NOT the last chapter…

NOT the last chapter…

A church may close its doors but its faith and influence live on….


       Late last year, members of the Nortonville, Kansas, SDB Church voted to close their doors as of December 31, 2012. As word spread and the date approached, retired Pastor Edgar Wheeler, age 92, sent this letter to his friends and relatives in Nortonville.

       Daughter Annita Wheeler Parmelee provided us the transcript of the original which Edgar composed on an old manual typewriter. It is nothing short of inspired, with uplifting words that should be shared with all churches facing similar circumstances.


Brothers and Sisters in Christ, We have received word that you are “closing the doors” of the Nortonville Seventh Day Baptist Church. As you prepare for closure, we encourage you to remember that the body of the church remains alive and vital so long as you each personally live out and speak out the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only the formal institution will be gone.

It has always been the nature of the church’s life that its members individually have “struck out on their own” to promote the Gospel message. This has been true especially when the church has encountered resistance and has appeared to be restricted. So share the light wherever you are!

From my earliest memory the Nortonville church has nurtured my faith and life. It was a mainstay for my parents in rearing their family. It has clearly accomplished the same in many other families, as evidenced in faithful sons and daughters. We praise God that we are among those so blessed.

By God’s grace you will remain a true fellowship in Christ, building up the faith in each other—one by one. The Gospel breaks down barriers so that we are one in spirit with all believers and we may be at liberty to worship and serve with all who seek truth and love the Lord. We pray that in the end the discouragement of the present will coalesce into a larger faith that will permeate the community of believers and those who are onlookers. The future will be shaped by the prayers and actions of the faithful. The church as the body of believers will live on.

—Edgar F. Wheeler


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