October 20th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I am enjoying participating with you in our “Be Renewed” campaign. Like you, Debbie and I continue to pray for God’s guidance regarding our personal financial commitment to God’s ministry through McEachern every day. We will be joining with you in making our Commitment on Sunday, November 7th. It is our hope that everyone involved in the ministry here will also make that Commitment. 

During the next several weeks, there are things planned that you need to be aware of. 

– This Sunday immediately following the 11 AM Worship hour, Matt Pinson who is President of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation will meet with and share with whoever wants to come information about Year-End Giving and Alternative Ways that people can give to the church. We will be meeting in Lula Dobbs. I look forward to this time of learning important things about giving as life progresses. 

– Also this Sunday from 4 PM to 6 PM, we will be holding our Annual Fall Festival complete with a bunch of Trunk or Treat opportunities for kids. It supposed to be a gorgeous day so come out and enjoy! 

– Sunday October 31st we will follow our regular morning worship schedule with Services at 9:30 AM in the Sanctuary and 11 AM in the Sanctuary and Higher Ground. However, the 11 AM in the Sanctuary will be led by McEachern Kids and will be a family teaching service. It will truly be a memorable and enjoyable time for everyone. 

– Thursday, November 4th we will be holding a Drive In (not drive through) Prayer Service at 6 PM on the back parking lot. Folks can stay in their cars or bring lawn chairs and sit outside. This will be a time for prayer and renewal that we all will enjoy. If there is rain, we will move into the Sanctuary. 

– COMMITMENT SUNDAY – November 7th at all Services. Our goal is to have everyone who is involved in the ministry of McEachern to place a financial Commitment on the altar. If for some reason you cannot be present in worship that day, please try to submit your Commitment prior to that Sunday. 

– All Saints Day. We will also be celebrating All Saints Sunday on November 7th as part of our Traditional worship services. 

– Barbecue. Don’t forget the Barbecue after Worship on November 7th provided by the Men’s Ministry. What a great way to celebrate.

The next few weeks will be busy, and I hope you will come and be a part of Renewal at McEachern! 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug


October 13th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

A habit is something that we do routinely. There are good habits, such as brushing your teeth, and bad habits, such as biting your fingernails. Every one of us has habits, sometimes good and sometimes bad. 

One type of good habit, I believe, is practicing our faith in Jesus Christ. These habits, which at McEachern we call Holy Habits, include attending and participating in weekly Worship, daily prayer and Bible study, giving regularly and generously, serving regularly in ministry, and telling others about Jesus both in word and indeed. As we practice these habits, we find ourselves growing closer to God and closer to one another. 

I spoke with one of our members Sunday who said to me, “I actually am able to hear better by watching the online service, but there’s just something special about being here.” I agree. Being present in worship is different than watching worship. 

I want to encourage you to get back into the habit of attending and participating in worship. You will discover the joy of being with others. You will experience the wonder of hearing the Word of God proclaimed and find that the Holy Spirit is present here. You will be blessed by the music sung by our choir and played so well by Kerry and Bill. 

Attending worship is a Holy Habit it’s time to get back into. You will be blessed and you will bless and encourage others. 

I’m really trying to remember names, but please don’t be offended if I have a hard time with yours. Honestly, I have a hard time with just about everyone’s names. So introduce yourself to me and to others who are worshipping with you Sunday. What a spirit of welcome and hospitality we will see develop here. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

October 13th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

A habit is something that we do routinely. There are good habits, such as brushing your teeth, and bad habits, such as biting your fingernails. Every one of us has habits, sometimes good and sometimes bad. 

One type of good habit, I believe, is practicing our faith in Jesus Christ. These habits, which at McEachern we call Holy Habits, include attending and participating in weekly Worship, daily prayer and Bible study, giving regularly and generously, serving regularly in ministry, and telling others about Jesus both in word and indeed. As we practice these habits, we find ourselves growing closer to God and closer to one another. 

I spoke with one of our members Sunday who said to me, “I actually am able to hear better by watching the online service, but there’s just something special about being here.” I agree. Being present in worship is different than watching worship. 

I want to encourage you to get back into the habit of attending and participating in worship. You will discover the joy of being with others. You will experience the wonder of hearing the Word of God proclaimed and find that the Holy Spirit is present here. You will be blessed by the music sung by our choir and played so well by Kerry and Bill. 

Attending worship is a Holy Habit it’s time to get back into. You will be blessed and you will bless and encourage others. 

I’m really trying to remember names, but please don’t be offended if I have a hard time with yours. Honestly, I have a hard time with just about everyone’s names. So introduce yourself to me and to others who are worshipping with you Sunday. What a spirit of welcome and hospitality we will see develop here. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

October 6th, 2021

Dear Friends,
Here are a couple of dates that everyone needs to be aware of:
– Church Council – October 11 at 6:30pm in the CLC Gym. We will be live-streaming the meeting.
– Charge Conference – October 17 – Joint Charge Conference via Zoom at 2pm


At our Church Council meeting, we will be pre-approving everything that will be approved at Charge Conference. That means the Church Council will be voting on our Leadership Nominations and approving Clergy Compensation for 2022. We will also hear an update on all the various ministries and committees’ work over the last few months. All are welcome to attend either in person or online.

 
The Charge Conference will be online via Zoom and will only be for those who are a part of the Church Council due to this being announced by the District Superintendent as a Charge Conference which is defined in the Book of Discipline as the elected leadership of the church rather than a Church Conference where all church members have voice and vote. I can understand this due to the difficulty of doing this for so many churches by zoom. Maybe next year we will be able to hold an in-person Church Conference. This is my prayer.

 
Let me mention that I am very appreciative of the leadership of the church who have worked so hard to get all the paperwork for the Charge Conference completed in a timely manner. Thank you so very much!

 
I look forward to worshiping together Sunday as we launch into our Be Renewed campaign. I am excited and look forward to our church experiencing renewal in all our lives. We so very need to Be Renewed.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

September 29th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

October is shaping up to be a busy month, so I thought I’d take a few minutes and highlight the various things that will be happening. 

October 3rd – We will celebrate World Communion Sunday. I always love the thought of Christians around the world celebrating Holy Communion on the same day. 

October 10 – Be Renewed and Take Heart! This Sunday begins our 5 week Sermon Series as well as launches our Generosity Campaign. Our goal is to have every person who is a part of McEachern participate and on Commitment Sunday, November 7, turn in a Commitment Card to support the church’s ministry financially. 

 – Discover McEachern – a class for newcomers to McEachern immediately following the 11 am Worship Service 

October 11 – Church Council meeting to approve leadership for next year. 

October 17 – Be Renewed in My Thinking! Sermon Series continues. 

 – Safe Sanctuary training following 11 am worship. 

 – Charge Conference – 2 pm, 

October 24 – Be Renewed with a Steadfast Spirit! Sermon Series continues  – Workshop on alternate ways of giving led by Matt Pinson, President of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation. 

 -FALL FESTIVAL!!! Trunk or Treat in the parking lot. Music and games and food trucks. For the whole community. 4 pm – 6 pm. 

October 31 – Be Renewed in My Strength Powered by Hope! Sermon Series continues. Worship on the 31st will be a very special Family Worship Service teaching all sorts of things about Worship. You will not want to miss it. 

November 7 – Be Renewed in God’s Promises! Commitment Sunday. Everyone come! Barbecue lunch will be prepared by the men’s Ministry after the 11 am Service. 

As you can see, it is a busy month and I want to encourage you to be a part. It won’t be the same without you! 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

September 22nd, 2021

Dear Friends, 

If you have attended Worship any of the last three Sundays, you may have noticed a large wooden crate in the Narthex. We are collecting supplies for Venezuela Now to distribute to those in need. The focus of this crate is equipment and supplies for the Free Wesley Medical Center there. This past year this Medical Center treated over 47,000 patients. 

We will be filling the crate for two more weeks. You can contribute by either making a financial gift to buy supplies and help pay the $2,000 shipment costs or you can bring any of a variety of items including children’s vitamins, 81 mg aspirin, iron drops, zinc, pepcid (store brand), claritin (store brand) or a number of other things. This information can be found elsewhere in the Wednesday Word. 

 

I have often said that there are three great commands that Jesus gives us:

 – to make disciples of all nations 

 – to do for the least of these by feeding, clothing, visiting, caring 

 – to love each other. 

Please help us fill the crate! 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

September 15th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

As I was preparing for the Bible Study that I lead on Wednesday mornings, I read again the story of Zacchaeus. You remember the children’s song:
“Zacchaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he.
He climbed up in a sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see.
And when the Savior passed that way He looked up in the tree.
And said, ‘Zacchaeus, you come down!
For I’m going to your house today.
For I’m going to your house today.
Zacchaeus was a wee little man but a happy man was he.
For he had seen the Lord that day and a happy man was he.
And a very happy man was he.”
What made Zacchaeus so happy? His heart changed that day when he received Jesus into his home and into his life. It was true for him, and it can be true for you.
Whatever you might be facing today ask yourself, “Have I welcomed Jesus into my home and into my life?” Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He gives us joy and peace. He redeems us when we welcome Him.


Sind a song of joy today to Jesus. Know His joy and peace.

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

September 8th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating Holy Communion. I love the Sacrament of Communion shared with my church family. It makes me remember that we are children of grace, that Jesus loves us, and that we are the Body of Christ. Over the years, Holy Communion has grown and grown in the depth of its meaning for me. In fact, it’s hard for me to describe just how much celebrating Communion affects me. It truly is a holy mystery. 

John Wesley taught the importance of regularly celebrating Communion. At McEachern, we celebrate at least once a month. We have been celebrating on the 2nd Sunday, but next month it will be on the 1st Sunday as we celebrate World Communion Sunday. I hope you will join in the celebration this week. 

I also want to remind you to please sign the Pew Attendance Pads when you attend worship and leave your contact information. We are doing this rather than asking people to register for worship. We need the information in case we need to contact people concerning COVID-19 exposure. Thankfully, we haven’t had to make those contacts related to worship, but please remember that we are all working together to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

I truly appreciate all that you are doing as a church to share the love of Jesus with the world. The crate for Venezuela is another way that we share Christ’s love. Please help us fill it. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

September 1st, 2021

Dear Friends, 

The news has been filled with all kinds of crises. Afghanistan, hurricane Ida, the earthquake in Haiti, crime, and on and on. All these are calls to prayer and also calls to help. In some cases, there is little we can do immediately. In others, we can do something right away. Watch for ways to respond to the hurricane and other circumstances happening in the world right now. 

But there is another ongoing crisisーCOVID-19. We continue to monitor the Georgia Department of Health website. The number of cases keeps rising. They are pretty much at the same point they were this time last yearーa spike but not as high as January. Remember the things we can do in order to try to prevent infectionーwe recommend you wear masks indoors even if you are vaccinated as a safety precaution, social distance from folks, not family members, and wash your hands frequently. These are common sense things you can do to prevent the spread of any virus. When I went to my doctor for a physical last winter I asked him if he had seen many COVID-19 cases. He said yes and then added that he had seen no flu this year. Wearing masks also helps prevent the flu and colds. 

We will continue to worship both indoors and online and are thankful for your participation. I believe it is important that we are in relationship with others to help us manage this crisis. And I also believe that God is with us all the time. God is our helper and redeemer. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

 

August 25th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I am praying for you all, every day. I realize that we are living through a challenging time with another surge of COVID-19 cases. I am thankful that we offer options for both in-person and online worship. Even in these difficult days, we all need Jesusーmaybe more than ever. We all need to be connected to each other. We all need to experience the presence of God in our lives bringing us comfort and peace. 

Now, I’d like to give you all a “heads up.” There are a couple of things that will be happening in September that you will be interested in. First, we will be preaching a new sermon series entitled “Red Letter Disciples.” This series will be teaching about discipleship using the words of Jesus (red-lettered words in some versions). It will be exciting to me to hear what Jesus has to say to all of us about living as His disciples. 

Next, beginning on September 14, we will be offering several Pastor led small group studies. These will be 6-8 weeks in duration and will meet at 6:30 PM on Tuesday evenings. I will be leading a study using the book “Total Forgiveness.” Cindy will be leading a study on Bible Basics. Bomi will be leading a study on creative spiritual practices called “Soul Feast.” And Tony will be leading a study on prayer called “Fresh Encounters.” You can register for these on our website or you can sign up in the Narthex over the next three weeks. 

