The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Friends and Neighbors, Brothers and Sisters,
It was exactly 10 years ago, June 30, 2007, that Jim Clayton moved to La Harpe with his family. He said, "I knew hardly anyone, didn't know the streets, didn't know the mascot of the school, and didn't know the guy next door, who mowed his yard more often than me, was the mayor."
Jim went on, "A lot has transpired in that span of years. I know a lot of people (and a lot more know who I am), I know the streets as I have spent the last nine years driving a school bus for the La Harpe Eagles. And that guy next door, he still mows his lawn more often than me."
In that time, Jim tried his hand at several things besides driving a big yellow bus. He has substitute taught, worked for three of those years at Illini West High School, pastored four area churches (for the last six years at Durham, La Harpe, and Terre Haute United Methodist Churches) and even wrote for the Quill.
"I once read a study of my home town, Terre Haute, Indiana, that listed the top 25 things people liked about Terre Haute. As I read the list I agreed with everything on it, but there was one glaring omission, an omission so egregious that I wrote a letter to the editor, Max Jones, citing my concern.
"Mr. Jones evidently agreed with me because he published my letter within days. The omission to which I speak was the fact that no one put the people of the town on their list. The people were left off, not included, not even mentioned.
Clayton explained, "How could anything be good without good people? The people of La Harpe wave to you, whether they know you or not. The people of La Harpe stop and pull you out of the snow in your car (or your bus) without even being asked.
"The people of La Harpe bring you fresh garden produce. And, the people of La Harpe all consider themselves your neighbors, and friends.
But, it's more than that. They ask if they can pray for you, they say, "God Bless You!" They follow The Golden Rule and make you feel as though you are one of their own. The people of La Harpe are honest and mean what they say, regardless if you like it or agree with it, and I admire this."
Jim has been reappointed and he began serving Colchester and Hills Grove United Methodist Churches July 1st. "I am not moving," Clayton said, but he will be in Colchester serving the churches there.
"I am no longer going to be a local pastor here in La Harpe. I will be just your neighbor, your friend, and many cases you will all be my brothers and sisters.
"Thank you for helping me make La Harpe, my new home town and I hope to get to know you all much better than I do, over the next 10 years."
Jim Clayton center with friends Dan Horton and Bill Pence at his going away party