July 27th was a very significant day in the life of our Dalton EMC church. This was the final Sunday that Dewey was our Pastor. Dewey had been approached the previous fall about running for the District Superintendent position of our denominations Southern Conference. After seeking God and the counsel of his family and mentors Dewey resigned our church last November.
The actual election for the DS job was not scheduled to be until this past June. We were blessed that during the time between last November and July Dewey remained our Pastor. This was a tender and sweet time for our congregation. God showed up in many wonderful and significant ways. There was such an anointed spirit on the church during this time. Our services were filled with powerful preaching, music, and the power of the Holy Spirit. It was a time of renewal, healing, and restoration for our Pastor, our families, and the church as a whole. It has been a special time for us and I feel like God brought the final cap to a healing that had been coming for about two years. We are now a true family in every sense of the word. I am so thankful to God for giving us this special time. It will always be a treasured time in my life.
Dewey and Jo have worked in ministry for over 35 years. They were our leaders for 16 of those years. They have been faithful servants to our Father and to us for a very long time. I know all of us have many precious memories of them over the years. It wouldn't take long for any of us to come up with a Dewey or Jo story I'm sure. Don't they just make you smile or laugh sometimes? Does anyone talk to you like they are your Father better than Dewey?? (That voice and hair make you want to spill your heart don't they?) Can anyone talk you into doing anything better than Jo?? (Beloved, can you??? smile, I love you....you are so wonderful). It is like Harry says....when Jo says "could you?" you say to yourself...why didn't I already do that? I know also that every single one of us can think of a time that they have stood with us during a difficult or wonderful time. They are a huge part of us and they have shared our lives for a very long time.
Over the years we have often heard Dewey & Jo mention that one of their dreams has always been to visit Italy. We have heard them mention the places they wanted to go and we have seen that far away look in their eyes when they talk about going there. Our church family decided that as a way to honor them for their time with us that we would try to raise the money to send them on their dream trip to Italy. We set a goal of $7000 and we had only 3 1/2 weeks to raise that amount. It was such a fun time. Every day e-mails were going back and forth with everyone wanting to know how much we had raised. Everyone gave so generously and with great love. God greatly blessed and in the end we were able to raise $10,770. It still just amazes me. God is so good!!!
The 27th was a big day. It was a day filled with many emotions. Mike roasted Dewey in the greeting... (three-ring binder, blended worship, old Episcopal priest...enough said). Dewey preached his final sermon to us as our Pastor. We had the table and a time of worship. Then to to finish out the day we had a time to honor Dewey & Jo. Renny prayed for Dewey & Jo at the kneeler surrounded by their family and our hearts. Then we saw a wonderful video that Earl made from the photos that the congregation has sent in of their memories of Dewey and Jo over the years. Then Glo presented a 12 piece setting of the "Feeding on the Word" china from the women's ministry. Then Lynn presented Dewey with some official DS glasses....glasses and sunglasses like Laurens. That was funny! We gave our Thank Yous and our blessing and then the real fun started. We presented them with some beautiful wind chimes that Ronnie & Brenda had found in Kentucky. The chimes are supposed to sound like distant church bells and they are supposed to sound like our church chimes. May they remind them of us every time the wind blows. Then it was time for the big trip presentation. Brad started the music (an Italian march) and then several of our friends came marching in with posters that showed different places in Italy. They marched up onto the podium briefly stopping to show Dewey & Jo each one. Then came Laura with the basket of travel brochures and Italian goodies. After that their grand kids came in holding the Italian flag. While they were still trying to figure out what was going on ...we yelled and told them they were going to Italy. Sandy finished us up by presenting them with the large Publishers Clearing House Check with the value of their trip on it.
It was the first time I have ever seen Dewey speechless and I don't think Jo's feet have hit the ground yet. (I'm pretty sure she still goes home and wears that Italian flag every day). They were greatly surprised and honored and we hope they never forget the depth of our love for them. From what I hear plans are already in the works for a trip next spring or fall. We also had a lunch after the service and everyone enjoyed hanging out and eating together. It was a great day of celebrating our friends.
A special note to my precious friends (family) Dewey & Jo,
Dewey & Jo (Maximus & Alexandria Alexis), I truly love both of you more than mere words could express. I am thankful that I have been here for 14 of your 16 years. I am even more thankful that we have become really close friends over the last few years. You know my heart and I know yours. You are both such incredible warriors for our Father and being friends with you has shown me who he is in a deeper way. You are both my hero's!
I know that God is going to bless both of you as you go forward in this new endeavour that he has for you. I know that he still has big plans for you because our Father knows he can count on you and our Father doesn't think small. I know that he is going to continue to use you to show the world who he is.
I'm also so thankful that you get to stay here with us!!!
I Love You Both,
Dewey & Jo with Renny
Renny praying for Dewey & Jo
Glo presenting the china
Still opening the china...
The Feeding on the Word china
The "Official" DS glasses
Opening the wind chimes
The wind chimes with stained glass cross
The Italy posters
The presenter and more posters
They just said "ITALY" !!!!
Sandy with the big check
How much did you say???
Don't they look happy?