Last but not least, let me remind you to be in prayer about our worship schedule and the locations of our worship services. Remember, I asked you several weeks ago to pray about this through the end of October. Please continue praying and listening to God. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

August 18th, 2021

THE LISTENING SESSIONS
This past Spring, I conducted several Listening Sessions for folks throughout the congregation. You responded in great numbers一we had around 200 people participate. Thank you for your interest and involvement.
After completing these Sessions, I sat down with Josh Orton and Diane Moeller and went through all the notes. Out of these, the three of us drafted a preliminary copy of the Core Beliefs of McEachern. In July, I met with the Church Council and together we edited into a document we felt reflected what McEachern believes at the current time. These might change going forward, but I wanted to share with you where we are right now. Below are the Core Beliefs adopted by the Church Council. Read over them and pray over them.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

 

 

Core Beliefs

CORE BELIEFS
McEachern Memorial United Methodist Church
We believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
We believe in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord and that salvation is available to all by grace through faith in Him alone.
We believe in the promise of salvation and eternal life contained in John 3:16 for all who freely choose to believe in Jesus Christ.
We believe in the Holy Spirit who is God’s Presence with us in this world for guidance, for comfort, and for strength.
We believe in the Bible as God’s Holy Word. We believe that all Scripture is “God Breathed” and that Scripture is the supreme authority in our lives and in our church.
We believe as a church that we love God, love neighbor, and make disciples of Jesus Christ.

We believe in the church as the hands, feet and heart of Christ in the world and that it is given the responsibility:

  • to live together in unity
  • to welcome all unconditionally
  • to witness by sharing the Gospel
  • to make disciples by helping people grow in their faith
  • to administer the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Holy Baptism – to do works of mission and service

We believe in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ experienced through prayer, worship, generous living, service, and witness.

We believe in the presence of the Holy Spirit

  • who empowers believers
  • who has given Spiritual Gifts to all believers
  • to be seen in the Fruit of the Spirit in believers.
We believe in the importance of Missional outreach in our community and around the world.
We believe in following the historic Wesleyan theology, practices, and positions found in the 2016 United Methodist Book of Discipline.

August 11th, 2021

Dear Friends,
First, I want to celebrate this past weekend at the church. The Welcome Home Worship Services, as well as the Welcome Home picnic, were both wonderful. It was so nice to enjoy the extended time of fellowship. There are many people to thank, but I especially want to thank the Youth for all the work they did setting up and serving our congregation. You did a great job!
Second, I was contacted by Carlos Fernandez yesterday and he has accepted the position of Young Adult Pastor at a church in Cartersville. Carlos has served as our Student Minister for the past 5 years and has done a great job. We will miss him, but wish him well in this new season of ministry. His last Sunday with us will be August 22nd. Please pray for Carlos and pray for McEachern as we search for the next person to lead this very important ministry.
Now, I need to say a word about COVID-19. We, in Georgia and Cobb and Paulding Counties, are experiencing another spike in COVID-19 cases. This spike is primarily among unvaccinated folks. I want you to know that we are closely monitoring the Department of Public Health website for the state of Georgia. After reviewing that information we are asking the following of you:
1. If you feel sick or are having symptoms consistent with COVID-19, please stay home.
2. When you attend any church events including worship, we recommend that you wear a mask if you are unvaccinated and that you consider wearing a mask even if you are vaccinated in order to protect others, especially our children.
3. When you sit in the Sanctuary, space yourself as you feel comfortable. The CDC is saying 6 feet apart. We are not taping off the Sanctuary at this time, but consider spacing when you sit down. Please note, there is plenty of room in the balcony.
4. I want to encourage you to not linger in the hallways and narthex, but to move your conversations outside. I will begin going outside to greet people after worship beginning this Sunday.
5. Please inform the church office if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been exposed to COVID-19.
6. Recognize that as conditions change we may have to adapt our behaviors further in the future.
We hope to continue our record of not having any COVID-19 cases related to church worship, ministries, or events but we need everyone to cooperate. Thank you for your willingness to care for others.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

August 4th, 2021

Dear Friends,
It is hard to believe that school is starting again. I am glad that we can have students attend in person and I know you join me in praying for all the students, teachers, and staff who are working at the schools as we enter another time of increase in COVID infections. Let us covenant to pray together for health and safety for all.
As we enter August, it is heartening to see people slowly returning to worship and I am looking forward to our “Welcome Home” celebration this coming weekend. Please remember we will be using the upper parking lot in front of Lula Dobbs for hamburgers and hot dogs after church.
I do feel it important to keep people informed about the finances of the church. Currently, we have received $ 960,000 in offerings and have spent $1,042,000 for ministry and mission this year through July. We started the year with a balance so we currently have $7,000 in our checkbook as well as cash reserves we have not used. I am thankful for everyone who has given so faithfully to support the ministry of the church. Still, we are being challenged as a congregation.
Last Fall, as the Finance Committee looked at projected giving versus our anticipated expenditures and could tell that there would be a shortfall, the Committee decided that the church would not lay off Pastors or staff for 2021 and use budgeted Apportionment money as a buffer against the anticipated shortfall. So, what we have done is record Apportionment money as if it were a paid expense but have not sent any Apportionment money to the Conference this year. I’m sure some have heard that this is being done, but understand this is a financial decision and not any kind of political statement. The Finance Committee will be looking at our financial situation in November and determine our Apportionment payment for this year.
The Finance Committee also is choosing to place a greater emphasis on stewardship for the remainder of this year into next year. If we do not see greater financial support for McEachern’s ministry, then we will be looking at all the ways that we can cut expenses for the church including the possibility of reducing staff.
We are living in a challenging time and we will make the adjustments we need to make in order to function effectively and faithfully as a church.
I would like to express my deep appreciation to Carolyn Black for her wonderful work as our church treasurer. She continues to do an amazing job handling the church’s finances. Thank you Carolyn!
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

Dr. Doug

July 28th, 2021

Dear Friends,
I am writing to ask you to join me in a time of prayer and discernment concerning our Higher Ground ministry. Several weeks ago, I met with the leadership of the ministry to discuss various options for the future of the ministry and they asked that we invite the whole church to pray for how best to move forward.
Higher Ground has, for several years, been very successful at introducing people to Christ. Their vision is to reach the unchurched. While these evangelistic efforts have been blessedーprimarily through Friday Night FireーSunday morning worship has not grown as the church had hoped. So, the question is, do we change things? That is what I’m asking you to pray about.
One thought is to move the Sunday morning worship service down to the main buildings but continue the Friday Night Fire and other events related to Higher Ground where they are. Another thought is that COVID-19 has really interrupted any traction Sunday morning was having and we need to give the service more time to rebound. There may be other options not yet thought of, and so, I’m asking you to pray.
We will pray through October and then the leadership of the church including Higher Ground will meet and share what God is saying. I’m not sure what the future will look like, but I am excited that we will be praying together!
May God’s peace be with you.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

July 21st, 2021

Dear Friends,
I am writing today about two items that have come to my attention that are of concern to the church.
The first is COVID-19.
There has been a slight uptick in COVID-19 cases in Cobb during the last two weeks. I want to remind everyone that masks are optional at all our activities, however, we would recommend that anyone that is unvaccinated might continue to wear them. Studies have shown that COVID-19 is not transmitted by contact to items and so we have reintroduced the pew pads into worship. We are no longer asking you to make a reservation or register for worship. However, we ask that you please register your attendance each Sunday just in case we do hear of a COVID-19 case and need to contact folks who may have been exposed.
The second concern I have is the Mt. Bethel situation. Please join me in praying for the church and for the Bishop as they try to work through whatever issues they have. I have heard people ask what we should do.
Pray. If you feel led, write to the Bishop. But, that’s pretty much what we can do.
Still, know this. Our focus as a church needs is sharing the Gospel of Jesus and working to share God’s love.
We are not at a point to make any decision regarding the future of the congregation and its relationship to the United Methodist Church. If General Conference happens next year, we may be in a position to have these discussions. But, right now we need to focus on becoming a healthy congregation, recover from COVID-19, make disciples of Jesus, and reach out to a hurting world. Let’s focus on this.
Please know that if anyone would like to talk with me, I will make myself available.
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday when we will be preaching on “The Sheep and the Goats.”
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

July 21st, 2021

Dear Friends,
I am writing today about two items that have come to my attention that are of concern to the church.
The first is COVID-19.
There has been a slight uptick in COVID-19 cases in Cobb during the last two weeks. I want to remind everyone that masks are optional at all our activities, however, we would recommend that anyone that is unvaccinated might continue to wear them. Studies have shown that COVID-19 is not transmitted by contact to items and so we have reintroduced the pew pads into worship. We are no longer asking you to make a reservation or register for worship. However, we ask that you please register your attendance each Sunday just in case we do hear of a COVID-19 case and need to contact folks who may have been exposed.
The second concern I have is the Mt. Bethel situation. Please join me in praying for the church and for the Bishop as they try to work through whatever issues they have. I have heard people ask what we should do.
Pray. If you feel led, write to the Bishop. But, that’s pretty much what we can do.
Still, know this. Our focus as a church needs is sharing the Gospel of Jesus and working to share God’s love.
We are not at a point to make any decision regarding the future of the congregation and its relationship to the United Methodist Church. If General Conference happens next year, we may be in a position to have these discussions. But, right now we need to focus on becoming a healthy congregation, recover from COVID-19, make disciples of Jesus, and reach out to a hurting world. Let’s focus on this.
Please know that if anyone would like to talk with me, I will make myself available.
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday when we will be preaching on “The Sheep and the Goats.”
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

July 14th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I am a Georgia fan. I especially love football, but follow the UGA athletic teams throughout the year. Did you know that the Georgia Equestrian team won another National Championship this year? 

As a fan, I read all about the Bulldogs. I have Bulldog shirts and shorts and sweatshirts and hats. I have little “G’s” stuck in the crocs I wear as my bedroom shoes. There is a Georgia license plate on the front of my car and in the trailer hitch on the back of Debbie’s car. My car is red. My driver has a red head. I have lots of UGA stuff. 

But, I’ve never played a game for the Dawgs. I’ve attended a few, but never played. I am a bona fide watcher. I am a fan. 

I am not a fan of Jesus Christ. I am a follower. I have some Jesus stuff—shirts, hats, notepads—with Christian emblems on them. But, in truth, I am a follower. 

I live a life of following Jesus. Jesus has taken me to Moscow and the Holy Land and Mexico and Honduras. I have served churches in Rome and Athens and Woodstock and Powder Springs. I give generously of my time, talent, and treasure to Christ’s work. I am all in. I do not watch Christians practice their faith, I live it. I am in the game. 

What are you? A fan? Or a follower? 

I look forward to seeing Christ’s followers on Sunday in worship. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

July 7th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

This past Sunday’s Worship Service was a great celebration! I’m still feeling the excitement and am looking forward to seeing everyone again this week as we celebrate Holy Communion. 

We will return to our normal Sunday schedule this week. 

I’m looking forward to our next year together. As people slowly return to worship, you sense the joy of worshipping Jesus and being with one another. Smiles are definitely on the uptick! People are talking and laughing. It’s a good thing to see. 

As we move into this next year, we will see our Core Beliefs displayed. You will hear a lot about McEachern’s Church Culture and how it will change. You will see our vision for ministry beginning to be put in place and see the fruit it will bear. A lot of people – staff, pastors, and leaders of our church have worked hard to define who we are, how we do things, and what we are doing. But, nothing will work unless everyone gets involved. 

