Sunday, April 27, 2008

Jeremiah Goes to a Wedding

A couple of weeks ago our son, Jeremiah, was in a wedding of an old friend. The wedding was in Delaware. The guys drove up one weekend for the rehearsal and then the next weekend for the wedding. Oh, that guy at the top isn't the lead guitar player for ZZ Top. That's our baby Jeremiah.
That's Jeremiah on the left, then the groom Billy Joyner, Danny Terry, and on the right Tommy Castle. Now as sharp as the guys look, that's not the real story. These guys have known each other and remained tight friends since elementary school. I don't know about you, but I can't even locate classmates from grade school and am hard pressed to find high school classmates. Billy moved to Delaware over 10 years ago and still kept close to his friends. Tommy commented, "I wouldn't put on a tuxedo for anybody else."
Jeremiah, Tommy, and Danny all work together at the same company in Lynchburg. The 3 of them get together with some others every Wednesday evening and Saturday to play music. I asked them one time if they ever get tired of each other and they looked at me as if I had lost my mind. The bond these guys have really reminds me a lot of what the early church must have been like. They are like a tribe or family.

I really believe that a big part of being a pastor is in relationships. If you don't build a connection with your folks, then much of what you want to do is wasted. I look at Jeremiah and his extended family and try to learn from them. God brings us lessons from places and people we would not always be looking for, its good to keep our eyes and ears open for His leading.

St. Andrews Heritage Sunday

This Sunday, April 27th was heritage Sunday. Emma Jean Johnson shared with the congregation some of the history, tradition, and heritage of St. Andrews UMC.
The records for St. Andrews can be traced back to before the Revolutionary War. When it was moved to its present location, both the Methodist and the Episcopal churches used the site on alternating Sundays. The church was named St. Andrws Methodist Episcopal Church. The site was donated for a Christian church for 2000 years. The Episcopal church later moved to its present location in Mt. Airy. The original church is no longer here, but the new building is on the same site.
This is the church's oldest existing communion trays. It was made and donated by a former pastor.
This communion tray was donated by Emma Jean's mother-in-law.
I'm not sure about the date of this Bible, but it is the oldest one the church has and it was signed by the Circuit Riders.

St. Andrews Spaghetti Supper

Saturday evening we a spaghetti supper at St. Andrews. What made this one interesting was the the men did the cooking. (There were many in prayer during the preparation) A.J. Nuchols made the salad and cooked the noodles. We had enough spaghetti to feed 40.
David Adams and Bill Wyatt made an abundance of spaghetti sauce. We had 3 crockpots full of sauce and there wasn't much left over. I had the important, difficult, and life threatening job of slicing the bread, buttering it, and placing the trays in the oven. Man, did I work up an appetite.
We had 32 folks join us for dinner. They brought drinks, salad dressing, chips & dip, and desserts. I had to grab a chocolate chip cookie before the meal started, just to be sure I got one.
It was a great couple of hours of fellowship for the entire church. For you folks in larger urban/suburban churches, imagine a fellowship meal where you know everyone there. We always talk about the United Methodist Church is a connectional church. Well folks, this is connectional and its great.

Please Stop...I Want to Pray with You pt.2

Saturday the 19th was another overcast, rainy day for the Pray With You project. The weather didn't change to desire to be there to pray.
Donna Adams, Brian and Tammy Daniels from Providence were some of the folks who came to pray with anyone who stopped.
Saturday the 26th of April was our last day of our project at St. Andrews UMC. We have seen a great time of fellowship during our times of sitting and waiting for folks to stop for prayer. Stacey Wyatt is from St. Andrews and Heidi Dawson is from Republican Grove.
It has been fun getting together with folks we don't get to see each Sunday. Fred and Theresa Reiger are from Providence. You see, with the size of our congregations, no one congregation is able to cover the hours on their own. The cooperation has been wonderful to watch. It is not a a church thing, it is a Charge thing.
Next week we move our project at Republican Grove UMC and it will be there for the next two weeks. We continue to look forward to what God is doing through us and in us.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Psyche Evaluation Interview

I went to Richmond yesterday for my Psychological Evaluation Interview for the licensing process with the United Methodist Church. The letter had told me to plan on an hour and a half to two hours for the interview. Joanne and I arrived about ten minutes early for the appointment. Joanne brought a book and crossword puzzles to occupy her while I went in for the eval. They called me back at 1:00.

