Yes, the elevator passed inspection! Pastor Robert and Luke were the first to ride on the new elevator. They were not getting ahead of Rose Williams who has dreamed of her wheelchair being first on the elevator. They were doing what was necessary to pass inspection.
It was important for the inspector to work through the series of buttons, lights, alarms. He then approved the elevator and handed Pastor Robert the keys.
Thurman Henry returned to Martha Jefferson Hospital this week. He is now in rehab again. It may be that our Dear Brother will not return home. Alice, his Bride of 71 years, is now a permanent resident of the care facility where Thurman is. He is comforted to know they would share the same roof and be able to spend time together.
Thurman and Alice were two of the 12 adults in 1952 that met in a rented grocery store room to talk about planting a church in Charlottesville. Sixty-seven years ago that precious group of people, none of whom were wealthy or even of modest means, agreed to sacrifice their own fortunes to plant a holiness church in Charlottesville. Covenant was born.
To my knowledge all the original 12 remained faithful to God and in good relationship with Covenant. Three of the adults are still celebrating life, i.e., Thurman & Alice Henry and Ann Zimmerman.
Thurman has been an elder for 67 years. While his current status is Emeritus, he is honored and recognized as a patriarch. Most Sundays he still attends the Bible class he has been part of since 1952.
I visited with Thurman in the hospital a few days ago. Our visit was interrupted by a young nurse. She came in and explained that she would be off work for a few days. She knew that he was to be transferred to rehab and came by to share her intentions to visit him in rehab.
Thurman said: "She loves the Lord. We have had wonderful discussions.” His speech has suffered from the strokes.
I observed as the young woman looking about age 20 said: "I want a hug.”
She leaned over to gently embrace the 90 year-old saint.
Thurman and I talked. He said: "Pastor Bare, your dream is coming true."
He spoke of the church construction. It is so like him to be happy for me and not take credit for his larger part in the dream.
I responded: "No, my Brother, this is bigger than my dream. This dream has pulled me along, sometimes kicking and yelling (figuratively speaking), demanding faith that has stretched and humbled me."
My dream. We have waited more than 25 years for an elevator to serve our precious people.
I dream of Thurman’s cutting a ribbon celebrating all inspections done and occupancy permit. He may be in a wheel chair and have trembling hands, but it will be a celebration!
Rose, who has suffered from cerebral palsy since childhood, will then guide her chair onto the elevator!
All of the founding members gave away their wealth to provide for us. None of them finished their days with fortunes to bequeath or to provide for senior years with luxury. Yet all came to senior years with joy and hope of eternal life. They rejoiced for their eternal inheritance.
These last few weeks will stretch us. It is our opportunity to FINISH the house of worship that will be a statement of holiness to our congregation, our community and missionaries around the world!
Last week persons anonymously donated jewelry to be sold for the building fund. Thank you! Let’s come again this Sunday prayerfully bringing a generous offering for the building fund.
As the building is coming to completion, our energies are continuing to be devoted to missional outreach and discipleship. There is so much to be done.
A war is coming. I do not speak of armies with guns and bullets. That is already happening. In 2016 only 10 countries were considered to be without war, i.e., 196 were at war!
The war that is knocking on our door is hell. The battle of the mind. A generation that has neglected the Word of God. Lots of talk about religion, but little talk about holy living. Religion without Jesus. Religion that is self-servicing, allowing individuals to craft their plan of salvation without repentance. Religion that treats the Bible as just another religious book---not THE BOOK.
Our minds are bombarded with images and ideas counter to the Christ-life.
My prayer is that Covenant will be a citadel of refuge for sinners, broken, hurting and lonely people to find refuge, community and HOPE!
Nehemiah 10:39b "...We will not neglect the house of our God."