Monday, May 21, 2007

Book of Order will have to wait…

I am back from our daughter’s college graduation. It went very well—we are so proud of her!

I had intended on an extended series on the proposed re-write of the Book of Order. That series will be put on hold or a day or two.

Late Saturday night Moscow, Idaho, experienced something that no community should have to experience. News reports abound on the shooting spree that took place in that Idaho community. The shooter found his way into the Presbyterian church, shot and killed a church staff person (a sexton) who lived at the church and then committed suicide in the church sanctuary.

I was born in Moscow. My parents lived just a few miles away in Pullman, Washington. The closest ob/gyn was in Moscow. Years later I attended Washington State University in Pullman. I had a good friend from Alaska that went to college in Moscow and visited him regularly. I have driven past that Presbyterian church several times—but never went in. It is hard to imagine what that church is going through.

As Presbyterians we need to be in pray for Presbyterian brothers and sisters in Moscow. The blood can be removed from the church sanctuary and the room where the staff person was killed—but that removal doesn’t make it go away. In the coming weeks that congregation will begin holding worship services in the sanctuary. The emotional, spiritual and physical trauma of going into the sanctuary could be overwhelming.

The installed pastor who preceded me at Evergreen had to be fired. The pastor had crossed the “creepy” line—probably not the illegal line. He did something that was very inappropriate with a teenage girl or two (again, probably not illegal but definitely very inappropriate). He would get inappropriately close to women (I don’t want to go into detail—definitely inappropriate). He had been gone from Evergreen for almost two years when I received the call to Evergreen. Three years later I was still dealing with fallout from that pastor’s actions. We ended up losing two families who had been at the center of the controversy. The women in those families loved Evergreen and its people. However, every time they drove up and saw the church building the old memories, hurt and pain would come back. They finally got to the place that the only way they could get free from that past was to go to another church. Both times the husbands sat tearfully in my office—explaining what was happening and why. The memories of horrible events…

We need to pray for the folks at First Presbyterian Church, Moscow, Idaho, that the Holy Spirit will protect person’s memories and that the church can become a place of healing.

Let’s all stop and pray for them right now…


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