His name is Wayne Cook and one of the first things you’ll notice is that his eyes are generally smiling, which goes well with his proclivity for telling good jokes and making bad puns.
So, first – some background. Wayne Cook is Louisiana born-and-bred and attended the New Orleans Theological Seminary where he received a Doctorate in Theology. His career path has been wide ranging from being a pastor in Louisiana and South Dakota, a Prison Chaplain, Director of Education at the LA Rayburn Correctional Institution and a Seminary Professor, to name just a few.
Asked why the interest in Prison Chaplaincy, his eyes twinkle as he says, “I decided it would be easier to work with inmates than with deacons.” The real reason – he’d read a book on the subject and became intrigued with its challenges.
During his tenure at Rayburn, he swam upstream to acquire the management support and resources to create the only state prison in Louisiana with a secular college degree program. Wayne managed existing educational programs in literacy and GED, expanded vocational degrees as well as started an academic associate degree program and a Master’s program for inmate chaplains. The eight inmate chaplains he trained “turned the institution upside down by living a Christian witness 24/7 in front of the other offenders.”
His next job there was as Assistant Warden (a very unusual transition; most people come to the position through a background in Security). Wayne and his family came to live in one of the Warden’s houses right next to the prison. He walked to work, had inmates who cared for his car and garden and his family and friends were met at their gate 24/7 by a guard with a shotgun.
What is his assessment of working with inmates? “I’d say, by and large, they’re not that much different than people anywhere – if you treat them with respect.”
Just as he was transitioning to his next job as Deputy Warden at another correctional facility, his wife, Andi, received the devastating diagnosis of Stage 4 breast cancer. Wayne was able to continue working, tailoring his job to ensure that he could take care of his wife.
When the cancer began to grow again following chemo, Andi chose not to continue chemotherapy. She now uses a regimen of other traditional and non-traditional treatments and is currently doing very well. She says, “It is in God’s hands. We thank God for every day that we have together.”
Andi Cook is a force in her own right. In addition to her U.S. career as a journalist, she spent over a decade as Education Director at the Rayburn facility, picking up program development where Wayne left off. Andi is a gifted musician with a beautiful first soprano voice and has directed musical programming at several churches where Wayne pastored. Her passion for writing has also produced several books of biblical fiction – i.e., taking biblical characters and fictionally expanding on their stories (FYI: available free online at wattpad.com). Her most recent book is a very personal one, entitled Cancer, God and Me.
Wayne and Andi’s next chapter began with the idea of retirement. They have three sons and one of them lives in Guadalajara. After several visits there, they considered moving to Mexico. Finally, they visited Ajijic and, like many ex-pats-to-be, decided that it was home.
Andi describes the move this way, “We felt that God was leading us here. Before we decided to come, I basically told God that he needed to sell our house if he wanted us to move to Mexico. One week later, after more than six months on the market without a single look, a buyer walked in, bought it, paid in cash and moved in immediately. So, I think God really did want us here.”
While not intending to work any further, God placed them as neighbors to the very convincing and compassionate Lynn Turnbull who discussed her current LPC care ministry, and the rest is LPC history.
When asked how they feel now about living here at Lakeside, Wayne said, “It’s great. This is the first church I’ve been in where they do ministry with church on the side – and not vice versa!”
So, join me in welcoming Wayne as he works to meet the challenges of LPC congregational care. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to introduce yourself to Wayne and Andi at our fellowship time after the service. I’m sure they’ll be as glad to meet you as you are to meet them.
One last note – Look for an upcoming article that will explore in more detail the activities and programs being developed as part of LPC’s Congregational Care Ministry.
– Elise Rychlewski
At the Sunday morning service, on February 5, Cheryl Davis made some moving remarks about the founding of Lakeside Presbyterian Church. Here is what she said:
As today is the closest Sunday to February 2, it is only fitting that today we remember the founding of Lakeside Presbyterian Church just eight short years ago. I say “short” because of the number of miracles that God has performed in these few years. In early February, 2009, the Lord called Pat and Ralph Courtney and Ron and Judy Stard and Norm and Jane Pifer and a few friends to gather on the Courtney’s patio for Sunday worship. Through their faith, vision and openness to God’s guidance, Ray and Angie DeLange, missionaries from Rey de Reyes Church in Guadalajara, were sent to us. Then God opened the Founders’ hearts to the Mexican community and the Lord brought us Victoria and Arturo Smith and the Guillermo Banuet.
The Founders took us to that small space in a storefront on the Carretera and as more people were brought to the Lord, He brought Ross and Carolyn to lead us. But we outgrew that space because the Lord brought us more like-minded Christians. We had Christmas programs and Independence Day Celebrations with standing room only and we even had to rent a golf shooting range for Easter sunrise services!
