This last Sunday marks Bill's fourth and final weekend away from the Ordinary Life congregation, and it's fair to say, "We miss you, Bill!" Bill returns this coming Sunday, August 7.
If you haven't already done so, you may wish to read Bill's final blog posts about his journey through Scotland, titled "Lost In Wonder", a reflection on the land, the history, and the people that Bill has seen and met on his journey. You can click the link above, "Sacred Spaces in Scotland", to read Bill's post.
We were most fortunate to have the Reverend Tommy Williams, Senior Pastor for St. Paul's, come speak to us in the final weekend that Bill is away. Tommy's warmth, coupled with his passion for the issues of which he spoke, provided an interesting and enlightening insight into both Tommy and some key social issues that he has put to the forefront of his activities, as an individual and as a spokesperson for St Paul's.
The well being of children and their opportunity to have an education, to experience personal development, and to enjoy unconditional love is a goal that drives Tommy, and to that end, Tommy and wife Bethany are both foster and adoptive parents, making a personal difference with the children they have touched.
Tommy, as a representative of St. Paul's, is working with other area churches to create a children's initiative that will address a number of specific issues that affect the well being of children in Texas. Key issues include:
1. Accessing Medicaid funds (from the federal government for children's healthcare), funds that have been continuously blocked by Texas' politicians.
2. Public Education Funding (for our local schools to invest in areas of growth for all Texas children)
3. Child Protective Services (continued reform and funding for the state foster care system) - proper funding and better definition of mission.
4. Raise the Age (making 18 the minimum age someone can be charged as an adult. It is currently 17 - youths serving prison terms in adult jails)
5. Migration/Immigration/Trafficking - dealing with parent's desires to see their children in the USA that instead end up as sex/labor trafficking.
6. Pay Day Lending regulations that impact primarily poor and immigrant families and ultimately saddle children with the burdens of family debt.
Tommy concluded his talk with a question and answer session that provided more information about the children's initiatives, and the Ordinary Life audience was very interested in Tommy's views about St. Paul's (it must become more diverse and inclusive over the coming years to remain a real part of the community).
Tommy spoke without notes; hence there is no prepared text. However, the full audio of his presentation is available at the link below.
Our next speaker at Ordinary Life, this Sunday, August 7, will be our mentor, teacher, and guru, Dr. Bill Kerley. Welcome back, Bill.
Again, I close with the words of Bill... Be well and much love. And, once again, I add a few words from Spock: "Change is the essential process of all existence."
Blessings to all, I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to fill in for Bill.