There is an expression that says, “Once a teacher, always a teacher.” That certainly holds true for Izola Jones, former Boonville Elementary School 6th Grade Teacher and member and Sunday School Teacher for the First Christian Church in Boonville, Missouri. In fact, Jones continues to influence many of her former students many years after her death. This was especially true on Saturday, October 14th as the Boonville First Christian Church presented the inaugural Izola Jones Annual Lectureship Series featuring Dr. M. Eugene Boring, one of our nation’s most respected theologians and scholars.
The first program in this first lectureship series was held on Saturday, October 14th and presented three lectures by Dr. Boring that addressed the change and transition the contemporary church is experiencing today by exploring the vision for the church shared in the New Testament. The theme of the event was Revealing A Future Vision From The Past. Approximately 74 clergy and lay persons from around the state attended the event. Roger McMurry, minister at the Boonville FCC says this first event in the lectureship exceeded all of our expectations. “We couldn’t be more pleased,” he said with no effort to hide his very large smile.
This event was made possible by the Izola Jones Annual Lectureship Series at the Boonville First Christian Church. The lectureship Series was established this year by Izola Jones’ daughter, Joyce Lake, to honor her mother’s legacy as a public school and Sunday School teacher. It is unusual for churches in small communities to present this kind of programming, especially with it being open free of charge to church members and all clergy and laity in Boonville and across the state. But, being unusual has always been a badge the Boonville First Christian Church has worn with honor. This Lectureship Series carries on this tradition. This event was designed for clergy, lay people, and church leaders in Boonville and around the state, promoting interaction among the leadership of the whole church. An after session followed the lectures for clergy, teachers, and church leaders to enhance their ability to listen to what the writings of John say to the Church.
Izola Jones is not giving the lectures herself, she passed away many years ago. But, her commitment to excellence in teaching and learning was present during the event. This newly established Lectureship Series celebrates her commitment to learning and her core value as a teacher that we should be learning our entire life, not just in school. Those who knew Izola Jones knew she was a force to behold. And so was her life’s vision.
Whether teaching sixth grade students or Adult Sunday School class – her expectations as a teacher were the same – do your homework, show up on time, and be prepared to learn. For those students who learned early on that these were her expectations, they maximized their learning from a very good teacher. For those who didn’t, well. . . thanks to the Lectureship Series named after her, these students had one more opportunity to get extra credit for turning in missed assignments by attending this program on October 14th. That may not make up for all the lost assignments, but it is never too late to learn.
As Izola Jones would say, “Do your homework, show up on time, and be prepared to learn.” The Izola Jones Annual Lectureship Series is just what the Boonville First Christian Church needed to do to make this happen.
Thank you to Roger McMurry and Patrick Overton for this story.