The interview went fine. First we talked about the information on my bio sheet. I had to confess that I was now 56 rather than 55. Then we went over my answers and results from my written psyche evaluation. He said that I appeared to be an exacting, detail watching, perfectionist (he probably said it nicer than that). I told him that if he had worked in the medical lab field for 35 years that he'd be that way too. All in all, the results were positive. Even the stuff that seemed negative, I had to admit was right. I was finished at 1:45.

A two hour drive, both ways, for a 45 minute interview. The Methodist Church needs to think of a better way to do this. Joanne was afraid that my "Grumpy" shirt had me written off before I went in, but I don't think so. I just hope that after all this they get the results back fast. I would like to get a copy though, just in case I ever need an insanity defense.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Please Stop...I Want To Pray With You!

On April 12th the Mount Airy Charge started the "Pray With You" project. The idea is real simple. You put up a banner asking folks to stop for prayer, put out some chairs, then sit and wait for people to stop for prayer as they drive by. Its a ministry being done by churches of the Lynchburg District of the UMC. Well actually, there are over 90 churches in the district and only 20 are doing this. We are 3 of the 20 and I am immensely pleased with response of our 3 congregations. There is a web site that lets folks who didn't stop to contact the church by email for prayer. Check it out at
We started the project at St. Andrews UMC. We will be doing the Saturdays, from 9:00 in the morning to 5:00 in the evening, in the month of April here and then moving to the Republican Grove UMC and Providence UMC for the month of May.
Our first day was cool and overcast, we got some rain (with a touch of thunder and lightning) for a few hours in the morning. It all seemed to start when Betty Jo and Heidi arrived and it tapered off when they left. You can draw your own conclusions.
The afternoon dried out and cooled down, but the wind was blowing hard enough to lift the canopy up off the ground. Emma Jean and Judy could have done some nice kite flying. It was in the afternoon that we had our only person to stop for prayer. She said she had driven by and then turned around and came back.
It may be that we were there all day simply for that one person to stop and ask for prayer. We may never know. We may find that each Saturday will be like this one, with more waves from passersby than people stopping. But folks now know that there is a church that believes in prayer on Route 40 and that church walks in what they believe. By the end of May they will also know there are churches on Java Road and Leda-Grove Road that believe the same.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Dash

In July 2006, a short 3-minute movie was launched on the Internet called The Dash. Since then, over 40 million people from around the world have watched it; and over 20,000 a day continue to watch it as a result of people passing it along.
The movie has been more successful than anyone could have ever imagined. More importantly, however, it has inspired many, many people to reflect on their lives and ask that all important question, 'Are my priorities where they should be? I hope you enjoy this movie and share it with those who are close to you.
Click This Link to View: <>

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Old Trees

I've always loved old trees. I remember climbing the big oak tree in front of our house in New Hampshire. I'd climb to the highest point I could and sway back and forth on the limb, kind of nature's amusement park. Old trees just seem to have character. I really got a new appreciation for them after I read "The Lord of the Rings". I loved the part about the Ents, Tree Herders, Shepherds of the Forest. I remember when Treebeard said, upon seeing the destruction of his forest, "Some of these I knew since they were nuts or acorns. Some of them had voices of their own."

Anyway, last Sunday as we were driving home from the churches Joanne saw this tree. She made me stop, turn around, go back, park, and take a picture. It may not be what you would call beautiful, but it was to us. It had character, you could see the age and wear in its limbs.

So don't be surprised if you see an occasional tree on the page. Wouldn't it be something if they could talk and could tell all they have seen change before them. I would love to hear a church's history from a tree's perspective.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Visit with the Grandkids

We went up tp visit Courtney, dave, and the grandkids. Where did the little kids go? Look at Thomas, he's half a head shorter than me and he's not 11 until July. Taisie is shooting up, too. She's been toting Lila around on her hip and Lila is no small package to carry. Levi can put away a load of food, as you can see.

They have their house on the market. They can have visitors 7 days a week from 10:00 to 7:00. Needless to say that can make everyone a little crazy.