Vol.XII No.XI Pg.8
January 1976

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

In 1961, after lengthy and heartbreaking efforts to preserve unity in the faith, a small group of saints ceased to worship with the largest church in Burnet; and, under extreme social and economic pressures, began the task of establishing a congregation where Bible and conscience would be respected. Vernie Collins, Laymond Parks, and Wilfred Stephenson — former elders in the larger church — were chosen as overseers of the new group.

Vernie, then Super at Buchanan Dam; and Steve, maintenance foreman; had a faithful teammate in Parks, retired groceryman and active rancher. Each, different in habit yet cut from the same Texas stock, were united in their love for the Lord and for the brethren whose souls they watched. Their love went further. One of their first requests (they never order) was that if there was bitterness over the past it must be overcome. We saw a firm, uncompromising stand; never haughty, always compassionate toward those in error. This attitude was put to the test, often — without failing.

I came to work with them as evangelist in late 61. Our relationship has been unbelievably pleasant — when we agreed and when we differed. They have shown concern for my needs, and appreciation of my efforts; yet always seem to keep the service of the Lord, and the best interests of the congregation in mind. Joe Fitch and Dan Shipley, other evangelists here, will bear a like testimony.

Vernie, Parks, and Steve are not perfect men. They put off unpleasant tasks, worry about finances, and can stretch a business meeting to infinity with tales of early Burnet days. (I get some Stuff stories — the better ones — from them.) But they have heart, and that beats formal committees all to pieces. I recall hearing them discuss what to do about a member reported to have been drinking. One said, Im the one to talk with him. Before I became a Christian I used to drink with him.

Parks teaches more classes, Steve does more preaching, and Vernie has led singing for years. This keeps all in public service, but they did not gain their place in our hearts by political maneuvers. We love them for their works sake. This church now numbers 125, is at peace, actively sounding forth the Word. We thank God for giving us three godly elders, and bringing us to this state of health.