Feb 15, 2023
I’m looking forward to being back in worship this Sunday. I had planned on taking Feb. 12th off, but Covid hit on Friday before Sunday the 5th and I was forced to take that Sunday off. You should be glad you didn’t see me that day! Thank you to Cindy and Tamlyn for doing such wonderful jobs these last two weeks.
While away, I received news from Cindy and Tanya of rumors about me circulating around the church. So, rather than allow these rumors to persist, here’s the truth.
I am not advocating for either staying in the UMC or leaving the UMC. That is a church decision and there are pros and cons either way. I had hoped to be able to Pastor you through the decision before I retire in June, but believe that is now unlikely because of the “pause” in the Disaffiliation Process that we were informed of in December.
I do believe that the church should have the opportunity to vote on whether to stay or leave. I do not agree with the action of the Bishop, Cabinet, and Conference Board of Trustees and feel it is a violation of those persons’ responsibility to uphold and enforce the Book of Discipline. I also do not believe they have the power to undo and disregard an action approved by the Annual Conference, that being the Disaffiliation Process. I am not alone in this belief.
I have not met with any groups within the church to discuss these issues other than the Path Forward Task Force, Staff, my Executive Team of the Church Council in January, and the SPRC Committee.
I have met with Randy Hardy, Jeff Jernigan, and Terry Pendley individually to discuss these issues and with several individual church members who have reached out to meet with me. I will meet with anyone who reaches out to me.
We are still in the process of gathering information related to the Path Forward. Members of the Task Force are meeting with an individual from a church that disaffiliated last year to get some of our questions answered and are planning on having conversations with folks from churches who have chosen to stay to hear what kind of impact they have experienced.
I realize that these are anxiety-producing times and I’m sure that decisions will be made that not everyone will agree with. I continue to ask everyone to be in prayer for the church and for each other.
If you hear of any other rumors, don’t pass them on. Reach out to me. I’ll tell you what I know.
To quote that famous philosopher, Forrest Gump, “That’s all I’m gonna say about that!”
I love you all,
Feb 8, 2023
There`s a certain question that pastors routinely ask one another when we get together for meetings or events. Sometimes the question can be more like a greeting than a request. Answering that question forces us to take a good look at our lives…to reflect a little deeper.
No, it`s not “how are you” or “how`s it going”?
If you`ve been around the UMC for a while, you`ve probably overheard it; maybe you’ve even asked, or been asked it:
“How is it with your soul?”
Our founder, John Wesley used to ask people all the time “How is it with your soul”, and we maintain that tradition still today.
As I have been away from the church while recovering from hip surgery, I have been doing a lot of that ‘deep reflection’. I`ve even felt God asking (by way of the Holy Spirit) that very question “how is it with my soul”?
Truth is…I have longed to be back at church with you all.
It felt very good on Sunday to be back in worship…and even though I was moving slower than usual, I even got to preach!
Just to let you know…I have enjoyed all the cards and emails and texts and calls while I was away – thank you all very much, but it`s much better with my soul now that I have been reunited in person with my church family, in the presence of God.
Feb 1, 2023
I continue seeing God at work through McEachern! Each week there are new people in worship and in Sunday School. And there is a marvelous spirit in the church of love and care. I want to thank everyone who is praying for the church. Some of you have signed up to let us know you are praying and others are doing it on your own. All I can say is that your prayers are lifting up the church. That said, I want to make you aware of a few things happening at McEachern.
- Youth Confirmation Class is meeting every Sunday at 9:30 AM. If you know of a young person who would benefit from participating in this, please let Moose Mosteller know.
- Prayer meeting is every Wednesday night at 6:30 PM in the Dining room next to the kitchen in the CLC. It is a wonderful time of worship and prayer. I want to invite you to join me in prayer.
- Discover McEachern – Sunday, February 19 at 12:25 PM in Oaks Hall. If you are new to McEachern or would like to know more about the church and its ministry or more about becoming a member of the church, please come! This class is led by our Pastors.
- LENT – begins Ash Wednesday, February 22, with Worship at 6:30 PM in the Sanctuary. Come and begin a Holy Lent this year.
- Commitments between you and God for ministry will be received again this Sunday during our two Morning Worship Services.
- SIGN UP now in the Narthex for the Great Day of Service which will be on March 11th.
- Chili Cook-Off is this Sunday after the 11 AM Worship Service.
- Ladies Heart and Cookie Exchange will be this Sunday afternoon 4-5:30 PM
- Scout Sunday is Sunday, February 12th at the 11 AM Service
- Family Media and Technology Workshop will be Tuesday, February 7th, 6:30 – 8 PM
- Mardi Gras Parade for Bikes and Tykes February 19th at 3:45 PM.
These are just a few things going on in the near future at McEachern. I am blessed to be a part of this church and privileged to be a part of your lives. I look forward to seeing you Sunday!
I love you all,
January 25th, 2023
I have always been amazed at how God speaks to us in the most unusual ways if we will but take the time to pay attention and listen for God’s Word. Here are two situations recently that I have experienced.
