THE LORD HAS BEEN MINDFUL OF ME
This past Sunday, June 26, Jan and I had the honor of returning to Shelbyville, Tennessee for a Homecoming at the Fairlane Church of Christ where we had lived and served from 1976 to 1983, and where our son Brett graduated from high school. I spoke at the morning worship service. It was so very good to see so many old friends and to meet new brothers and sisters in Christ. We had returned to Shelbyville on various occasions, especially as long as Jan’s father still lived near there. I was privileged to preach in a gospel meeting at Fairlane in 1992, and a couple of years ago I spoke on their Wednesday Night Summer Series. Shelbyville and the Fairlane church will always have a very warm place in our hearts.
We have been blessed to hold in sweet memory all the churches for which I have served as the regular minister. In 1964, I returned to the Worthington church in Louisville, Kentucky for a gospel meeting. This was the first church I served on a full-time basis. We were there from early 1958 to late 1959.
The Karns Church of Christ in Knoxville, Tennessee has been dear to our hearts ever since the years of our ministry there: 1959 to 1962. I returned to Karns for a gospel meeting in 1965 and have been honored to speak numerous times on the lectureships of the East Tennessee School of Preaching/Southeastern Institute of Biblical Studies conducted by the Karns church, including the very first lectureship in 1975. Last year, the school honored me with a lovely Appreciation Dinner and a beautiful plaque in recognition of my work in the kingdom. This was most humbling and deeply appreciated by both Jan and me.
We served the great Allen and Edgewood Church of Christ (now North Jackson) in Jackson, Tennessee from early 1962 to late 1964. The elders and members of this congregation were so kind to us and our young family. They have honored me by inviting me back to preach in at least three gospel meetings over the years, as well as to be the speaker at the morning worship hour for their Homecoming in 2001.
From Jackson we moved to Clarksville, Tennessee where I preached for the Madison Street church from late 1964 through 1968. I have been back to Madison Street for a gospel meeting in 1976, as well as to be one of the speakers at the celebration of the church’s 80th anniversary in 1995, at which time I was given a plaque in appreciation of my services to the church. I have spoken several times on their Wednesday Evening Summer Series, and in 2012 was the speaker for the church’s last “Friends and Family Day” at the Madison Street location before the church moved to its Trenton Crossing location.
The College Street church in Lebanon, Tennessee where we served from 1969 to mid-1972 invited me to return for a gospel meeting in 1976, as well as to be the speaker for their Homecoming in 1980. Our older son is buried in Lebanon and Jan and I have our cemetery lots there. Lebanon holds an especially tender spot in our hearts.
From 1972 to 1976 we served the wonderful Pleasant Valley church in Mobile, Alabama. The church there has honored me with opportunities to return for a least two gospel meetings: 1983 and 1990.
From Shelbyville (see first paragraph above) we moved to Dallas, Texas to preach for the Skillman Avenue Church of Christ. We served this church for twelve years (1983 to 1995). While I have not returned to Skillman for any speaking engagements, Jan and I made a visit there in 2003 to see old friends, to attend the Sunday services, and to renew friendships. A few weeks later, I returned to conduct the funeral for one of the beloved elders that had been responsible for hiring me as the church’s minister.
From 1995 to 2000, we lived in Selma, AL where I preached for the Houston Park Church of Christ. Year before last I returned to Houston Park to conduct a Friday-Saturday Men’s Retreat and to preach at the Sunday morning worship services.
During my senior year in high school, I began preaching for the Center Hill Church of Christ near Florence, Alabama. Over the past sixty years I have returned to Center Hill for fourteen gospel meetings. I will always be indebted to this wonderful congregation for the encouragement it gave to me as a “boy preacher” and the opportunities it has given me to return so often to preach in meetings for them!
In the summer of 1957, between my second and third year in college, I served as the summer fill-in preacher for the Clements Street Church of Christ in Paducah, Kentucky. I returned to Clements Street for a meeting in 1975 and to the nearby Reidland Church of Christ, a church plant of the Clements Street church, for a meeting in 1965 and as the speaker for the adults for their nightly Vacation Bible School in 1971.
After retiring from full-time ministry, I served the church in Adams, Tennessee for one year on a part-time basis. The year I preached at Adams (2001), they asked me to conduct their fall meeting. They honored me by inviting me to preach in their meeting in 2002, 2003, and again in 2010. We love the people of Adams!
For ten years (2002 – 2011), we served the LaGuardo Church of Christ in Wilson County, Tennessee on a part-time basis. They have honored me by inviting me to be one of the speakers in their fall lectureship/meeting every year since “retiring” (again!) in 2011. How we do dearly love the wonderful Christians at LaGuardo!
We now serve the small but loving group of Christians that make up the Lord’s church in Mitchellville, Tennessee. I teach the adult Bible class and preach there on Sunday mornings. On Sunday nights and Wednesday nights we attend the Nashville Road Church of Christ, just a little over three miles from our home here in Gallatin, Tennessee. I have conducted two meetings at Nashville Road in my “retirement” years and spoken there on numerous other occasions. How we do love the elders, members, and ministers of this truly outstanding congregation of the Lord!
The title of this essay says it all: “The Lord has been mindful of me (us).” We sincerely love all the churches we have been privileged to serve. And we are humbly grateful for all the love and appreciation they, in turn, have shown us! We pray that they will always be faithful to the cause for which we plead, a replication of the teaching and practice of the apostolic church in our own day and time! It deeply grieves our souls when we see indications of it being otherwise among any of God’s people.
June 28, 2016