From The Center






Teaching & Sharing Centers    IRS approved 501c3 non-profit corporation


"The way of the world is compete and compare, but the way of Truth is teach and share."

Winds Of Change

The Board of Trustees held its regular meeting on January 10, 2009.  A number of changes were instituted to try to combat the lack of adequate financial support the corporation has been struggling with for a while.  Some of these measures will directly affect you. 

Who Will Receive Newsletters

The most obvious change which may affect you is we can no longer afford to send paper newsletters to those who are not members.  You have received this edition, as soon as we could free up funds to print and send it, in order to inform you of the change in this policy. 

We will continue to email both members and the poet’s circle when a newsletter is released if you are on our email list.  So, if you are now on our regular mailing list (the poet’s circle) and you have email, please be sure we have your current email address in our system by emailing us right away at, before it slips your mind. 

(If you are reading this on our website because we emailed you letting you know we placed it
   online, we, of course, have your email address, and have already placed you onto the new list.)


For those without email or who prefer the paper newsletter, if you are a member, or become a member, you will still have the option of having the paper newsletter sent to you. 

The board has authorized setting aside four dollars from each membership fee to cover member related costs like the newsletter and the annual membership meeting (required by our form of incorporation). 



Multi-Purpose Room Closing

One of the cost cutting measures passed at the board meeting was to give up the multi-purpose room and kitchen work areas to the building owner, who will use them as an apartment along with the shared use of the library and prayer room areas.  Over the years, the multi-purpose room has seen a variety of uses, from classes to book and Bible studies, to worship services, and even as an overnight shelter for the homeless and a guest room for other visitors. 

Even though none of these activities happened often, this change will leave us without a space for any classes, groups, or meetings.  Any such involvements in connection with the T&SC, or on its behalf, will now need to be held offsite. 

These areas are in the process of being cleared out, which should be done by June.  Once the transition is completed, the back part of the building will no longer be accessible. 

The library and prayer room will remain physically the same, but will have restricted access.  From approximately 8:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m. they will be closed off and locked for exclusive use as part of the apartment.  From roughly eight each morning until eight each evening the double doors will be reopened allowing normal access to the library and prayer rooms for keyholders, or for others during any open hours. 

OK, that is sort of the bad news, although it is best to avoid bad or good judgments on such. Basically, it is just change.  Only time will show it to be either a benefit or a detraction.  Next, is a piece of good news coming from the change. 

Wholesale Purchasing Program

Up until now the WPP has been available to those members who serve in volunteer positions, or contribute "above and beyond" financially.  The board has changed the guidelines to allow all members to participate in the WPP. 

So what is the Wholesale Purchasing Program?  Quite simply, it lets any member of the T&SC place a special pre-paid order, for items available through Cherokee Bill’s Trade Center, and pay only the wholesale cost, plus shipping and any applicable sales tax (if it is not a food item).  Savings can range anywhere from 30% to 50% depending on the items.  Companies usually have minimum wholesale order requirements, which is the reason a WPP coordinator would be helpful.  When someone places an order, the coordinator could advise others who have an interest in the product line that an order is soon to be made, to see who else might want to piggy-back on the current order, instead of having to meet a new minimum down the road. 

While this has been an underutilized benefit in general, some members have been realizing great savings, particularly on items you might otherwise need to pay full price for at a health food store. Anything CBTC can order qualifies for this program. 


Save on
with the WPP


Especially in this time of tough economics, the board saw this as an opportunity to help your budgets, and provide a tangible way of thanking you for your continued membership and support of the Teaching & Sharing Centers' work. 

Board of Trustees

While we currently have the minimum number of trustees stated in our by-laws, we would like to add two trustees.  Terms are three years.  The board meets twice a year (January and June) to review and determine the T&SC policies and procedures.  Contact us if interested. 

