town's residents elect Church of God member to council
By John Warren
BIG SANDY, Texas--Wayne
Weese, a Church of God member and longtime resident of this East
Texas town, won a seat on the city council in an election May 4
and began serving his two-year term May 14.
Mr. Weese informed
The Journal that his decision to run for public office began with
a rumor. Former superintendent of schools Jeff Adams of Big Sandy
had joked about Mr. Weese supposedly running for mayor, and word
spread. That rumor got Mr. Weese thinking, and he ended up deciding
to run for city alderman.
Mr. Weese, employed
by the Big Sandy public-school district as its maintenance and transportation
director, had previously worked at Ambassador University as water-and-sewer
foreman and heavy-equipment supervisor.
Mr. Weese has
been married for 26 years to Karen (Schmidt). The Weeses have four
children and two grandsons.
Besides his responsibilities
at the school, and now the city council, Mr. Weese is a member of
the board of trustees of the Church of God Big Sandy.
Is public office
Since some Churches of God do not allow their members to seek public office, The Journal asked Mr. Weese to explain why he apparently did not see seeking public office as a sin.
"In any community
you have needs that have to be met for that society to function,"
he replied. "There are people who have to make decisions about
finances, road repair, water and sewer needs and such things. As
part of this community, I feel I am serving my community."
When asked if
he sought and received permission from his pastor to enter local
politics, he responded: "No. I did not feel I needed to."
Mr. Weese thinks
he adds something to the city council.
"I am the
only member with extensive understanding and knowledge about water
and sewer problems and frustrations and what it takes to keep those
systems operating," he said. "I know both sides as a consumer
and a provider. Most people are only consumers and do not understand
all that is involved in making water come out of their faucet. I
hope to be able to use my understanding to aid the city."
The Journal asked
the new alderman if anything has surprised him about his first two
"I have attended
these meetings in the past," he said. "I used to tell
people if you want some cheap entertainment get some popcorn and
visit a city-council meeting. I have been very pleased that thus
far we have not had any meetings like that.
have been direct and to the point."
Mr. Weese has
already learned something about the city setup he wants to change.
"I was surprised
at the low salary for an entry-level police officer," he said.
"I hope to be able to rectify what I perceive as a problem."
Does Mr. Weese
expect to have to deal with any religious issues in his new duties?
about the Sabbath, Mr. Weese said:
council is very aware of my standing on that. I do not see any conflict.
We are required to attend some workshops, and the council decides
when those are scheduled. We have planned all our workshops for
Tuesdays or Thursdays.
"I had one
community member that is not a Church of God member approach me
and say, 'I am glad someone from your background is on the city
council because so many in our community are from your background.'
He said, 'I'm glad we got one of your people on the council.'"
A substantial number of Big Sandy's 1,600 residents are members or former members of the Worldwide Church of God.
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God