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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
         14
      Closed Communion
      James Foley
       
      I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

      INTRODUCTION

      Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

      We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

      The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

      Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

      Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

      The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

      IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

      A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

      B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

      Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

      When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

      "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

      C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

      D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

      E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

      I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

      "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

      “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

      IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

      A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
      19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
      20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

      There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
      I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

      Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
      8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
      10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

      B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

      IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

      A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

      B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

      II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
      Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
      To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
      II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
      II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

      C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

      The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
      So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
      Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
      Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
      Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
      It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
      Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
      1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

       28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

       29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

       30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

103-year-old Georgia woman banned from her church


John81

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

103-year-old Georgia woman banned from her church

For nearly a century, 103-year-old Genora Hamm Biggs has attended the Union Grove Baptist Church in Georgia -- even working as the church's secretary for some 40 years.

But Biggs -- a parishioner since she was 11 years old -- was banned last month from attending after she disagreed with the church's pastor over his preaching style, Fox affiliate WAGA-TV reported.

On Sunday, law enforcement was called to the small, white church in Elberton, Ga., after Biggs decided to attend service anyway, according to the station. Police said there was nothing they could do because the matter is a civil dispute between Biggs and the church.

Biggs told the station that she and the current pastor of six years, Rev. Tim Mattox, have long sparred over his preaching style, which she characterizes as a "Holiness style" that she claims doesn't belong in the Baptist church.

"At one point, he had a crew in here and they were hollering and falling out in the middle of the floor," Biggs told the station. "We don't do that in the Baptist Church."

Biggs said tensions came to a head in early August when Mattox sent her a letter stating she could no longer attend church there "for any reason whatsoever," the station reported. 

 

"This letter is to inform you that according to the By-Laws of the Union Grove Baptist Church, and by vote of the active members, any membership or associations that you have had with this church are now officially revoked," read the letter, dated Aug. 2.

Biggs, meanwhile, said nothing will stop her from attending the church.

"This is my church, I love this church, and he cannot stop me from going," Biggs told the station.

Click for more from MyFoxAtlanta.com

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/09/15/103-year-old-georgia-woman-banned-from-her-life-long-church/?intcmp=hpbt2

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103-year-old Georgia woman banned from her church

For nearly a century, 103-year-old Genora Hamm Biggs has attended the Union Grove Baptist Church in Georgia -- even working as the church's secretary for some 40 years.

But Biggs -- a parishioner since she was 11 years old -- was banned last month from attending after she disagreed with the church's pastor over his preaching style, Fox affiliate WAGA-TV reported.

On Sunday, law enforcement was called to the small, white church in Elberton, Ga., after Biggs decided to attend service anyway, according to the station. Police said there was nothing they could do because the matter is a civil dispute between Biggs and the church.

Biggs told the station that she and the current pastor of six years, Rev. Tim Mattox, have long sparred over his preaching style, which she characterizes as a "Holiness style" that she claims doesn't belong in the Baptist church.

"At one point, he had a crew in here and they were hollering and falling out in the middle of the floor," Biggs told the station. "We don't do that in the Baptist Church."

Biggs said tensions came to a head in early August when Mattox sent her a letter stating she could no longer attend church there "for any reason whatsoever," the station reported. 

 

"This letter is to inform you that according to the By-Laws of the Union Grove Baptist Church, and by vote of the active members, any membership or associations that you have had with this church are now officially revoked," read the letter, dated Aug. 2.

Biggs, meanwhile, said nothing will stop her from attending the church.

"This is my church, I love this church, and he cannot stop me from going," Biggs told the station.

Click for more from MyFoxAtlanta.com

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/09/15/103-year-old-georgia-woman-banned-from-her-life-long-church/?intcmp=hpbt2

Good for her.  

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Presumably her options are limited, in view of age, mobility & especially her church allegiance. 

Where are the loving Christians in the membership who know her & her faithful service over many years?

In my experience .....

A serving minister of 20 years in the church, & about 12 years ministry before that invited a local Christian teacher alongside as co-Pastor. The new man persuaded enough of the membership (using the method of Absalom [2 Sam. 15]) to dismiss the long-serving Pastor - breaking church rules - even voting to break them. Once the new man was in charge, he sold the manse, pocketing half the proceeds, sold the church hall to Sikhs, & the church to Pentecostals.  

We regrouped with a few members. Soon we were worshipping in a Gospel Hall owned by Brethren who could not support the work, & were happy to allow us to use their hall. Over time most of the old members left the usurper & joined us. 