Executive Director

With william’s move back to fill the vacant position of treasurer, we have an opening for the Executive Director role.  While in our current financial situation this is a volunteer position, and we would certainly like to talk with you if you wish to fill it as a volunteer, there is no reason that a person possessing the right fund raising and/or grant writing skills could not transition this it into an income earning status. 

An Executive Director makes sure corporate responsibilities, as determined by the board and the laws under which we operate, are being fulfilled.  Also, the right person in this role could very well guide us to a new level in the future. 

It is important to note that the T&SC Executive Director opening is not about running the Teaching & Sharing Center of Grand Ledge. 

Library Director

For quite some time we have had a backlog of new materials for the library, waiting for someone to process them into the system.  Our lending library is actually a combination of the christian life programs library, which is corporate owned, and the a touch of william (IAM) library.  However, getting the new items onto the shelves is frequently at the bottom of the priorities list.  The procedures are not difficult to learn, they simply take time.  Having someone who would like to oversee the library, and a few volunteers to process in materials, would be very helpful.  The library contains books, audio-tapes, CDs, VHS videos, and DVDs.  If you are interested in the library, and would be willing to participate, we would appreciate hearing from you. 

Wholesale Program Coordinator

Mentioned earlier in this newsletter, the WPP is underutilized primarily because no one stays on top of it.  A WPP coordinator would not even have to necessarily be local.  Simply touching base, mostly with a courtesy phone call (or could be text messaging for those comfortable with that technology) to those who have indicated a desire to be contacted when an order might be going out, would likely be the primary activity.  If you like to talk on the phone (or send text messages) this might be for you. 

Newsletter & Correspondence

Having someone to oversee the newsletter and correspondence could allow for communications more often. Primarily, basic typing skills are all that is needed.  The rest we can teach you. 

From a Board Member
by Rev. Richard D. McKenzie

I am suggesting how you can contribute to our Center.  Make a quarterly donation.  Start small. I suggest $10.00 per quarter as an amount you will not miss very much over 3 months.  Do this for one year.  Next year, increase your quarterly gift a small amount, again that you won't miss much.  This is how I have done it since before the Center was a 501C3 corporation.  Now it is a habit. 

I am asking you to contribute to our Center.  I sense we are near the end of its existence [without your assistance] as a place and a resource for God to use.  I believe that the Center serves a purpose for seeking and exploring, for retreating and learning, for peace and outreach.  It has a unique way.  I don't want to see it fade away. 

So, if you are not contributing and you have a similar sense about this place, I am asking you to contribute and suggesting how you might continue to contribute regularly.  And please start now! 

(Rick McKenzie is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church here in Grand Ledge.
He is one of the original incorporators, and is in his fifth year on the T&SC Board of Trustees) 


Keyholder Program


Members and IAMs (Independent Ministries, Missions, Merchants or Mentors) are eligible for the keyholder program.  Those needing regular access to the Center, may request a numbered key be issued to them.  Any others desiring access must petition the Board of Trustees for special consideration, clearly stating the reason. 



"The difficult thing is this. We do not want people looking at us. We are not the answer. We want people looking at God. God is the answer. But, we need people to think of, remember, and support us in order for us to help others look toward God." 

- william


The Economy and Memberships

The standard membership fee is $24 annually.  There is also a lifetime option for those with more substantial resources.  However, of most importance, is the "nobody left behind" options we instituted when going to the single level membership a while back.  This allows those in tight financial situations to be a member for as little as $5 per year (and even nothing for extreme conditions).  You should not hesitate to use this provision, if your circumstance dictates it. It is more encouraging to us that you belong, than the amount shared.  Besides, if you hold off on membership because you feel you do not want to send less, then we end up with nothing, plus the nagging question of whether you care about what we do.  Become a member today.  Membership Form 

June Membership Meeting

The corporation’s annual membership meeting will be Saturday, June 27th, 2009 from 1:00p.m. to 3:00 p.m.  We will do a BBQ in conjunction with the meeting.  Members should mark the date on your calendars now, and watch the mail for further details.  As provided for in our by-laws, a Board of Trustees meeting follows the annual membership meeting.  All members are welcome to attend. 


"Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them - the LORD, who remains faithful forever." 

Psalm 146:5-6 (NIV)


The opinions and philosophies expressed in "william’s perspective" are solely those of the poet william.
They do not necessarily represent positions or views of the Teaching & Sharing Centers, its board of trustees, or other members of the non-profit corporation.


william’s perspective

Although I have no idea when we will have another newsletter come out, I began writing this in December 2008, finishing it in January 2009.  Donna and I had returned from vacation on Monday during the week of Thanksgiving.  On Friday morning, the shopping day now referred to as Black Friday, there was a new reason for that title.  In the news was a story of a Walmart employee in New York who got trampled to death by surging shoppers when the store opened its doors.  Now mind you, this was not a crowd of two thousand people, whose families were starving, rushing to see who would get one of five hundred loaves of bread in some third world country.  This was Americans, stampeding to get the best deals on cheap stuff.  Things that, in truth, they did not likely even need.  I was appalled. 

As if that were not bad enough, several other employees were injured trying to get to, and help, the worker who was killed.  And then, the shoppers apparently gave police and staff a hard time when Walmart tried to close the store. 

Like just any other piece of news, this story stuck around for a couple of days, then disappeared. Many of the questions centered around whether Walmart had provided adequate security. But nobody seemed interested in asking the more basic and obvious question for me.  Why would there be a need for any security, in a "civilized society" where 80% of the population claims to be Christian, for people to simply go shopping.  The answer is not something newscasters are particularly keen on talking about.  When greed and lust for things, and unbridled competitiveness bring down Wall Street, we can all feel self-righteous pointing fingers.  But, when it is us, everyday ordinary citizens, mobbing someone to death at a Walmart, we prefer to look the other way until the story disappears quickly within the news cycle.  Why?  Why are we not outraged and appalled with how far we have sunk as a culture?  Yes, us! – middle class Americans – not just big shots or big business.  We should be ashamed.  Ashamed that such a thing could occur.  And, just as ashamed, that it was no more than simply another piece of news to be acknowledged, then ignored.  You want to know why things are such a mess in the economy right now?  This story is why.  We have become so morally bankrupt (but not the usual suspects) in the everyday basics, that a person can lose their life at an entrance of a Walmart.  Not to a robber, or a terrorist, or because the store was in a war zone, but to a crowd of "sales" shoppers.  I shake my head in disgust every time I think about it.  Which brings me to the economy part of this perspective. 

I have been saying for years that a "compete and compare" economy, based on convincing people to continually buy more stuff, the majority of which are things they do not really need, must eventually come crashing down under its own weight.  To me it seemed inevitable.  Such a way of life is destructive on so many fronts, it would be hard to know where to begin listing them.  It is bad economics.  It is morally wrong.  And, for those of us who call ourselves Christian, it is spiritually wrong.  Wealth, as we define it, is a complete illusion.  It is an artificial score keeping system we have created to measure ourselves against each other in our "compete and compare" society.  Our whole economic system and measure of wealth is a fairy tale, a man-made sham which has nothing to do with the ways, or dictates, of God.  It makes no sense at all, with even the slightest broadening of your viewpoint of life.  And, it can change in a moment on the whims of emotion, primarily fear.  I still remember a news item about Argentina years ago when the inflation rate had become outrageously high.  People were putting their money into stockpiling toilet paper, and other daily necessities.  That was their new wealth. 

