Clergy Corner – July 15, 2020

Pictured above, left to right: Dick Johnston, Jim Dalton, Pat Seymour, Chuck Leverett

Clergy Corner by Jim

Everything in the bible that is important for our salvation has to do with relationships!
Fact or opinion? Well, I guess it would be classified as an opinion. But, since it is my opinion, I like to consider it a fact.

Certainly our Christ taught us that the most important commandments are to love God and to love each other. We find it difficult to love some people …but still, we are called to do so. Others are very easy to love; we find ourselves drawn to them. We are comfortable spending time with them and we look forward to those moments.

One such couple has been good friends of Joyce and me for the past thirty years. For the past seventeen years we have been friends and neighbors. And, what a joy it has been living across the street from them. This morning, around 9:30 AM, they stopped by our home to say goodbye. It was a sad moment. Not because our friendship has ended …but because we know those precious memories we’ve made together are going to come much less frequently.

Some of you know them: Chuck and Beth Leverett. They have attended several coffee house events over the years. They were at our ordination in 2006. They have been active members of Cabot United Methodist church for the past 30 years. Both are in their early 70’s and are moving to Springdale to be close to their only child, Maria, and her husband.

Chuck (pictured above) and I have worked in prison ministry together at Tucker for the past 15 years. I started working on him about 25 years ago to join this ministry. But his passion was working with young people at their church. But once he got started, he found a new passion. He even became a voluntary denominational chaplain at the Tucker Unit. I cannot begin to count the number of trips we have made from Cherrywood Drive to the Tucker men’s unit. Chuck and I have taught parenting classes together, we’ve trained new teachers, mentored new administrators, fished together, played games together, and had many other wonderful experiences together.

The opportunity to grow this depth of friendship exists for us with anyone …if we take the time to get to know them; if we make it a priority to spend time with them. Common ground is always a good beginning point for lasting relationships. A church family has common ground already. It should be easy to build deep and meaningful relationships. Yet, we cannot do that in a worship service one hour each week. It’s even harder when we cannot see each other face-to-face because of a national health emergency.

I so look forward to the world getting this pandemic virus behind us. I pray that when we meet as a church again, and begin our home fellowships again (the one at Terri’s and Tim’s was wonderful), that our entire church family will try to make each one. These are times when you really get to know each other; it is when bonds of care and trust are built. Jesus said, “It is by this that they will know you are my disciples; by your love for one another.” How can we love someone we don’t take the time to know?

We each need to commit to being active, participating members of the body of Christ at St. Stephen’s. If you will, you will be blessed and you will be a blessing to others. We need each other!