Sunday morning Roger announced that he & Sandra would be leaving Pinehill in September after almost 11 years of full-time service as a part of the Pinehill work.
(Roger is the "ugly" guy in the suit marring an otherwise lovely picture takenSaturday after Vicki & Kirk's wedding)
They are going to Troy Michigan. I think the old cliché “our loss is their gain” best sums it up from my view point This added to the sadness (for us) and joy (for them) that we were already feeling because knew that their son Kyle & his wife Anna would be leaving in August to move to Thunder Bay to attend Medical school AND their daughter Jessica would also be leaving to attend Lakehead University.
I have spent a lot of time in the last week in discussions with Lloyd about the process we will follow to address these needs. The first step is a congregational meeting on Wednesday evening to obtain suggestions and ideas about what to do and to begin selecting people to take charge of various things that need to be done. I have also spent a lot of time on the telephone receiving and making calls to people who I felt might have strong feelings about this situation so that I could listen to and understand their concerns. I’m not by nature a good listener – I’m more inclined to move quickly to problem solving so this has been an exercise (with Linda’s help) of trying (again) to make it more of a habit to follow the Stephen Covey principle of “seeking first to understand rather than to be understood” . Those who I have talked with are the ultimate judges of how successful I was but it seemed tome that in general I did manage to do more listening to what others thought than “telling” them what I thought.
Their leaving will affect the preaching, teaching (Roger with adults, Kyle with the youth and Sandra in the children’s classes) and other areas of where they are active. It will also have a large impact on our singing because the whole family is musically talented. Overall it will have a large impact on our efforts to serve Jesus and proclaim the gospel to others – even though we have many others involved in ministry efforts.
We have capabilities within to do most of the things that were being done – but we certainly don’t have the capacity to maintain the quality and energy that Roger and the rest of his family were providing. It will be a big hole to fill and we will need to remain committed to each person doing their part to keep us moving forward in our journey of faith as we figure out how to fill these holes.
Roger, Sandra Kyle and Jessica stayed with us for a few days when they moved here from Alabama in 1995. Over time they have become an integral part of the fabric of our lives and when they leave there will be a big hole . However, we believe that God has been at work in this and that they have been called to go to serve him in Troy and we must continue our calling to serve Him here in Sault Ste. Marie. (The picture of Jessica was taking (almost) 3 years ago on theoccasion ofKyle & Anna's wedding.
Roger,s mother Wilma is my first cousin. – so technically he is a “first cousin once removed” – however my parents both came from large families and I have more first cousins than I can ”shake a stick at” so that relationship isn’t the reason Roger & I developed a deep friendship. In fact, Roger & I both have similar blood relationships with many of the congregation and sometimes that relationship can present obstacles to our desire to be united in Christ regardless of who we are. Sometimes when you are a preacher or an elder in a situation where there are blood relationships – those related can be seen as receiving special treatment—or the inevitable “family feuds” can spill over into our relationship with each other in Christ
Roger is a bit over 15 years younger than I am and I never really knew him until he joined the work here at PineHill. He grew up as a ”preacher’s son” in places like North Bay Ontario and the Bayview congregation in Toronto. His father Clyde baptized Linda during a series of meetings held in Sault Ste Marie in the early 60’s and he officiated at our marriage in 1966 so we do have a long connection with Roger’s family- aside from Wilma being my cousin. Clyde & Wilma are retired and live in Meaford.
Sandra’s parents are from the south (Oklahoma or maybe Texas) and had moved to Ontario to work with the church in St. Thomas. They are retired now and live in the Beamsville area.
Kyle is very active in sports as well as being strong academically. – he played hockey & football while in high school. Last year he graduated from Harding (magna cum laude as I recall ) and returned to the Sault when his application for medical school fell through. We have employed him as a part time youth minister since last September and he has generated some good results with the small “core’ of kids that we have here. He met his (now) wife Anna while in high school. She grew up in a Christian family from a different “heritage” and we have enjoyed having her in the “church family” for the past year. Anna & Kyle are expecting their first child in late July so they'llhave their handsfull as he movesonintomed school.
Jessica is a very lovely young ladyand has been a leader in the teen/youthgroupfor several years. She has done wellin school- president of the student body -- and worked part-time for several years. This yearshe invested in herowncar and has been "proudly" chauferring" her parents andothers to services - at least someof the time.
Roger has been the preacher at Pinehill for almost 11 years. Serving as a the “minister” always has its challenges and rewards and his years here have had their share of both. I believe (with allowance for our human frailties and foibles– he handled the challenges in a Godly fashion and handled the success with grace and humility. Others may see it differently and such is life in churches.
(I think that the absence of challenges is a clear sign of an absence of effect teaching and preaching – the real issue is not that “problems exist” but rather how do we handle them. We are called to love and to possess a certain hope through our an obedient faith in Jesus ( Gal. 5:6; I Cor. 13:13, John 14:15).
In my view, churches can fail in 2 extremes – they can have a sense that loving means not challenging tomake changes regardless of what they believe and how they live (which violates the idea that love is acting in the other person’s best interests)
they so focused teaching people to know and obey commands that they lose sight of the overriding importance of love (See I Cor 13:4-7) and faith (trusting God to keep his promise of grace when we fail to obey). What seems tome is better is for us to accept that when we fail to love – to obey – to trust - we accept that failure – and find a way to move on in spite of our weaknesses and differences – united in our common commitment to Jesus. -- allowing God’s spirit to continue his transforming work in our lives and thanking God for his grace & forgiveness.
Well as often happens I’ve gone to “preaching” and that’s not really the purpose here.
To the Lansdell’s - I am glad we have some time before we have to say “Farewell”. “May God bless you richly each day as you prepare for and then embark on this new phase in your journey of faith.
To those of us who remain – we need to do what we can do but always remember
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (I Cor. 13:13)”
Charlie & Linda