The good news (beyond that of Jesus Christ) is if we have created something, it is a system we can alter.  But fundamental change is a slow process.  One thing we Americans have never been very good at is connecting the dots.  Nevertheless, it is time we start.  Yesterday’s choices created today’s consequences.  Today’s choices will create tomorrow’s consequences.  This is true for every one of us individually, and for us as a culture.  The worst thing that could happen right now is for the government to dump enough money onto the problem to get us back to the false security game we have been playing for decades.  Until the day arrives when it is an embarrassment and disgrace to have an outrageous amount of anything, while others in the world have virtually nothing, things cannot change.  When we finally figure out our work really is to house the homeless, feed the hungry, clothe the naked (sound familiar Christians?), etc. — that is when we begin to see the true light.  When it is no longer an argument over Spotted Owls and jobs, because our jobs have become saving Spotted Owls, and the rest of creation we have been arrogantly abusing — that is when we begin to see more light.  When we stop trying to fill the emptiness of our souls with more and cheaper stuff — that is when we will be ready for ultimate light.  Fundamental change — you cannot fix what truly ails us with a surface washing or money dump. 

The non-Christian 20% of you can listen or not, but your choices will create your consequences too. For the other 80% of you, I guarantee there is nowhere in the many Scriptural "good things to do" lists where you will find trampling someone to death trying to get cheap stuff.  No place in Scripture does it say to borrow extensively to leverage your money, or use [the equivalent of] credit cards, even if you can pay the bill off at the end of the month.  In fact, there are many passages denouncing, or warning against greed, materialism, and using credit (borrowing).  If you do not have the money — do not buy it.  Start discerning the difference between that which you need and that which you simply want.  And, more importantly, come to understand and recognize whether you really want something, or Madison Avenue sold you on the idea you want it, or it is just the latest distraction you are running toward to avoid dealing with the truths of your life.  As Jesus was so fond of saying, "let him who has ears hear."  But you do not have to listen to just me.  The writing is all over the wall. You can see it for yourself.  You can hear it.  Perhaps, you are even feeling it personally.  Whether our economy is up, or whether our economy is down, real wealth, that which God put here to sustain us and the rest of creation, has not changed.  How we use, distribute, and care for that real wealth will determine what awaits us down the road.  Someone once said, "we become willing to change when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change."  Are you there yet?  I hope to God we all are. 

God's peace,
william’s perspective next time: The Real American Dream



"No one ever chooses to starve.  Yet while you read this, severe hunger will destroy the lives of three fellow human beings . . . We don’t know their names.  We only know that their deaths were wasteful, unnecessary, and in most cases preventable . . . It is not because we can’t produce enough food around the world. It’s just the distribution is not equal." 

– Action Against Hunger


Our Slogan Christ Centered

In our slogan, "The way of the world is compete and compare, but the way of Truth is teach and share," you will notice the "T" in truth is capitalized.  As a Christian organization, the word Truth represents Christ (see John 14:6), whose ways were teaching and sharing. 

Permanent 501c3 Public Charity Status

Our 501c3 public charity status was approaching its "advance ruling period ending date" which was to be December 31, 2009.  On March 16, 2009 the IRS sent us a letter indicating we did not need to file the form usually required to review the 501c3 status.  This means we are now permanently designated a (501c3) public charity.  The notice indicated "donors can rely on your advance ruling letter with respect to your public charity status."  A copy of the notice is posted on the wsharing website in the Teaching & Sharing Centers’ Communications & Documents section. 


Michigan Living History Encampment

At the January meeting, the Board of Trustees approved the participation of the MLHE in the Grand Ledge Fall Color Cruise and Island Festival October 9th through the 11th (setup on Thursday the 8th) in 2009.  This will be our fifth year of primary sponsorship, and year twenty for the encampment.  If you will be joining us this year as a participant or volunteer, please mark your calendar today.  We will be contacting people closer to the event, but letting us know in advance helps us plan.


Members With Websites - Your URL?

Just a reminder – if you are a member of the T&SC and have a website of your own (business or personal), a link to your site can be placed in the T&SC web pages.   Simply let william know what your site’s URL (address) is. 




The Independent Affiliated Ministry (Mission, Merchant, or Mentor) program has been around since incorporation, yet we continue to flesh out the details.  If you are independently teaching or sharing your gifts, you should chat with us about whether this program might make sense for you.  IAMs do not need to be doing everything for free to affiliate.  Your work can be fee based. We ask only that there is some option for those truly unable to afford a fee.  In fact, our 501c3 public charity status might very well help to accomplish that.  Come, talk to us about sharing the journey together. 