The Holy Spirit is definitely at work here. May the Spirit breathe new life into our church and into each one of us! 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

June 30th, 2021

Dear Friends,
We got back from Edisto Island last night. Vacation with the family is always fun, but also a bit tiring. However, I’m back and feel rested and ready to go.
This Sunday, July 4th, we will be having ONE WORSHIP SERVICE AT 10:30 AM. There will not be a 9:30 or 11 AM Service and Higher Ground is joining as well. We are going to celebrate the 4th of July in a BIG way. I’m wearing my red, white, and blue and inviting you to do so as well as we celebrate our country’s birthday! Come prepared to hear and sing some great patriotic music and my message will be “The Gift of Freedom”. I look forward to being together!
We’ve received all the suggestions for our People’s Choice sermons and I want to thank you so much for all of them. There were 31 total suggestions. Out of these, we picked four. Here is what we will be preaching this month:
July 11th “Nothing can Separate…” Romans 8:38-39 Communion Sunday 

July 18th “Holy Living” Luke 10:27 Choir Celebration

July 25th “The Sheep and the Goats” Matthew 25:33-46 

August 1st “Jesus and the 10 Lepers” Luke 17:11-19 

We will keep the other suggestions on file to refer to at various times throughout the year.
Also, I will be starting a Bible Study on Jesus’s Parables next Wednesday for the four Wednesdays in July. We will meet in Oaks Hall at 10 AM and repeat the study in F321 at 6:30 PM. Come for all four or, if you can only make one, come anyway. I am looking forward to it.
It’s great to be back for another year. This Sunday will actually be the beginning of my second year here. I know it’s going to be a great one!
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

August 11th, 2021

Dear Friends,
First, I want to celebrate this past weekend at the church. The Welcome Home Worship Services, as well as the Welcome Home picnic, were both wonderful. It was so nice to enjoy the extended time of fellowship. There are many people to thank, but I especially want to thank the Youth for all the work they did setting up and serving our congregation. You did a great job!
Second, I was contacted by Carlos Fernandez yesterday and he has accepted the position of Young Adult Pastor at a church in Cartersville. Carlos has served as our Student Minister for the past 5 years and has done a great job. We will miss him, but wish him well in this new season of ministry. His last Sunday with us will be August 22nd. Please pray for Carlos and pray for McEachern as we search for the next person to lead this very important ministry.
Now, I need to say a word about COVID-19. We, in Georgia and Cobb and Paulding Counties, are experiencing another spike in COVID-19 cases. This spike is primarily among unvaccinated folks. I want you to know that we are closely monitoring the Department of Public Health website for the state of Georgia. After reviewing that information we are asking the following of you:
1. If you feel sick or are having symptoms consistent with COVID-19, please stay home.
2. When you attend any church events including worship, we recommend that you wear a mask if you are unvaccinated and that you consider wearing a mask even if you are vaccinated in order to protect others, especially our children.
3. When you sit in the Sanctuary, space yourself as you feel comfortable. The CDC is saying 6 feet apart. We are not taping off the Sanctuary at this time, but consider spacing when you sit down. Please note, there is plenty of room in the balcony.
4. I want to encourage you to not linger in the hallways and narthex, but to move your conversations outside. I will begin going outside to greet people after worship beginning this Sunday.
5. Please inform the church office if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been exposed to COVID-19.
6. Recognize that as conditions change we may have to adapt our behaviors further in the future.
We hope to continue our record of not having any COVID-19 cases related to church worship, ministries, or events but we need everyone to cooperate. Thank you for your willingness to care for others.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

August 4th, 2021

Dear Friends,
It is hard to believe that school is starting again. I am glad that we can have students attend in person and I know you join me in praying for all the students, teachers, and staff who are working at the schools as we enter another time of increase in COVID infections. Let us covenant to pray together for health and safety for all.
As we enter August, it is heartening to see people slowly returning to worship and I am looking forward to our “Welcome Home” celebration this coming weekend. Please remember we will be using the upper parking lot in front of Lula Dobbs for hamburgers and hot dogs after church.
I do feel it important to keep people informed about the finances of the church. Currently, we have received $ 960,000 in offerings and have spent $1,042,000 for ministry and mission this year through July. We started the year with a balance so we currently have $7,000 in our checkbook as well as cash reserves we have not used. I am thankful for everyone who has given so faithfully to support the ministry of the church. Still, we are being challenged as a congregation.
Last Fall, as the Finance Committee looked at projected giving versus our anticipated expenditures and could tell that there would be a shortfall, the Committee decided that the church would not lay off Pastors or staff for 2021 and use budgeted Apportionment money as a buffer against the anticipated shortfall. So, what we have done is record Apportionment money as if it were a paid expense but have not sent any Apportionment money to the Conference this year. I’m sure some have heard that this is being done, but understand this is a financial decision and not any kind of political statement. The Finance Committee will be looking at our financial situation in November and determine our Apportionment payment for this year.
The Finance Committee also is choosing to place a greater emphasis on stewardship for the remainder of this year into next year. If we do not see greater financial support for McEachern’s ministry, then we will be looking at all the ways that we can cut expenses for the church including the possibility of reducing staff.
We are living in a challenging time and we will make the adjustments we need to make in order to function effectively and faithfully as a church.
I would like to express my deep appreciation to Carolyn Black for her wonderful work as our church treasurer. She continues to do an amazing job handling the church’s finances. Thank you Carolyn!
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

Dr. Doug

July 28th, 2021

Dear Friends,
I am writing to ask you to join me in a time of prayer and discernment concerning our Higher Ground ministry. Several weeks ago, I met with the leadership of the ministry to discuss various options for the future of the ministry and they asked that we invite the whole church to pray for how best to move forward.
Higher Ground has, for several years, been very successful at introducing people to Christ. Their vision is to reach the unchurched. While these evangelistic efforts have been blessedーprimarily through Friday Night FireーSunday morning worship has not grown as the church had hoped. So, the question is, do we change things? That is what I’m asking you to pray about.
One thought is to move the Sunday morning worship service down to the main buildings but continue the Friday Night Fire and other events related to Higher Ground where they are. Another thought is that COVID-19 has really interrupted any traction Sunday morning was having and we need to give the service more time to rebound. There may be other options not yet thought of, and so, I’m asking you to pray.
We will pray through October and then the leadership of the church including Higher Ground will meet and share what God is saying. I’m not sure what the future will look like, but I am excited that we will be praying together!
May God’s peace be with you.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

July 21st, 2021

Dear Friends,
I am writing today about two items that have come to my attention that are of concern to the church.
The first is COVID-19.
There has been a slight uptick in COVID-19 cases in Cobb during the last two weeks. I want to remind everyone that masks are optional at all our activities, however, we would recommend that anyone that is unvaccinated might continue to wear them. Studies have shown that COVID-19 is not transmitted by contact to items and so we have reintroduced the pew pads into worship. We are no longer asking you to make a reservation or register for worship. However, we ask that you please register your attendance each Sunday just in case we do hear of a COVID-19 case and need to contact folks who may have been exposed.
The second concern I have is the Mt. Bethel situation. Please join me in praying for the church and for the Bishop as they try to work through whatever issues they have. I have heard people ask what we should do.
Pray. If you feel led, write to the Bishop. But, that’s pretty much what we can do.
Still, know this. Our focus as a church needs is sharing the Gospel of Jesus and working to share God’s love.
We are not at a point to make any decision regarding the future of the congregation and its relationship to the United Methodist Church. If General Conference happens next year, we may be in a position to have these discussions. But, right now we need to focus on becoming a healthy congregation, recover from COVID-19, make disciples of Jesus, and reach out to a hurting world. Let’s focus on this.
Please know that if anyone would like to talk with me, I will make myself available.
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday when we will be preaching on “The Sheep and the Goats.”
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

July 21st, 2021

Dear Friends,
I am writing today about two items that have come to my attention that are of concern to the church.
The first is COVID-19.
There has been a slight uptick in COVID-19 cases in Cobb during the last two weeks. I want to remind everyone that masks are optional at all our activities, however, we would recommend that anyone that is unvaccinated might continue to wear them. Studies have shown that COVID-19 is not transmitted by contact to items and so we have reintroduced the pew pads into worship. We are no longer asking you to make a reservation or register for worship. However, we ask that you please register your attendance each Sunday just in case we do hear of a COVID-19 case and need to contact folks who may have been exposed.
The second concern I have is the Mt. Bethel situation. Please join me in praying for the church and for the Bishop as they try to work through whatever issues they have. I have heard people ask what we should do.
Pray. If you feel led, write to the Bishop. But, that’s pretty much what we can do.
Still, know this. Our focus as a church needs is sharing the Gospel of Jesus and working to share God’s love.
We are not at a point to make any decision regarding the future of the congregation and its relationship to the United Methodist Church. If General Conference happens next year, we may be in a position to have these discussions. But, right now we need to focus on becoming a healthy congregation, recover from COVID-19, make disciples of Jesus, and reach out to a hurting world. Let’s focus on this.
Please know that if anyone would like to talk with me, I will make myself available.
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday when we will be preaching on “The Sheep and the Goats.”
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

July 14th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I am a Georgia fan. I especially love football, but follow the UGA athletic teams throughout the year. Did you know that the Georgia Equestrian team won another National Championship this year? 

As a fan, I read all about the Bulldogs. I have Bulldog shirts and shorts and sweatshirts and hats. I have little “G’s” stuck in the crocs I wear as my bedroom shoes. There is a Georgia license plate on the front of my car and in the trailer hitch on the back of Debbie’s car. My car is red. My driver has a red head. I have lots of UGA stuff. 

But, I’ve never played a game for the Dawgs. I’ve attended a few, but never played. I am a bona fide watcher. I am a fan. 

I am not a fan of Jesus Christ. I am a follower. I have some Jesus stuff—shirts, hats, notepads—with Christian emblems on them. But, in truth, I am a follower. 

I live a life of following Jesus. Jesus has taken me to Moscow and the Holy Land and Mexico and Honduras. I have served churches in Rome and Athens and Woodstock and Powder Springs. I give generously of my time, talent, and treasure to Christ’s work. I am all in. I do not watch Christians practice their faith, I live it. I am in the game. 

What are you? A fan? Or a follower? 

I look forward to seeing Christ’s followers on Sunday in worship. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

July 7th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

This past Sunday’s Worship Service was a great celebration! I’m still feeling the excitement and am looking forward to seeing everyone again this week as we celebrate Holy Communion. 

We will return to our normal Sunday schedule this week. 

I’m looking forward to our next year together. As people slowly return to worship, you sense the joy of worshipping Jesus and being with one another. Smiles are definitely on the uptick! People are talking and laughing. It’s a good thing to see. 

As we move into this next year, we will see our Core Beliefs displayed. You will hear a lot about McEachern’s Church Culture and how it will change. You will see our vision for ministry beginning to be put in place and see the fruit it will bear. A lot of people – staff, pastors, and leaders of our church have worked hard to define who we are, how we do things, and what we are doing. But, nothing will work unless everyone gets involved. 

The Holy Spirit is definitely at work here. May the Spirit breathe new life into our church and into each one of us! 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

June 30th, 2021

Dear Friends,
We got back from Edisto Island last night. Vacation with the family is always fun, but also a bit tiring. However, I’m back and feel rested and ready to go.
This Sunday, July 4th, we will be having ONE WORSHIP SERVICE AT 10:30 AM. There will not be a 9:30 or 11 AM Service and Higher Ground is joining as well. We are going to celebrate the 4th of July in a BIG way. I’m wearing my red, white, and blue and inviting you to do so as well as we celebrate our country’s birthday! Come prepared to hear and sing some great patriotic music and my message will be “The Gift of Freedom”. I look forward to being together!
We’ve received all the suggestions for our People’s Choice sermons and I want to thank you so much for all of them. There were 31 total suggestions. Out of these, we picked four. Here is what we will be preaching this month:
July 11th “Nothing can Separate…” Romans 8:38-39 Communion Sunday 

July 18th “Holy Living” Luke 10:27 Choir Celebration

July 25th “The Sheep and the Goats” Matthew 25:33-46 

August 1st “Jesus and the 10 Lepers” Luke 17:11-19 

We will keep the other suggestions on file to refer to at various times throughout the year.
Also, I will be starting a Bible Study on Jesus’s Parables next Wednesday for the four Wednesdays in July. We will meet in Oaks Hall at 10 AM and repeat the study in F321 at 6:30 PM. Come for all four or, if you can only make one, come anyway. I am looking forward to it.
It’s great to be back for another year. This Sunday will actually be the beginning of my second year here. I know it’s going to be a great one!
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

July 14th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I am a Georgia fan. I especially love football, but follow the UGA athletic teams throughout the year. Did you know that the Georgia Equestrian team won another National Championship this year? 

As a fan, I read all about the Bulldogs. I have Bulldog shirts and shorts and sweatshirts and hats. I have little “G’s” stuck in the crocs I wear as my bedroom shoes. There is a Georgia license plate on the front of my car and in the trailer hitch on the back of Debbie’s car. My car is red. My driver has a red head. I have lots of UGA stuff. 

But, I’ve never played a game for the Dawgs. I’ve attended a few, but never played. I am a bona fide watcher. I am a fan. 

I am not a fan of Jesus Christ. I am a follower. I have some Jesus stuff—shirts, hats, notepads—with Christian emblems on them. But, in truth, I am a follower. 

I live a life of following Jesus. Jesus has taken me to Moscow and the Holy Land and Mexico and Honduras. I have served churches in Rome and Athens and Woodstock and Powder Springs. I give generously of my time, talent, and treasure to Christ’s work. I am all in. I do not watch Christians practice their faith, I live it. I am in the game. 

What are you? A fan? Or a follower? 

I look forward to seeing Christ’s followers on Sunday in worship. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

July 7th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

This past Sunday’s Worship Service was a great celebration! I’m still feeling the excitement and am looking forward to seeing everyone again this week as we celebrate Holy Communion. 

We will return to our normal Sunday schedule this week. 

I’m looking forward to our next year together. As people slowly return to worship, you sense the joy of worshipping Jesus and being with one another. Smiles are definitely on the uptick! People are talking and laughing. It’s a good thing to see. 

