|CFGT sanctuary circa Oct '91|
I did take time, however, to journal that day and here is my entry for Monday, October 1.
|Our installation photo - Oct 27, 1991|
It’s not a part-time job. In fact, it’s not a job – it’s a calling. It’s not particularly hard work but it is the stress of dealing w/people through their highs & lows, ups & downs, their ebb & flow. If God permits it, I will be here for some time to come. But it is not “my” church. It is His & I serve at his pleasure until he removes the calling from me.
However long I am here I want to finish well. Whether that means w/a flourish & a grand send-off or rolling out of town in a U-Haul once again I pray for my part to continue to do good work here & continue to pray “Your kingdom come, Your will be done in this city as it is in heaven.”
When CFGT (now Refuge) celebrated our 40th Anniversary as a fellowship, I invited all the former pastors who were still alive to come and share on different Sundays to share of their time here. It was sorta like Homecoming Week spread over a month or so. I have never forgot what John Tuttle, my immediate predecessor, said tongue in cheek: “I’ll let the archeologists decide what my impact was during my time here.” John, who is never one to blow his own horn, did good work here. When he and Char arrived in Chetek in 1981, they inherited a congregation that had just come back together from a split through the efforts of his predecessors, Reverends Chester Lodgelin and David Bakken. Mrs. Mattson, the founding pastor’s wife, was still a force to be reckoned with. After her husband died suddenly of a stroke in 1974, she was never really the same and keeping her husband’s legacy alive – and her place in the fellowship they had labored so long to give birth to – became her mission. By the time the Tuttles arrived, it was mostly a small, aging congregation with enough eccentric individuals to keep things always interesting. Essentially, John and Char were the young people and John set a course of bringing their small fellowship out of the time-loop they seemed to be stuck in. As different members shared with me, it was a difficult transition but by the time John left in the spring of 1991 Mrs. Mattson always referred to him as “Pastor.”
On Monday, I spent time in prayer, journaling and Word. I also spent a good part of the day preparing for Cross Country practice and being there. But maybe my favorite part of the day came that night. Marty is a guy connected with Refuge through my ministry as a chaplain at the Barron County Justice Center (BCJC). He was released in late spring and has been a resident of Heart Island in Rice Lake since then. Heart Island, which is shaped like a heart, sticks out into the south end of Rice Lake. It is the home of Benjamin’s House Emergency Shelter, the Heart Island Family Enrichment Center, the Guest House and two Catholic nuns – Sister Jean and Sister Claudine. In Marty’s journey since he was incarcerated last December he has moved from a tiny flex cell at the JC to one of the dorms to an apartment at Benjamin’s House to the downstairs half of the Guest House duplex. Six months ago, he lived in a room a little bigger than a phone booth. Now he has a room with a view looking over the bay – and the good news is he doesn’t have to pay taxes on it!
|Color walk October 1991|
|Christmas program Dec 1991|
|October 1991 - It's not about the building|