The Tolbert's Legacy
There are people who make you feel secure and strong just by their presence. You may not even consciously connect the feeling with the person, but you sense it when they are absent or when a crisis moment comes. They are bedrock people; those whose faith in God and devotion to His church are unquestioned, for they are constant, steady and present. Rick and Peggy Tolbert are those kind of people.
Rick and Peggy have been members at Centreville a tad over twenty years. Rick has served as an elder for about 14 of those years with Peggy behind him giving support and encouragement. Both have taught classes, counseled the troubled, joined in workdays, had people in their homes, worshiped heartily and supported the work financially. Rick (along with Martin Adams) had the tall task of guiding the congregation through the initial stages of an eldership. Since that time only the Lord Himself knows how many disasters have been averted, dissensions suppressed and souls saved. We often don’t see, and thus appreciate, achievements under the heading of problem-avoidance.
To be with the Tolberts is to experience their warmth and genuineness. This impressed us from our first conversations with them. In our transition to Centreville we stayed for a short time with Rick and Peggy, and our kids were immediately drawn to them. Rick’s demeanor and support played a large role in our move to Centreville. I’ll always be grateful for Rick’s (and Martin’s, and others’) encouragement and patience as we dealt with my mother’s end-of-life issues in our first 18 months here.
Peggy is the quintessential gentle soul. Her genuine love for people envelops those in her orbit. She has taught children’s classes, supported the Thursday Bible readings and maintained the Meetup website. And she has done these things while weathering some physical challenges.
One of Rick’s strengths is his perceptions of people and situations. He can identify a problem or expose a weakness from intuition and common sense. Many times I’ve thought, “I wish I had said that” or “How did I miss that?” Rick is well-read and makes informed observations about life. These qualities are not in great supply and are not easily replaced.
In summary, Rick and Peggy are the kind of people that strengthen any congregation. Our loss will be someone else’s gain. Sometimes we’re on the receiving end of that equation, and sometimes we’re on the giving end. But Rick and Peggy have set an example for all of us and left their mark on the Centreville congregation, and they have done so without forcing the issue. They are just being the kind of people the Lord wants them to be, and such humble service can’t help but bear fruit in the lives of others.
Our best wishes and God’s blessings to the Tolberts in their new chapter of life and in their work for the Lord wherever they go.