Kay and I just returned from First Christian Church in Hutchinson where I received he Honored Minister’s pin and the award of Minister Emeritus. It was a very nice award to receive and I appreciated it. Our Regional Minister for Kansas, Paxton Jones, gave the award and Assoc. Regional Minister, Ken Marsten was also there to help.
It was a bitter-sweet experience though. I labored two years as interim minister with this congregation and I grew to love all of them. But since I left on Nov. 1, things have changed. Only about half or less of the usual number of persons I loved were in attendance. I sensed that the “spirit” was gone—-both the “spirit” of the congregation and the Holy Spirit. As I looked out at them it was like viewing a body from which the life spirit has gone and only an empty shell remains. So it was bitter-sweet. Better than any award they could have given me would have been to observe all the people who were in attendance when I left—-to see them there and full of the life spirit that I observed in them as together we went through some difficult times—-that would have been a much better award for me.
My prayer for this church family is that they regain the spirit of love and care for each other and that they search for the presence of the Holy Spirit in their congegation. God is with them—-they just must be open to God’s Spirit and incorporate it into their individual lives and the life of their church. If that does not happen all of my labor has been in vain.