Friday, January 30, 2009

Joanne's Surgery

Today Joanne had her surgery. The technical description of her procedure was "left shoulder arthroscopic subachromial decompression and left endoscopic carpal tunnel release". I think that means they worked on her left shoulder for problems from her torn rotator cuff and her left hand for her carpal tunnel condition.

Ann Eades, the nurse in the photo, did her pre-op stuff and started her IV. Ann at one time worked at our doctors office before going to the Surgery Center. It was a real comfort to Joanne to have someone she knew there. Ann's first comment to Joanne was, "Why did you bring him?" It was good to have Joanne laughing before the surgery. Thanks Ann.

I had plenty of company in the waiting room. Barbara and Dewey Rakes from Mead Memorial UMC, where Joanne works as secretary, came by. Then my sister Karen and then my Mom and Dad joined us. It helps having folks to talk to and keep your mind off things. Thanks folks.
The surgery went great and it was the best case scenario. The shoulder didn't need extensive work and physical therapy will start Tuesday. Thanks Doc.

She was a tad nauseous from the anesthesia after the surgery, but she slept through that. She went in to surgery at 9:30 and was out by 11:30. We were on our way home by 3:00 that afternoon. When we got home she went right to sleep on the sofa. She has a bell she rings when she needs me. I am very thankful for all the well wishes and prayers from family and friends. Thanks everyone, keep up the good work. Most of all thanks God, Amen.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why can't we just have the snow?

On Tuesday we had a bit of an ice storm here in Lynchburg, Virginia. A long way from as bad as what they had in the midwest, but it was enough to close schools and businesses, plus cause a lot of folks to lose power. Fortunately we didn't have to close the doctors office and we didn't lose power at home or work.
This is looking at the trees at the end of our street, all coated with ice. We didn't lose many branches or trees lost due to ice.
These are the icicles on my Bradford Pear tree.
The Dogwood tree was well coated with ice.
Check out the glazed berries on the Nandina bush.
This is our Forsythia bush in the back yard.
Even the grass was coated with ice. You could hear the crunch when you walked.
It's pretty to look at, but fearsome to walk on or drive on. Why couldn't it have been that white fluffy stuff?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

District Training Event 2009

Today we had the United Methodist District Training Event for 2009. It was held at Timberlake UMC. We started off the morning with worship.
The keynote message was from our District Superintendent, Rev. Larry Davies. He called us to seek to build the bridge between those in the the church and those outside.

He spoke about using the "5 Practices of Fruitful Congregations" as important stones in building that bridge.
  1. Radical Hospitality
  2. Passionate Worship
  3. Intentional Faith Development
  4. Risk Taking Mission and Service
  5. Extravagant Generosity
From the Mount Airy Charge we had 5 attending; Bill and Stacey Wyatt, Lisa Nuckols, Joanne and me. Each of us attended 2 workshops. Somehow it worked out that we attended workshops that covered the 5 practices.
Bill attended 1) Mission Roundtable and 2) Pastor/Parish Relations: Helping Your pastor and Staff Succeed. Stacey attended 1) Tips from a Fruitful Congregation and 2) Not Your Daddy's Offering Plate. Lisa attended 1) Creating Successful Small Groups and 2) Youth in Missions. Joanne attended 1) Theology of Passionate Worship and 2) The How-To of Passionate Worship. I went to the workshops on 1) Making Disciples and 2) Bridging the Gap: Where are the Young Adults.

After the workshops lunch was provided. We all sat together and shared about our workshops. I think there will be a lot of new ideas and hopefully fruitful ones that will come from what we learned today.

We were the last group to leave the church. They even took our tablecloth while we were still talking. The fact is, we simply were enjoying our time together. We weren't in any hurry for it to end. I call that a productive day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Somethin's Happenin' Here...

Tuesday was an amazingly historic day for America. Our new president, Barack Obama, was sworn in as the 44th man to hold that office. There were over 2 million people who braved below freezing temperatures to be there in Washington D.C. for the occasion. Young/old, black/white, rich/poor, celebrities, and everyday people wanted to be there. Most of them couldn't see to the Capitol, except on huge screens placed on the Mall, but that didn't seem to matter, they were there. The inauguration went off without a hitch. The pageantry was beautiful and the words were eloquent. America did herself proud that day. I was struck by the embrace that the outgoing president Bush gave the new president. It seemed to me to be the real passing of the mantle.
We watched the day on our computer in the lab at the doctors office. Technology is a wonderful thing. Millions did as we did and saw it happen and felt like they were there, except maybe a little warmer.
I will be praying for my new president. I will pray for God's guidance to be on him, that he might make wise and Godly decisions that will touch our country and the world. I will pray that God will give him wise and Godly men and women to advise him and mentor him. I will pray for God's angels to be camped about him and his family, to protect them. May God bless our new president and may he be a blessing to our nation.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Checks and Balances of the UMC

