Here's the latest FROM Quail Springs:
A Message from Mark
February 9, 2008
Dear Church Family:
Needless to say, it has been quite a week! The ad that appeared in the Oklahoman on Wednesday generated a news story on TV Channel 4 and an incredible amount of phone and email traffic at the office. On Thursday, there was a front-page article in the Oklahoman. Carla Hinton wrote that one as a follow up to the interview with me that she published on January 26. I wanted to let you know a few things in connection with this flurry of publicity, but I didn't want to take away from our time on Sunday morning to do so.
First, if any of this public discussion/controversy has caused you personal difficulty or embarrassment, please accept my apology. I have tried to represent Christ and our church well, but I know some of you have had to deal with very negative responses.
Second, some have asked whether I initiated these media contacts, and the answer is "no." Carla first contacted me in May wanting to talk about the Rwanda adoption plans and our change in worship styles. I told her that I could talk about the adoptions but not the worship changes. I agreed with her that it was a newsworthy item, but I told her the situation in our congregation was much too sensitive and that it was very premature to talk about it publicly.
When we returned from Africa, Carla contacted me about a follow up story on the adoptions and again asked about a story on the worship transition. I told her that it was still too early to talk about that and that I would get back to her once we had made decisions about our schedule and a start date. I did so, and that is what determined the timing of the interview and January 26 article. In every circumstance where you've seen or heard something about Quail, I was contacted and asked to participate. I did so because I honestly believed it was better to comment and tell our story than for the media to communicate that our church had no comment.
Third, I believe the Wednesday ad that was attributed to "area churches of Christ" was misleading. The authors of the ad have refused to list the participating churches, but it appears that perhaps none of the Oklahoma City churches participated financially. Our friends at New Hope, Memorial Road, Mayfair, Edmond, Oakcrest, and Alameda contacted us in some way to offer encouragement and to let us know they had no part in the ad. Of course, that doesn't suggest that they are in agreement with the changes we are making. They simply wanted to affirm us as brothers and sisters in the Lord and to let us know they were personally offended by the ad.
I also heard from ministers at Churches of Christ in Texas, Colorado, Illinois, and Indiana. Locally, we heard from Bridgeway, Cherokee Hills Christian, Forest Hills Christian, Council Road Baptist, Quail Springs Baptist, Covenant Life Church, Crossings, and many others. Each of them wanted to communicate support and encouragement, and several said that they were praying for us in staff meetings and congregational meetings.
Fourth, I have been reminded again what a loving, affirming congregation we have at Quail. In addition to all of these churches, many of you called, sent emails, and mailed cards to offer words of love and encouragement to my family and me. Someone even sent flower arrangements to the entire staff! I had absolutely no chance to slip into discouragement this week, and I want to thank each of you who helped with that.
Finally, we have exciting news to share tomorrow about our Easter plans, and we want to look forward to a great day on Missions Sunday in just two weeks! This publicity flurry will soon be way off the radar screen, but the plans we have for Missions and for Easter Sunday will have an impact that lasts through eternity.
God is good, and he has good plans for us. I love you, and I look forward to a great day with you tomorrow.