As we move into this next year, we will see our Core Beliefs displayed. You will hear a lot about McEachern’s Church Culture and how it will change. You will see our vision for ministry beginning to be put in place and see the fruit it will bear. A lot of people – staff, pastors, and leaders of our church have worked hard to define who we are, how we do things, and what we are doing. But, nothing will work unless everyone gets involved. 

The Holy Spirit is definitely at work here. May the Spirit breathe new life into our church and into each one of us! 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

June 30th, 2021

Dear Friends,
We got back from Edisto Island last night. Vacation with the family is always fun, but also a bit tiring. However, I’m back and feel rested and ready to go.
This Sunday, July 4th, we will be having ONE WORSHIP SERVICE AT 10:30 AM. There will not be a 9:30 or 11 AM Service and Higher Ground is joining as well. We are going to celebrate the 4th of July in a BIG way. I’m wearing my red, white, and blue and inviting you to do so as well as we celebrate our country’s birthday! Come prepared to hear and sing some great patriotic music and my message will be “The Gift of Freedom”. I look forward to being together!
We’ve received all the suggestions for our People’s Choice sermons and I want to thank you so much for all of them. There were 31 total suggestions. Out of these, we picked four. Here is what we will be preaching this month:
July 11th “Nothing can Separate…” Romans 8:38-39 Communion Sunday 

July 18th “Holy Living” Luke 10:27 Choir Celebration

July 25th “The Sheep and the Goats” Matthew 25:33-46 

August 1st “Jesus and the 10 Lepers” Luke 17:11-19 

We will keep the other suggestions on file to refer to at various times throughout the year.
Also, I will be starting a Bible Study on Jesus’s Parables next Wednesday for the four Wednesdays in July. We will meet in Oaks Hall at 10 AM and repeat the study in F321 at 6:30 PM. Come for all four or, if you can only make one, come anyway. I am looking forward to it.
It’s great to be back for another year. This Sunday will actually be the beginning of my second year here. I know it’s going to be a great one!
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

June 23rd, 2021

Hello McEachern!
As I reflect on the past 6 months of 2021, I can see that our world has been changed. People are in desperate need of the church in so many ways. I have more and more of a burning desire to go beyond the four walls of the church, push past what is comfortable and share the love of Christ with the world, I love walking into the building, eager to fellowship, seeing the smile on everyone’s face. Each Sunday we look forward to a move of the Holy Spirit. But I know the Lord wants to do more beyond the building.

As the body of Christ, we are called to love our neighbors, we must take a step back and see that our neighbors are hurting. Some have lost their jobs, homes, families, a sense of belonging, and even hope in this difficult season. We must view the church as a body of believers, not a building. We must realize that it’s less about “going to church” to receive, rather we come together to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we can pour out God’s love to those around us—our neighbors.

James 2:8
If you keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.

Many blessings!

Pastor Tony Phillips

June 16th, 2021

The Post Pandemic Church

I’m so excited that things have opened up in our area, our state, and across most of our
country. For me, the greatest joy has been to be able to see you all and give hugs and
handshakes…and sharing communion without those little cups that are hard to open. I am
eager for the hospitals, assisted living and nursing homes to allow visitors again including
our Joyful Singers.
Everyone knows what a difficult time the past 12-15 months have been. We’ve also
learned how to function and work under this extreme situation. I wonder how many of
you knew what Zoom was before the pandemic, or mouthing words because we couldn’t
sing. How many of you ever dreamed that you would be “attending” worship services
from your living room couch or out on your deck as it was live streamed? Slowly we
have been able to resume ministry on campus. No masks needed unless by choice. The
full choir will be back soon! Sunday school and bible studies are meeting in person
again. Hallelujah!
Now, here’s the big question: Are you back to church? Or has it become easier to watch
worship when you want, where you want (even in your pj’s) since live streaming and
recording was our only option for a while?
Friends, it’s over! Church is open! We need to be in community with each other. We
need to see and share smiles and tears. I know it’s been said that people can worship
anywhere, on the golf course, out in nature, alone, ect. but, Robin Lindsay would say “but
do you”?
Jesus himself modeled attending worship. Scripture tells us: on the Sabbath day Jesus
went into the synagogue, as was his custom…Luke 4:16. Jesus, the perfect son of God
attended worship services every week. Friends, we need this weekly renewal. We need
to be with each other to support, nurture, pray and care for, and hold each other
accountable to be the disciple God has called us to be. DeDe’s summer drive in’s are
based on “we are family”. We are family! We need to share life with one another.
Some of you have already come back. Doesn’t it feel good to be in the house of the Lord
together?
So, it’s time! It’s time to come back and bring a friend.
See you Sunday!
Blessings,
Cindy

April 28th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I pray that you are all doing well today. My prayers are with you each and every day. I celebrate the Confirmation of 10 of our young people Sunday and the growing number of reports I have heard of ones who are seeking to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ. 

Today I want to urge you to participate in the Global Impact Celebration at McEachern and to give a brief report from the Church Council meeting Monday night. 

Global Impact Celebration—Today through Sunday, May 2. 

Schedule: Today (Wednesday) Tomorrow (Thursday) and Saturday 

 Devotional at 8am on McEachern’s Facebook page. Videos of Mission on McEachern’s Facebook at Noon Questions and Answers on McEachern’s Facebook at 7pm GIC Celebration in Worship at 9:30am and 11:00am in the Sanctuary. 

 At each Service on Sunday we will be receiving Faith Promise Commitments. Please bring your Card for both Financial and Service Commitments! 

Church Council Report – 

The Church Council heard reports from Finance, Staff Parish Relations Committee, and the Trustees. 

 Finance reported that the church has finally received confirmation that the PPP loan from the US Government has been forgiven. Through March, we have spent $18,000 more than we have received in offering. Our current Church Checking Account balance was $72,000 with approximately $600,000 in undesignated reserves. We have received 149 Commitments towards the budget of the church, and still hope that as people return to church they will make financial commitments. 

 SPRC –

– All four of our clergy have been reappointed for the year 2021-2022. Denise Register is retiring from the Pre School and her successor will be Denise Ribeiro. It was also reported that Misty Dolph has left the church staff and that her Administrative job responsibilities have been shifted to Nancy Folds, Teresa McDaniel, and Sharon Brand. In addition, Stacie Barrow will be working with DeDe in Children’s Ministry beginning in May and her responsibilities will be taken over by Rev. Tony Philips and Rev. Bomi Kim. All of these staff changes are budget neutral. 

 Trustees –

 The Lula Dobbs project is underway and will be completed in about 6 weeks after permits are received. 

 Pastor’s Time – 

I’ve asked the help of the Church Council in preparing a Frequently Asked Questions document to circulate to the congregation as a result of Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson and The North Georgia Cabinet’s Welcoming Table Vision and webinar. Both of these can be viewed on the North Georgia Conference website at ngumc.org. This document will be sent to the McEachern families to communicate truthfulness, be transparent, and minimize confusion. 

I want to urge everyone who has not attended to attend a Listening Session. The next one is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 4pm in the Gym in the CLC. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

April 21st, 2021

Dear Friends,
It is easy to get distracted. The phone rings. A child cries out. You get a text. Something comes across on a news feed, etc., etc. Really easy to get distracted.
It is really hard to maintain focus. As Christians, we are called to maintain our focus. When the world is caught up in all sorts of distractions, Christians are called to focus on following Christ with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. Christians are called to love God which means to obey God. We obey God when we worship Him, when we pray, when we study His Word, and when we serve Him by sharing Christ’s love and telling people about Jesus.
Last week I wrote to you about Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson and her Cabinet presenting a webinar basically stating that they would be working towards changing the Book of Discipline at the next General Conference, which will be either in 2022 or 2024, in a way that will be inclusive of all people in the LGBTQ community and offer the opportunity for folks in that community to be married by United Methodist clergy and for folks in that community to be Ordained to serve as clergy in the United Methodist Church. Please understand that until the General Conference meets Bishop Sue and the Cabinet must abide by the 2016 Discipline which forbids the above. However, you feel about this – don’t let it distract you from being faithful to Jesus and keeping your focus on following Him.
As a church, we will be holding our Global Impact Celebration next week. There will be numerous opportunities for you to learn about how McEachern is being faithful to Christ in serving and loving our community and the world. Our celebration will conclude on Sunday, May 2 in the Sanctuary at both the 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM services where you will be given the opportunity to make a Faith Promise financial commitment to fund local and global mission outreach as well as the opportunity to make a commitment to serve Christ through involvement in one of McEachern’s many mission projects.
I am asking you to do three things. First, be in prayer as to how you will participate both personally and financially in missions work this coming year. Second, participate online next week in the various learning opportunities. Third, come be a part of the celebration on Sunday, May 2nd. I look forward to participating with you.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 14th, 2021

Dear Friends,
First I want to make sure everyone is aware of the Global Impact Celebration the weekend of May 2. Watch for details of how you can participate both online and in person. It will be a great weekend!
Now I want to tell you about a time that Debbie and I visited our granddaughters’ school to eat lunch with them. We got there a little early and sat on a bench outside the lunchroom to wait. I got to tell you, sitting on a bench in an elementary school hallway is really something!
We watched children entering and leaving the lunchroom. It’s hard for me to describe just how much happens in the line as kids are going to lunch. There’s picking at each other; all sorts of gyrations, spins, and twirls; speaking and whispering all happening at once as the kids maintain some semblance of a line slowly rolling into the lunchroom. Also, I want you to know that, from my observation, boys and girls act really differently. Boys tended to be louder and more active. I still have a vivid memory of the boy who flipped his water bottle the ENTIRE TIME he was in the lunchroom. Girls tended to be quieter and ate in groups. This is just what I saw on that particular day. It was a wonder that anyone ate anything!
But there was something else that I noticed that day. On the wall outside the lunchroom was a fire extinguisher. It was encased in a fire extinguisher box and duly labeled. However, over time the “F” from the word “Fire” had worn off. So, rather than reading “Fire Extinguisher” it actually read “Ire Extinguisher.” And I thought, “Boy, would I like to have an Ire Extinguisher!”
Think about the ways an Ire Extinguisher could be used. You do something and get your spouse mad at you. Rather than experiencing all the pain and difficulty of working things out, you simply pull out the Ire Extinguisher. Or, with Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching and family gatherings happening, rather than experiencing the tensions that accompany a lot of those gatherings you simply spray everyone with the Ire Extinguisher as they enter the house. Instant peace!
Just imagine if we sprayed Congress with the Ire Extinguisher—something might actually get done! And, what if we placed an Ire Extinguisher in every church? By eliminating church fights I believe we could be much more effective in spreading the Gospel.
But, then I thought, we already have an Ire Extinguisher. His name is Jesus. I believe if we followed His teachings about love, grace, and forgiveness then Ire would be extinguished and peace would come upon the earth.
May it be so.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 7th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

It was wonderful to gather with so many of you on Easter. It was also joyful sharing with so many online. Nothing compares to the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! 

Truly, the most amazing moment in all of history! 

Thank you to everyone who had a part in our Holy Week Services from Palm Sunday through Easter. I know I will not mention everyone, but thanks to Tanya and the Choir for all the special music, thanks to Susan and our Nursery workers, thanks to DeDe and all those who work with children for the Palm procession, Monday night in the parking lot, and Easter Sunday morning 

celebrations, thanks to Nancy and all those who made registrations, thanks to Aubrey and Bomi for getting the word out, thanks to Tony for Higher Ground worship, thanks to Cindy for all her many contributions, thanks to our ushers and greeters and acolytes and everyone connected to worship, thanks to James and all the sound folks, and thanks to Carlos for all his work with the youth this past week. Easter week takes everyone and you all made this week a special week. 

Going forward there are several upcoming things that you need to be aware of: 

Confirmation Sunday – April 25th at the 11am Service 

Global Impact Celebration weekend – May 1-3 

Mother’s Day – May 10 

Graduate Recognition Sunday – May 17 

Pentecost – May 24. 

A lot of special days for a lot of special people. Please put all these on your calendars and I look forward to sharing them with you. 

May we all be blessed as we share this Easter Season. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

March 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A year ago we were in total lockdown due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Most businesses and restaurants were closed. People did not venture out except to get food, gas, or for a few other essential things. Church facilities were closed – and remain closed for several months.

 
I will never forget last Easter. The only worship available was online. There were no Easter Lilies, no wonderful music, no sanctuaries open to attend, no Easter outfits to wear, no friends to see. It was a dark Easter.

