2019 Van Zandt Officials Sworn into Office
January 1, 2019 at 2:00 in the afternoon, Van Zandt officials were sworn into office. At least 300 people packed into the standing-room-only courtroom, for a ceremony that was both heartwarming as well as weighty with the oaths of offices being taken.
The Honorable Judge Don Kirkpatrick kicked off the ceremony with welcoming all in attendance. His declaration that Jesus Christ is his personal savior was met by loud applause. “If you ask me,” he said, “United States tried to take Him out of everything: government, politics, everything, and wonder why we have the problems we have today. As long as I am your county judge, Jesus Christ and His Spirit is welcome in this courthouse.”
Kirkpatrick went on to note the dignitaries present: State Senator Bob Hall; State Representative Dan Flynn; Judge Scott Mckee, District Judge of Henderson County; Van Zandt County Republican Chairman Lance Lenz; County Republican Club President, Clay Nicklas; Van Zandt County TEA Party founder and spokesman, Dr. Dwayne ‘Doc’ Collins; Canton Mayor Lou Ann Everett; and Chief Justice James ‘Jim’ T. Worthen of the twelfth Court of Appeals, Place 1.
Pastor Mike Roberson, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Canton opened the proceedings in prayer. His prayer was followed by young Ela and Tylor Cole, leading in the pledges to the U.S. and Texas Flags. Amy Crow Morris followed the young girls with a beautifully soulful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner.
Pastor Roberson returned to the podium to deliver a powerful message, based on Psalm 78:70-72.
“He also chose David His servant and took him from the sheepfolds; From the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So, he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them with his skillful hands.”
From this scripture Pastor Roberson reminded those taking oath of office, (in other words, serving the community) what it means to serve. He began by making the case for scripture and its ability and authority to lead and guide. “For scripture cannot be broken. The Bible is unparalleled in all history: Its historical accuracy, its internal consistency, its powerful prophecy, and its framework for understanding creation, especially human nature. Many over the years have attempted to dispel its claim, in order to deny its authority. But have failed.” He then cited several well-known individuals who started out attempting to prove scripture false. As a result, they end up convinced of the reality of God and His Son Jesus Christ.
He went on, using the scripture he opened with, to explain that David went from private leadership, to public leadership. In the same way, those taking their oath of office, Roberson made the connection that, like David, the County leadership has been given by God Himself, “limited responsibility, with ultimate accountability, to govern…”, and are “accountable to the highest court in the land.” He described the importance of a leader’s character, with attention to traits like integrity and wholeness. In other words, he summarized that integrity comes from wholeness and wholeness is found in a personal relationship with Christ.
Pastor Roberson’s whole message can be watched here:
Video by Susan Skommesa
The following officials were sworn into office:
Chris Martin was sworn in as 294th District Judge, and Joshua Wintters sworn in as County Court at Law. The Honorable Don Kirkpatrick returns as Van Zandt’s County Judge, and Tonda Curry took office as the new District Attorney.
Judge Kirkpatrick swore in the following Justices of the Peace: The Honorable Wade McMillan of precinct 1, the Honorable Sandra Plaster of Precinct 2, the Honorable Herbert Dunn of Precinct 3, and the Honorable Scott Shinn of Precinct 4.
Additionally, sworn into County positions were Karen Wilson as the District Clerk, Susan Strickland as County Clerk, Kenny Edwards as the County Treasurer.
The proceedings closed with a benediction by Pastor Roberson, and of course, a reception and fellowship followed.
Photos in by Susan Skommesa