WESTSIDE -- Reverend Jonah Walker, of rural Gravette, handed his congregation a letter of resignation following his Sunday sermon last week, saying he had taken a new job shepherding sheep across the state line in Oklahoma.
Members of his congregation, My Way Fellowship, were shocked and surprised at Walker's resignation, though a good number of them were not present during the service due to the covid-19 pandemic and only learned of their pastor's resignation a day or two later when they heard the news from other parishioners while eating dinner at the local cafe.
When asked why he would abandon his flock like this, Rev. Walker offered the following explanation:
"They are stubborn sheep," Walker said. "They praise me for my sermons when I preach against the sins of others; but, if my preaching convicts their hearts and calls upon them to repent, they are critical and try to discredit me. And, if they can't have things their way, they threaten to leave the church and go join another flock where they can do and believe as they please."
Walker said he decided to leave his flock after carefully considering his options when receiving an offer to shepherd real sheep in Oklahoma.
"I thought about it a lot," Walker said. "I've heard sheep are dumb animals and can be stubborn, but I'm prepared for that; I've been dealing with it. Shepherding sheep can't be any harder than pastoring a flock of people," he said.
Walker, who had his wages reduced or withheld by the congregation several times over the last two years for "offending" his hearers by preaching from the Bible, explained further.
"I know sheep like to wander but, if I feed them, I expect they'll come and follow me. When they are thirsty, I expect they'll follow me to quiet waters. I don't think they'll run off and join another shepherd's flock even if I don't let them graze or drink where it is unsafe," Walker added.
Members of My Way Fellowship hadn't decided yet how to replace their shepherd. At a meeting on Tuesday night, they couldn't agree on how to find a hireling who would be a good fit for the congregation.
"We are working on it," said church council member Harvey Wright. "It was quite a shock to lose Rev. Walker the way we did, but things will work out OK and I'm sure we will find someone who is a better fit for our congregation and the way we like things done."
S.A. Tired covers fictitious news from an unrealistic perspective for the Eagle Observer. He may be contacted by email at [email protected] News and views in Spinning the News are claimed by no one else but the author.