We worshipped there for about 20 years with an attendance of around 30 Asian & English members, an Arabic speaking missionary, & an interest in a SriLanka Bible College.

Then the trustees wanted to sell, & we had no money to buy. An American led group wanted to buy the building for a church plant. In the months before the sale we baptised 6 folk, all Indian. Our last service was our 148th anniversary, dating from the founding date of the other church we were forced out of. [It started as a harvest service for farm workers who weren't happy in the CofE & continued as an independent church.] Our Pastor had by then retired, & I was sharing the leadership with others.

The American leader did not want any of the existing members to continue - in his experience "a church plant would work best with a completely fresh start, gathering folk from the immediate vicinity, not importing Christians from outside the district." 

I tried to join them for leafleting when they started - "We don't need you." I asked to come to their prayer meeting. "No." That was 5 years ago. 

We are still friends with some of them, they were worshipping with us before the take-over was proposed, & then did not come until the building was theirs. Yes - I am still friends with some, but we were very hurt. And I don't think any of their members are local, though one couple are about a mile away. 

We were not able to regroup, but the old members are still in fellowship & we have meetings from time to time, as well as personal contact. 

What about brotherly, sisterly love, & honour those who have served their Lord for many years.

It is sad - but press on - we serve our Saviour! May she know a wonderful closeness to her lord in the closing years of her life of service.

 

 

 

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The good "reverend" called the law on a church member for a civil offense?(1 Corinthians 6:1-8) A 103yo woman was a danger only to his pride and his power.

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Jeremiah 23:1

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A great example of how those who have borne the heat of the day, and labored faithfully for the Lord, in her case for almost a century, are being laid aside by those seeking to be more 'relevant' and 'youth-oriented". Doesn't say the age of the pastor, but shame on a Baptist church for bringing in Pentecostal preachers to pastor. Unless he changed his style to appeal to a larger crowd. I see it only took ten to vote her out-one, the writing looks like a 7-year-old. And all but one a woman.

 

Isn't this the location of the Georgia Guidestone Monument? There is a wicked spirit over that place.

I looked them up. No website, but a comment on a different site-they are a transitional church, with a choir AND a band, so they are moving from traditional to contemporary. I suspect the bad press this gets them will also spur them to the inevitable removal of 'Baptist' from their name.

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No church is immune to such.

Acts 20

27For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 28Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

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I notice of the 11 officer signatures on the letter only 2 are male.  Just an interesting note about women usurping church leadership positions. 

I noticed that also.

I mentioned this lady before our bible study this evening.  Our study was on  Phil. 4. When the preacher got to the following passage, he said that American pastor should take notice of this.

Phil 4:2  I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. 3  And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

 And these 2 ladies, verse 2, reminded me of something our friend, who is a missionary in Manila. Before he returned recently, after 6 months in Scotland, to get his daughter's adoption recognized in Scotland, he spoke at our church and he asked us to pray for two men in the church who are fine Christians, but just don't get on together 

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We can hope that church will drop the Baptist name but these days many churches are choosing to keep the name and thereby the meaning of "Baptist church" is changed instead.

So much wrong going on there with a Baptist church choosing such a pastor, apparently most of the congregation going along with this, the willingness and seeming ease with which these people are willing to so poorly treat this elderly woman who has served the church for so many years in the past, to the point of kicking her out by letter and calling the police on her for attending a church service!

And, it seems mostly women running the church and yet they are willing to treat a woman who is surely each of their elders, in such a disrespectful, dishonorable manner. Shame!

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/10/01/ga-woman-103-welcomed-back-to-church-after-ouster-preacher-who-banned-her/

Looks like she is back in and the pastor is out.  I read replies to this thread.  We all seem to side with the 103 year old woman, but does this bother anyone?   He had been the pastor for 6 years.  How did he become pastor?  He has a different preaching style that this lady (and I) don't like.  But is this how you get rid of a pastor?  A woman stood up and led the charge to get rid of a pastor who was obviously voted in somehow, is this Biblical?  Emotionally I am with her, but Biblically I am kinda confused on the matter.  I guess I am admitting that I Biblically do not know how to get rid of a pastor of a small fellowship of believers.  Heresy being preached would probably get me to jump out of my pew and scream to get the heretic from behind the pulpit, but new age preaching style and music?  Did they not know ahead of time his preaching style?  (No I am not looking to get rid of a pastor, just a little confused)

 

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Pastors sometimes change.  Many pastors over here we anti charismatic for many years, and suddenly changed and became Charismatics.  We once had a pastor who when he was called agreed to be one of a team, but the leading elder so to speak.  He soon changed and said he was in charge.  

