Church Characters #5: Tommy

During a series entitled “Church Characters,” I’m recalling some memorable people from decades of ministry.

Tommy attended Mount Carmel Church, and his wife played the piano for worship. The devoted family faithfully fulfilled their vows to support the church with their prayers, presence, gifts, and service.

Tommy was the kinda guy who would do anything FOR you and anything TO you. In the latter category, he loved harmless, practical jokes.

A shrub died in front of the parsonage. Tommy served on the Trustees. Rather than replace the plant, he spray-painted the brown branches a bright green.

The United Methodist Men took a mission trip to Louisiana. One evening we went to New Orleans for dinner before strolling through the French Quarter. Tommy delighted in pointing out every clothing optional establishment to his young pastor.

Tracy and I married in May 1986. While away on our honeymoon, Tommy sowed the parsonage lawn with fescue and rye before applying a liberal amount of fertilizer. I cut the grass every 3 days that summer. The churchman explained that he was concerned I might have nothing else to do as a newlywed.

Tommy was the type of guy who would do anything FOR you and anything TO you. In the former catalog, he supported his pastor with love and compassion.

The country church introduced me to deer hunting. After I harvested my first buck, Tommy showed me how to field dress and butcher the deer.

A wood heater warmed the parsonage. I purchased a chainsaw, and Tommy taught me how to cut firewood. I attribute my current possession of ten digits to his past instruction.

Most of all, Tommy offered wise counsel to a pastor fresh out of seminary. He helped me understand how to minister to the congregation and community. I remain grateful for his friendship and support during my first five years of ministry.

May all of us be the kinda person who will do anything for others.

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