The Empty Chair

Sunday dinner used to be a big deal. I don’t mean going out to a nice place to eat. Dinner followed church and usually involved the family and perhaps a friend or two. Traditions might have included a roast or fried chicken, plenty of vegetables, and a favorite dessert. It was a lot of work but it might be one of the few times when the entire family sat down together.

In some parts of the country, another tradition was observed. There was always an empty chair. There was always room for one more. The tradition has a long history. We are concluding our study in Mark soon. We find ourselves in the midst of the passion of Christ. In Jewish heritage, there was always an empty chair during the observance of Passover. Symbolically, it was a sign of expectation and hope that this year Elijah would come, announcing the arrival of the Messiah.

We are fast approaching another tradition-rich occasion – Thanksgiving. Will there be an empty chair at your table? Perhaps a loved one or dear friend is no longer alive. Perhaps someone couldn’t make it home this year. Perhaps there is someone who has nowhere to go. Perhaps we could fill that empty chair with someone who needs to be included.

Sunday begins our Matthew 25 Challenge week. As a church family, we will gather around tables to enjoy worship, fellowship, and food. We will focus our attention on our blessings and learn how to bless others. We don’t want any empty chairs this Sunday, so please come.

There are three opportunities for each of us to get involved:

  • Matthew 25 Challenge – a week-long interactive experience sponsored by World Vision that kicks off with our Thanksgiving worship and lunch on November 12
  • Love Beyond Walls – Taylor Mason is recruiting help for Saturday, November 18 to pack Thanksgiving boxes for people in our community
  • Global Mission Offering – one of our significant ways to partner with other Christians in spreading the Gospel in word and deed. Our goal for Wieuca is $10,000.

Information about each of these ministry opportunities is available in our newsletter and worship guide. Let’s make a difference together.




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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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