Scripture tells us that faith in the amount of a mustard seed can command a tree to uproot and plant itself in the sea. Pastor Billy Sanders hasn’t done any ocean landscaping that we know of, but he has taken a seed-sized congregation and caused it to be multiply like loaves and fishes for a hungry multitude.
Sanders was in his mid-20s when he arrived in Sutherlin in 1973 with his wife, Helen, to take an internship at a Pentecostal church. He recalls that one of his early services drew exactly four people. Over the years, The Father’s House drew more and more attendees and now opens its doors to 450-plus people each weekend. There are three weekend services and satellite churches in Yoncalla, Winston and Elkton.
If Sanders has a secret recipe for success, its ingredients probably feature a healthy serving of all-inclusiveness. Occasions like “biker Sunday” and “tattoo Sunday” are geared to attract people he describes as those the church often overlooks.
Grateful parishioners are planning a July 3 celebration at Sutherlin City Park to mark 40 years of Sanders’ leadership. Be ready to pass the mustard.
No license to thrill
Sometimes bone-headedness runs in packs.
That was evidently the case Saturday on Highway 42 near Winston. Callers complained to Oregon State Police that a mass of “souped-up” Hondas and Audis had taken over the road — racing each other, passing erratically and running other drivers off the road. Basically it was the sort of scenario that Allstate has parlayed into a successful advertising campaign.
But these guys weren’t actors, and OSP didn’t find their shenanigans amusing. Police caught up with nine men between the ages of 18 and 23, all of them Douglas County residents, and cited them for careless driving. The drivers told troopers they were headed for an annual camping trip on the coast. We feel sorry for anyone set up in adjoining campsites.
These speedsters serve as a reminder we all need to practice defensive driving in hopes of preventing mayhem like them.
Making a point
Myrtle Creek’s Robert Rains no doubt will miss his prickly companion.
For the past three weeks, Rains’ Agave americana, a type of cactus that originated in Mexico, has been shooting skyward at the rate of something like a foot a day. It also sports pink blossoms for the first time in its history. Now 20 feet tall, it may climb another 8 feet or so before its next life stage: death.
Rains, 85, bought the Agave in 1980 in Arizona. Back then, the cactus fit in the palm of his hand. The Agave flowers only once, a sign that it will soon wither and die.
To everything there is a season, but it’s sad to witness such a miraculous change and know that it heralds extinction. Yet Rains’ Agave may leave a legacy in his backyard. Two offshoots have appeared on the Agave; they may continue growing after the stalk disappears.
Farewell to the hardy cactus that survived its trip outside the desert and flourished in our soil.