 
So, I started a new tradition for the observance of Easter last year. I made a wooden cross and covered it with white lights. And at sunrise, Debbie and I carried the cross down to the street and planted it in the ground, turned the lights on, and remembered Easter. We hugged and we prayed. We went inside and put on Easter outfits and took a picture and sent it to our kids and grandkids wishing them a Happy Easter. I imagine you did something also – because faith finds a way!

 
This Easter we will be worshipping in the ball field for Sonrise at 7 AM and in the Sanctuary at 9:30 and 11:00 AM and at Higher Ground at 11:00 AM. We will smell the lilies and sing the songs of faith and we will worship the Risen Lord with deep and abiding joy. There will be tears of thanksgiving, I am sure.

 
But, before any of that happens, I will be carrying a little wooden cross with white lights on it and plant it in my yard, and lighting it up to celebrate that faith finds a way. Faith always finds a way.

 
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 17th, 2021

Dear Friends,

I wanted everyone to know some exciting Easter plans that we are making. I am excited that we will be worshipping on Easter after not being able to last year.

This year our Holy Week and Easter Schedule will be as follows:

Palm/Passion Sunday Celebration – March 28th. At both 9:30 and 11 am. Higher Ground will be meeting at 11 am as well.

In the Sanctuary the children will be processing in with palm branches and we have planned a special service of music and message to help us remember both Palm Sunday and the Crucifixion. 

Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae Service – Thursday, April 1 at 7 pm in the Sanctuary

Come celebrate Holy Communion to remember the Last Supper and experience the Tenebrae Service – the Service of Darkness as we remember the Crucifixion.

Easter Sunday – April 4th

Sonrise at 7 am behind Higher Ground

Sanctuary Worship 9:30 and 11 am 

Higher Ground 11 am 

No Sunday School on Easter.

Please make reservations for all these services. We are setting the Sanctuary capacity at 320, which is about half. If we fill up both services then we will add additional services as needed.

I look forward to worshipping with you this Holy Week.

Save your seat for Holy Week Services Here.

I love you all,

Dr. Doug

March 10th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A little over a week ago leaders of the United Methodist Church decided to postpone the
General Conference scheduled for 2021 to 2022 due to the worldwide COVID pandemic and the
difficulty of travel during these times. By postponing the General Conference there will be no
discussion or action taken regarding the Protocol for Separation that had been proposed for
General Conference that was supposed to meet last year.


Basically this means that there is no viable pathway for any United Methodist Church to
separate from the Denomination for at least the next year and a half. It also means that the
current position of the United Methodist Church recorded in the Book of Discipline regarding
homosexuality and forbidding homosexual marriages being performed in UMC churches and
being performed by UMC Clergy is still in force. It also means that the prohibition of self avowed
practicing homosexuals from being ordained as clergy in the UMC is still in place.


If McEachern is like most United Methodist Churches, I’m sure that there are a lot of different
opinions on most subjects, including homosexuality. We are all different and have different life
experiences. Hence, we have different opinions.


But, the beauty of Christianity is that we can all be one in Jesus Christ. We have one faith, one
Lord, one Baptism. One of the reasons I enjoy preaching on the “I Am” sayings of Jesus is that
there is such a clear focus on Jesus in all of these sayings.


This Sunday we will be preaching on “I am the Light of the World.” (John 8:12) Come and let
Jesus shine light upon your life, your thoughts, and in your life. I look forward to seeing you.


I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Over the years I’ve witnessed the scene on TV many times. It’s people coming out from shelters  to see what damage the hurricane has caused. Sometimes they find their house destroyed.  Other times, it’s still standing. Whatever they find, it is difficult and emotional and they are  always asked what they are going to do and they respond that they will rebuild, start over, etc.  And they do. And teams of people come from all over to help them. I imagine McEachern has  even sent some of those teams. 

Similarly, for the past year, we have been dealing with the ravages of COVID-19. It has  caused a lot of damage: sickness, death, schools going virtual, businesses closing, jobs lost,  and even the church suspending in-person worship and carrying out ministry virtually. It has  been a hard year. 

But, things are changing. Vaccinations have begun and most people who choose to receive the  vaccine will receive it sometime this year. Schools are reopening. Sickness and death due to  COVID are slowing down. And people are reemerging after the storm. 

We have started back with in-person worship while continuing online worship. I told the staff to  plan ministry accordingly knowing that we will not suspend our on-campus activities again. We  will continue to use safety protocols but we will also continue to meet. 

As you emerge after this COVID-19 storm, know that McEachern is here. And we are in the  process of rebuilding the ministry of the church. Leaders will be meeting this Sunday afternoon  to continue planning for the unfolding story of ministry at McEachern. 

I look forward to seeing you at worship. There are so many who are a part of McEachern that I  have not had the pleasure of meeting since I arrived last July. I look forward to those meetings.  Let’s rebuild together. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

February 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
The Season of Lent is a time for a return to Spiritual Discipline. Traditionally, it has been a time of prayer and fasting as a way to prepare for the celebration of the most Holy day of the year—Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. The practice of fasting is where the whole idea of “giving up something for Lent” came from.

 
I’d like to challenge you this year to “give up something” and “to take on something.” You choose what you will give up. In years past I have given up desserts, potatoes, fried food, and other things. This year I’m giving up chips of any kind. That may not sound like much to you, but I eat chips all the time, especially at night while watching TV. The idea of giving up something is that whenever you think about or desire what you have given up, that is a call to prayer. I should be praying a lot this Lenten season! What will you give up?

 
This challenge also includes “taking on something.” For this, I have a specific challenge for you. I’m asking everyone to pray for someone that you know who is not a practicing Christian. Pray for that person throughout the season of Lent, and then invite that person to worship on Palm Sunday or Easter. If you’re wondering about capacity in Worship, we’ll have as many services as we need to accommodate as many people who come.

 
So, I’ve “thrown down the gauntlet,” who will accept these challenges?

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

February 17th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I’m looking forward to seeing folks at Worship Sunday. We will be open at 9:30 am and 11:00 am in the  Sanctuary and at 11:00 am at Higher Ground. It will be the first Sunday of Lent and we will be  preaching throughout Lent on the “I Am…” sayings of Jesus. This Sunday the sermon will be “I  am the Door.” Seems appropriate with McEachern opening its doors. 

I have been asked by a number of people about the financial condition of the church. To quote our  Finance Chair, Donnie Newsom, “The financial state of our church is sound.” Donnie can write that for the following reasons. We received a forgivable loan from the Federal Government  called the Payroll Protection Plan last year in the amount of approximately $193,000 dollars.  This loan has not yet been officially forgiven and so we have not reported it as income to the  church. This money would move our year-end number from $103,000 in the red to $90,000 in  the black. In addition, the church has significant reserves both in church operating money and in  our Trustees Fund. 

So, we are financially sound. 

At the same time, we want to be good stewards of the financial resources of the church and so  are asking all our church members to fill out and return Estimate of Giving Cards so that we can  have a clearer picture of our church finances for this year. If you have not yet returned your  card, please do so as soon as possible.  

 

All in all, I praise God for providing for us in a time of trial and I praise God for you!

 

 I love you all, 

Doug

February 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends,
In the Gospel of John we read these words; “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus has previously told them that they will know persecution, that they will be scattered, that He is going to die and rise again, and that this is necessary in order for the Holy Spirit to come. I imagine the Disciples were pretty scared when they heard all this – yet He tells them what is to come in order for them to know peace. And not freedom from trouble – they will know trouble! But peace in the midst of trouble. A peace that comes from knowing Christ has overcome the world.

 
We have certainly known a lot of trouble this past year. Yet, I believe Christ has overcome the world and, so, I have peace and hope. And I have seen you overcoming circumstances to stay connected to one another, to feed thousands of people, to minister in cars and outside at Higher Ground and on flatbed trucks on Christmas Eve and scattered in the Sanctuary singing the songs of Christmas and in parking lots and online in Zoom meetings and on Facebook and in so many ways in order to communicate the Gospel of Jesus. Doing God’s work with you is so awesome!

 
Trouble will come and trouble will go. When (not if) COVID passes, something else will pop up. It’s the nature of a sinful world. But, take heart! Christ has overcome the world. Write that in the depth of your heart. And let’s move forward in ministry!

 
I love you all,

 
Doug
PS. Don’t forget to mail back in your Estimate of Giving Cards this week!

January 20th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Be Bridge Builders. That’s what we have been focusing on all month. I have spoken and written about how we are created by God to be a royal priesthood—building bridges between people and God and people and other people. Certainly, in our world right now we need bridge builders! 

We build these bridges using the Spiritual Gifts God has given us. But that is not the only way. We also practice bridge-building through giving our financial resources to Christ’s ministry through the church, pooling resources in order to make disciples of Jesus and love people. 

The year 2020 was challenging financially for McEachern. I want to thank everyone for your faithfulness in giving. Because of your giving and being good stewards of all the gifts the church received, we finished the year on a positive note financially. 

I do believe that probably by this coming Fall everyone will be able to resume all the participatory ministries of the church without fear of COVID due to all the vaccinations that will have happened by that time. In the meantime, the Leadership and Staff of McEachern are working to lead the church forward in ministry. 

Here are the things we are working on. We are working to be a church that reaches out to everyone in our community so that the active body of the church is multiethnic and multigenerational. We are working to be a church that emphasizes growing as disciples of Jesus Christ who are prayer focused. We are working to form partnerships in mission with all the various outreach ministries in our community. And, we are working to find new ways to reach our community with the Gospel of Jesus especially through the development of online ministries. 

It is exciting to imagine how McEachern is going to develop as a church. But this will not happen unless you participate in the ministry with your time and talents, with your prayers, and with your financial resources. 

Next week you will receive an Estimate of Giving Card from the church. I am asking you to prayerfully consider how you will invest in the growing ministry of McEachern, fill out the card and return it in the envelope provided. I am also asking you to prayerfully think about increasing your giving by 1% of your income over your giving last year. Our goal is to have over 200 Estimate of Giving Cards returned this year. 

Together, by the grace of God, we will see a new day dawn on the ministry of McEachern in the months to come. I want to be a part of a church that truly loves God, loves people, and make disciples. 

I love you all, 

Doug

January 6th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I hope by now that you have gotten the message that we are temporarily pausing in-person functions at McEachern due to the surge in Cobb County of COVID-19 infections. I’ve been here long enough that you probably know that I really resisted the idea, but it is the right decision at this time. 

Monday night, I found myself tossing and turning instead of sleeping. Over time, I have discovered that whenever I am restless like that, the best thing for me to do is get up, get some water, go sit on the couch, and pray. My prayer that night was focused on the decision to pause. I considered whether it was motivated by fear or by faith. And the Lord led me to see that it was neither. Instead, it was a decision based on the fact of the rapidly rising infections and the desire to keep people as safe as possible. 

I then prayed and asked God to help me to know it was the right decision. God reminded me that He is a God of peace and asked me what decision led me to a place of peace—continuing in-person worship or pausing in-person worship. God’s peace came over me; pausing was the decision at this time and this was a temporary state. God also reminded me very warmly that He is with us, no matter what. After this time of prayer, I found myself able to go back to bed and back to sleep. 

I do not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future—and so do you. God is a God whose love endures forever. I praise and worship Him. 

I invite you to join me online for the Traditional Service or to join Rev. Tony online for the Higher Ground Service, both at 11am. Let us worship together, even though we might be apart. We will be continuing to focus on “Be Bridge Builders.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

December 30th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I have been praying for you. My prayer is that everyone had a Christmastime during which they were able to communicate with family, worship, and reflect on the amazing gift of Jesus Christ. True, this Christmas has been different, but also memorable. 

I will never forget the folks who worked so hard to provide the Drive-In Christmas Eve Worship service. We thought the weather would break when looking at the forecast. But it didn’t so we worshipped anyway in cold, windy, wet conditions. Thank you to everyone who was a part of that service and who attended. It reminded me of the cold, windy, primitive conditions that Jesus was born in a cave 2000 years ago. 

I will not soon forget the online service that McEachern Kids did. It was warm and funny and touching and helped me remember that Jesus loves all the children of the world, including me and including you. 

I will not forget having to celebrate Christmas Eve online out of a concern for safety for everyone. I lit my candle and I hope you lit your candle while singing “Silent Night” with the angels. 

I will always remember the new friends that God has placed in my path this year—the people of McEachern! You are warm and loving and, slowly, I am beginning to recognize faces covered by masks. I look forward to getting to know many more of you as 2021 unfolds. 

We have a lot to accomplish as a church in the year to come; one of the most important is to be a people of prayer. I am praying for you and the whole church and the whole world as we face difficult circumstances. God has always called His people “overcomers,” and we will overcome whatever we face by relying on the peer of God and His Holy Spirit. I believe there is much for us to do as we “Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples of Jesus Christ.” 