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I've not seen a lot about the details but from what I have read it seems as if it's possible this pastor is one of those who began at that church preaching one way but then began moving his preaching, and the church, in a different direction.

Some pastors want to move in a more Charismatic direction for the sake of attention, popularity and even earthly rewards. I don't know if that's the case with this particular pastor.

None of the articles I've read gave any details as to whether others in the church attempted to take a stand as did the 103 year old woman or not. The articles focus upon the elderly woman without mentioning if she was the only one speaking out or not.

It's possible this lady may have been the only person in the church with the courage to speak out.

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The pastor had been voted out before. Four years ago, if I remember correctly.  Yet, despite the fact that he was voted out by the congregation, he refused to leave.  

 

Even after being voted out this time, he did his best to keep the Church by getting restraining orders against Genora Hamm Biggs two biggest supporters.  If he could get them away from the Church, he could bully his way back into the pulpit.

 

there may be criminal charges brought against him for getting the restraining orders after he was voted out.

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There is a Baptist church near here that some years ago called a pastor who then tried to make major changes, I think, though not sure, of Charismatic nature. When the membership voted the changes down, the pastor left having been there six months.  He took a great number of the members with him and started a new church. One of their members came to our seniors lunch club, He told me about a year ago that that former pastor was now back as a member.  When I asked how they could possibly accept him as a member when he had done so much damage to the church in the past, he said "I am the only one who has been there long enough to remember him."  

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The pastor had been voted out before. Four years ago, if I remember correctly.  Yet, despite the fact that he was voted out by the congregation, he refused to leave.  

 

Even after being voted out this time, he did his best to keep the Church by getting restraining orders against Genora Hamm Biggs two biggest supporters.  If he could get them away from the Church, he could bully his way back into the pulpit.

 

there may be criminal charges brought against him for getting the restraining orders after he was voted out.

If that is the case, it doesn't sound like there was much "fellowship" going on and she might have been better off having been booted from the membership.  The board might have done her a favor.  Maybe she should start looking for a "Bible believers fellowship" or a home church and get away from the building that houses this organized religious chaos (Acts 7:49). 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Presumably her options are limited, in view of age, mobility & especially her church allegiance. 

Where are the loving Christians in the membership who know her & her faithful service over many years?*

In my experience .....

A serving minister of 20 years in the church, & about 12 years ministry before that invited a local Christian teacher alongside as co-Pastor. The new man persuaded enough of the membership (using the method of Absalom [2 Sam. 15]) to dismiss the long-serving Pastor - breaking church rules - even voting to break them. Once the new man was in charge, he sold the manse, pocketing half the proceeds, sold the church hall to Sikhs, & the church to Pentecostals.  

We regrouped with a few members. Soon we were worshipping in a Gospel Hall owned by Brethren who could not support the work, & were happy to allow us to use their hall. Over time most of the old members left the usurper & joined us. 

We worshipped there for about 20 years with an attendance of around 30 Asian & English members, an Arabic speaking missionary, & an interest in a SriLanka Bible College.

Then the trustees wanted to sell, & we had no money to buy. An American led group wanted to buy the building for a church plant. In the months before the sale we baptised 6 folk, all Indian. Our last service was our 148th anniversary, dating from the founding date of the other church we were forced out of. [It started as a harvest service for farm workers who weren't happy in the CofE & continued as an independent church.] Our Pastor had by then retired, & I was sharing the leadership with others.

The American leader did not want any of the existing members to continue - in his experience "a church plant would work best with a completely fresh start, gathering folk from the immediate vicinity, not importing Christians from outside the district." 

I tried to join them for leafleting when they started - "We don't need you." I asked to come to their prayer meeting. "No." That was 5 years ago. 

We are still friends with some of them, they were worshipping with us before the take-over was proposed, & then did not come until the building was theirs. Yes - I am still friends with some, but we were very hurt. And I don't think any of their members are local, though one couple are about a mile away. 

We were not able to regroup, but the old members are still in fellowship & we have meetings from time to time, as well as personal contact. 

What about brotherly, sisterly love, & honour those who have served their Lord for many years.

It is sad - but press on - we serve our Saviour! May she know a wonderful closeness to her lord in the closing years of her life of service.

Good post Ian. And a great question way up at the top. Just where is the love of the brethren anymore? And the watchful eye over our aged?

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