Cliff Stewart, left, is taking over for Jim McDonald, right, as president of the Abilene Association of Congregations. Photo by Loretta Fulton


Jim McDonald, at podium, installs the 2018 officers for the Abilene Association of Congregations. Left to right are Cliff Stewart, president; Phil Christopher, vice president; and Jim Reinbolt, treasurer. New secretary, Amanda Watson, was not present. Photo by Loretta Fulton

By Loretta Fulton

Jim McDonald served on the steering committee that formed the Abilene Association of Congregations in 1985, was a member when it began a year later, and stepped aside as the outgoing president during a ceremony Jan. 9.

But he made it clear in his last remarks as president that the association’s history isn’t as important as its future.

“How we proceed from this day forward,” McDonald said, “is most important.”

The association will be in good hands going forward. New officers taking office Jan. 9 were Cliff Stewart, pastor of First Central Presbyterian Church, president; Phil Christopher, pastor of First Baptist Church, vice president; Jim Reinbolt, treasurer; and Amanda Watson, assistant clergy at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, secretary.

In his “inaugural address,” Stewart noted that he had followed Roy Zuefeldt, one of the main forces behind forming the association, as pastor of First Central Presbyterian. He said other communities have ministerial associations, or associations for minister, but that the Abilene association is different in a significant way–it is an association of congregations, meaning the folks in the pews are invited to take part, too.

“We believe this kind of thing is important,” he said.

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