Chronicle staff will continue to soar on eagles’ wings in my retirement
I have loved all the work that I have been blessed to have a part in. I never thought I would start giving up work that I love. The Chronicle has been dear to me for the past quarter of a century. It is still dear to me, but as the autumn of my life progresses, I am driven by a passion to focus my time and attention — even though I have long held the view that nothing happened in my life accidentally, but that whatever happened was an opportunity to serve God and he was pointing me to it. Now I am returning to some projects God pointed me to long ago.
The common instruction these days is to avoid responding to the urgent and ignoring the important. But I have taken the opposite view. When I meet a person with an urgent problem, I have believed that helping with that problem would do the greatest good in the long run. I had lots of irons in the fire when the idea of the Chronicle coming to Oklahoma Christian surfaced, but the idea of connecting thousands of autonomous churches seemed sufficiently urgent to prompt my volunteering to help in the early days.
I never intended to edit the Chronicle, but the task seemed urgent when Howard Norton left. So I gave the paper a priority, knowing that I would always have good help. At first Glover Shipp and Lindy Adams were the people who researched news and wrote stories. Then my good friend Scott LaMascus answered the call and came as managing editor. Later, Erik Tryggestad came to cover international news as Shipp retired.
As Adams and LaMascus eventually took on other responsibilities, Lynn McMillon recruited Bobby Ross Jr. to guide the news and production.
I have great confidence that the Chronicle faces the best era of its long history, a time when excellence in journalism shines brightly in every page. Because the times for churches are troublesome, the mission of reporting accurately and thoroughly has never been more important.
And the only international newspaper for Churches of Christ has never been in more capable hands.
Lynn McMillon, my colleague on the faculty of Oklahoma Christian since 1966, provided business and financial guidance for the Chronicle all through my 10 years as editor. He has chipped away at a large debt the paper accumulated in its early OC years and has managed personnel matters.
As a preacher and Bible professor, Lynn has used his talents to help families and churches across the country. He has probably spoken at more churches than any person I know. His love for the kingdom and his systematic working give great promise for the Chronicle.
At no other time in the post-Sweet Publishing history of this paper has it had a staff with as much journalism experience. Erik has years of experience with dailies and a graduate degree in journalism from the University of Georgia. He thrives on seeing mission work firsthand. Bobby has 16 years of professional experience and came to the Chronicle from The Associated Press.
Tamie Ross first impressed me as a reporter for OC’s student newspaper and two local papers. In recent years she has worked with Web reporting and introduced an amazing new dimension to church news.
The church is blessed to have these faithful Christian reporters working to gather and report news of all congregations. Erik thrives on seeing the international churches working to share the gospel. Bobby has been tireless in traveling to see firsthand the events that impact the church. Tamie will work far into the night to get breaking news posted on the Web site with an e-mail message to many readers alerting them to the story.
Lynn has continued finding ways to tap the vast experience of Joy McMillon and Scott LaMascus, who play important roles in weighing and testing the news. This whole team is supported by Jerry Lamb’s work with advertisers. Tonda Stafford and Virginia Ware manage public contacts and assist the staff in many ways.
Not only do I admire all these people for their professional experiences and abilities, but they are dear friends. They are like my family. I will see them socially, and I will bend their ears when I have ideas I have to get off my chest.
We will celebrate birthdays together. We will joke about strange church experiences. I have no doubt they will soar on eagles’ wings for the cause of truth, righteousness and spirituality.
I now join the quarter of a million people who rush each month to get the Chronicle from the mail to see good news about Churches of Christ.
The best is yet to come.
August 1, 2006