O GLENVILLE! HOW ART THOU FALLEN

These words attributed to satan who once held so high a position among the creation of God I am comparing to my former church, the church of my beginnings as a result of news I recently heard.  If John could carry his message to the Church of Christ for one more church it would have probably sounded like this:

“And unto  the angel of the church of Glenville write; these who from thy fold in their beginning, who held you in highest esteem and appreciation, once held in admiration now disappointed by your recent choices.  You who became the steadfastness of character having lost your balance and have chosen compromise.  Woe unto you for this is the beginning of many sorrows.”

A recent vote of my home church resulted in them allowing for the usage of meat to be brought within the church in the event of funerals; however, all other church events are to be vegetarian.  Another vote with the majority of 70% for the opening the door to having a woman pastor!  How long before it will be admitted where the potlucks held in “Fellowship Hall” will be served with meat because it was okay for funerals, for the dead, but now for the living who are dead to the true faith of what Adventism stood for, presided over by a woman!  Such a thing was never thought possible fifty years ago and I submit to you, this is not evidence of progression but a regression.  It saddened me to hear the landmark of my foundation is being relocated and yet the name will remain.  It has already changed from within so I imagine the outside no longer matter.

What was once 737 E. 105 off St. Clair, has now paled to what once was, where memories are the only thing holding many of us together, as compared to the new ones being created today which couldn’t be worthy of remembering!  While the familiar phrase, for Adventist, is to acknowledge toward the end of time, “bright lights” will go out is often referred to ministers and other individuals who previously were sought for their ability and gifts, now seem to also include whole churches.

Glenville the largest Adventist church in my early years for the city of Cleveland and in the Allegheny West Conference, the mother church of many who’ve sprung from honored beginnings.  The many of us born in the mid to late 50’s, it was the place to be where lifelong friendships would be developed.  Where the best religious foundations were established from Cradle Roll through Youth Division.  Where the Missionary Volunteers (MV) to Adventist Youth (AY) was awaited, especially during the summer months when returning to church early to be with friends often resulting in exploring the large facility.  Sitting on those steps in the front, sharing stories, experiencing young life.  Sis. Lawrence playing the pipe organ.  Bro. Long directing the choir.  Pastors, such luminaries as:  C.D. Brooks, H. L. Cleveland, E. T. Mimms, and Pastor Brogden, whose altar calls were almost as long as the sermon, words welcomed by us youth, “the doors of the church are now opened…”  The lengthiness of the service created matured youth as parents and guardians taught us how to sit up straight and listen.  This was our experience.  Our foundation.  What has kept us together despite the journey of our own lives, for we were prepared; but, we were not prepared for what would now occur.

Sis. White wrote: “The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands, when, if they had conquered on this point, they would have had moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation of Satan. But those who are slaves to appetite will fail in perfecting Christian character. The continual transgression of man for six thousand years has brought sickness, pain, and death as its fruits. And as we near the close of time, Satan’s temptation to indulge appetite will be more powerful and more difficult to overcome.”

Appetite is more than food.  It is anything we ingest which later affects our characters; however, it often begins by food, considering Adam and Eve’s situation as compared to our own.  When we begin to introduce within our confines that which was not before, we open the doors of the church to something entirely new, what once was considered an exception, now becomes the norm!  It is by no coincidence that “women and food” which created the problem in the beginning will be the same overall problem for our church in the end of time.

I make this proclamation and stand behind the words: “If the standard bearers of yesterday were here today, there would not have been such a vote!  If Deacon Martin, my stalwart of a grandfather were present…If Treasurer Bugg, my stalwart of an uncle were present…If Bro. Sherman, a stalwart of a man, tall, graceful yet firm and resolved were present…If Elder Felix Battle, who seemed to have been the First Elder since creation were present…If Elder Robinson, such a big man yet soft spoken were present…If a number of others, women and men, brothers and sisters truly in the meaning of the word were present…there NEVER would have been such a vote suggested never mind carried out.  For these were the true “standard-bearers” of our time now lost.  Where one daughter doesn’t want to share this news with her mother who’s confined to a nursing home for fear of bringing disappointment, another stalwart.

However, I knew as early in 2008 when I visited my former church, it would be for the last time, for it no longer was my church.  From the pastor, who I was told, since I didn’t know him personally and having not been to the church for more than twenty years, wore a roman collar!  The pulpit which once held the best of speakers now held speakers of the musical kind which now sent its syncopated beat of sound which truly resorts to no repentance but only excitement.  What was once considered, “The Pulpit” which held the “Sacred Desk” is now merely a “stage”.

How those who have remained could allowed such to take place?  Could it not be the result of association?  Or, are these the dissenters which are now the minority as compared to those who are newly brought into the faith, not having had the foundation which would have prevented such action taking place?

O Glenville, you once stood so tall, so high, now you’ve fallen.  You’ve compromised yourself into what will later be understood as an error, perhaps time will be given you to repent and return, too, to your first love.  Until then, I’ll await your change, from the outside.

October 29, 2014

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