Today we are having a staff luncheon at New Hope to say farewell to Pastor Sean and Stephani. We’ll have a time of reminiscing about their time with us.
I remember taking Pastor Sean with me to visit a young lady in the DeKalb County Jail. We both thought it would be a great experience for him. However, at the time he was only licensed as a minister, and not ordained. They had the rule that you had to be ordained to visit in the jail outside visiting hours. They would not let him in so he had to sit in the lobby and wait for me to finish my visit (about 20 minutes). I guess the Lord was teaching him patience.
Pastor Sean has been with us for 7.5 years and we all wish him well in his future endeavors.
What will you remember about Pastor Sean?
Rev. Gilbert Dilley passed away Saturday. He was a great man of God who saw many come into the kingdom of God and get filled with the Spirit. I first met Gilbert back in 1971. I had recently received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and, like a drug addict, was craving any spiritual experience I could get.
I was invited to attend a revival meeting at the Helmer United Methodist Church. The place was packed and there was excitement in the air. Gilbert preached a fiery message and received an altar call for people who wanted to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. About 15-20 people, including several teenagers, responded and were escorted to a side room where they were prayed for.
One of those who responded and received the Holy Spirit that night was my wife, Anita. Although I didn’t know her then, that was a dramatic turning point in her life and I’ll always be grateful to Gilbert for boldly proclaiming that message in a United Methodist Church. Well done, good and faithful servant.
What will you remember about Gilbert Dilley?
Sharon Yurt passed away unexpectedly Wednesday. The viewing is at Feller/Clark in Auburn tomorrow (Sunday) from 2-6 and the funeral is Monday at Noon at the funeral home. Sharon tended to be rather quiet in her personality, but we loved her and her husband, Dale.
I remember at our church’s annual picnic a couple of years ago they came with cozy lawn chairs. I came up to them, sat down, and spent about ten minutes speaking with them, because they were rather new. When I walked away, Sharon learned over to Dale and said, “That was the pastor!” He said, “Yes it was.” She said, “He was wearing a pair of blue jean shorts and a pair of sneakers!!” She was surprised to see the pastor dressed down at a picnic. That so impressed her that they’ve been coming ever since.
I believe the angels have ushered Sharon into the presence of the Lord where she can finally rest in peace.
What will you remember about Sharon Yurt?
Judy Dilley passed away Monday and entered into her reward in heaven. She and her husband, David, were both active partners in our church for years.
I first met David and Judy years ago when they were a part in organizing a Vacation Bible School in the trailer court in Waterloo. I was a new Christian and didn’t know much about my faith. They saw my long hair and thought I would be perfect teaching the youth class in that VBS. They saw something in me and released me to touch the lives of those teens. It was the beginning of great things ahead.
Judy had this great hope that one day she would sing for the Lord before others. Yet, she also had this paralyzing fear of doing so. She talked positive about joining the choir, but always came up with an excuse not to. “One day,” she would say, “One day.”
Today is that day. Completely freed of all her fears and inhibitions, today she is finally enrolled in heaven’s choir, practicing, no doubt, for my arrival.
What will you remember about Judy Dilley?
Ilah Shaffer was a special lady. She was friends with my mother when they attended church together in Butler. After her husband’s passing she got very interested in pursuing God and began attending here at New Hope. She immidiately made friends and connected.
Then health issues crept into her life and she stayed home and then resided at Laurels of DeKalb. She was very firm that she wanted to be a voting member of New Hope Christian Center. We mailed her CDs of the weekend services and she faithfully listened to them.
Ilah worked several jobs and I once asked her which of those jobs was the most enjoyable. She replied that it was working as a telephone operator in the early days.
In my funeral files I have a list of things that she wanted at her funeral. She planned her life out to the very end. I will remember her warmth of personality and love for God. She wanted more of God and has finally arrived.
What will you remember about Ilah Shaffer?
Our bus ministry picked up Patsy and Junior DePew and these kids were very involved in our children’s ministry. Because of that connection, eventually their parents, Rex and Penny DePew, began attending. They both felt very welcomed and looked forward to coming.
When we heard that Rex DePew had died, our hearts were heavy. Young Patsy, still a teenager, has been a real strength to the family. Rex was always so apologetic when he could not be here, even calling once to apologize before hand.
I remember Rex telling us how much our church meant to him and his family. He confessed that he had a temper and that he was trusting God to put peace in his family. Rex would give someone the shirt off his back, but he had a hard time saying no to people. I will miss Rex.
What will you remember about Rex DePew?
Ron Brunger went home to be with the Lord Wednesday afternoon after a painful struggle with bladder cancer. We don’t know the funeral arrangements yet, but we can all be in prayer for Janet as she makes these plans.
Ron was an interior designer for International Harvester. He was very artistic and made his own Christmas and birthday cards. When we created our Easter set, he was the brains behind the design. Not only did the set look professional, but every stud and dry-wall screw were its place for the construction crew. He was a detail perfectionist, which made him successful in his career.
But more important than that, Ron had a heart for Christ. Some painful experiences in his life made him a sold-out Christian. On his death bed, I asked him what he wanted us to remember about him after he was gone. He thought a moment then replied, “I want people to remember that I loved everybody. There was a time when I had some enemies, but not now.”
What will you remember about Ron Brunger?