If we’re fortunate enough in life, we continue to learn, to better understand and to still be inspired as we grow older. We’re able to push aside the cynicism and pessimism that often accompany years of experience, and still stare wide-eyed at the world, knowing in our hearts that there is still much to learn and take part in as we continue to grow.
It’s not easy. We often get so wrapped up in the mechanisms of our day-to-day lives that we forget that there is much more in the world for us to contemplate. No, I’m not talking about meditating under a pear tree to solve all of life’s riddles in some semi-hypnotic state of consciousness, but actually realizing that there are things around us that we could better with a little understanding and effort.
But, again, it’s not always easy to see the forest for the trees. I am the absolute worst at that. My entire life is built around a regimen — wake up at this time, shower by this time, get to the office, do such and such, etc. If any part of my regimen is spoiled, it throws off my whole mood and I start to race through things to be back on track. It’s as if I wear blinders to everything happening around me so I can focus on one thing at a time.
But I ran into inspiration the other day — and it came in the form of a person.
I’ve spoken to Pastor Kim Tephabock of the Dagsboro Church of God before, and instantly took a liking to him. He came into our office a few months ago to speak with Susan Lyons and myself about a plan he had. Pastor Kim wanted to pull all the churches in the county together, the government agencies, the non-profit groups and others to serve a common purpose.
The purpose was to help people who need help.
The cynical side of me immediately began wondering what this guy’s angle was, and what did he have in mind for our paper. But the more he talked, the more I began to understand what he was hoping to accomplish. He just wants to help people — and to help make churches leaders of the community again.
We broke off our meeting, shook hands and I wished him well in his efforts. I remember having Pastor Kim bounce around my head every so often after that first meeting, hoping he was getting the response he wanted from other leaders in the community, and generally just wishing the guy good luck in all his efforts.
And then he called to set up another meeting with me for last week.
He explained to me that the Sussex Ministerium was on board with his idea. As were several churches in the western part of the county, and all along Route 113. State, town and federal officials were interested, as well. And non-profit groups like the United Way and others wanted to be part of this effort.
And Unite Sussex was alive.
“When the greatest need is there for people, that’s when grant monies get cut,” explained Pastor Kim. “But once the community gets together and says, ‘It matters to us if these groups have money,’ well, that’s when great things can get done.”
And that’s his basic hope. He wants organizations that help people to have the resources they need to do just that. He wants towns and governmental bodies to recognize what people are facing and act accordingly. And he wants people to have a place to go seek help.
“That’s the third layer of all this,” said Pastor Kim. “The first is the civic, county and state governments. The second layer is the caregivers — the groups that offer help to people. And the third is the people who have been affected by this very tough time. They need to know there are options, there are people who want to help and things they can do if they get in trouble.”
Those layers will all get together at the Millville fire hall on Thursday, July 16, from 7-9 p.m. This is the first in what Pastor Kim hopes will be a series of town hall meetings throughout the county that will unite people who have needs with people who can help them.
“This isn’t about me, and it isn’t about my church,” said Pastor Kim. “This is about people who are losing their jobs, who are losing their homes. I worry about families leaving the area and worse. There is a huge need out there by people, and we all have to do everything we can to help them.”
He is still upset about the Dagsboro Church of God having to stop their annual fireworks show because of financial restraints.
“It was that one time we could really pass on patriotism to the young people,” he said. “You want that love of country to continue to grow with each generation, but we just couldn’t do it anymore.”
Here’s another lesson Pastor Kim might be able to provide future generations — help your neighbor.