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Small town's residents elect Church of God member to council
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Small 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 a sin?

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 council meetings.

"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.

"The meetings 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?

"No, none whatsoever."

No Sabbath conflict

When questioned about the Sabbath, Mr. Weese said:

"The city 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.

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