The Buchele Adventure

This is record of the Buchele Adventure, as reported from West Africa.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Remembering Kevin Coats

A picture from Kevin's FB Account.

I was in Australia when I learned that Kevin had died.   I had had a dream about him a few weeks ago, and wish I had followed up.  

Kevin was the first person to call me pastor.  We were at Schoepf's BBQ in Belton, Texas.  “Hello Pastor!” he said.  I remember I was a bit shocked at being called pastor as I was still in seminary.

For the first four years of Foundation Church, Kevin copied the bulletin each and every Sunday, at the office machine store where he was their top salesman.  Kevin always had time to chat, or take me to lunch and explain how things worked in Temple-Belton, or in this young church.  Jack Riley, the church’s founding pastor, said Kevin was a person I could trust, and over time I learned to lean on him, and found Jack’s words to be true.  

Later he made it possible for the church to have its own copy machine, but still he gave us great support when things went off, ie a few 1am meetings at his office make bulletins when “his” machine wasn’t working.  

Kevin managed The Building Committee, the overseers of design and construction of the first building for Foundation Church.  I remember the long hours Kevin spent on what would later be called The Riley Center, as a tribute to Jack Riley.  Meetings before construction started, (including all the different UMC committees).  Once construction began, the early morning gatherings on the slab (we could see our breath), then in the shell, and finally as the finish out began.  He was so faithful in that project and The Riley Center served the Kingdom well.  

I remember stopping by his new office after he started his own business, how well Coats Insurance did (we left State Farm to support him), and the good customer service he gave.  I was proud of him and the courage it took to open up a new business.  

As often happens when a church builds a building, the chair of the building committee has to leave. Sunday becomes less a day of worship and more about explaining/defending the design/construction of new building.  After a year being in the building, this was still happening so Kevin and his family took some time off from the church family, but before doing so, Kevin stopped by to tell me. It was the honorable thing to do, and appreciated him telling me first.

The last time I saw Kevin was in spring 2006.  I wanted to tell him personally that we were taking a sabbatical year to work in Ghana.  I had been going around to all the people I wanted to tell in person, and even though it was supposed to be SPRC only, Kevin knew.  He also seemed to know (though I didn’t) that we would not be coming back.  I tried to say then how much I appreciated him, and all the work he had done for the church, and how grateful I was for his wisdom and support in the early days of the church.  To this day when I think of him, I consider him a life long friend.  I am sorry I never got to say good-bye.

Godspeed Kevin, you were a good and faithful servant and friend.