Dear Friends,


After preaching about the importance of the church this past weekend, I came across a story from Fred Craddock, who was a great preacher and teacher of preaching. He was often asked to preach at churches for their revivals and special services. He once went to a church for a special series of weekend services on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday morning.


When he pulled into the church parking lot on Friday afternoon, he discovered that a funeral was just finishing. People were getting into their cars, ready to leave the church and follow the hearse to the cemetery. The minister of the church saw Craddock and motioned for him to come over. Craddock didn’t want to intrude, but he went over to the minister, who introduced him to the wife of the man who had died. Craddock felt very awkward and said, “This is no time for you to meet strangers. I’m really sorry for your loss.” Her husband had been killed in a car wreck and left her with four children. He said, “I know this is a very difficult time for you.”

But the woman said, “It is. So I won’t be at the services tonight, but I’ll be there tomorrow [Saturday] night, and I’ll be there Sunday morning.” And Craddock said, “Oh no, you don’t need to be here tomorrow night, or on Sunday.” He knew this was a hard time for her. But she said, “Yes, I do need to be here. It is hard, but this is my church, and I know they’re going to make sure that my children and I are okay.”


Now to me, this is what the church is all about: caring for one another and making sure that each one of us is okay. It’s been harder to do during this pandemic. We don’t see each other as often – many of you I have not laid eyes on in over four months – and don’t have quite the contact we once did.


But we have found other ways to express our love and support for one another. The telephone calls, letters and notes, emails, Facebook postings and comments, and ZOOM meetings (am I leaving anything out?) have kept us connected to each other. Our online and in person worship have kept energizing music and a consistent gospel message of grace and hope flowing into our hearts. We have continued, and in fact increased, our support and help to people in need in our community.


The church is alive and well in Southport, Indiana. We’re operating a little differently, but we are all working together to make sure that each one of us is going to be okay.


Grace and Hope to you,


Pastor Duane