I love you all, 

 Doug

December 16th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Over these Sundays of Advent, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the Wise Men Rules with you. I do believe that we can learn a lot from the Wise Men as we: Watch Expectantly, Act Faithfully, Live Joyfully, and the last two that I will be preaching on this coming Sunday, Give Generously and Bow Humbly. 

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I am very much aware of the challenge that COVID-19 has created. We want to Worship as safely as we can. We want to participate in various ministries safely. We want to be strong and vital as a church, despite extremely adverse circumstances. 

So, I want to thank you for practicing the church’s COVID-19 protocols and we will continue to offer in-person worship unless the pandemic simply goes crazy. 

I want to encourage you to participate on Christmas Eve, either at the Drive-In Service in the back parking lot at 3 pm or either of our online Services: 4:30 pm for the Children’s Service and 6 pm for the Traditional Service. 

I need to remind you that we will only have an online Worship Service at 10 am on Sunday, December 27th. Please watch from your home in the most comfortable clothing you have. 

Lastly, the SPR Committee has graciously offered the Church Staff the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a time to slow down and recharge before entering 2021. If there are any pastoral needs, we will certainly be available; please call us. 

During the last week of the year, if you have End of Year Financial gifts, you can give them online or you can come by the church on Tuesday or Wednesday from 9 am ‘til Noon and make a contribution. Staff will be present to receive your gifts. 

Please remember the church this year both in your prayers and in your giving. We are only receiving mission gifts using the Christmas Mission Catalogue or in the offering on Christmas Eve. We are still a good ways behind our budget projections for the year, if you can give to help catch us up, that would be a blessing. 

I love serving McEachern and am looking forward to a great year in 2021.

 I love you all, 

Doug

December 9th, 2020

Dear Friends,

Last Tuesday night, the McEachern Church Council voted unanimously to approve the priorities that emerged from the church’s Visioning session in October. These priorities came from those gathered as they prayed and listened to what we understood God to be calling us to do in the coming years.

The priorities were:
– to become a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation
– to focus on discipleship building
– to be prayer centered
– to work to grow the Kingdom of God through witnessing and on line ministry
– to build community partnerships for mission work
– to be debt-free
– to experience a culture change

Leaders in the church will meet again in January to develop a strategic plan for accomplishing these priorities. If you would like to be a part of this session and are not currently serving in leadership, please let me know.

After this has been done, then we will begin to work on the plan. It is so exciting to be a part of McEachern, even in the midst of COVID-19. I truly believe God is moving in this church.
I look forward to continuing to teach “The Wise Men Rules” in worship. This week we will be looking at the third rule: Live Joyfully!

I love you all,
Doug

December 2nd, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone had a Happy, if unusual, Thanksgiving. Debbie and I spent time with each of our children and their families independently and then visited her 96-year-old Aunt and then spent a few days away. It was a good time and we are thankful for family and we are thankful for you.
I thought I’d take a moment and update you regarding COVID-19 and the church. The Staff and I have been closely watching the Georgia Department of Public Health’s reports regarding the coronavirus. Currently, Cobb County and Paulding County are yellow/light-orange on the state map of COVID-19 cases. I know that you are reading and hearing about a surge of coronavirus cases in our nation. There has been a slight uptick in cases since October, but not so much that we feel a need to change the church’s approach.
So, here’s where we are today. We will continue in-person worship for those who desire it and feel safe to attend. We are only able to do this because you have been diligent in wearing masks, social distancing, and entering and exiting the building quickly. I appreciate you so much for your willingness to do these things so that others might enjoy worship in-person. We will be adding back the 9:30 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary, as well as continuing the 11 am in the Sanctuary. We will continue to offer the on-line Worship option at 11 am. Higher Ground Worship will move to 11 am in-person and on-line.
The McEachern Kids Academy meets at 9:30 am on Sundays in the children’s area then the children move into small groups to study a variety of subjects. They also have scheduled a Family Manger Project for this coming Sunday at 4 pm. It will be held outside and you need to register for either of these events.
Our Youth open the doors at 9 am and then have Bible Study beginning around 9:40 am and are done by 10:30 am. They meet in the Youth Suite.
Some of our Adult classes are meeting on-line and some are meeting in-person. (And some both!) Please contact your class for your meeting time.
I also want you to know that Debbie and I appreciate the invitations we have received to various Christmas parties. Unfortunately, we will not be attending them this year. I am in the public a lot as it is and I feel it important to place some limits as a safety precaution. I look forward to next year and being free to participate in many Christmas celebrations.
I love you all,
Doug

November 25th, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Whether we are celebrating alone, on Zoom, or with family and friends, I pray that this will be a day of thankfulness to God for His love and blessings.

Sunday in my sermon I shared the idea of an Alphabet of Thanksgiving – recording at least one thing you are thankful for, using each letter of the alphabet. At our last Staff meeting, the Staff wrote their own Alphabet of Thanksgiving. I told them I would share it with you this week.

A – Alleluias!
B – Bible, beauty
C – Christ, children, Children’s Ministry
D – dogs, digital learning, Dads
E – Eating (we’re Methodists after all), exercise
F – Friends, family
G – God, goodness, grace
H – help, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Higher Ground Worship
I – Isaac (family name), invitation
J – Jesus
K – Kindness
L – Love, laughter
M – memories, McEachern, music, Music Ministry, Missions
O – opportunity
P – Pumpkin pie, Peace, our Pastors
Q – Quiet
R – Remembrance
S – Sanctuary, singing, Salvation, Staff
T – Truth, thankfulness
U – Unity
W – wonder, wisdom, Worship in the Sanctuary
X – Xylophone (X is always hard)
Y – You, Y’all, Youth Ministry
Z – Zoom, ZZZZ’s

On behalf of the Staff, we love you and love being in ministry with you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

November 18th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating a Thanksgiving Sunday. As I got to thinking about this, I  decided to do a little research into what people in America say they are most thankful for.  

Here’s the list: 

  •  – Family (84%) 

  •  – Health (69%) 

  •  – Friends (63%) 

  •  – Memories (63%) 

  •  – Freedom (53%) 

  •  – Safety and Security (47%) 

  •  – Opportunity (45%) 

  •  – Fun Experiences (42%) 

  •  – Achievements (33%) 

  •  – Wealth (21%) 

I am not surprised to see Family, Friends, and Health at the top of the list. All three of these have been made even more precious this year as we have lived with COVID-19. I still remember the first hugs from my grandchildren after the lockdown in March and April.  

However, I must admit that I am surprised that Faith in God is not listed as one of the things that people are most thankful for. When President Abraham Lincoln issued his proclamation in  October 1863, establishing the 4th Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, he did so while the nation was still engaged in the Civil War. In that proclamation, Lincoln designated the day as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in Heaven.” Lincoln called upon the people of the United States to give thanks for all the ways that God had blessed everyone and to also repent for those things that had been done that were not in accordance with God’s will. 

This Sunday we will gather together to offer our thanks to God. Whether you attend in person or online, I look forward to celebrating with you. 


I love you all,
Doug

November 11th, 2020

Dear Friends,
It was great to hear today that a vaccine for COVID-19 is looking very good. I pray that it works and that we might return to living without constantly considering the impact of the virus. I applaud all of you for the way that you are practicing wearing masks in worship, social distancing, and following safety for us to gather every week to worship God. Thank you for your cooperation.
I want you to know of a couple of schedule changes that will happen beginning December 6th. Higher Ground will move its Worship time to 11 am. They will meet both inside and outside at Higher Ground. Also, we will begin again the 9:30 am Worship Service in addition to the 11 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary. To keep adequate social distancing and with increasing numbers in worship, it is necessary to start this service back. We will continue to be online for all our Worship Services as well.
I also want to share that your prayers for the church are being felt. The Spirit in the Sanctuary and at Higher Ground is evident to me. Thank you for your continued prayers and know that I am praying for you.
I love you all,
Doug

November 4th, 2020

Dear Friends,
So, this article is a “Heads Up” article as I share with you some things that will be happening in
the next couple of months. Starting with Communion this Sunday. If you are joining us from home, please have your sacraments prepared. 

First, this month we will celebrate Thanksgiving to God on the fourth Sunday of November. In some ways, I am reminded of the first Thanksgiving after a year that saw a large number of the Pilgrim community die due to exposure to the cold and hunger. That next year they celebrated the fall harvest with a great feast remembering God who provided for them and was with them through that first difficult year. We have had quite a year dealing with COVID-19. This year Thanksgiving might be different, but it will certainly be meaningful.

We begin the celebration of Advent on November 29th. Our Sermon Series for Advent is “The Wise Men Rules.” The focus is on rules we learn for living from the story of the Wise Men we find in the Gospel of Matthew. I hope you will plan on being a part. By the way, Tanya has hatched a plan for the annual Christmas Concert performed by the Choir. It will be on the evening of December 12th and you will be able to attend either in person or virtually.

Christmas Eve Services will be on the 24th at 3pm and 6pm in the Sanctuary. If you attend in person, we will socially distance and may need to use overflow spaces. We are also planning a Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service at 4:30pm which will be online, however, there will be a Watch Party in the Christian Life Center for folks who want to attend.

In January we will focus on Stewardship and you will have the opportunity to make commitments to serve in various ministries as well as a commitment to support the Church’s ministry financially.

We are looking at a busy next few months and I look forward to sharing these times with you!

I love you all,
Doug

October 28th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day with a time in our Worship to remember those of our congregation who have died in the past year. I find that I react to these times of  remembrance with both sadness and thanksgiving for the life that was lived. I hope you will come and be a part of this special service. 

I have now been here for four months. The time has flown! I have never lived through a crazier season of ministry than what we are experiencing now due to COVID-19. But, I do want to say how thankful I am that I am going through this season with you. McEachern is a caring, committed church that truly is seeking to love God and love people. I have personally experienced this through the encouraging words that you all have graciously shared with me. I pray for COVID-19 to be behind us. But, until that time, we will work together to sow seeds of the love and the grace of Jesus with a hurting world.  

May God bless you and be with you! I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday either in-person or online. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 21st, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday you will have the unique opportunity to hear from all four of McEachern’s Pastors, together, as we share a dialogue sermon on Discipleship. This is the last Sunday of our “Seeds for the Sower” series and we will speak about Sowing with Faith. I hope you will join us either online or in-person worship.  

I also want to applaud you for following the guidelines while worshiping in-person. Thank you for wearing masks,  sitting 6 feet apart, and refraining from extended conversations in the Sanctuary. I know that all this is awkward, and, if you’re like me, you’d really like to hug somebody. That time will come eventually.  

One little reminder about the guidelines,  everyone please exit the church building after worship and once you are outside then you can visit with one another. I notice people want to hang out in the Sanctuary and the Narthex to visit. Let the visiting continue, but please let’s move it outside to keep safe. 

I am proud to be a part of McEachern UMC. It is a joy meeting folks and getting to know people.  I’m excited about Sunday and our dialogue sermon at 9:30 am and 11 am. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 14th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I just came from our staff meeting. I hope you all realize just how gifted and committed the Staff here at McEachern is. I am constantly amazed at the creativity and perseverance. Please make sure and express appreciation to them. 

Reading the Bible for my devotion the other day, I came across these verses, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your  hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

We live in an anxious time. Part of the anxiety comes from encountering a disease unlike any we have seen in our lifetime. Part of the anxiety is from the changes in our daily living: wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands frequently, not touching one another (I really miss handshakes and hugs!). Yet another part of is fearfulness for our safety and security. I’m sure you have your own reasons for feeling anxious. 

But, Paul writes that we should not be anxious about anything. He tells us to take our concerns to Jesus in prayer and petition. I did a study once that required me to keep a prayer journal. The study was “The Workbook of Living Prayer.” Several years later, I led the study again in another church and used my original workbook with my notes and prayer requests. As I went through, I  discovered that every prayer request that I had written down had been answered.  

God listens to our prayers and answers everyone. His answers may not be exactly what we want or exactly in the time frame that we want, but I know that God answers prayer.  

Paul tells us when we pray to God that He will give us His peace. What that means is that any time you are feeling anxious, let that be a call to prayer knowing that God will answer your prayer. And soon, you will notice the peace of God coming over you. 

The old saying is true, “No God, No Peace …Know God, Know Peace.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 7th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

When I was 16, I went to Camp Glisson for the first time on a Conference Youth Retreat. I had an encounter with God that weekend that changed my life. The next time I went to Glisson, I was elected to the North Georgia Conference Youth Council. For the next two years, I spent a lot of time helping plan and lead retreats there. 

