Last night, Debra and I were privileged to meet with the Cleveland/Chattanooga area pastors for our annual fellowship dinner. We had a great time together and enjoyed one another’s company.
As we were leaving the restaurant, Pastor Jerry Moates (Athens, TN) suffered a massive heart attack. Edwina Dasher (a nurse who is our Union Grove Pastor’s Wife) performed CPR, she was assisted by others, 911 emergency services arrived and picked up on the CPR and actually shocked his heart several times. Several of the pastors remaining all prayed and two of our pastors (Brian Sutton PRC Church and Eric Washburn Springplace Church) worked together in getting family information together so that I could call and notify the family. Special thanks to Shaun McKinley in the General Overseer’s office for supplying family phone numbers.
I left as soon as possible and arrived at the Skyridge Hospital in Cleveland, where I was informed that Pastor Moates had been taken to Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga. It was heart warming to see several of our pastors arrive (Bro & Sis Gouge of Madisonville, Bro Gene Dasher of Union Grove, Bro Rick Brogden of Durkee Road, Bro Brian Sutton of Peerless Road Church along with Bro & Sister Calfee of the Springplace church and a deacon from the Athens Church).
There were several who also arrived at the restaurant to assist in whatever way (Dwight & Londa Richardson, Deacon Frank Shroyer all of PRC) and there were probably others at both locations I missed.
As I was leaving the hospital, Pastor/Chaplain Doug Stephenson arrived. Many of you know that Pastor Moates is a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Army, as is Dr. Stephenson.
When Pastor Moates left the Cleveland Hospital, he was breathing and had a pulse, and when he arrived at Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, two stents were implanted in his heart and he was stabilized.
This morning, I learned that the doctors are about to add a larger stent to his heart and that he will undergo multiple heart bypass surgery.
I want to point out four very important points to this post:
- The CPR on the scene probably saved Pastor Moates’ life. The cardiologist have informed us that this heart attack is what is commonly called a widow-maker because it is usually so deadly.
- Pastor Moates had actually forgotten about the meeting. Pastor Gene Gouge called him from the meeting and Pastor Moates came to the dinner. If this heart attack had taken place while he was along, he would not have survived it.
- The power of prayer. It goes without saying that God hears His people when they pray. I have know doubt that the prayers of the pastors and their companions on the scene were effective.
- I saw the Body of Christ in action last night. From the beginning, CPR and prayer were taking place, at the hospital one of our church members was the ER doctor who stabilized him. In the waiting room, caring pastors arrived, one-by-one to support their fellow pastor. I received a message from our North American General Presbyter, Bishop Sam Clements, who is himself recovering from sickness expressing his concern and promise of prayers. I could go on and on, but I know you can see this picture as clearly as I do. We NEED each other.