Graduation - CBTC - Peace Pilgrim
by william

I once wrote a poem that referred to this life as Earth School, which is preparing us for the rest of real life, eternal life.  Much like graduating from elementary, to junior high, to high school, and from college to the work world here, Earth School has its times of transition, individually, and for us as a species.  Unfortunately, many people remain stuck in the Kindergarten ways of this world.  But, you can graduate — even if it is just into the first grade of spiritual growth.  We all start somewhere. One of the best materials I have ever run across to help in that process is Steps Toward Inner Peace by Peace Pilgrim.  It is a free booklet available at CBTC (or will be sent free, upon request, if you do not live close enough to visit).  CBTC also provides free Bibles, In His Steps books, and Peace Pilgrim books to anyone who stops by requesting one. 

Many people are out there offering spiritual truth or programs for a fee (or maybe just a "suggested donation").  But, they do not have what they are offering to you.  For, if they truly possessed spiritual truth, they would not be selling it.  They would be freely sharing it. 

Take time to pick up, or request, a copy of Peace Pilgrim’s booklet, Steps Toward Inner Peace.  It might just amaze you – and it really is free. 

FBI Reading Club
by Robert S Buckley

Thank you for all your prayers for the FBI Reading Club.  It is going very well.  Right now I go to school three times a week to read to the kids, from preschool to the middle school.  I have thirteen classes that I read to each month.  That includes five schools in the Grand Ledge school district.  I am hoping for more. 

This is very important to all of us to understand how important it is to be able to read in today’s world.  Plus how much fun reading really is.  I do know how much fun I receive from doing the FBI Reading Club.  I thank God each and every day for this talent that I received so late in life. 

Someday I hope to expand into more places, like homes of different types, retirement homes, private homes, any place that people need help reading.  This would take more than one person. 

Designated Contributions
by william

You will notice that several items have had by-lines, indicating who wrote the article.  The T&SC corporation includes other individuals, and independent ministries, like mine, and Bob Buckley’s FBI Reading Club.  IAM perspectives, content, and activities, remain controlled and expressed by the person(s) whose ministry it is. 

(We will endeavor to identify articles from or about individuals or affiliates, because of this distinction.)

In those first ten years, when all of this was just me, as a sole proprietor, a number of people suggested the non-profit route "because people would be more likely to support something if they could deduct it from their taxes."  I have found it interesting, though personally not unexpected, that just the opposite has taken place.  I had far broader support as an individual than what the corporation enjoys.  I suspect this could have something to do with the difference between someone who takes a stand for, and starts living, what they say they believe, and just one more non-profit organization (of thousands) asking for money.  But, here is the rub.  While I have contributed a great amount of time and effort on the paperwork and systems needed to establish, develop, and operate, the corporation these 5 years, my individual ministry still exists. 

I still help seekers, one on one, when requested, navigate the spiritual waters of life.  Though the foundation of life, this is new territory for many. 

As a touch of william, I still share my photography and poetry freely with those struggling on their journey.  I still let other non-profits, community organizations, and events use my photography at no cost.  I still allow even commercial entities to use my photography on a "free will offering" basis, because only they know their financial situation and what they can reasonably afford. 

As Cherokee Bill’s Teaching & Trade Center, I still take the time to give the half-hour introduction to Cherokee History to anyone who indicates an interest.  I think the Cherokee story has important lessons for all of us, as we meet today’s challenges, and decide what kind of people we will be. 

At CBTC and as a touch of william, I still give away as many products as are sold because this is still first about teaching and sharing. 

The wsharing website has over 180 pages on it, with amazing amounts of information and guidance, completely free of advertising or those annoying pop-ups found on other sites.

