Does God Exist? Sponsorship ChangesJohn and Phyllis Clayton began the ministry titled Does God Exist? in 1968. The purpose of the ministry was to help people, who did not believe in God or who were struggling with faith issues, find answers. John was a public school teacher in South Bend--for 41 years before his retirement in 2000. They also worked with the youth program of the Church. Because of John's background in science and as a militant atheist, the ministry was able to offer some unique approaches to young people. The ministry grew rapidly so that lectureships were being held at over 40 locations a year and some 400 presentations a year were being made by 1970. A journal, books, booklets, 16-mm films, audio tapes, filmstrips, and numerous sheets on a variety of subjects were prepared and all of this was done and stored at the Church building, with much of the labor donated by the members of the congregation. When problems came up, the leadership of the Donmoyer Ave congregation advised and supported the Claytons. Financial support came from literally hundreds of people all over the country who saw potential in what was being done and encouraged the Claytons to expand and develop more materials. Technology has made many things possible--a web site, DVDs, CDs, video tapes, and other materials.
The Claytons supported themselves in this work, but added help as it was needed, with Thelma Johnson serving as a secretary and later Karl Marcussen becoming the assistant to John in 1978. In 1985, a garage was modified on the back of the Donmoyer Church property and has been our printing office and storage facility since then. The Claytons maintained an office in their home in Indiana and later in Michigan as well.
In the late 1990s, the Donmoyer congregation's leadership changed and with that came a change in direction. That change involved targeting the area around the church building and committing all resources to the neighborhood. The Claytons began working with a small congregation in Dowagiac, Michigan, near their home and quite a distance from the targeted territory. The leadership of the Donmoyer congregation has now decided that they need to make a name change and break its association with the Church of Christ. They also wish to take over the annex that Does God Exist? has been working in for the past 20 years for a neighborhood project. The Dowagiac Church of Christ is picking up sponsorship of the work, and all finances and legal concerns will be handled through the Dowagiac congregation.
We appreciate the support and help that was given to our work by the Donmoyer Church of Christ. We are sad to see that congregation cease to exist, but we will treasure the memories and savor the great good that was done by the congregation for the 50 or so years it existed. Those who contribute to our work should make their checks out to Does God Exist? or to the Dowagiac Church of Christ. All correspondence should be sent to the Claytons at 1555 Echo Valley Drive, Niles, Michigan 49120. The Lord has worked through the Dowagiac Church in a wonderful way, and we now have a storage building that meets our needs, thanks to the Gibson family. We have strong support from the Dowagiac church which will help us carry on this work in a positive way. Keep us in your prayers as we work toward getting everything functional in this new arrangement.
--John and Phyllis Clayton, Karl Marcussen, and Linda Glover
Back to Contents Does God Exist?, NovDec05.