in our city.  Even with honest and open disagreements they were never disagreeable but cordial, polite, friendly… and funny.  They are true gifts from above.    

 Thirteen years ago I was hired by Timpson ISD for a job I did not seek, to do things I have never done, to see things that were out of this world, with students and staff who appreciated it all.  I have been proud announce the Bears on the field and feature the Bear logo up there 20 miles high.  

 So, in conclusion, I will deliver my last heart-felt sermon as minister of WCC on February 28.  

 May God bless you and may God bless Woodland Christian Church.