So, here we stand this morning, just a few “short” years later in a beautiful place where we can accomplish even more in our community with God’s help.
The Founders started with a clear purpose that they were led and empowered by the Holy Spirit to glorify God and to share his love with others. They have handed on that responsibility to each of us.
Today is my privilege to announce that the space we currently call fellowship hall will now be known as Founders Hall. It is dedicated to: Pat and Ralph Courtney, Dona Dean, Karen and Jerry McCracken, Lorna and Tom Morris, Jane and Norm Pifer, Ann and Jim Scott, and Judy and Ron Stard.
The large paintings of Christ Knocking at the Door, Christ the Good Shepherd and Christ Praying at Gethsemane were painted by local Mexican artist, Isidro Xilonzochitl of Jocotepec. These paintings were commissioned by Petee and Dick Gerlach, early supporters of the fledgling congregation. The smaller painting of the Risen Christ was commissioned by Karen McCracken in memory of her husband Jerry.
Now, when you pass that room or share a meal or meet with others of our Lakeside family, think about the Holy Spirit who brought you here. And when you say your prayers tonight and count your blessings, add those thirteen true Christians to your list. Ask God to bless them. Ask Him to open our hearts and minds to His will as He did to their hearts eight “short” years ago. With His guidance, anything can be accomplished. Amen
It’s been a while since our last lecture series–so we’re excited that Pastor Ross is beginning a new series on Friday, August 12, at 11 AM. The topic is A History of Western Thought: Why We Think the Way We Do.
Here’s how Pastor Ross describes the series:
Everyone has a worldview –- the way they see the world and what is meaningful in it, including how they fit into reality. And almost everyone today tends to think their worldview is the right, natural, and appropriate way of looking at things; perhaps even that their particular worldview it is the only rational way to look at the world.
But what most people, especially in the Western world, don’t realize is that most of what we think and believe –- most of what we take for granted as universal truth –- was actually made up by someone at some time in the past.
This series will look at the major themes in Western thought, where they came from, and how we need to critically understand them to have the most accurate view possible of reality.
August 12 — Faith (Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas)
August 19 — Reason (Descartes, Locke, Hume)
August 26 — Experience (Kant, Schleiermacher)
September 2 — Process (Hegel, Marx, Darwin, Whitehead)
September 9 — NO LECTURE
September 16 — Will (Machiavelli, James, Nietzche)
September 23 — Meaning & Meaninglessness (Wittgenstein, Logical Positivism, Deconstructionism)
September 30 — Where do we go from here?
All lectures will be held in the church. If any dates change, we’ll notify you here.
UPDATE: If you miss any lectures, you can watch them on video here.
If you missed our Grand Opening and the Dedication Worship Service on January 31, you’re in luck. The whole thing was captured on video! Even if you were there, you’ll want to see the beginning and end for aerial views of the church–it’s quite impressive. Plus, you can see many of the more than 450 people who attended. Enjoy!
Our new church building is now complete–and we showed it off to the community on Sunday, January 31. More than 400 people attended the event! We ate and laughed and enjoyed seeing the miracle God has accomplished here.
We celebrate Thanksgiving every year with a turkey feast at our church. We pick a date between Canadian Thanksgiving and U.S. Thanksgiving. This year it was October 28. What a wonderful time we had in our new building! We had so many RSVPs we filled almost the whole building with tables. Thank you to all the workers who pulled it all together!
We have witnessed many miracles this year. God has been incredibly gracious to us. We are very thankful today.
We’re almost there! Just a few more months and we’ll have the second half of our new building in Riberas finished. You can see that the boveda ceilings on the first floor are complete. That’s a huge accomplishment, because the metal beams are the most expensive part of the construction.
We had a wonderful worship experience in our new church on Palm Sunday — our very first regular worship service there. (We had a special service on Christmas Eve.)
We took far too many pictures. Most of them were taken during our coffee hour after the service.
Photos from today aren’t quite as colorful and fun as yesterday’s . . . but how amazing that almost everything arrived in the new church by noon! This was thanks in large part to our construction crew, who changed job descriptions for a day and became movers.
People are now working hard to unpack and get everything in place for our Palm Sunday service. We know we’ll have plenty of kinks to work out — but the move starting out well.
Here’s the almost empty old building:
On March 22, we celebrated six years worshiping in our rented storefront church building that has served us so well. It was full to the brim — a great reminder of why we embarked on this adventure of building a new church. We will particularly miss the lovely garden in the back where we almost always had our between-services coffee hours. But there’s not much need for nostalgia when we consider how graciously and miraculously God has provided for our new building.
Here are photos of what went on.