Saturday, December 22, 2007

Pilgrimage to WDW

Joanne and I went to Walt Disney World the second week in December. We usually go at least once a year. Most often its by ourselves. Most folks think we're a little odd, to say the least. For us its a needed break and a major destressor from the day to day stuff. When we get there we're just two of the thousands of kids already there. We leave the adults outside and just have a blast. We stand in line to get our pictures taken with characters, along side all the kids with their parents watching. We watch the shows and fireworks and get just as excited as any child there.
We spent a day in each park; Animal Kingdom, Epcot, MGM Studios, and the finally the Magic Kingdom. Jo's favorite is Magic Kingdom, with MGM a close second. I guess my favorite is Epcot, but I would never think of going and not visit one of the parks. I love seeing the animals roaming lose at Animal Kingdom. I've been to too many zoos and seen the animals enclosed. At Animal Kingdom it seems that you're the one behind the enclosure. The gorillas are a great example. The gorilla house at a normal zoo has plexiglas windows to view the gorillas and usually smell of excrement. In Animal Kingdom they seem to roam through the tall grass, sitting and sleeping wherever they please. The was one huge Silverback male that was sitting with his feet dangling in the stream, he had a long blade of grass poking it between his teeth, just watching us as if we were the curiosity.
Now, Joanne doesn't do roller coasters, so we have to split up if I go ride. My favorite one is the Rockin' Roller Coater at MGM. I rode it twice the day we were there. I also like the Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom. What makes Disney roller coasters a step above is how there is a story that goes with the ride. Actually all of Disney rides tell a story, which makes it more than just a ride. At the Rockin' Roller Coaster you're going to se Aerosmith in their studio, but they have to leave for a concert. You and all your group get invited to the concert and a stretch limo is ordered for you all. When you load for the ride you're getting into what appears to be a long vehicle and the ride is through the dark with florescent road signs as you fly down the expressway.
Another thing we love at WDW is the dining. Some of our most loved restaurants are in the parks. There is the Yak & Yeti at Animal Kingdom, the SciFi at MGM, Liberty Tree at the Magic Kingdom, and Epcot has an excellent sit down restaurant in each country with the cuisine of the country. If you have a day off you can also dine at some of the excellent restaurants at the various resorts. This is not a place to lose weight.
We always enjoy our time at WDW. I went to a pastor's meeting and they asked about what we each did to refresh our lives. I told them how Joanne and I went to Disney every year. We may go from opening to closing, but in the end it is refreshing. When we walk through the gates we leave the adult outside, maybe that's what we should do every once in awhile. I believe that maturity can be highly over rated. The child helps us remember when we believed anything was possible and we were invinceable. Doesn't Jesus tell that we must be like a child. I know that's a theological leap, but is it really.

Friday, December 7, 2007


St. Andrews UMC has a really nice Chrismon Tree at the very front of the sanctuary, covered with symbols representing Jesus, Christendom, Biblical and Theological concepts.
Shirley Wyatt explained the meaning of the Chrismons to those of us who weren't familiar with them. I tended to keep my hands down. A tendency I developed in elementary school when my teachers carried big sticks like Shirley uses. Protect your knuckles!
I don't know if you can tell with my picture, but all the Chrismons are made with buttons. Virtually every member of St. Andrews has been involved in the making of the Chrismons, from the children and youth to the senior members.
If you would be interested in learning more about Chrismons, check this site.

The Reason for the Season

Thanksgiving Services

We had two Community Thanksgiving Services on the Charge. Republican Grove UMC joined with Republican Grove Baptist Church and had an evening service on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. We met at the Baptist church this year and next year will be at the Mthodist church. When they meet at the Baptist church the Methodist pastor delivers the message. So, my first year I was the speaker.

St. Andrews UMC gets together with 3 Baptist churches for their Thanksgiving service; Piney Grove Baptist Church, Straightstone Baptist Church, and Eastbrook Baptist Church. Each of the church's choirs sang two numbers during the service. The music was varied and enthusiastic. The message was delivered by Rev. Sam Caldwell, representing Eastbrook Baptist, since they are currently without a pastor. After services there were refreshments.