I served as a Camp Counselor the summer after I graduated from High School. By this time, it was clear that God had called me into ministry and that summer was one of my favorites of all time. I learned things as a Counselor that I use in ministry today. I kept song sheets and my Counselor manual from the summer of 1972. 

Glisson has been an important part of my life and, in many ways, I consider it to be my spiritual home. When my children started going as campers when they were old enough. Every year, the week at Glisson was scheduled before we even thought about vacation plans. Both of them were greatly affected by their time at Glisson; they grew spiritually. Brianne and Jordan eventually served as Camp Counselors for several years, and Jordan even met his future wife, Meredith, there. 

Over time, I have served on the Board for Camp Glisson, worked as a T.I.R. (preacher of the week), and attended many retreats and conferences. I have sought to give back to Glisson with my time and monetary gifts. I figure the ministry of Glisson has sown into me and I want to help the ministry sow into others. 

Now, my grandchildren are Glisson campers. They love the Camp and they have grown spiritually as a result. 

I share this because it is a tale of sowing and reaping. Just as participating in the church and giving to the church is a tale of sowing and reaping. When we sow, we do not know what exactly the harvest will be or who will be affected. Whoever sowed into Glisson had little idea that in 1970 a 16-year-old boy would meet God in a way that would change his life forever. 

That boy is now serving as Senior Pastor here. When we sow into the church, we do not know who will meet Jesus and be changed. Thousands have over the history of McEachern. Who knows how many more will come to God. 

 

I love you all, 

Doug 

June 16th, 2021

The Post Pandemic Church

I’m so excited that things have opened up in our area, our state, and across most of our country. For me, the greatest joy has been to be able to see you all and give hugs and handshakes…and sharing communion without those little cups that are hard to open. I am eager for the hospitals, assisted living, and nursing homes to allow visitors again including our Joyful Singers.
Everyone knows what a difficult time the past 12-15 months have been. We’ve also learned how to function and work under this extreme situation. I wonder how many of you knew what Zoom was before the pandemic, or mouthing words because we couldn’t sing. How many of you ever dreamed that you would be “attending” worship services from your living room couch or out on your deck as it was live-streamed? Slowly we have been able to resume ministry on campus. No masks are needed unless by choice. The full choir will be back soon! Sunday school and bible studies are meeting in person again. Hallelujah!
Now, here’s the big question: Are you back to church? Or has it become easier to watch worship when you want, where you want (even in your pj’s) since live streaming and recording was our only option for a while?
Friends, it’s over! The church is open! We need to be in community with each other. We need to see and share smiles and tears. I know it’s been said that people can worship anywhere, on the golf course, out in nature, alone, etc. but, Robin Lindsay would say “but do you”?
Jesus himself modeled attending worship. Scripture tells us: on the Sabbath day Jesus went into the synagogue, as was his custom…Luke 4:16. Jesus, the perfect son of God attended worship services every week. Friends, we need this weekly renewal. We need to be with each other to support, nurture, pray and care for, and hold each other accountable to be the disciple God has called us to be. DeDe’s summer drive in’s are based on “we are family”. We are family! We need to share life with one another.
Some of you have already come back. Doesn’t it feel good to be in the house of the Lord together?
So, it’s time! It’s time to come back and bring a friend.

See you Sunday!

Blessings,
Cindy



April 28th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I pray that you are all doing well today. My prayers are with you each and every day. I celebrate the Confirmation of 10 of our young people Sunday and the growing number of reports I have heard of ones who are seeking to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ. 

Today I want to urge you to participate in the Global Impact Celebration at McEachern and to give a brief report from the Church Council meeting Monday night. 

Global Impact Celebration—Today through Sunday, May 2. 

Schedule: Today (Wednesday) Tomorrow (Thursday) and Saturday 

 Devotional at 8am on McEachern’s Facebook page. Videos of Mission on McEachern’s Facebook at Noon Questions and Answers on McEachern’s Facebook at 7pm GIC Celebration in Worship at 9:30am and 11:00am in the Sanctuary. 

 At each Service on Sunday we will be receiving Faith Promise Commitments. Please bring your Card for both Financial and Service Commitments! 

Church Council Report – 

The Church Council heard reports from Finance, Staff Parish Relations Committee, and the Trustees. 

 Finance reported that the church has finally received confirmation that the PPP loan from the US Government has been forgiven. Through March, we have spent $18,000 more than we have received in offering. Our current Church Checking Account balance was $72,000 with approximately $600,000 in undesignated reserves. We have received 149 Commitments towards the budget of the church, and still hope that as people return to church they will make financial commitments. 

 SPRC –

– All four of our clergy have been reappointed for the year 2021-2022. Denise Register is retiring from the Pre School and her successor will be Denise Ribeiro. It was also reported that Misty Dolph has left the church staff and that her Administrative job responsibilities have been shifted to Nancy Folds, Teresa McDaniel, and Sharon Brand. In addition, Stacie Barrow will be working with DeDe in Children’s Ministry beginning in May and her responsibilities will be taken over by Rev. Tony Philips and Rev. Bomi Kim. All of these staff changes are budget neutral. 

 Trustees –

 The Lula Dobbs project is underway and will be completed in about 6 weeks after permits are received. 

 Pastor’s Time – 

I’ve asked the help of the Church Council in preparing a Frequently Asked Questions document to circulate to the congregation as a result of Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson and The North Georgia Cabinet’s Welcoming Table Vision and webinar. Both of these can be viewed on the North Georgia Conference website at ngumc.org. This document will be sent to the McEachern families to communicate truthfulness, be transparent, and minimize confusion. 

I want to urge everyone who has not attended to attend a Listening Session. The next one is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 4pm in the Gym in the CLC. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

April 21st, 2021

Dear Friends,
It is easy to get distracted. The phone rings. A child cries out. You get a text. Something comes across on a news feed, etc., etc. Really easy to get distracted.
It is really hard to maintain focus. As Christians, we are called to maintain our focus. When the world is caught up in all sorts of distractions, Christians are called to focus on following Christ with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. Christians are called to love God which means to obey God. We obey God when we worship Him, when we pray, when we study His Word, and when we serve Him by sharing Christ’s love and telling people about Jesus.
Last week I wrote to you about Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson and her Cabinet presenting a webinar basically stating that they would be working towards changing the Book of Discipline at the next General Conference, which will be either in 2022 or 2024, in a way that will be inclusive of all people in the LGBTQ community and offer the opportunity for folks in that community to be married by United Methodist clergy and for folks in that community to be Ordained to serve as clergy in the United Methodist Church. Please understand that until the General Conference meets Bishop Sue and the Cabinet must abide by the 2016 Discipline which forbids the above. However, you feel about this – don’t let it distract you from being faithful to Jesus and keeping your focus on following Him.
As a church, we will be holding our Global Impact Celebration next week. There will be numerous opportunities for you to learn about how McEachern is being faithful to Christ in serving and loving our community and the world. Our celebration will conclude on Sunday, May 2 in the Sanctuary at both the 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM services where you will be given the opportunity to make a Faith Promise financial commitment to fund local and global mission outreach as well as the opportunity to make a commitment to serve Christ through involvement in one of McEachern’s many mission projects.
I am asking you to do three things. First, be in prayer as to how you will participate both personally and financially in missions work this coming year. Second, participate online next week in the various learning opportunities. Third, come be a part of the celebration on Sunday, May 2nd. I look forward to participating with you.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 14th, 2021

Dear Friends,
First I want to make sure everyone is aware of the Global Impact Celebration the weekend of May 2. Watch for details of how you can participate both online and in person. It will be a great weekend!
Now I want to tell you about a time that Debbie and I visited our granddaughters’ school to eat lunch with them. We got there a little early and sat on a bench outside the lunchroom to wait. I got to tell you, sitting on a bench in an elementary school hallway is really something!
We watched children entering and leaving the lunchroom. It’s hard for me to describe just how much happens in the line as kids are going to lunch. There’s picking at each other; all sorts of gyrations, spins, and twirls; speaking and whispering all happening at once as the kids maintain some semblance of a line slowly rolling into the lunchroom. Also, I want you to know that, from my observation, boys and girls act really differently. Boys tended to be louder and more active. I still have a vivid memory of the boy who flipped his water bottle the ENTIRE TIME he was in the lunchroom. Girls tended to be quieter and ate in groups. This is just what I saw on that particular day. It was a wonder that anyone ate anything!
But there was something else that I noticed that day. On the wall outside the lunchroom was a fire extinguisher. It was encased in a fire extinguisher box and duly labeled. However, over time the “F” from the word “Fire” had worn off. So, rather than reading “Fire Extinguisher” it actually read “Ire Extinguisher.” And I thought, “Boy, would I like to have an Ire Extinguisher!”
Think about the ways an Ire Extinguisher could be used. You do something and get your spouse mad at you. Rather than experiencing all the pain and difficulty of working things out, you simply pull out the Ire Extinguisher. Or, with Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching and family gatherings happening, rather than experiencing the tensions that accompany a lot of those gatherings you simply spray everyone with the Ire Extinguisher as they enter the house. Instant peace!
Just imagine if we sprayed Congress with the Ire Extinguisher—something might actually get done! And, what if we placed an Ire Extinguisher in every church? By eliminating church fights I believe we could be much more effective in spreading the Gospel.
But, then I thought, we already have an Ire Extinguisher. His name is Jesus. I believe if we followed His teachings about love, grace, and forgiveness then Ire would be extinguished and peace would come upon the earth.
May it be so.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 7th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

It was wonderful to gather with so many of you on Easter. It was also joyful sharing with so many online. Nothing compares to the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! 

Truly, the most amazing moment in all of history! 

Thank you to everyone who had a part in our Holy Week Services from Palm Sunday through Easter. I know I will not mention everyone, but thanks to Tanya and the Choir for all the special music, thanks to Susan and our Nursery workers, thanks to DeDe and all those who work with children for the Palm procession, Monday night in the parking lot, and Easter Sunday morning 

celebrations, thanks to Nancy and all those who made registrations, thanks to Aubrey and Bomi for getting the word out, thanks to Tony for Higher Ground worship, thanks to Cindy for all her many contributions, thanks to our ushers and greeters and acolytes and everyone connected to worship, thanks to James and all the sound folks, and thanks to Carlos for all his work with the youth this past week. Easter week takes everyone and you all made this week a special week. 

Going forward there are several upcoming things that you need to be aware of: 

Confirmation Sunday – April 25th at the 11am Service 

Global Impact Celebration weekend – May 1-3 

Mother’s Day – May 10 

Graduate Recognition Sunday – May 17 

Pentecost – May 24. 

A lot of special days for a lot of special people. Please put all these on your calendars and I look forward to sharing them with you. 

May we all be blessed as we share this Easter Season. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

March 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A year ago we were in total lockdown due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Most businesses and restaurants were closed. People did not venture out except to get food, gas, or for a few other essential things. Church facilities were closed – and remain closed for several months.

 
I will never forget last Easter. The only worship available was online. There were no Easter Lilies, no wonderful music, no sanctuaries open to attend, no Easter outfits to wear, no friends to see. It was a dark Easter.

 
So, I started a new tradition for the observance of Easter last year. I made a wooden cross and covered it with white lights. And at sunrise, Debbie and I carried the cross down to the street and planted it in the ground, turned the lights on, and remembered Easter. We hugged and we prayed. We went inside and put on Easter outfits and took a picture and sent it to our kids and grandkids wishing them a Happy Easter. I imagine you did something also – because faith finds a way!

 
This Easter we will be worshipping in the ball field for Sonrise at 7 AM and in the Sanctuary at 9:30 and 11:00 AM and at Higher Ground at 11:00 AM. We will smell the lilies and sing the songs of faith and we will worship the Risen Lord with deep and abiding joy. There will be tears of thanksgiving, I am sure.

 
But, before any of that happens, I will be carrying a little wooden cross with white lights on it and plant it in my yard, and lighting it up to celebrate that faith finds a way. Faith always finds a way.

 
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 17th, 2021

Dear Friends,

I wanted everyone to know some exciting Easter plans that we are making. I am excited that we will be worshipping on Easter after not being able to last year.

This year our Holy Week and Easter Schedule will be as follows:

Palm/Passion Sunday Celebration – March 28th. At both 9:30 and 11 am. Higher Ground will be meeting at 11 am as well.

In the Sanctuary the children will be processing in with palm branches and we have planned a special service of music and message to help us remember both Palm Sunday and the Crucifixion. 

Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae Service – Thursday, April 1 at 7 pm in the Sanctuary

Come celebrate Holy Communion to remember the Last Supper and experience the Tenebrae Service – the Service of Darkness as we remember the Crucifixion.

Easter Sunday – April 4th

Sonrise at 7 am behind Higher Ground

Sanctuary Worship 9:30 and 11 am 

Higher Ground 11 am 

No Sunday School on Easter.

