January 28, 2009
Dear Pastor & Heritage Ministries Director:
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! I trust that you are enjoying the blessings of the Lord and excited about the fresh opportunities that a new year provides.
Since many pastors and ministry directors have told me that they have not received any information about Heritage Ministries in quite some time, as the new Director, I am sending out this letter directly to you in an effort to open the doors of communication.
Because communication has been somewhat lacking, many have misconceptions about this ministry. I would like to encourage you by letting you know that Heritage Ministries (formerly CPMA) is still an operating ministry of the Church of God of Prophecy and, in contrast to what you may have heard, the Fields of the Wood is not closed, closing, nor up for sale.
Heritage Ministries exists to help preserve our heritage while encouraging our churches to pursue fresh vision. Funding for this ministry comes from donations and Heritage Ministries Association Memberships.
Individual Memberships, which are $10.00, provide financial support for efforts to preserve our heritage and maintain and improve Fields of the Wood, the First Assembly House, the Shearer Schoolhouse site, and the Holy Ghost Marker.
While Heritage Ministries is about more than Fields of the Wood, the bulk of the funds are used to operate the park. Over the past few years, there has been a decrease in memberships and donations, which has greatly hindered efforts to maintain the park in good order.
Even though the condition of the park is in need of improvements and repair, Fields of the Wood remains a popular tourist attraction, with people from most every denomination and all walks of life visiting regularly. A self-proclaimed atheist visited our park and said, “I cannot say that I believe . . . but for the first time in my life, I can see why people do believe.”
One visitor who came to the park for the first time on October 14, 2000, was an alcoholic in desperate need of help. While touring the park, he came under conviction and surrendered his life to Christ. He now returns to the Fields of the Wood every October 14 to celebrate what God did in his life and to join the Heritage Ministries Association.
This story and many more make it clear that Fields of the Wood has become far more than just a preservation of Church of God of Prophecy history. The park and related sites are now recognized as key historical points for the Pentecostal movement. Sinners are challenged by the “Word” in stone. Churches come for fellowship, prayer services, and baptisms. Families gather here, and individuals come to be alone with God amid His creation.
The park is a place of prayer, a place of evangelism, and a place of unity. It is a place that not only tells yesterday’s story; it also testifies of who we are today.
I would like to ask you to partner with us in 2009 to boost Heritage Ministries & Association Memberships, to revisit our heritage, and to pursue vision for tomorrow.
We are in the beginning stages of a new website; please check it out at www.fieldsofthewood.net. To keep up with what’s going on in Heritage Ministries, go to www.heritageministries.blogspot.com.
A flyer is included in this mailing for your bulletin board. If you do not have a Heritage Ministries booster in your church, I would like to encourage you to consider appointing one. If I can be of any assistance to your local church, please feel free to contact me.
Our goal is not to live in the past, but to understand our heritage so that we may be better prepared to pursue our vision.
Thank you for your support.
Heritage Ministries Director