Debbie and I were playing golf on vacation one time and found ourselves paired with a gentleman from Simpsonville, South Carolina. As we played and talked, we found out that he is the Lay Leader of a United Methodist Church in Simpsonville. He was a lot of fun and in several instances talked of Bible references as we played. On one hole, after he had hit a shot into the water, he looked at me and said, “You know what it says in Romans 7 about not being able to do what you want to do.” (v. 18b “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out”) To which I replied, “But thank God we have Romans 8 that tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus!”
What a great thing to remember at all times! When we’re on the golf course; when we’re involved in work; when we’re facing crisis; when we’re dealing with any situation in life; remember, nothing can separate us from the love of God!
A few days later, I was driving and noticed a car with a vanity tag that read, “JAMES22.” I may have misinterpreted the tag, but I believe it was a biblical reference to James 2:2 which begins, “Count it all joy!” Now that’s a message that is timely, especially while driving in Atlanta traffic!
What messages have you been receiving? How has God been speaking to you? Prayer? Scripture? License tags? On the golf course? Dreams?
I am reminded of how Jesus always went away to a lonely place to listen for God’s Word. In our busy, crazy world are you simply too busy to hear?
I’m praying that we all pay attention, for I believe God is speaking all the time.
I love you all,
January 18th, 2023
In discussion with various leaders of the church, we have decided that this year we will present people with the opportunity to commit to supporting McEachern’s ministry on Sundays, January 29th and February 5th. We realize that this is an unusual year with the possibility of a decision made to stay in the UMC or disaffiliate from the UMC and the fallout that will happen regardless of the decision that is made. For this reason, we ask that everyone commit to supporting the church financially, with prayers, with service, with witness, and with presence for as long as you continue being a member of McEachern. The church needs your continued support and we ask that you give it.
Let me share with you a story from personal experience. I have served as Pastor of eight different churches during my years of ministry. Each year Debbie and I would commit our tithe to support the ministry of the church where we were serving. In those years that we moved to another congregation, We would tithe to the congregation we had been serving until we moved and then would begin tithing to the congregation that was our new assignment. We understand the tithe to be God’s money and we contribute it joyfully to whatever church we are serving for the good of the kingdom.
I realize that a decision may be made this year that would cause people to decide that they no longer want to be members of McEachern. I pray that you will support McEachern for as long as you are here, and, if you leave (though I hope all will stay) then you will support whatever congregation you go to.
You will have the opportunity to make that commitment on January 29th and February 5th. I hope to see you in worship as we continue to focus on God’s great promises to us.
I love you all,
January 11th, 2023
As many of you know, I’ve been a patient for the last 5 months having my left and then my right knee replaced and going through all the Physical Therapy that follows the surgery in order to regain mobility and strengthen the new knees. It has not been an easy process, but I have been fortunate not to have any major complications and things have gone well. I finish PT this week, which means now I will be doing exercises on my own to keep strengthening my knees. I know that a lot of you know exactly what I’m talking about because you have been down the same pathway with a knee, or a hip, or surgery to the shoulder. Here are a few takeaways I have learned from my surgery and recovery.
It ain’t easy. There’s a lot of work involved in recovery. And dealing with pain just saps a person’s energy.
You wonder if you’ll ever sleep normally again. The swelling and pain wakes you up at night and disrupts your sleep. But, you will eventually sleep again as you recover.
Motion is lotion. ( Thank you Jane Defoor.) You got to keep moving even when you don’t feel like doing so.
You need others to help out. I hired someone to cut my grass and get up my leaves. Debbie has been amazing helping me in so, so many ways. Cindy and the church Staff have picked up the slack created by my absences. I couldn’t have gone through this without so much help.
You need prayer. I found I needed time to pray by myself, and since I was limited in what I could do I could find that time. But I also found out how encouraging it is to know that people are praying for you. Thank you to everyone who sent a card or note or told me they were praying for me.
And as we all go through our various challenges and crises, all of these takeaways apply as well. Especially the lesson that we need each other, don’t you think?
I’ll see you Sunday as we continue looking at God’s Great Promises.
I Love you All,
January 4th, 2023
Happy New Year! I hope everyone has had a blessed and joyful Christmas and New Year celebration. There were so many wonderful things that happened here at the church including all our Worship Services, Christmas Eve worship, the Live Nativity, Campfire Christmas, and the Choir Concert. Also, you gave generously to many mission causes during this time and helped the church get caught up with its finances as well. This Christmas Season has been a great time of celebration!
However, not all has been celebrations. On December 28th, Bishop Sue and the Cabinet announced that the disaffiliation would be paused. Some have probably welcomed this news. Others have been shocked and disappointed. At this time, we do not know how long this “pause” will last.
I met with the Executive Team here at the church and at this time are asking everyone to begin a season of prayer over the whole situation. Sunday, we will begin a new sermon series called “God’s Greatest Promises.” Because of our call to prayer, I will begin the series with a sermon on God’s promise to answer our prayers.
In addition, we have scheduled our first Church Council meeting for this coming Sunday night at 6:30 PM. Among the things we will hear about and discuss is the current status of the disaffiliation process and ways that we, as a church, might respond.
On Tuesday the Staff of the church met and laid out the church calendar for the next 6 months. It is amazing to see the worship, study, growth, and service opportunities that are being planned. Nothing is slowing us down from doing ministry together in creative and exciting ways. What a joy it is to serve here!
I’ll see you Sunday.
I love you all,