EDITORIAL: Teaching, by example
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of The Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
How many times have you heard it: “What this town needs is a good ...”
We would turn that around to say, “What this town has is a good ... prayer breakfast.” Plenty of communities have them, but as Pastor Steve Keck pointed out this month, not many communities have a 40-year blessing of power and prayer for their young people, and for everyone who is in need.
Clinton has that, thanks in large measure to Gene Simmons, executive director of the Clinton Family YMCA. Gene would deflect that credit to the Y Board, the community groups who used to cook and to the lunch ladies of Clinton High School who cook now, and to his family which, we are sure, with Gene’s job guiding the YMCA and his wife Clovis’ job teaching and coaching tennis, had plenty of times when mom or dad, or both, wished for more family time. Gene and Clovis now are blessed with grandchildren, and there is no indication they are slowing down in their long and admirable work in making Clinton a better place for all children.
The 40th Annual Community Prayer Breakfast sponsored by the CHS/CMS FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and Clinton YMCA, March 5-9, 2018, 7 a.m., Clinton High School is in the very recent past, and we would be remiss if we let the occasion pass us by. March 9 was recognition morning for Gene Simmons as founder of this remarkable community event, and family and board members were there. His pastor spoke. This district’s United States Congressman spoke. Basketball coach and foster father Gregg Nibert gave the prayer breakfast message.
“Just go with it,” Clovis whispered to Gene, when he saw one of the very few things for which had not planned - a lot more chairs set up on the CHS gym floor.
He received a congratulatory resolution signed by Tim Howard, chairman of the Clinton Family YMCA Board, presented “for 40 years selfless service to the youth of Greater Clinton Community with the Youth Prayer Breakfast,” and then the dates:
1979 - 2018
It continues, “The Clinton Family YMCA Board of Directors and the Greater Clinton Community, with grateful appreciation, do hereby acknowledge, commend, and honor the 40 years of distinguished service to Gene Simmons for the Youth Prayer Breakfast, and ... hereby gratefully acknowledge the dedication, loyalty and commitment to live out The Great Commission (printed above).”
The resolution says Simmons’ “passion to Jesus Christ and to the youth will long be evident in the lives of many.”
And, perhaps, this “evident in the lives of many” is even more poignant today.
You see, school officials in Clinton are worried that some young people are acquiring the knowledge, but not the wisdom, of how to end their lives. This year’s prayer breakfast Wednesday speaker, former pro wrestling star Mark Mero, took on this topic head-on in his presentations. Suicide is not the answer, not the end of pain, not something that will accomplish what you expect it to accomplish when you take it under consideration. “God is not through with me yet,” Mero said. Or you, either, young people.
Did his words reach one soul in pain that day in Clinton, South Carolina? We can only hope so, giving them encouragement to go on another day, and see the sunshine breaking through the gloom - then another, then another.
No, God is not through with any of us, yet. May we have breakfast and prayer at the next generation’s Clinton High School for 40 more years - and for the 40 after that.
It will be a blessing.