Fifty Years of Serving the Lord
by John Wright
April 12, 2014 will mark fifty years since the first worship service occurred here at 6500 Southeastern Avenue. The day is about eleven months away and there will be some discussion soon on what we should do then to celebrate the day. However, the purpose of this article is to look back and remember some of the people and memories that are part of the legacy of this Church.
As a people, who are we? And what are we all about? To borrow a phrase from one of my favorite songs, a good summary might be: "It's what the Lord has done in me" and you. We are all standing on the shoulders of many great men and women who have gone on before us. There are a handful of us that are still around that could remember that first service. Okay, I'm going to name a few but this list is not complete. Ralph and Alice Brown, Donna Hall, Jackie Watts, Dave and Doris Law, Jenny Basham, Roger Caruthers, Judy Oakley, Diane Cox, Laura Giroud, Helen Strykowski, and I apologize for missing a few names.
Some early memories are of my mother, and it was her that made sure we all went to Church every Sunday. We were riding with the Gaines since we had no car, our ride after that was with Margaret Sterns, then Marilyn, and then later we rode the Church bus. I remember Sunday School and a teacher who I was fascinated with because she had a finger missing. It was Donna Caruthers. I remember sister Riddle. I did not know she had Parkinson's; I thought her head shaking up and down meant she was agreeing with the preaching, and the side to side shaking meant he wasn't preaching it very well. The preacher then was Bill Flatt, and my opinion of him was whatever sister Riddle indicated to me by her head shaking.
In those days we were a people of character who were known for doing good deeds in the name of Jesus. I remember on several occasions Claude and Becky Cates and Walt and Alberta Troyan helping our family in some very touching ways. My Father was eventually led to the Lord and delivered from alcoholism through many acts of kindness done in love.
Jesus said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Ordinary people who love their families and living a simple, ordinary life may not sound like the way to achieve greatness. But I say it has been the people here at Southeastern being themselves and doing small works of service that has had the most profound effect on me. I may not be able to do great things, but maybe some small thing I do in the name of the Lord may affect another to want to live a life of doing good. And wouldn't that be great!