Thursday, August 29, 2013

When I was a young man at Truro, Joe was my confessor and counselor.

His heartfelt support for us has not been forgotten.

My favorite memory of Joe was the weekday morning that I came across the front lawn at Truro and called out to him, “How are ye doing today, Joe?" His response was typical Joe Kitts. He enthusiastically raised his hand and shouted back, “REJOICING!" I'm sure he had Psalm 95 on his mind and now he can “Rejoice in the Lord Always!" 

Dale E. Forrester

In 1977 I was single and stationed at the Pentagon with the USAF having just come back from assignment in Korea.

I was being mentored toward knowing Christ by the late Ken Smith who as a lawyer had helped me through the difficulties of a divorce. I spent many hours with Ken and we became good friends. I wanted to know all there was about accepting Christ into my life. Ken was the leader of the Singles Group at Truro and since Joe Kitts was the advisor to the Singles Group I got to know him.

One day in October of '77 while at work I got a personal call from Joe. He told me he wanted to talk to me. We arranged to meet at my house where I lived alone. My first reaction was that I was in trouble and somehow he had found out about my past and the kind of person I was. As we talked, Joe said I needed to accept Christ now. I told him I had a lot of issues in my past to deal with, that he didn't know who I was, and that I wasn't ready. He said, “You'll never be ready, you need to pray now." I said OK Joe go ahead and pray. He said “No, you pray." Well I'm not sure what the prayer was but Joe hugged me, prayed with me again and I have been a new creation ever since.

A little over a year later Joe officiated at my marriage to Diana Hilgartner, who I met through the Singles Group at Truro. She was my best friend then and still is today. We named our first son Andrew 'Joseph' - in honor of Joe. We call Andrew 'AJ,' but Joe always called him 'A.Joe.'

The world will miss Joe Kitts, but Heaven is now a much better place. I'm looking forward to seeing him again.

 Dave Boyd

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I was working with Joe at the time establishing a Seniors' Fellowship.

My elderly mother participated in the fellowship, though towards the end of her life life she was not mentally capable. She just did everything that I told her to do. It certainly made care-giving easier but it did not answer one huge question that I had. “Did she really know the Lord or was she just following and agreeing with everything I said and did?"

 I expressed my concerns to Joe. The very next day he was on my doorstep. He came in and talked with my Mother and gently led her to express her faith. After that he simply said, “Well! That's done." 

And we all knew that it was. I never again doubted her relationship with God, our Heavenly Father and neither did she. Thank you, dear Joe and praise to the Lord of the universe.

 June Leeuwrik

Monday, August 26, 2013

Things i learned from Joe Kitts ...

  1. Don't get in arguments about God. Some people will argue for arguing sake (for example, Who did Cain marry?). 
  2. Talk to the person about Jesus. This will either end the conversation abruptly or take you to a salvation talk. 
  3. Learn how to give a Gospel message in one or two sentences, in a minute or less time. 
  4. Gather prayer support when you go out to minister to people or on a door to door visit around a neighborhood. 
  5. And always go in twos or threes. 

Saved through conversations with his grandfather when he was seven, Joe was blessed with a testimony of God's protective love. I was blessed to serve on the prayer team he set up to support the door to door ministry. He had such a heart for the lost and the un-churched, and such a love for Christ and strong faith in God that all of us who served with him caught his vision.

Ann Westerman

Only a couple of years ago, after Freda died, we went to see Joe where he was living alone in his cottage on the Welshborder.

His lungs were bad from the illness contracted many years ago down in the coalmine, and he was hoarse and short of breath.

Nevertheless he told us that he went for a daily walk down the lane near his home. “I'm practicing," he said. “I sing hymns in the lane. Soon I'll be singing them in the presence of the Lord, so I'm practicing."

He used to joke that the story of his life was “From Coalpit to Pulpit."

Praise God he is now breathing easily, and singing what he rehearsed so long.

 Barbara Bazley

We have wonderful memories as we have been to visit Joe during our two years in London.

We first saw him in his home and he insisted on walking us to the car although he was not steady on his feet. Soon after that his children thought it best for him to be in a nursing home close by his home. However Joe always believed in “Blooming where you are planted." He was the life and soul of the nursing home talking about His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at every opportunity. We were blessed to visit him there several times and it was well worth the six hours of travel it took to get there!

From the moment we arrived at Truro, he took us all under his wing and Joe was always supportive and guided Martyn. At the first service Joe literally pushed Martyn into where he should stand.

