10 Feb “Let Me Introduce Myself, by Clif Wilcox
Pastor’s Pen from Clif Wilcox
Julie and I count it a privilege to worship and serve among you. We have actually felt very much a part of HLPC for well over a decade! Aside from the fact Julie and I have known and worked alongside Paul and Connie with RUF (I was the campus minister at UF when Paul was at Mercer) our daughter Katie (White) and son-in-law William (along with our three grandkids: Maisie, Liam, and Greer) were some of the earliest members of HLPC when they were stationed here with the Air Force. Furthermore, HLPC was one of the first churches to support our church plant in Florida and I have depended on Paul’s friendship and mentoring throughout the years in the ups and downs of ministry. I always knew I could call Paul and say anything I wanted without fear he would judge me or recommend therapy! Having developed similar philosophies of ministry in RUF and having developed a friendship and comradery through years of staff training and summer conferences, I always knew I could freely say what I was thinking and feeling, and I knew that Paul would “get me.” So, it was no surprise that, when Paul learned that we were planning to move to Macon in order to be closer to family, he would float the idea of working together again. It really does feel much like coming home.
Julie and I will have been married forty years this year on August 1st. We met at Belhaven College where I was studying Bible/Christian Education and she was in Pre-nursing. As a former “MK” (Missionary Kid), I remember her telling me that she was open to marrying anyone as long as he wasn’t a pastor! Suffice it to say, I had to work extra hard to win her over, and truthfully, I could not imagine a woman more fit to be a pastor’s wife. Over the years, I have gleaned much from her insights and wisdom, and she is truly a helpmeet to me in every way. As for me, I remember telling her that I would go wherever God wanted me to go and do whatever He wanted me to do, “As long as I don’t have to raise money!” Funny. Since I was ordained in 1992, every call from RUF, to church planting, and now to Bent Tree/MNA has required the raising of support! God definitely has a sense of humor. Seriously though, it has been an exercise in sanctification learning to wait upon God, trusting Him to part the waters just in time, or to rain down manna one day at a time. We can certainly say, “God is faithful.”
By the way, Julie and I have three grown children: Katie, Janie, and Zachary. Katie, of course, is in Macon. Janie and her husband, Eric, live in Alpharetta—along with our other two grands—Piper and Finn. And our youngest “Z” lives in Chicago at the time of this writing but is planning to move to Texas—though not closer to us, it will be warmer! We have five grandchildren—six when you count “Henry” who died shortly after being born and in who’s memory is dedicated the cross which is at the front of the HLPC sanctuary. You were so precious and supportive of our kids during that tough time, we will be forever grateful.
I guess this could just keep going, but I suppose that’s enough for now. Again though, we are grateful to HLPC and have been for a long time. Maybe later I can go more into the ministry of Bent Tree, but for now we just wanted to give you some initial introductory remarks. We look forward to meeting those of you we don’t know and prayerfully hope to be of some service to Paul and Connie as they faithfully labor on all our behalf.
Thank you and God bless, cw