As I walked into the church, emotion took hold of my heart and my eyes. This was the first time my family was together in the church since May 2008. I don’t recall the church being so big – to my left and to my right it seemed there were 30 rows of long pews. As I looked around at the stained glass windows, the baptistery and the pulpit, many memories raced through my mind. Memories like the sounds of the choir and the organ, my wife Debbie being baptized, our daughter Amanda being baptized, our son Parker being christened and me learning to speak in front of large groups in a safe environment. Now, several weeks ago, we were in the church for Revered Jay Johnson’s funeral. Pastor Jay suffered a heart attack two days after his last sermon. Our friend Jay was 63.
Pastor Jay was the rock. He always had a smile, time to listen and time to coach. He used humor to get his message across, but he never wavered from his Christian values. During our two mission trips together to Gulfport, Mississippi, Pastor Jay made sure the team stayed focused on “getting dirty for Jesus” as we worked side-by-side in wet, musty trailers and houses. In his last sermon, which I was able to read, Pastor Jay said “We don’t serve because we need to curry God’s favor; we serve because we’ve already been touched by grace. He (God) hopes we’ll live out our calling not to seek a reward but simply because it’s our identity.” Pastor Jay knew his calling and made the world a better place. Each of us has a choice to be good servant. Jay was and still is a role model for me. As Christmas approaches, I pray for you to have a blessed holiday and to remember the reason for the season. RIP Jay.
(The church: Union Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is one of the oldest churches in Litchfield, Illinois, founded in 1856. For a decade, the church served as our church. We made many friends and have fond memories of our days in Litchfield. Thank you.)
Employee safety and public safety is paramount to SEMO Electric Cooperative. We all want the best for the people in our lives – our family, friends, community and others. That includes you, SEMO Electric’s member-owners. I am selfish about safety as I don’t want to visit emergency rooms, hospitals or knock on someone’s front door to provide bad news due to an unsafe act.
It’s why we make safety a top priority at SEMO Electric and devote time and energy to making everyone aware of important safety tips and equipment. For instance, if you’re working with tall ladders, cleaning gutters, trimming trees or undertaking other projects outside, we remind you to look up for and stay safely away from overhead power lines, especially those connected to your home. If a project involves digging, be sure to call 811 a few working days in advance to get underground utilities marked.
We don’t want anyone to take a chance that could end in tragedy. SEMO Electric is a partner in the Safe Electricity program. We encourage you to visit SafeElectricity.org, where you’ll find life-saving information presented in videos, interactive games for children, online teacher resources and more. If you have a group or club and need a guest speaker, call us. We will make time to talk safety. After all, aren’t you and the people you care about worth it? We think so. In fact, we know so.
Christmas shout-outs to you - SEMO Electric member-owners. We (Team SEMO) appreciate your support of the cooperative.
Make 2016 a great year.
Be smart. Act safe.