For Harold and Ruby Cline, their devotion to the ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) was only surpassed by their love and devotion to their children and grandchildren.
Rev. Dr. Cline and his wife of 48 years raised three children during their lifetime. Together they served Disciples congregations in Indiana for 36 years before they moved to Texas to answer God’s call to be an area minister and later interim regional minister. He died in October 2011; Mrs. Cline preceded him in death in 2000. In addition to their three children, they had six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
While Rev. Cline was a leader in congregations, Mrs. Cline had her own ministries, serving as a licensed Disciples lay minister and leading numerous workshops on spiritual life and prayer. She was a licensed professional counselor, licensed marriage and family therapist and member of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.
As generous givers themselves, Rev. and Mrs. Cline worked at educating others to be wise stewards of their resources and inviting abundant giving. Their focus on mission outreach to others included not only support of the establishment of new churches in the United States, but also two pilgrimages to work with the church in Lesotho, Africa.
In 1998, Rev. Cline penned his own thank you note to God, which reads in part:
My thanks pour out for:
my parents and family who nurtured me in church
teachers and people who have called me forth
Ruby and her growing life which has called me forth
education and rich experiences for growth and change
persons who have enriched my life and ministry
but above all is your grace and love in Jesus and the hope which comes from him. Also thanks for your Holy Spirit and its working in the now moments of my life. I realize my need of you and that but for your grace, I could hit the depths.
During their lifetimes, these generous saints of the church completed several charitable gift annuities that provided them a stream of payments to supplement their retirement income. Their estate plan directed the residuals of those gift annuities and other retirement assets to their named permanent fund at the Christian Church Foundation. Distributions from that fund will, in perpetuity, continue their financial support of several ministries important to them, including overseas mission work, establishing new churches, helping ministers with low pensions and spiritual formation programs.
At Rev. Cline’s funeral, his son Chad shared the following:
“Dad, you also taught me to be a giver, some methods were subtle and some not. Like the fact that out of my first allowance, which was 80 cents, you had me give 50% of it to the church. I guess you figured that would set me up to think tithing 10% was quite a deal! But then, tithing was always just a start for you.”
The Clines’ legacy extends beyond their love for God and their family. Their faith witness in life was an example to family; their faithful giving beyond their lifetime provides a lasting legacy to us all.