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May 16

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They cleaned the house from top to bottom, refinished floors and painted. “I have never felt God’s love that much,” Maricruz says.

Tom Evans to Step Down as Coordinator for Southern Branches

Tom and Diane Evans. Credit: Angela Pingel

By Chris Meehan

Tom Evans, the coordinator responsible for the Biloxi, Mobile and Shreveport branches will step down from his position on July 1, 2010. Diane, Tom’s wife, will also relinquish her handmaid-type responsibilities for these three branches.

Mike Coney, principal branch coordinator for New Orleans and a member of the community’s board of governors, will assume Tom’s responsibilities. Linda Coney, principal handmaid in New Orleans, will take up Diane’s work relating to the women leaders of these three branches.

Tom began serving as a mission coordinator in 1987. In 1988, he helped guide the St. Mary of the Pines prayer group in Shreveport through their decision to become a People of Praise mission branch. He and Diane have seen the Shreveport branch through the sudden deaths of two branch leaders, Jim Minto and Pat O’Connor and through the changes that came with the birth of the community’s Allendale outreach in 2002. They helped the Biloxi and Mobile branches recover after Hurricane Katrina scattered members and destroyed homes in 2005. From 1987 to 1999 Tom served as principal branch coordinator for New Orleans.

“Tom has been a fine pastoral leader, good at moving people forward, and he performed brilliantly in a number of difficult situations with his calm and steady presence” says Kevin Ranaghan, head of the branch relations team on which Tom and Diane serve. “And Diane excels in one-on-one pastoral work.”

Cliff Vaughan, Shreveport’s head branch leader, agrees: “I’m so grateful to Tom. He’s continually formed us through weekly phone calls and personal visits, two, three or four times a year—whatever was necessary. Tom always has the right words to say. He knows the Lord and he knows the People of Praise and that’s a great combination. Tom and Diane have been so generous with their time, their wisdom and their sense of humor. Just ask Diane about the rubber cockroaches that sometimes appear in funny places after their visits.”

The Shreveport branch honored Tom and Diane at a Lord’s Day meal during their branch visit in April. Debbie Vaughan said, “When I spend time with Diane, I experience being formed in the community’s ways. For example, Diane doesn’t just know the community’s teaching on right speech. She has the heart of the Lord, his love, for the people she talks about, so of course she speaks rightly about them. I also admire Tom’s integrity. What he believes is what he says, what he says is what he lives. There’s a wholeness about him.”

At 72, Tom says he’ll manage to stay busy, compliments of Diane’s To-Do-When-Retired List. They also hope to visit branches they’ve never been to. Tom and Diane have two grown sons.

Craig Lent had this to say about the Coneys: “Mike’s extensive pastoral experience and Linda’s years as principal handmaid for her branch make them well-qualified for this work. Mike recently retired from Shell Oil. They’re a wonderful couple with a great family—they’ll do a super job.”

Responses

  1. Michael Pingel says:

    Tom & Diane will be very large shoe's to fill! Great Job Tom & Diane on all your years of great service!
    Mike & Angela Pingel

  2. Peter Hammer says:

    Congratulations Tom and Diane - make sure to include Buffalo on your list of branches to visit. Congrats also to Mike and Linda and may the Lord bless you in your new responsibilities.

  3. Kathleen Heinrich says:

    Congratulations and God's blessing.

  4. Liz Slattery says:

    I echo the Lord's words - "Well done my good and faithful servants!"

  5. Chris Rousselle says:

    Tom and Diane have left their "jobs"
    to Mike and Linda who are quite capable
    to handle the "job". We are blessed to
    have people who continually do the Lord's
    work.

    We wish you Tom and Diane well in your
    "new" life with the Lord.

  6. MIke Zusi says:

    Congratualtions, Tom and Diane! What wonderful service and glorious love. Thank you for so many years and such loving hard work. You sure have brought a lot of wisdom and life to lot of brothers and sisters! And praise God for Mike and Linda Coney! I think I understand why they sing "the saints go marching in" in New Orleans!

  7. Nancy Grams says:

    "Well done, good and faithful servants". Tom and Diane have given their lives in service of so many brothers and sisters through the years. God bless you in the days ahead with continued health and strength.

  8. haidy busekrus says:

    Tom and Diane ,
    We wish you an exciting change of calling. May your gifts multiply in your next venture!!!!!We never retire in POP we just carry on in some other capasity. So no Happy Retirement wishes from me , just a wish for a glorious "Where to now Lord?"
    love
    Haidy

  9. Bud Northway says:

    Tom, You have always been an inspiration to me. May God continue to bless you richly during this upcoming phase of your life.

  10. Bill Bolka says:

    Yes, they even made it to Muncie, IN....and we are so much better for it. Thank you Tom and Diane for all your generous outpouring of time and wisdom. May our Father reward you 100 fold!

  11. Dennis Burke says:

    Tom and Diane, you helped lead the branch out of a difficult time during the Katrina disaster. Your calm demeanor, as you and the branch waded through those months, (no pun intended), will stand as a testimony forever. Best wishes, Dennis Burke.

  12. Tom Schmitt says:

    Tom & Diane --

    Come visit us again in Muncie. We won't make you work so hard the next time. Thank you for your service to us and to the entire community.

  13. Jim SCHENKEL says:

    Tom & Diane,
    The branches are all so much the better for your servants' attitudes. Thanks for acting on what the Lord was saying to you. I know you know where Muncie is - guess it my be our turn to find New Orleans on a map.

  14. Mary Lou Carey says:

    Dear Tom and Diane, We remember gratefully your warm welcome when we had dinner with you at Mike and Linda's. Our prayers are with you and with Mike and Linda as y'all stretch your hearts and minds in Christ to new horizons! Be sure to put us on your list to visit.

  15. Dominic Jeremiah says:

    Congratulations to Tom and Diane. You have served your brothers and sisters with distinction. May the Lord bless you all abundantly. Tom, what a delightful friend and brother you have been over the years.

    Dominic and Jenny

  16. Jim Sgroi says:

    Congratulations Tom and Diane. Thank you for all your service to your brothers and sisters for all those years. You both have served us faithfully and joyfully. Gerry and I look back on our 2008 stay with ya'll with fond memories. You are both a delight to all of us.

  17. Phil Monaco says:

    Tom and Diane,

    You have served so wonderfully and faithfully with wisdom, love and gentleness. I won't forget the friendship you share and the fun that you are as co-workers. Phil M.

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