The "Oak Tree By The River Church of Christ." of Bugtussel, Alabama is certainly one of the soundest churches in the brotherhood. We have been successful in maintaining our right to meet exclusively under an oak tree (we are fortunate to have one so close to the river), even though there have been attempts to persuade our brethren to meet in buildings, such as houses, etc. Anyone should realize that in the twentieth century the church cannot operate without an oak tree to meet under. Brethren do well to contribute large sums of money, even to the point of sacrificing at home, to maintain this great tradition. MEETING UNDER OAK TREES MUST BE MAINTAINED AT ALL COSTS!

Recently, we at Bugtussel had a Men's Business Meeting in which the subject of "Oak Tree Support" came up. Since I am the newly elected Church Secretary and had to write down the minutes, I thought that if we published the transcription of the meeting, it would encourage the brethren everywhere to give more to "Oak Tree Support." The transcription follows:

D. OTT TROPHEES: The main subject that we have to discuss this month is the one held over from last month, and the month before, that of "Oak Tree Support." As chairman of the Men's Business Meeting, I intend to see that we conclude this discussion today and proceed with definite action.

TRAD DISHON: Well, brother Trophees, I don't see why anyone would object to what we have been doing here for years. The question for us today is should we increase our budget for taking good care of our oak tree, a tree that we need for our meetings? The Lord commanded us to assemble and that means we must meet somewhere. Logic demands that "somewhere" be under this oak tree where we have been meeting now for 49 years. I am in favor of the increase no matter how much it costs, ah, within reason, of course.

"DAWG" MATTICK: I feel like brother Dishon about that. The way I look at it, we have to present a good respectable image to the community, and our oak tree is the best way to accomplish that. After all, we're only under it about four hours a week, but it stands there twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year, proudly proclaiming that WE are the Church of Christ. By the way, we need to repaint our sign that says that. Some of the letters are wearing away and it's getting hard to read.

E. Z. PROBER: What about giving more money to the support of preaching the gospel and taking care of the needy?

D. OTT TROPHEES: Sorry brother Prober, brother Garchey wants to say something.

OLLIE GARCHEY: Yes, thank you brother Trophees. I just wanted to suggest that there are several things that need to be dome around the old oak tree to bring it back to A-one, shape, and to do what "Dawg" was talking about, present a proper image to the community. I was noticing the other day that we should get a professional crew in here to trim back some of the dead branches, and some that are growing rather wild. That could be a rather expensive undertaking, but it should be done. Also, it is time for fertilizing again, and that will he costly. I am in favor of the budget increase because these things are important.

RUB STAMP: Sounds good to me.

E.Z. PROBER: It seems to me that we should be talking about spiritual matters and how we can convert more people to the Lord. Just the other day I read that a man on the island of Massive Donia was crying out for help. He said that $30,000 (US) would support 3 Massive Donians, who could preach and teach for a whole year. By cooperating with other churches, our share would figure out to be around $1,200 annually. These men are qualified to preach the gospel and work full time to convert people to Christ. Shouldn't we be doing more of that?

D. OTT TROPHIES: You keep coming back to that brother Prober, but what you don't seem to understand is that we have a limited budget, and there just aren't enough funds available to do everything we would like to do. Yes, brother Mattiek.

"DAWG" MATTICK: First, I would remind brother Prober that charity begins at home. Our responsibility before God is to make "Oak Tree By The River Church of Christ," of Bugtussel, the biggest and the best Church in the world. We need to convert people, but let's do it here in Bugtussel, There is no better way to do this than to make sure our image in the community is right. Did not our Lord say "Let your light shine?" If there is anything in this world that can bring people to Christ and increase our numbers and contributions, it is by making this oak tree the most beautiful tree in Bugtussel. I insist that we support the move to increase our budget to this end.

E.Z. PROBER: Brethren I don't want to appear contentious but something is wrong here. We are spending far too much money on...

D. OTT TROPHIES: Sorry brother Prober, you are out of order. It looks like brother Dishon wants to say something.

TRAD DISHON: Yes, as long as we are going to renovate the oak tree somewhat, I think we need new sod grass on every inch of our property. It would help the morale of our people, and it certainly would be impressive to the community. There is sod on sale right now and the total wouldn't be much more than three or four thousand dollars. What do you think?

RUB STAMP: Sounds good to me.

"DAWG" MATTICK: I think it's a great idea, and while we're at it, we will need to look into the cost of a complete sprinkling system. Shouldn't be much over a couple of thousand dollars. And, we need to check out the cost of some new plants and shrubs. I know where we can get them wholesale. Another five hundred should do it. Then there will be maintenance costs for cutting and trimming, but that will be peanuts, I figure a few hundred a year.

RUB STAMP: Sounds good to me.

E.Z. PROBER: Brethren, I would like to bring up the subject of the amount we are spending for taking care of the poor among us. Our present budget shows that we are spending .007% in this area. Don't you agree that we should at least increase this a little since there are now two families here asking us for financial help?

D. OTT TROPHEES: I know I'm the chairman of this meeting, and I'm not suppose to give my opinion, BUT, I just have to speak out on this one. I am against giving any money to those families at this time. Number one, we don't have much budgeted for this because we never have an occasion to spend money this way. Two, these families have not been with us but two months, and as far as I am concerned, they haven't proven themselves to me yet. They don't come to all the services, and, therefore, are not all that faithful to the church. We must not squander the Lord's money. May I remind each of us that we are going to stand before our Lord and Master and give an account of how we took care of His money and property. We must proceed carefully and not waste it. Do you agree Preacher Bob?

R. PREACHER BOB: You are right, Ott. The contributions brethren make on the first day of the week are sacred from the time they "clink" into the box. We must spend this money wisely. I can appreciate what brother Prober has been saying about supporting preaching in other areas and about taking care of the needy around us. This we must do. BUT, I agree with the majority who seem to be in control here, and who see the need for keeping a good image in the community. By the way, I've been meaning to bring it up before: You know that old stump I use for a lectern. Well, it is in the way whenever we baptize someone in the river. Four to six people are usually blocked from view by this lectern and cannot see the baptism taking place. I've checked it out. We could install a telescopic lectern, in the shape of the present stump to preserve the natural look, so that it would telescope into the ground at the touch of a button. Then, the four to six people would be able to see the baptism in full view. Such is possible for just under four thousand dollars. We could afford it by taking five years to pay. Also, think of how that would impress our visitors, especially those from the community.

RUB STAMP: Sounds good to me.

E. Z. PROBER: Isn't that a little too extravagant? After all, we haven't baptized anyone for five years!

D. OTT TROPHEES: Obviously the consensus of the brethren here at "Oak Tree" is that we should increase our budget to meet the costs of beautifying our oak tree and surrounding property, in order to present a respectable image to the community. In my opinion, we ought to include Preacher Bob's suggestion for the Telescopic Stump. I think we can possibly ask for special contributions to be taken up from time to time, so that it shouldn't take us five years to pay it off. Our brethren don't mind to "give till it hurts" if the project they are supporting is a worthy one. Are there any questions or further comments?

R. PREACHER BOB: Only this. I think that a report should be sent to all loyal brotherhood papers informing them that we of the Pro-Fertilizer Group, the "Oak Tree By The River Church of Christ," demonstrating once more our true faith and determination by the fertilizing of our blessed oak tree, intend to keep the doctrine and practice pure for which we have fussed, fought and argued bitterly, though valiantly, through the years!


RUB STAMP: Sounds good to me.