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My brother Carl McNair practically grew up in the church
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My brother Carl McNair practically grew up in the church
By Raymond F. McNair
The writer, ordained an evangelist by Herbert W. Armstrong in 1953, has been a Church of God member for 55 years and has pastored 14 churches.

My family--and also many brethren in the "Churches of God"--were recently saddened by the news of the death of my brother, Carl E. McNair, on April 14, 2004. His decease was a shock to members of his immediate family, as well as to his five brothers and sisters who survive him.

My wife and I have received numerous condolences from family members, as well as from members of our spiritual family, the Church of God. The following letter to me is typical:

"Dear Mr. McNair, I was sorry to read in the E-mails I have received about your brother Carl's illness and death. He was always very kind and thoughtful in the relationships I had with him. I know he will be very much missed by you, the family and all who knew him. Hopefully, you are continuing to improve in your health. Our love and prayers."

On Aug. 29, 1937, when I returned home from an overnight stay at a neighbor's home, I was elated to find that I had a new baby brother, Carl Eugene McNair!

His arrival came as quite a surprise to me, a 7-year-old boy who had not even realized that his mother was pregnant.

Carl was the last child of my dear mother, who had previously given birth to seven healthy offspring.

Eight was enough

After having produced eight children (five sons and three daughters), my father and mother decided that eight was quite enough.

At that time in U.S. history, America was still suffering from the Great Depression of 1929, and the aftermath of that depression continued until World War II, when America's influence in the world grew mightily, due to our unquestioned position as the world's No. 1 economic and industrial power.

Brotherly recollections

One of my most vivid early recollections of my little brother Carl was in 1943 or 1944 while we older brothers were out in the field working under a scorching summer sun.

On this particularly hot day we brothers were very thirsty and kept looking for our little brother, who was to bring us some fresh, cold water, which would quench our thirst and cool us off.

The sight of our little brother lugging a gallon-sized jug of water was quite a sight to see. The jug seemed about half as big as Carl, and it was clear that he struggled with difficulty while carrying the water.

We were cheered up by his arrival and greatly appreciated the cold drink of water on such a hot summer day, a day I will long remember.

The image of my little brother carrying a heavy jug of water to refresh his older brothers is one of many memories forever etched in my mind.

The fruits of Carl's life

Carl practically grew up in the church. When I left home and entered Ambassador College in the fall of 1948, he was just 11 years old. Shortly afterward he became interested in God's truth.

During the following years four of us brothers (including Carl) graduated from Ambassador, and all four of us were ordained into the ministry after completing our education.

During a 40-year period after graduating from Ambassador College, Carl proved himself to be a faithful pastor of numerous Worldwide Churches of God in the United States.

From all that I observed personally through the last 35 years, as well as from many reports, Carl remained faithful to the true biblical doctrines of the WCG, never veering either to the right or left.

After he was ordained an evangelist while a member of the Global Church of God, he never let "rank consciousness" go to his head, and he never appeared to me to become "puffed up" due to any position he held in any of the corporate "Churches of God."

Further, my brother Carl always received a good report from his fellow ministers and from the brethren, never earning the reputation of being slothful or of being a harsh taskmaster over those with whom he worked, whether his fellow ministers or the brethren under his charge. He truly had the heart of a shepherd, nurturing, guiding and protecting the "sheep" whom God had entrusted to his care.

During his many years in the ministry, Carl served as regional director of various areas in the United States, while serving as a minister in the Worldwide Church of God. He later held a similar position in the Global Church of God as well as in the Living Church of God.

From 1994 until 1998 he was director of the ministry of the GCG, and from 1999 until 2003 he served as director of the ministry of the LCG.

He was removed from that position in 2003, at which time he was reassigned as a regional pastor of the LCG over the western region of the United States.

During 2003 and 2004 he also served as pastor of an LCG congregation in Helena, Mont., right up until his death in April this year.

Enjoyed Montana

Both in his private conversations and in sermons, Carl often spoke of Montana being a "paradise." It is clear he relished living in that mountainous paradise, in a small town a short distance west of Helena. He loved the outdoors, hunting and fishing and preferred visiting and encouraging the brethren more than an office job, which he sometimes had to do in the line of duty and out of necessity.

Close relationship

Carl and I had a close relationship from 1994 until his death. I am sure the thousands of brethren who came into contact with him during the past 40 years feel they were very blessed to have him as their pastor.

His strengths included doctrinal soundness and kindness in all his dealings with his family and with members of the Churches of God. He was balanced, steady and a loving husband and father. He had a good report from all who knew him, both in and out of the church.

One of his strengths was that of cultivating a close and loving family. It is hard to find a better example of proper child-rearing than by examining the example that he and his wife, Dorothy, set, an example of a closely knit family.

His recent illness and subsequent death have been a difficult and sorrowful time for me. But God's Word tells us not to sorrow unduly when a loved one dies (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Carl will certainly be greatly missed by all who knew him--both by those in his physical family and by his spiritual family, the Church of God.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, and by five children: Karla, Jonathan, Peter, Kathryn and Roderick. The members of Carl's family will need our prayers in the months ahead!

I fully expect to see, and once again fellowship with, my brother Carl, as well as with all the overcomers, in the wonderful Kingdom of God!

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