|Max & I|
When Marilyn and I arrived at SFM in 1986, Max Rees had already been there over 2o years. The Meeting was coming out of a very difficult time. Attendance was down, and so was enthusiasm. But Max did not waiver in his faith in God or in the people of Springfield. And his wife Avis was just as strong. Both of them were of great encouragement to Marilyn and I, and we worked as a team to help bring Springfield back.
That is not to say that Max & Avis were perfect. They had been there a very long time and had many preconceived notions of how everything should be done. They were in bed by "Quaker Midnight" (10pm) and up before the sun. Avis never threw anything away, so we had Sunday School materials dating back to the Ice Age! Max often disappeared in the afternoons to go feed his cows. These were minor flaws. The fact is, they gave their lives each and every day to serve the people of Springfield, and in doing so set a standard for me to live up to. Through blessed times and struggles their faith did not waiver, and their love for God, for each other, for their family and for their "flock" never changed. They were indeed the "First Family" of Springfield.
The late Rich Mullins wrote a song about his family in 1989 called First Family, from his album Never Picture Perfect. In the early 90's I rewrote part of it to fit the Rees family, planning to sing it when Max retired. He was still going strong when I left in 1994, so I never performed it. But I would like to share the words now. They don't all fit perfectly- and some of it is how I imagine things might have been- but they express how I see Max and Avis...