by Cecil Hook
A Lifetime Peak Experience!
A few weeks ago Ron Stump, an elder and our Family Life Minister, asked if I would speak to the assembly on July 20. Not yet having learned to say “no”, I agreed. It seemed so appropriate that all of our family was planning to be here at that time.
I did not speak, however! As we entered the vestibule there was a table with a display of my books, my picture, and other indications that Lea and I were being honored by the congregation. In the entire service of our usual honor and praise to God, instead of having a pulpit message, review was made of our life and ministry. Songs were led by Paul Prince, our son-in-law, Sol, our son, and Ryan Hook, our second-oldest grandson. Loving tributes were offered by our oldest grandson, Daniel Hook, and by Sol. Our dear friend, Robert Rowland, of Newport, gave a gracious tribute with no casket present! He gave special honor to Lea for her role in our ministry. Ron also added touching comments. The love of the assembly of 390 persons was felt deeply.
Daniel had designed a truly creative cover for a bound collection of e-mail letters that many of you had sent — even from Canada, Germany, Kenya, and Australia. We had all been given corsages, and Lea was presented an exquisite bouquet. They had prepared an artistically worded, decorated, and framed plaque to present us also.
The elders then conferred upon me the title of honorary shepherd! They assured me that I would not have to attend the elders’ meetings! J
They have further honored us with plans to establish a scholarship in our name at Cascade College in Portland. A special collection will be taken for that later, and if it reaches ten thousand dollars or more, it will become a permanent fund. It pleases us greatly that some student(s) may be benefited. (Should you wish to add to that fund, send it to Westside Church of Christ, 17415 NW Walker Rd, Beaverton, OR 97006; phone 503-629-9132.) This has all been too awesome for us to comprehend. The love of those of our congregation has been felt deeply in our two years here. This expression by the whole assembly will feed our spirits until the Lord takes us, and it may extend into the next world also. Like the love of God, it is undeserved and humbling.
“God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Rom. 5:5). He poured some of it into Lea and me through his Spirit-filled disciples in the Westside congregation in Beaverton. Our cup of love runs over!
One of the rare qualities of the Westside congregation is that it gives special honor and encouragement to those who serve in it. Even though Lea and I have been very limited in our service here, they honored us anyway!