Sunday, May 23, 2010

It is finished

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." - John 19:30a

The past week I went to my hometown for the final service of the First Presbyterian Church of Iowa Park, Texas. The church was organized in 1890 with eleven charter members. In 1921, the first part of the current facility was built with additions in 1930 and 1953. Renovations were done in 1949 and the late 1970s until 1980. In 2010, with a dwindling membership who didn't have the energy or health to continue the work of the church, the decision was made to close the church.

My family were already members of the church when my incredibly handsome twin brother Ron and I were born. We were baptized there when we were babies. In our youth we sang in the youth choir, performed in the nativity play, and helped with the remodeling of the church (well, we hit a few nails with a hammer). As we got older we sang in the adult choir, performed in youth plays (see Holly Day's Inn), and hid the Easter eggs for the younger kids.

When we were kids, Ron and I didn't get to sit next to each other during church, mostly because we talked to each other during the service. A lot. At least one of our parents sat between us, and one of us was unlucky enough to have a parent on either side. It was unlucky because neither mom nor dad could carry a tune, but they loved to belt out the hymns, and the kid with mom and dad on either side had to listen to an out-of-tune singer in each ear.

The final service was performed was performed by Rev. Tom Wisdom. Ret. USAF Chaplain Frank Hamilton, Rev. Betty Meadows, Executive Presbyter Richard Schempp (pictured L-R) and Commissioned Lay Pastor Mr. Steve Barnes (not pictured). Rev. Meadows was my favorite pastor growing up. She was there when I was in high school and college, leaving in 1990. She came back almost eleven years ago for my mom's funeral service (see A belated eulogy), but this was her first time back since then.

After the service, a catered lunch was served, people visited, and stories were shared. A few hours later, when everything was cleaned up, the lights were turned off and the doors locked one final time.

And with that, it was finished.