Monday, July 21, 2008

I Needed A Day Like That

This Sunday, 20 July 2008, we had one of those occasions that just make you feel good. We had two children baptized at St. Andrews UMC, Charles Daniel Mays and Anakin Aotea Chase. It was a good day.

Charlie with his dad, Brian, and mom, Minnie, along with Brian's brother, Shaun, and his wife, Jaclyn, and Brian's dad, George, all the way on the left.
April Chase and dad, Rob, with Anakin and April's mother, Sallie, on the right.

Anakin was the perfect baby, not a sound, even when we put the water on his head. Actually, he didn't even wake up.
Charlie is always quiet, he's one of those children you don't know are there until you see them. He was looking good in that all white shorts suit with a white tie.
Jaime, Javier, Minnie, yours truly, Charlie, Brian, and Lynda.
The Godparents, Brian's brother and his wife.
Rob and April with Anakin.
Rob was the doting father, rarely did he give up holding Anakin. Rob is from New Zealand and will be returning for two months, before coming back to the states to stay. It was like he was getting all the touch time he could to last him while he was gone.
And, of course, what is a church event without a meal and fellowship?

We had planned a reception with an assortment of finger foods, which we had and there was an abundance. But we had an extra blessing that turned it into a full fledged meal. It was a good day.
Javier said it was all mouth-watering good!
Brian, April's brother, owns a BBQ catering business in Lynchburg. He blessed us with BBQ, baked beans, slaw, and potato salad. If you're in need of a meal for an event check out his web site. It was all delicious, thanks again, Brian.
This was a smart move, get the white suit off before Charlie touches any food.

This was a rare moment, Anakin was out of Rob's hands and in the hands of a special guest visiting from Canada, Sheree.A pastor's work is never done. ;-) All that high tech military training didn't go to waste, I still remember how to push a mop. I had A.J. supervising my technique, so I had to do it twice. It was a good day.
Mattie got her hands on Charlie and he doesn't seem to mind at all.

Our faithful ladies in the kitchen, made sure everyone was served before they relaxed to eat.
After the two deaths in our church family this past week, Sunday was day of refreshing. It reminded me of the "Holy Balance" that God has given us. That for all the loss and grief we endure, there is also gain and joy to sustain us. I got my socks blessed off on Sunday and I needed a day like that. Sunday was one of those very good days.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Two Too Many

I've had two deaths and two funerals in my churches this past week. They both died early Monday morning. We got the first call at 4:20 and the next at 6:20 in the morning. There was a visitation Tuesday evening and a home visit following that.

Wednesday we had the first funeral service at St. Andrews UMC in Mt. Airy at 2:00 with the burial at the Altavista Memorial Park. I had retired Methodist pastor, Rev. Sam Caldwell assisting . He had been the pastor at St. Andrews UMC 40 years ago. We had a Gospel Music Singing Group, The Staunton River Boys sing during the service. When we left from the cemetery and headed to the 5:00 visitation at the funeral home in Brookneal. I'm learning some good shortcuts.

Thursday we had the funeral in Brookneal at the funeral home at 1:00, with the burial at the family cemetery in Republican Grove. We had blue grass music played at the funeral and it was perfect. There were 3 pastors doing the service. The two other pastors were both Baptist, but that didn't scare me much. They were Rev. Shelton Miles from Republican Grove Baptist, the church just across the street from Republican Grove UMC and Rev. Robert Watts, the former pastor at Millstone Baptist. I really appreciate these two brothers in the Lord, their willingness and availability. After the service at the cemetery, Joanne and I went and had some time with the family at their home (good fried chicken).

There is a line in the movie 'The Lord of the Rings", Bilbo says to Gandalf, "I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter spread scraped over too much bread". Today I understand exactly what he was saying. Bilbo and I are momentarily kindred spirits. It is at times like this that I realize just how much the Lord is my strength and how much of what I have been called to do is beyond mine.

Monday, July 7, 2008

New United Methodist Clergy

Rev. Jason Elmore with Christy, his wife, and girls, Reese and Kenley, serving at Bethia UMC in Chesterfield.
Rev. Josh King and his fiance, Jackie Tusing, at the Rockbridge Charge.
Rev. Barbara L. Parker at Cherry Hill UMC.
Rev. Charlie "Grumpy" Johnson with his congregation at Providence UMC, part of the Mt. Airy Charge.

Church Moves to the Abbott's House

Doots and Dickie Abbott haven't been able to join us at Republican Grove UMC for Sunday service for quite some time. Betty Jo had the brilliant idea (I truly wish I could say I had thought of it, but I can't.) that we take the church to them. So yesterday we had church in their living room. It was more like having friends over to visit. As each person came in the door they were offered a cup of coffee. Joanne and I only had to be asked once.
Joanne played their piano and we had a packed house. Jeaneen Abbott had to stand in the doorway to the kitchen. I think she really wanted to be close to the coffee.
We actually had more people in their living room than we would have at church if all our regulars showed up. This was something special and I think folks knew it.
We ended the morning singing one of Dickie's favorites, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus".

We had communion and it was special, as always, but with a bit more intimacy. It was family coming together.

It was like in the Book of Acts where they met in homes for a meal, fellowship, teaching, and prayer. There are a lot of people who are critical of church and I guess some of it is justified. But, yesterday we had church, God was there, and it was really good.

4th of July

I hope everyone had an excellent 4th of July. If you played with any fireworks, I hope you were safe and if you went to see them, I hope you protected your ears!
This display was set up in the narthex of St. Andrews UMC.