November 30th brought the final days of 40 years of pastoring at Bethel Holiness Church for my in-laws, Rev. & Mrs. Robert Thompson. He had faithfully lead our congregation, had dedicated the major portion of his life to our fellow church goers, but it was time to move on to another chapter in his life.
Dad Thompson gave his last sermon about passing the torch on to someone younger than him, someone who was also a very Godly man. He had given the best years of his life and had made many forever friends. No doubt it was a hard day for him & the transition will be difficult. But the time had come for change. Mom Thompson's health now requires round the clock attention. Dad had stated from the pulpit that it was his responsibility to care for his loving wife, & to do that, he would not be able to devote his time to the church. Now his days & hours will be centered on Mom. It is difficult to see your parents age. Especially when you see someone who had been so vibrant & full of life. And then the ravages of Alzheimer's steals them away from you, where you can no longer carry on a conversation with them, and even have to struggle to understand when they are trying to tell you something.
No doubt Mom will still think it is her duty to stand at that back door & shake hands with her people as they pass by. I'm sure we will all understand if someday she slips back that way to greet us.
And then yesterday our new Pastor & his family came. And amazingly, his first sermon was titled "Passing the Torch". No doubt God has spoken to both men to let them know the right decisions have been made & all will be well with Bethel.
Our congregation welcomed the Rev. Nathan Shockley family with open arms! We already feel a love springing up in our hearts for them & are looking forward to many years with them leading & guiding us.
As I look back, Mom & Dad Thompson were just about this same age when they moved to Columbus. They had no way of knowing that their remaining years would be spent in this area, making it home for almost all of the Thompson family.
Who knows what the future holds for the Shockley family. Perhaps their years here will stretch out just as long & their family of 4 children will be extended to many more! You never know what 40 years will bring!
Welcome to Bethel, Pastor Shockley & your precious family. We already can feel that Kindred Spirit!