They have been having these community services for over 40 years. It was wonderful watching folks arrive and greet each other. Everyone knew everybody. There were no church rivalries or denominational feuding. It was simply believers getting together to celebrate their thankfulness to God and to fellowship with one another. It wasn't about theology, it went beyond that. It was an incredible thing to behold.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Two New Windows

The last two large stained glass windows were installed at Providence UMC this past week. The artist who has created these beautiful windows for us is Jennie Foreman, a 4th grade teacher. We are very happy with her excellent work and creativity. I hope you'll enjoy seeing them as much as we are enjoying them.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Veterans Day

Tomb of the Unknown

This Sunday, the 11th of November 2007, is Veterans Day. I realize that there a lot of people who think we shouldn't mix what is considered a civic observance with the sacred. I respectfully disagree.
This is the D-Day Memorial in Bedford Virginia. It honors the memory of those who served, living and dead.

We honor those who have served - and those who serve today - to protect our freedoms. That we sit in church on Sundays and worship in peace and freedom should be a continual reminder of those who have made and make it possible.

Seaman First Class Charles Johnson Sr.

US Navy 1946 - 1948

Staff Sgt. Charles Johnson Jr.

US Air Force 1972 - 1980

Friday, November 2, 2007

Stained Glass Windows of the Mount Airy Charge

I love stained glass windows in churches. There's just something about the sun shining in and the colors virtually glowing. Each window telling a different story or relating a different aspect of God's character. They add to the sense of the Holy Place and the Presence of the Almighty. The Mount Airy Charge has some beautiful stained glass windows as you can see for yourself. They were what caught my eye when I first stepped into these churches. Enjoy.

The Stained Glass Windows of Providence UMC

The Stained Glass Windows of Republican Grove UMC

The Stained Glass Windows of St. Andrews UMC

Mt. Airy Charge Conference 2007

Charge Conference for the Mount Airy Charge was Sunday, the 28th of October. For me, it was the Methodist version of the Federal inspection of the lab at the doctor's office. I had really been stressing about the Charge Conference, even though everyone told me to take it easy. I just wanted it to be right my first time. It turned out the advice was right and I wasted a lot of time fretting.
Rev. Dave Drinkard, the Lynchburg District Superintendent, preached the Sunday sermon. Dave and I served comunion together after the service. The Charge Conference was conducted after the benediction. It was short and sweet, with no one having time to get bored or doze off. We had to vote on a few things, like the budget and officers. Then came the individual church reports.

I read my "Pastor's Report". I couldn't say much, since I had only been here since July. I mainly said that I was really enjoying myself and that everyone had been very gracious and understanding.

Mary Margaret Crews read the State of the Church report for Republican Grove UMC. The State of the Chrch Report is the time each chrch gets to tell what it has done in the past year. It is when the church gets to brag a bit; this it what we have done, this is our outreach, this is how we have improved and how we plan to continue to do so. For small congregations they do more than many churches larger than themselves.

Carl Wayne Adams read the report for Providence UMC.

A. J. Nuckols read the report for St. Andrews UMC.

Emma Jean Johnson read the United Methodist Women's report. The UMW consists of only 3 members, but they do quite a bit.

We had good representtion from each of the churches of the Mt. Airy Charge.

Oh yeah, it's easy to laugh about it when it's all over. But, I've learned a few lessons my first time (better write them down so I don't forget them next year).
I made trifold boards with pictures of each of the churches' Homecoming Sundays.

Joanne served as the Charge Conference secretary.
Talk about the right job for the right person.
Everyone enjoyed seeing the pictures of each others Homecoming.

We made sure that Dave got his copy, since his copy had all the official signatures.

See that smile! Man am I glad Charge Conference is done. You have no idea how much I hate papperwork.

The ladies of Republican Grove UMC prepared what I thought and announced was a light lunch. I really missed the mark on that call!

We had fried chicken, sweet potatoes, green beans, deviled eggs, potato salad, baked apples, and more. For dessert there were 3 cakes and a peach cobbler,

The ladies really out did themselves and it was truly appreciated by all. When the D.S. got ready to leave, he had 3 more Charge Conferences that afternoon, he packed a piece of cake, just in case.

I want to thank everyone for their help with my first Charge Conference.