By the Editor
The following article will be on page 1 of this week’s Trumpet, but since you are some of my dearest friends, I wanted you to hear it from me first. Thank you so much for letting me have the best job a girl can have in the BMA… and thank you for any help you can give me in finishing well. I love you all. Diane
I knew I’d have to write this article some day, but that “some day” has come sooner than I ever imagined — even though it has been 40 years in the making. The bottom line is this — next year, at the 2020 BMA of Arkansas meeting (after working at the Trumpet since Jan. 2, 1980 and serving as your editor since Nov. 5, 2005) I will be retiring as editor/business manager of the Baptist Trumpet.
My original plan was to announce the retirement to all of you at the end of January, but I’m going to need your help sooner rather than later (see Finish Well below), so I decided to announce it now.
To be honest, if I had my “druthers” (as my Mammaw used to say), I’d keep being your editor until my dying day because I love it (and all of you!) so very much. But that’s not what is best for the Trumpet, and it’s not what is best for my husband, Pat.
Pat — As you know, Pat had a bad stroke on Oct. 14, 2016; but some of you may not know that he had another, smaller one this year, the first weekend of March while I was in Mississippi for a speaking appointment. He is still functioning well, but his cognitive and reasoning abilities are nowhere near where they used to be, and he needs my help in many ways. I need and want to spend more time with him, and we want to travel some while he (and I) are still able. I’ve loved that man for over 54 years and been married to him for over 52, and I still kinda like the guy!
The Trumpet — I’ve loved this ministry almost as long as I’ve loved Pat, and it has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. I’m not the one to say that I have “fought the good fight” or “kept the faith” — that’s for God (and you!) to decide. But I am 72, and I am “finishing my course” in this ministry. We need someone younger to pick up the reins and take the Trumpet forward.
My job has never been to hire the next editor of the Baptist Trumpet — that is the job of the messengers at the BMA of Arkansas meeting each year. However, it was my job to hire an assistant editor — someone who could fill in for me as needed and handle the job if I couldn’t.
After much prayer on both of our parts, and sharing our hearts with each other about the ministry, I chose Jeff Herring to fill that role; and he is doing a great job.
I shared my exit plans with the Publications Committee a few weeks ago, and asked them what their thoughts would be about recommending Jeff to the association as the new editor/business manager. Their unanimous answer was that they would be more than willing to recommend him.
Jeff and I have been working toward that end, and we have become a “Timothy (my son in the work) and Paul(ette),” with me pouring into him and explaining “why we do what we do” on a daily basis. Both of us feel that a year of working together would be helpful and make for a better transition. These are a few of the reasons:
• We are in the middle of trying to streamline our billing/circulation system and it will take a while to do that;
• We try to produce a Ministerial Directory every five years, which is a lot of work, and 2020 is the year;
• We want to work together to make the electronic component of the Trumpet more user-friendly in every area — eTrumpet, website, in-house programs, as well as social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).
• We want to walk through a full year of producing the Trumpet with me writing down and explaining what is needed for particular issues of the paper and exactly how those issues are generated.
• We hope to be able to get invitations to as many of our churches as possible for speaking appointments, and him for preaching. (See Finish Well below)
• Then in September and October, Jeff, Pat and I will travel to as many district meetings as possible so I can say “goodbye” and Jeff can meet and get to know some of the best people in all the world.
• After the new editor is elected at the state meeting, Jeff (or whoever you elect) will take over immediately. Of course, I’ll be available if he has any questions, but I’ve told him that I won’t be “looking over his shoulder” and will not criticize or second guess him.
Walking out that door for the last time as editor will be one of the hardest things I’ll ever do, but it’s time; and I need your help to finish well.
• I need your help to pay for the “new” vehicle we just had to get. As I shared with all of you at the district meetings and state meeting, we had no choice but to replace Gracie — our 10-year-old Honda Odyssey, which has over 171,000 miles on her. Just a few weeks ago, we had to spend over $2,000 on a brake job for her, and that’s close to half of what she’s worth. We just couldn’t afford to keep pouring money into a car that is that old.
So Jeff and I, along with two Publications Committee members (Hershel Conley and Robert Gunnels), worked on this project. I asked Jeff to find the vehicle he wanted — that only seemed fair, since I’m now a “short-timer.”
He found a 2019 Chevrolet Traverse, and it has been purchased. After selling Gracie and putting the sale price toward the new vehicle, the final cost (with taxes and extended warranty) is $38,795.96.
The problem was that we couldn’t finance the vehicle in the Trumpet’s name because we have a history of finishing the year “in the red” and last year it was to the tune of almost $37,400. So, since I have an excellent personal credit rating, we had to purchase the vehicle in my name. Of course, it will be registered in the name of the BMA of Arkansas; but the responsibility of it being paid for rests on my shoulders in more ways than one.
Our Special Emphasis won’t be here until March and April, and I really need your help now. When we purchased Gracie, it took two years of Special Emphasis offerings to get her paid for — and I don’t have two years left at the Trumpet to raise the needed funds.
So, if you are considering an end-of-the-year gift for tax purposes, would you please consider giving a special offering toward this project?
• Again, would you please invite Jeff or me to speak at your church in 2020? He is an ordained minister and would be glad to preach for you or speak at a Brotherhood or other meeting. I’d be glad to present the Trumpet in your church, or speak at a district meeting, Sunday School class meeting, women’s event or any way you think I could serve. I don’t mean to be selfish, but I really want to visit with as many of you as I can this year.
I have only have two appointments scheduled so far — Jan. 11, Fairview WMA in Jonesboro; and I’m one of the breakout session speakers at the National WMA meeting next year. So my schedule is wide open! Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (or Jeff at email@example.com).
• Last, but most important, would you please pray for me? Of course, for Jeff, too, as we work toward the transition and get things updated and streamlined at our office — but would you please pray for me specifically? Again, I’m being a little selfish here, but every time I think about leaving the Trumpet, it breaks my heart; and often, the tears start to flow. It has been such a big part of my life for so long, and I will surely miss being here.
My Abba and I have been doing a lot of talking about the situation these days, and I truly believe Jer. 29:11, just like I believe every other verse in the Bible. He has a plan for me, and He is in control — of that, I am very sure. I have loved Him since I was saved in October 1959, and He has never failed me; so I know He won’t fail me now.
Thank you so much for your prayers, love and support through the years. I love you all right back, and “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you” (Phil. 1:3).