Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rebukes Church; Pastor Resigns

“It takes optimism to the limit to stand the strain of preaching year after year to a congregation without seeing results,’ said the Rev. R. F. Johonnot, for eighteen years pastor of Unity church, Oak Park, in his sermon yesterday morning following the formal reading of his resignation.

“It is better to work in a poor community at a small salary and feel that you ar doing something,” he went on, “then to be administering to a rich congregation and to realize that you are accomplish nothing. A minister cannot exist on faith; he can’t preach comfort and inspiration to a stone wall or courage to an empty pew, and it is a mistaken idea of many people that a minister can be satisfied with having a good church and the friendship of his people.

“I have chosen my text today with relation to myself and mean to be frank with you. The loyalty and cooperation which are given me would be strengthened by steady-attendance at church. Men support the church but do not go to hear the sermons. They pay a large amount every year for something that is actually worth about 20 cents a copy, but do not trouble themselves to go to hear it read.”

Dr. Johonnet has built up Unity church from a mission to its present independent position in the church field, and he declares the church does not need his services any longer.

“I feel that my work here is done,” he continued. “I am useful for at least ten years more in some other field. The ministry is not an attractive business or one in which any man will succeed unless called to it by nature, and special training only brings success.”

In conclusion, Dr. Johonnot exclaimed” How can you expect any man to stand before you week after week, month after month, an year after year preaching good cheer, courage, and inspiration unless he himself is encouraged and strengthened by seeing some result?”

Dr. Johonnot’s resignation will be acted upon by a committee consisting of James B. Healt, J.B. Berry, C.A. Sharpe, H.A. Taylor, and John Lewis.

The Chicago Tribune,  7 June 1909
An image and bio of the good Rev. Rodney Johonnot can be found here.

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