I still talk to people at every opportunity about the real presence of the Holy Spirit, and turning to God for answers to the everyday issues in their (and your) lives.  I still greet and depart with "God’s peace" rather than "hi, how are ya" because it is a genuine hope I can wish for each of you.

The list could go on, but you get the point.  The cut-throat competitive ways of our culture can rightly boast of many accomplishments.  But it cannot carry us to the next stage.  You can see the downside results in the news daily (mid-March as I write this).  Though it is idealized in many "reality" TV shows, in real life there are no sole survivors for the big picture.  We either make it together, or we perish together. 

So, you might be wondering, why was this article titled "Designated Contributions?"  Well, each of the budgets I have some influence over, functions on relatively small amounts of cash.  I try to practice what I preach.  But, even if you can pare things down to the very basics, in our society, some cash flow is needed to function from a fixed location.  Virtually everything I do is done for free.  That means I must depend on those who are blessed to receive payment for the endeavors they are involved in, to share. 

I decided fifteen years ago, somebody needed to be living what they say they believe.  It might as well be me.  Peace Pilgrim did it.  Gandhi did it.  Jesus set the stage.  While still a minority, there are more of us than you might think.  I will continue to walk this path, rich or poor, better or worse, for the rest of my life.  The only real question is how many lives shall I touch along the way.  My ministry commitments remain just as they were fifteen years ago when I took that first step.  But, in all honesty, today, if my camera broke, I would be hard pressed to find any uncommitted or personal funds to replace it.  That is the cash reality.  Yet, my life is good; better than most. God is in the driver’s seat. 

Some of you have abundant resources.  Some do not.  Only you know.  Some of you may be interested in tax deductions.  Some may not be impressed with another non-profit, but might want to support the individual work I do, or Bob does, or the fall MLHE program Kenn, Sarah, Lauren, and Randd are regularly involved in.  It is all about sharing — ideas, talents, resources. 

The T&SC is structured financially to allow designated offerings as well.  If it is your desire to support an IAM or special program within the T&SC, you simply include a note with your donation. (Checks still need to be made payable to the T&SC for your gift to be tax deductible.) 

Sometimes I am amazed when I think about having been at this for fifteen years (no pay – most things done for free).  In the beginning I figured I would give it a year.  After that, maybe four more years, until my State Farm income (contractual buy-out) would end.  Pretty much every year since then I have wondered if it was time to give up having a place people could come to?  I was surprised when the partial closing option arose.  I honestly did not believe the Center would make it through this winter.  We have been running as much as three weeks behind on our utilities, insurance, and phone bill.  Yet, for now, they are still getting paid.

Maybe I should give up — giving up.  I said to my mother-in-law the other day, I do not know many people who would go to work every day for fifteen years for no pay, if they did not believe their work was important, and the will of God.  So here we are, both individually and corporately.  Shall I (and we) continue?  Yes.  I will.  I am still here individually, but now a part of something more — how about you?

From the President
by Rev. Tom Jones, LMSW

Greetings friends,  Congratulations for surviving the winter and being able to enjoy the Spring.  I hope you find this newsletter helpful in understanding the precarious nature of the Center's current financial situation.  However, I hope you also see the many areas of potential that are still being offered.  Reading the wisdom that is expressed in the simple truths through this newsletter may remind you of the value of the Center, and lead you to share this resource with others.  Having the presence on the internet allows us to have contact with many people, but they need to know we exist. So, I encourage you to help us network with others who share our values, so that we can move into a future as effectively as possible.  My prayer for you today is that you will have eyes to see; be open to recognizing possibilities as you move through the days and weeks ahead, & feel free to help us connect with needs that we may not have seen in the past.  Peace.

(Tom Jones is an ordained minister with the UCC in Charlotte.
He is also a licensed therapist.  He currently serves as President, in his fifth year on the T&SC Board of Trustees)


Teaching & Sharing Centers   417 S Bridge St,  Grand Ledge, MI 48837   PH&Fax 517 627-7366

Nature — Spirit — Expression

Real answers — Right here — Right now

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