LCN Article
“A Mighty Oak Has Fallen...”

May / June 2004

Roderick C. Meredith (1930-2017)

Dear Brethren and Friends,

My wife and I just completed a most inspiring and enlightening trip to Britain and South Africa. We learned many things of interest, and the brethren in South Africa were ecstatic that we had the pleasure of coming to visit them. They are doing well, though they need your prayers because of the potential dangers in that area of the world. I had started this letter on the way back, and intended to devote it to the trip to South Africa.

However, soon after I arrived home, I was awakened from a deep sleep to be told of the death of my friend and brother, Mr. Carl McNair. I feel that I can rightly say most sincerely: “A mighty oak has fallen!” For Mr. McNair was one of the “founding fathers” of the Global Church of God. He and Mrs. McNair came early on to devote their lives and their service to reviving the Work of God after the massive apostasy had taken over our former association. It took faith and courage for both of them—sterling examples of love and service in this Work of God—to step out as they did at that time.

Mr. Carl Eugene McNair’s full-time ministry lasted from 1961 until this April—about 43 years. Hundreds knew him as one of the most kind and caring ministers they had ever known. There is the story of how Mr. McNair came to visit a lady in the Church on her farm. She was standing up at a long counter, shucking peas. Instead of insisting on her stopping and talking to him, Mr. McNair simply sidled up to the counter and began shucking peas right alongside her, visiting and encouraging her as he worked!

This, by the way, was a typical example of Mr. McNair’s humility and willingness to serve. For he was truly a “people person.” In no way was he “above” kneeling down and “washing the feet” of his brethren. He did not “lord it over them” but rather gave, encouraged, helped and served.

Through the years, Mr. McNair served all across the United States as a local minister, and later as a District Superintendent, Regional Director and Area Coordinator. He served as Director of Church Administration for the Global and then the Living Church of God for seven-and-a-half years.

Mr. McNair was constantly concerned for the welfare of the brethren. He was scrupulously honest, forthright and had no use for church “politics” or seeking after personal advantage. He was indeed an outstanding example in all of these ways.

Mr. McNair lived a full and interesting life for 66-and-a-half years. That full life undoubtedly prepared him for a position of great service in Christ’s soon-coming Kingdom. About 3,000 years ago, King David of Israel died “in a good old age, full of days” at the age of 70 (1 Chronicles 29:28). Although Mr. McNair did not quite reach that full 70 years, he came very close. We all need to remember that God does not promise that we will all live to be exactly 70 years. Some of us die a few years sooner, some a little later. Some of us still living are, in fact, living on “borrowed time.”

We can still suffer, sin and fall away. Mr. McNair cannot. For he served God faithfully—as much as we can know—until the very end of his days. So he undoubtedly “has it made” as we say in the vernacular. And the great God we serve would certainly have prolonged his life had he needed more time to qualify for a position in God’s Kingdom.

Like the Apostle Paul, Mr. McNair undoubtedly could have said near the end of his days: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7–8, KJV).

Mr. McNair and his wife, Dorothy, together reared an absolutely outstanding family. Mr. McNair leaves behind not only his wonderful and dedicated helpmate, Dorothy McNair, but five grown children and 18 grandchildren! Two of his sons, Mr. Jonathan McNair and Mr. Roderick Carl McNair are, as you know, doing a great job of serving God’s people in this Work even now. They—and the rest of his children and grandchildren—have had a sterling example of loyalty, dedication and service set before them by Mr. McNair. So have we all.

All the way from the Scottish Highlands to the Philippines, and from northern Alaska to the very tip of South Africa, you can find brethren who were touched by the genuine warmth, love and spirit of service that Mr. McNair exemplified. Yet he was a “man’s man” all the way. He deeply enjoyed God’s great outdoors, and exulted in fishing, hunting and hiking. And he was never afraid to tell anyone, including me, when he felt they were wrong. I, personally, appreciated his hearty counsel and will miss it greatly. All of us on the Church Board and the Council of Elders will miss the special insights that Mr. McNair provided in our discussions. He and Mrs. McNair—who was always by his side—provided an invaluable service in helping us “put together” the entire Work of God, especially the Church Administration Department.

As I am dictating this quickly upon returning from South Africa, following a harrowing 28-hour trip across six time zones, I will not continue further at this time. I will write in a future Living Church News about my trip to South Africa. Now, I hope we will all reflect on how all of us owe Mr. Carl McNair a deep debt of gratitude for what he accomplished in his life of faithful service. Let us continue to pray regularly for Mrs. McNair and the family as they adjust to life without the outstanding leader in their family who set before them a remarkable example to the end of his days.

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