We’ve talked about the legal issues with the town of Gilbert’s sign code (applying extra restrictive rules to church signs, asking for a free pass to discriminate against speech they view as “less valuable”).
But beyond the legal ramifications of this case, we really want you to get to know the people behind it – the eighty-something couple that has to drive out each Saturday night at 9pm to put up their small signs, then rush out after their church service on Sunday to take them back down – or face criminal fines, and possibly even jail time for violating the strict sign code.
Meet Pastor Clyde and Ann Reed.
Pastor Clyde Reed hasn’t slowed down since his retirement from electrical engineering. His wife, Ann, told us, “Clyde said, ‘I’m going to retire when I’m 65, and then start churches, because that’s most fun.’”
Now at almost 82 years old, Clyde preaches two church services every Sunday for Good News Presbyterian Church.
Clyde and Ann’s ministry isn’t at all what they expected. They met in Gilbert schools for many years, but recently moved to a senior living center. They knew this would make it harder for them to attract young families, but they realized that God had given them the unique opportunity to minister to the elderly people in the senior living centers, people who were experiencing a vulnerable and often lonely time in their lives.
Ann and Clyde jumped headfirst into this new ministry, and began visiting the seniors in their rooms on a regular basis, sharing encouragement and prayer with them, hosting parties and potlucks to brighten their days, and of course, having church services every Sunday.
“We would never have predicted this course that we’ve been on,” Clyde said with a laugh, “but it’s been very, very fruitful.”
“Clyde provides an essential service to a lot of people where they currently meet, and he does it at another facility as well that’s for more serious patients who have Alzheimer’s and other mental diseases.” Jeremy Tedesco, ADF Senior Legal Counsel said. “But that just shows you the heart that Clyde has.”
Ann beamed through tears, “People say how, ‘This church has just been such a blessing,’ and ‘these people are such a blessing’ and to know you had a part in that? It keeps you going.”
One of their church members, Irl Noble, who began regularly attending the church shortly after losing her husband, was also emotional when asked to talk about Clyde and Ann. “You don’t meet people very often that are so sincere ... They’re just friends to everyone … They’re just good people. They’re just good people – that’s all there is to it.”
After describing how the city of Gilbert confiscated their sign and cited them for violating the sign code twice (the reason they contacted us) Clyde observed, “We think we’re out there helping these cities and towns. And we don’t understand why they want to make it difficult … especially when compared to some other signs, like political signs … they do not have the same restrictions as we do.”
The Reed’s case began in 2007. Now, eight years later, the Supreme Court will hear their case on Monday, January 12th.
As a result of this long fight, the Reeds hope for one specific outcome.
“We would hope that across the United States, churches could reach out to the world around them through sign distribution. We hope that will be the result,” Clyde said.
Ann agreed: “Our church is very small, and we keep chuckling away that this little church is an instrument God used to bring a case up to the Supreme Court.”
Find out more about the Reeds and what’s at stake in their case.
Please pray for our attorneys arguing the case before the Supreme Court, and leave a comment below of encouragements to the Reeds.
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