Each year every Pastor/Parrish Relations Committee of each United Methodist Church meets and decides if they want the pastor to return for another year. This past Sunday representatives of the 3 churches of the Mount Airy Charge; Republican Grove UMC, Providence UMC, and Saint Andrews UMC met to discuss and submit their recommendation to the District and Conference. For some reason that I really don't understand, the pastor is required to be in attendance at the meeting. I have thought of a few reasons why this may be required:

1.So the pastor can hear any criticisms made and offer rebuttal

2.So the pastor can hear any criticisms made and find room for improvement

3.So the PPR representatives would consider any criticisms before making them

4.and of course, intimidation

I have been in churches where the pastor had arranged that everyone serving on the PPR loved him, sort of stacking the deck. So, when it came time to give recommendations, they were always favorable. Personally this never made any sense to me. Even if I liked serving at a particular church, I would not want to stay if the majority of the church didn't want me.

That being said, the PPR had several options to choose from:

1.It is in the best interest of our Church/Charge that our pastor be re-appointed for another year.

2.We would like for our pastor to be returned, but in event a change is made, we will work with our new pastor to insure the continuation of the Church/Charge ministry.

3.Our Church/Charge could benefit by a change in pastor, but in the event this does not occur, we will work with our current pastor for effective ministry in the year to come.

4.It is evident that a move is in order. We believe this decision represents the best interests of the Church/Charge.

5.It is our understanding that our pastor will not be re-appointed to this Church/Charge because of retirement, or extension ministry appointment, etc.

The PPR chose the first option. I guess I've grown on them over the last year and a half. It has been a wonderful time. The congregations have had a lot of grace with me and have been very understanding of my job requirements at the doctors office. When I hear other pastors bemoan the problems with their churches, I smile very large inside.

Now, there is a check and balance to this. The pastor also has to let his desires be known. Does he want to stay or does he request re-appointment. The options the pastor has to choose from are essentially the same. When I started in the ministry I decided that I would always be open to being moved, even if I loved where I was serving. I would essentially put my trust in the wisdom of the District Superintendent and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to place me where God would have me to be. I learned a long time ago that being where God wants you is so much more important than being where you would like to be. So the option I chose was:

"I prefer to remain at my present appointment. However, in the event that an appointment becomes available where my gifts for ministry are needed, I am willing to be considered. If a change occurs, I will work with congregations to assure a smooth transition of pastoral leadership."

I do not relish the remote idea of leaving the Mount Airy Charge, but if a door opens I will try and walk through it. If it is not for me, I trust God will slam it in my face. If it is for me, then I trust I will be where God wants me to be. You can't do better than that.

Of course, all this amounts to is recommendations and preferences. When the Conference meets to move and appoint they can totally disregard the desires of the PPR and pastor. But, it is nice to know that the people in your congregations like you enough that they're willing to look at you and listen to you for another year.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Leah's First Birthday

Leah's first birthday was January 8th, but as is usually the case you can't get people together for a party until the weekend. Birthday's for little kids are actually more for the adults and older siblings than the one year old, who really has no idea what is going on.
They may or may not take part in the unwrapping of gifts, but in the end they spend as much time playing with the paper and boxes as with the gift.
So, while they play with the paper, each gift is held up for all the adults to see. And each new toy is tested by the older children.
But Leah did get her own cake. I don't mean just a slice from the cake, but her own individual cake. Kate and Jeremiah had made 3 cakes, one for Leah and two for the rest of us.
Leah didn't hesitate breaking, literally, into her cake. I have never seen adults have so much fun watching someone eat and she enjoyed it, too.

Let's try and keep the cake out of the hair.

Someone (Joanne) thought it would be cute to get Leah to clap her hands.
"Yo, Daddy, give me a big kiss!"
"And, no, I won't share my cake."

Jeremiah and Tom decided to have their cake with a fork, but we did agree doing it Leah's way would be a lot more fun. We'll have to think on that.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy New Year

I read this in an email and thought I'd pass it on. I've been humming that old Jim Croce song "Time in a Bottle" since I read it. Just be forewarned.

To realize the value of one year,

ask a student who failed a grade.

To realize the value of one month,

ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of one week,

ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize the value of one hour,

ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.

To realize the value of one minute,

ask a person who just missed a train.

To realize the value of one second,

ask someone who just avoided an accident.

To realize the value of one millisecond,

ask the person who won a silver medal at the Olympics.

So Happy New Year, enjoy and cherish each millisecond. It's a gift.