Marcy S., age 62, North Carolina

Father God, I give control of my life to Your Holy Spirit. Help me to learn self-control by disciplining and training my mind and emotions in Your Word. I ask this in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

Ever since we learned that Bill Byrd was not going to be principal of Rock Church Academy (the last week in July), I’ve had sort of a sick feeling about the church. After the meeting with John Gimenez and his elders, I felt more hopeful and then, listening to Pastor Eibell’s stirring sermons the past few weeks, the sick feeling left entirely (at least consciously). Then last Thursday when Barbara told me that Tommy and Ann might be leaving (and that the Painters had decided to “stay away for awhile”), the bottom seemed to fall out. I talked briefly with Ann and left in tears. She and Tommy have also been hurt by various things the Eibells have done or not done (she didn’t elaborate and I don’t want to know). They are confused and feel spiritually dead. Ann is our church school secretary and book keeper, and Mitchell is in the 9th grade in our school. He didn’t want to come back this year when he found out Bill Byrd wouldn’t be principal, and they tried to enter him in a Christian school in Rocky Mount but it was full. Mitchell wanted to go to Tarboro High, but his parents could not consent to that, with all the drugs and alcohol, etc. problems there. Now if they decide to leave Rock Church, where will Mitchell go?

We had our monthly late-prayer meeting at church Friday night (9p.m. – ?). Myrtle, Barbara, and I were the first to arrive and we joined hands and prayed fervently for Tommy and Ann. They are at the beach this weekend, and will make a decision by Monday. At church Thursday night when Pastor Bill told us that the Painters had left and that another faithful family (he didn’t reveal who) was seriously considering leaving, he said that if they did, certain others would probably follow — the domino reaction. Besides Harold and Ginny, 8 other members have not been in church since the Sunday after the meeting with John Gimenez.

Pastor Bill said he might call a congregational meeting to get everything out in the open. He feels that some people were not honest at the other meeting because no one said they wanted Bill and Carol to leave.

He said he was not at liberty at this time to reveal the reasons the Painters left; but if members continued to leave, he would make a clean breast of everything.

Oh Lord, how has this happened? Bill laid the blame on “flesh,” and I know from daily experience that our flesh is what gets hurt and often it needs to be put down, so that the spiritual man can grow. I’ve been hurt by things Bill and Carol did not do that, as Spirit-filled pastors, I believe they should have done. But I’ve always made excuses for them. Perhaps I should have shared my hurts with them in a loving way. If this has happened to many others in the body, no wonder hurts have accumulated and festered and caused this tragic split. O Lord, have mercy upon us. Bring the whole church to repentance.