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Establishing a Firm Foundation Within United Methodism

From: Bob Matson
To: ucmpage@ucmpage.org 
Sent: Monday, August 07, 2000 8:45 PM
Subject: Establishing a Firm Foundation Within United Methodism

The best thing I find in Rev. Kent L. Svendsen to admire is his ability to ask the right question at the right time, to formulate the right phrase at the right time, to make the right observation at the right time, to find the right fact at the right time. And, Kent does that again here in: "Establishing . . .

It is the saddest commentary of all, that it has fallen Kent's lot in Northern Illinois to be one of the very few willing to voice out loud what many others really think and believe, but cannot find the courage to voice out loud. In this role, Kent is not unlike Jeremiah, called to speak whatever his LORD commands:

"Ah, Sovereign LORD," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child." But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, `I am only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD. Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant." (Jeremiah 1:6-10 NIV)

Northern Illinois -- that sad heir of the great old Rock River Conference! The same Rock River Conference that attracted to its fold: Ezra M. Boring, Hooper Crews, Thomas M. Eddy, Otis H. Tiffany, Matthew Simpson, Alfred Cookman, John S. Inskip, Luke Hitchcock, W.C. Willing, Charles Henry Fowler, R.M. Hatfield, Spencer, Williamson, Gurney, Fawcett, C.E. Mandeville, Taylor, Joyce, Stephen M. Merrill, McCabe, Bowman, Frank W. Warne, W. F. Oldham, Frank M. Bristol, Robert McIntyre, J.F. Berry, Bishop William F. McDowell, William A. Quayle, and C.B. Mitchell, and this list spans 1840 to 1910 only. Simply searching the World Wide Web to follow these names as they appear can provide intellectual and spiritual pleasure which is beyond words!

Rev. Kent L. Svendsen is among the few true descendents of the Circuit Riders worthy of that name left in a Northern Illinois pulpit. A very few others can be found from time to time around the table on a Saturday morning, meeting with NICEA.

In Christ,

Bob Matson
Bristol UMC
Bristol, Wisconsin

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