Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: At the Pulpit (11/15/07)
TITLE: A Letter To The Editor
By Mariane Holbrook
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Thank you for your coverage of the fire which destroyed the old Milltown Community Chapel last week. Following is a profile of one of its beloved pastors, George “Bub” Dailey, who ministered there from 1942-1944.
One day in 1942 at his job as pipe-fitter at the Lehigh Railroad, a fellow employee said to him, “Bub, I enjoy your Bible studies here during our lunch hour. Why don’t you come on over to the Milltown chapel and preach on Sundays. We haven’t had a pastor in years.”
“But I’m not ordained and I’ve never been to Bible College.”
“That may be true but you know the Bible backwards and forwards. Will you at least think about it?”
Bub thought about it and prayed about it. Constantly. He and his wife had six children, they had lost
their home during the Great Depression and now the country was at war. His wife had been ill for years with advanced arthritis and pernicious anemia. Pain was her constant and unwelcome companion.
After much discussion, Bub decided to continue attending his family’s church but to hold Sunday afternoon services across the tracks in Milltown.
Indeed, Bub had grown up in Milltown. His parents had taken him to Sunday School at Milltown chapel nearly forty years earlier.
Bub’s youngest children walked the three miles of tracks with him after Sunday dinner at home in time for the 3:00 pm service in Milltown. Occasionally they would have supper with a church family and were offered a ride home so they could attend the 7:30 pm service at their own church.
The only suits Bub ever owned were given to him by the widows of newly-deceased church members.
Often they were thread-bare but Bub wore them because it brought comfort to the grieving widow to see them put to good use by the new pastor at Milltown.
Even though the services were only held on Sunday afternoons and occasionally on Sunday nights, the attendance began to grow appreciably. Bub’s delivery was quiet, his demeanor humble and affectionate. He was a man of great intellect though he had not been given the opportunity of studies beyond high school. But behind the pulpit, he used simple illustrations and stories to present the gospel in a way his working class congregation could understand and embrace.
He used his white handkerchief often to wipe the tears from his eyes when he described in detail the suffering of Jesus on the cross.
Bub used objects for illustration, reaching under the pulpit for a small box which he held aloft, removing one item at a time to make his point and to be sure his beloved congregation understood the
He purposely avoided words in his vocabulary that he knew his listeners wouldn’t understand, always presenting the gospel in such an appealing manner that on a few occasions, members of the congregation couldn’t wait until the end of the sermon before finding their way to the altar to receive Christ into their lives.
Bub loved to preach about the Second Coming of Christ, assuring the congregation that it could occur any day, at any hour, and was an event to be anticipated with great joy for the hope that it gave to all who belonged to Him.
He read two or three books a week, filling many spiral notebooks with sermon outlines and illustrations gleaned from his reading. He would expand upon these notes after carefully searching the Scriptures. He poured over his Bible, spending at least two hours a night in sermon preparation.
His photographic memory was legendary. Another pastor in town was overheard to say that if you asked Bub where a particular Bible verse could be found, he not only told you where that verse was located, but what the verses were before it and after it.
On Saturday afternoons, he visited Milltown church members in the hospital or at home. He became not only their pastor but their confidante and friend.
After two years, the church was full and still growing. It was evident that they needed a full-time pastor.
Bub resigned but stayed until they found the right man to fill the pulpit.
At the farewell dinner one parishoner after another stood to tell what a difference Bub had made in their lives by leading them to Christ. Bub finally told the congregation a tearful and loving goodbye.
I was in attendance that memorable night. Bub was my father.
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