At last Sunday's congregational meeting, we gave thanks for a gift from Neal Jordan's estate. Neal passed away on March 11, 2023. He and his first wife, Rose, were a part of ECC in the 1950's. But there was more to the story, as we learned on Sunday afternoon. Audette Taylor, a member of our ECC council, shared a story about Neal and Rose that has impacted her life, that of her extended family, and of ECC as a congregation. It began with an act of WELCOME that took place more than 60 years ago. You can read in Audette's own words, below.
-Pastor Stacey Littlefield
I would not be attending ECC today if not for a simple invitation extended back in 1957.
In the 1950’s, Neal Jordan and my father-in-law Bob Taylor attended Cornell University together in Ithaca, NY.
Over the next few years, Neal married Rose and moved to Indiana to attend graduate school at Purdue. At Neal and Rose’s wedding, Bob “pinned” Anna, and a short while later they too were married. Eventually Bob decided to further his education at Purdue.
When Bob and Anna Taylor arrived in Indiana, they benefited from the Jordan’s knowledge of Lafayette - like the best neighborhoods to live and what church to attend. When Bob asked Neal if he knew of any good churches in the area, without hesitation he highly recommended Evangelical Covenant Church because they had the best potluck dinners for students! So, Bob and Anna visited ECC, had an amazing lunch, and never tried another church - they loved it! A simple welcoming gesture of a church providing a great potluck dinner to hungry graduate students is what started a great relationship with ECC. (The preaching may have been okay as well…) This also reflects the welcoming spirit of the people of ECC at that time. Neal and Rose felt welcome and in turn welcomed others.
After graduate school, Neal and Rose moved away and eventually ended up in Texas. They stayed connected to the Taylors through annual Christmas and birthday cards. Once in a while the Jordans would swing by Lafayette for a visit. Many years went by, Rose passed away, and Neal remarried - Vaida. Just recently Neal passed away and as Vaida worked on settling the estate, she reached out to Anna to get contact information for ECC. Neal had remembered the impact of ECC on his life and included the church in his estate planning through a memorial gift.
It’s hard to know exactly why Neal decided to share his successful career blessings with ECC through this generous gift, but it is encouraging to see that the Jordan’s time here at ECC contributed to their spiritual transformation (and appetite), positive enough to be remembered 70 years later.
The impact of that simple invitation goes beyond financial blessings. The Taylors were very involved in the community of ECC being Chairman of the Church, Sunday School Superintendent, youth Sunday School teachers, actively involved with women’s retreats (ask Anna about short sheeting beds), and planning multiple potluck dinners (I hear Anna’s rolls were a big hit). They raised their family of four children here. Anna is still making baby blankets for the newborns of the church. She has now been a member for over 60 years. Their youngest son, Dan, married and brought his darling wife (yes that’s me!) to ECC back in 1994, and we have raised our five children here. So, three generations have been welcomed and transformed by the community of ECC because of a simple invitation to a good potluck dinner back in 1957.