Thanks to the Keeper of the Stars

Shared by Dale Stewart

In the January/February issue of Village Life magazine, in celebration of Valentines Day, we asked our residents to share with us their stories of finding their true love. I hope you enjoy reading about these special couples as much as we did! Click here to read more from our residents.

I came to JKV thirteen years ago, following the death of my wife, Wilma. I had retired in 1993 and served as interim pastor for churches in transition that needed a “bridge” between a long-time minister and the call of a new one.

Louise and Dale Stewart

The 11th church was in Marion County, where I first met Louise James. She was “The General” and her friend, Eula, was “The Admiral.” Nothing of worth happened without the efforts of these energetic saints. I had absolutely no intention of getting romantically involved with a member of the congregation, for often an interim pastor had to bring healing after a minister had strayed.

On October 25th, 2009, I was preaching on “Be Careful What You Wish For – It Surely Will Be Yours.”

In the middle of the message GOD SPOKE TO ME! I had read about such experiences in scripture and in the lives of ancient saints; but God spoke to me, here and now!

Right in the middle of the sermon! His voice was deeper than the Jolly Green Giant: Herschel Bernardi. And His words were clear and concise: There’s the girl for you!

I didn’t miss a word of my message to the congregation, but at the same time I asked myself, Are you hallucinating? I had taken graduate courses in psychology and knew that one of the questions from psychiatrists was: Do you hear voices? Like the prophets of old, I raised objections: Are you serious, God? Why me? Why Louise?


Shaken, I continued my message and, following the service, I approached Louise and said, “Louise, I may have feelings of affection for you; do you have similar feelings for me?”

And she responded, “Oh yeh!” I discouraged her from sharing this news with anyone and I promised that I would resign after Christmas and we would then see what the Lord had in store for us in the coming year.

The rest of the story is spelled out in a book we are co-writing: What’s Under The Robe? – Everything You Wanted to Know About Your Minister But Were Afraid to Ask.

Suffice it to say, Louise visited me at JKV in January, and on Valentine’s Day we were married at Fairfield Presbyterian Church as part of the worship service. At the reception this Yankee donned a western jacket and black Stetson hat and sang to his Georgia Peach:

I tip my hat to the Keeper of the Stars,
He sure knew what He was doing
When He joined these two hearts.

Ten years later I’m tucked away at JKV with someone who loves me; thanks to the Keeper of the Stars.