One funny incident was when Martyn gave Joe an answering machine. Joe was adamant that he did not need one as he always answered his phone when he was home. He said he was not like Martyn who never answered his phone. However he was never at home as he was always visiting!

 When he left for England he would not give us a list of those whom he visited. His answer was that he himself would continue to look after them from England. This he did returning and visiting.

We love Joe Kitts. We look forward to our reunion in heaven. We give thanks to God for the gift of his life. To God be the glory great things he has done!

 Angela Minns

I used to go with Joe on evangelism visits to those folks who attended Truro for the first or second time.

On the way he loved to use the car phone he had (one of those early phone before cells or bluetooth) to call ahead and see if the people were home (it was kinda like a big-boy toy for him, I think...). Once at their home, he could start a conversation using any object he might see - like a photo, book, clock, piece of art, you name it. He would gradually lead into sharing the Gospel using his unique creativity, and had such a winsome way that people had difficulty resisting his approach. He often urged me to share some part of my testimony or the Gospel to give me some experience. I attribute his training (along with Ed Pritchard's) as indispensable in becoming comfortable with sharing the gospel myself. On the way back to church he would de-brief the evening and encourage me. What a master he was! 

Karen Phillips

Joe Kitts.

A gentle soul.

 Amy Walton Williams

What a man of God!

I just loved Joe. If you admired something in his house, he'd GIVE it to you!!!! You had to be careful.

Harry Strong

The Rev. Joe Kitts, yes-a friend, but always, it seemed, the quintessential, priestly “father figure" to so many.

Following his retirement, anytime he returned to his beloved Truro, he would swing right and left, to-and-fro, pressing the flesh of so many who appreciated him and wanting to be remembered by him. There never was enough time to reach them all! Dear Joe, we are happy for where you are now ... but you will be sorely missed.

 Will & Tammy Putz

One Christmas day we had invited the Kitts to join us for the afternoon.

Joe appeared and after greetings, asked what our young teen-aged boys were doing. They were playing ping pong in the basement. Off went Joe to join them in a half hour or so of spirited paddle work. Then, like Mark, Joe was immediately off to his next call having brought such joy to our sons with his presence, which was a Christmas present.  How like Joe!

 Eldon and Louisa Rucker

My most vivid memory of Joe is a Friday night sermon he preached on the text of being ambassadors for Christ.

Being a Washington congregation, we knew all about ambassadorships, but Joe did such a splendid job of relating the earthly to the spiritual that by the time he finished, I think we were all ready to go serve.

Julia Henderson

Other than Joe checking his watch right after Eucharist in the old 9:30 service to make sure they could clear the parking lot for the folks coming to the next service ...

... Perhaps the clearest memories I have of Joe are these:

I remember at the end of one Service Martyn Minns saying Joe had an announcement to make or wanted to say a few words. That seemed curious. Joe came out and shared that the staff had been getting a lot of flack for the Old Testament reading the week (or possibly 2 weeks) before, which had been from the Apocrypha (the book of Tobit, if I recall correctly). Joe said something along the lines of “The 39 Articles says that the Apocrypha is profitable for reading and teaching." Then he said something else to the effect of “get over it" - I think he thought we were being a little Pharisaical - and sort of stomped off. An interesting moment that showed Joe's love for the historic Anglican church.

I also remember the beatific look on Joe's face when he was “slain in the Spirit" at a Men's Breakfast with evangelist Mahesh Chavda in the Truro Undercroft. There were probably thirty people there and it was quite a meeting!

And Joe did a wonderful job singing the liturgy.

David Smith

Our son James was in a horrible situation when he was in middle school ...

... where he was horribly harassed by bullies. James was at the end of his rope when Joe intervened in his life and surrounded him with the love of Christ. Joe's love and care was the beginning of the turnaround in James' life. James is now in his internship as a mental health counselor, working to help troubled youth. Thank you, Joe, for being Christ's hands and heart in the life of our son!

Joanna Craft

One of our first personal moments with Joe was in the 24 hours before the birth of our first daughter, Emily.

Alice was eight days over her due date, and, of course, we were a bit anxious! So after the morning service, we went to the railing for prayer. Joe prayed a powerful prayer and sent us home with the advice to trust God and relax.

In the middle of the next day, labor began, and, 19 years later, Emily is in her second year in college. We were quite sure Joe’s prayer prompted Him to ‘move us along’ toward the happy event. It’s a fond memory of Joe we’ll never forget.

 Bruce and Alice Hunt