Please make reservations for all these services. We are setting the Sanctuary capacity at 320, which is about half. If we fill up both services then we will add additional services as needed.

I look forward to worshipping with you this Holy Week.

Save your seat for Holy Week Services Here.

I love you all,

Dr. Doug

March 10th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A little over a week ago leaders of the United Methodist Church decided to postpone the
General Conference scheduled for 2021 to 2022 due to the worldwide COVID pandemic and the
difficulty of travel during these times. By postponing the General Conference there will be no
discussion or action taken regarding the Protocol for Separation that had been proposed for
General Conference that was supposed to meet last year.


Basically this means that there is no viable pathway for any United Methodist Church to
separate from the Denomination for at least the next year and a half. It also means that the
current position of the United Methodist Church recorded in the Book of Discipline regarding
homosexuality and forbidding homosexual marriages being performed in UMC churches and
being performed by UMC Clergy is still in force. It also means that the prohibition of self avowed
practicing homosexuals from being ordained as clergy in the UMC is still in place.


If McEachern is like most United Methodist Churches, I’m sure that there are a lot of different
opinions on most subjects, including homosexuality. We are all different and have different life
experiences. Hence, we have different opinions.


But, the beauty of Christianity is that we can all be one in Jesus Christ. We have one faith, one
Lord, one Baptism. One of the reasons I enjoy preaching on the “I Am” sayings of Jesus is that
there is such a clear focus on Jesus in all of these sayings.


This Sunday we will be preaching on “I am the Light of the World.” (John 8:12) Come and let
Jesus shine light upon your life, your thoughts, and in your life. I look forward to seeing you.


I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Over the years I’ve witnessed the scene on TV many times. It’s people coming out from shelters  to see what damage the hurricane has caused. Sometimes they find their house destroyed.  Other times, it’s still standing. Whatever they find, it is difficult and emotional and they are  always asked what they are going to do and they respond that they will rebuild, start over, etc.  And they do. And teams of people come from all over to help them. I imagine McEachern has  even sent some of those teams. 

Similarly, for the past year, we have been dealing with the ravages of COVID-19. It has  caused a lot of damage: sickness, death, schools going virtual, businesses closing, jobs lost,  and even the church suspending in-person worship and carrying out ministry virtually. It has  been a hard year. 

But, things are changing. Vaccinations have begun and most people who choose to receive the  vaccine will receive it sometime this year. Schools are reopening. Sickness and death due to  COVID are slowing down. And people are reemerging after the storm. 

We have started back with in-person worship while continuing online worship. I told the staff to  plan ministry accordingly knowing that we will not suspend our on-campus activities again. We  will continue to use safety protocols but we will also continue to meet. 

As you emerge after this COVID-19 storm, know that McEachern is here. And we are in the  process of rebuilding the ministry of the church. Leaders will be meeting this Sunday afternoon  to continue planning for the unfolding story of ministry at McEachern. 

I look forward to seeing you at worship. There are so many who are a part of McEachern that I  have not had the pleasure of meeting since I arrived last July. I look forward to those meetings.  Let’s rebuild together. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

February 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
The Season of Lent is a time for a return to Spiritual Discipline. Traditionally, it has been a time of prayer and fasting as a way to prepare for the celebration of the most Holy day of the year—Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. The practice of fasting is where the whole idea of “giving up something for Lent” came from.

 
I’d like to challenge you this year to “give up something” and “to take on something.” You choose what you will give up. In years past I have given up desserts, potatoes, fried food, and other things. This year I’m giving up chips of any kind. That may not sound like much to you, but I eat chips all the time, especially at night while watching TV. The idea of giving up something is that whenever you think about or desire what you have given up, that is a call to prayer. I should be praying a lot this Lenten season! What will you give up?

 
This challenge also includes “taking on something.” For this, I have a specific challenge for you. I’m asking everyone to pray for someone that you know who is not a practicing Christian. Pray for that person throughout the season of Lent, and then invite that person to worship on Palm Sunday or Easter. If you’re wondering about capacity in Worship, we’ll have as many services as we need to accommodate as many people who come.

 
So, I’ve “thrown down the gauntlet,” who will accept these challenges?

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

February 17th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I’m looking forward to seeing folks at Worship Sunday. We will be open at 9:30 am and 11:00 am in the  Sanctuary and at 11:00 am at Higher Ground. It will be the first Sunday of Lent and we will be  preaching throughout Lent on the “I Am…” sayings of Jesus. This Sunday the sermon will be “I  am the Door.” Seems appropriate with McEachern opening its doors. 

I have been asked by a number of people about the financial condition of the church. To quote our  Finance Chair, Donnie Newsom, “The financial state of our church is sound.” Donnie can write that for the following reasons. We received a forgivable loan from the Federal Government  called the Payroll Protection Plan last year in the amount of approximately $193,000 dollars.  This loan has not yet been officially forgiven and so we have not reported it as income to the  church. This money would move our year-end number from $103,000 in the red to $90,000 in  the black. In addition, the church has significant reserves both in church operating money and in  our Trustees Fund. 

So, we are financially sound. 

At the same time, we want to be good stewards of the financial resources of the church and so  are asking all our church members to fill out and return Estimate of Giving Cards so that we can  have a clearer picture of our church finances for this year. If you have not yet returned your  card, please do so as soon as possible.  

 

All in all, I praise God for providing for us in a time of trial and I praise God for you!

 

 I love you all, 

Doug

February 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends,
In the Gospel of John we read these words; “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus has previously told them that they will know persecution, that they will be scattered, that He is going to die and rise again, and that this is necessary in order for the Holy Spirit to come. I imagine the Disciples were pretty scared when they heard all this – yet He tells them what is to come in order for them to know peace. And not freedom from trouble – they will know trouble! But peace in the midst of trouble. A peace that comes from knowing Christ has overcome the world.

 
We have certainly known a lot of trouble this past year. Yet, I believe Christ has overcome the world and, so, I have peace and hope. And I have seen you overcoming circumstances to stay connected to one another, to feed thousands of people, to minister in cars and outside at Higher Ground and on flatbed trucks on Christmas Eve and scattered in the Sanctuary singing the songs of Christmas and in parking lots and online in Zoom meetings and on Facebook and in so many ways in order to communicate the Gospel of Jesus. Doing God’s work with you is so awesome!

 
Trouble will come and trouble will go. When (not if) COVID passes, something else will pop up. It’s the nature of a sinful world. But, take heart! Christ has overcome the world. Write that in the depth of your heart. And let’s move forward in ministry!

 
I love you all,

 
Doug
PS. Don’t forget to mail back in your Estimate of Giving Cards this week!

January 20th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Be Bridge Builders. That’s what we have been focusing on all month. I have spoken and written about how we are created by God to be a royal priesthood—building bridges between people and God and people and other people. Certainly, in our world right now we need bridge builders! 

We build these bridges using the Spiritual Gifts God has given us. But that is not the only way. We also practice bridge-building through giving our financial resources to Christ’s ministry through the church, pooling resources in order to make disciples of Jesus and love people. 

The year 2020 was challenging financially for McEachern. I want to thank everyone for your faithfulness in giving. Because of your giving and being good stewards of all the gifts the church received, we finished the year on a positive note financially. 

I do believe that probably by this coming Fall everyone will be able to resume all the participatory ministries of the church without fear of COVID due to all the vaccinations that will have happened by that time. In the meantime, the Leadership and Staff of McEachern are working to lead the church forward in ministry. 

Here are the things we are working on. We are working to be a church that reaches out to everyone in our community so that the active body of the church is multiethnic and multigenerational. We are working to be a church that emphasizes growing as disciples of Jesus Christ who are prayer focused. We are working to form partnerships in mission with all the various outreach ministries in our community. And, we are working to find new ways to reach our community with the Gospel of Jesus especially through the development of online ministries. 

It is exciting to imagine how McEachern is going to develop as a church. But this will not happen unless you participate in the ministry with your time and talents, with your prayers, and with your financial resources. 

Next week you will receive an Estimate of Giving Card from the church. I am asking you to prayerfully consider how you will invest in the growing ministry of McEachern, fill out the card and return it in the envelope provided. I am also asking you to prayerfully think about increasing your giving by 1% of your income over your giving last year. Our goal is to have over 200 Estimate of Giving Cards returned this year. 

Together, by the grace of God, we will see a new day dawn on the ministry of McEachern in the months to come. I want to be a part of a church that truly loves God, loves people, and make disciples. 

I love you all, 

Doug

January 6th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I hope by now that you have gotten the message that we are temporarily pausing in-person functions at McEachern due to the surge in Cobb County of COVID-19 infections. I’ve been here long enough that you probably know that I really resisted the idea, but it is the right decision at this time. 

Monday night, I found myself tossing and turning instead of sleeping. Over time, I have discovered that whenever I am restless like that, the best thing for me to do is get up, get some water, go sit on the couch, and pray. My prayer that night was focused on the decision to pause. I considered whether it was motivated by fear or by faith. And the Lord led me to see that it was neither. Instead, it was a decision based on the fact of the rapidly rising infections and the desire to keep people as safe as possible. 

I then prayed and asked God to help me to know it was the right decision. God reminded me that He is a God of peace and asked me what decision led me to a place of peace—continuing in-person worship or pausing in-person worship. God’s peace came over me; pausing was the decision at this time and this was a temporary state. God also reminded me very warmly that He is with us, no matter what. After this time of prayer, I found myself able to go back to bed and back to sleep. 

I do not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future—and so do you. God is a God whose love endures forever. I praise and worship Him. 

I invite you to join me online for the Traditional Service or to join Rev. Tony online for the Higher Ground Service, both at 11am. Let us worship together, even though we might be apart. We will be continuing to focus on “Be Bridge Builders.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

December 30th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I have been praying for you. My prayer is that everyone had a Christmastime during which they were able to communicate with family, worship, and reflect on the amazing gift of Jesus Christ. True, this Christmas has been different, but also memorable. 

I will never forget the folks who worked so hard to provide the Drive-In Christmas Eve Worship service. We thought the weather would break when looking at the forecast. But it didn’t so we worshipped anyway in cold, windy, wet conditions. Thank you to everyone who was a part of that service and who attended. It reminded me of the cold, windy, primitive conditions that Jesus was born in a cave 2000 years ago. 

I will not soon forget the online service that McEachern Kids did. It was warm and funny and touching and helped me remember that Jesus loves all the children of the world, including me and including you. 

I will not forget having to celebrate Christmas Eve online out of a concern for safety for everyone. I lit my candle and I hope you lit your candle while singing “Silent Night” with the angels. 

I will always remember the new friends that God has placed in my path this year—the people of McEachern! You are warm and loving and, slowly, I am beginning to recognize faces covered by masks. I look forward to getting to know many more of you as 2021 unfolds. 

We have a lot to accomplish as a church in the year to come; one of the most important is to be a people of prayer. I am praying for you and the whole church and the whole world as we face difficult circumstances. God has always called His people “overcomers,” and we will overcome whatever we face by relying on the peer of God and His Holy Spirit. I believe there is much for us to do as we “Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples of Jesus Christ.” 

I love you all, 

 Doug

December 16th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Over these Sundays of Advent, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the Wise Men Rules with you. I do believe that we can learn a lot from the Wise Men as we: Watch Expectantly, Act Faithfully, Live Joyfully, and the last two that I will be preaching on this coming Sunday, Give Generously and Bow Humbly. 

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I am very much aware of the challenge that COVID-19 has created. We want to Worship as safely as we can. We want to participate in various ministries safely. We want to be strong and vital as a church, despite extremely adverse circumstances. 

So, I want to thank you for practicing the church’s COVID-19 protocols and we will continue to offer in-person worship unless the pandemic simply goes crazy. 

I want to encourage you to participate on Christmas Eve, either at the Drive-In Service in the back parking lot at 3 pm or either of our online Services: 4:30 pm for the Children’s Service and 6 pm for the Traditional Service. 

I need to remind you that we will only have an online Worship Service at 10 am on Sunday, December 27th. Please watch from your home in the most comfortable clothing you have. 

Lastly, the SPR Committee has graciously offered the Church Staff the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a time to slow down and recharge before entering 2021. If there are any pastoral needs, we will certainly be available; please call us. 

During the last week of the year, if you have End of Year Financial gifts, you can give them online or you can come by the church on Tuesday or Wednesday from 9 am ‘til Noon and make a contribution. Staff will be present to receive your gifts. 

Please remember the church this year both in your prayers and in your giving. We are only receiving mission gifts using the Christmas Mission Catalogue or in the offering on Christmas Eve. We are still a good ways behind our budget projections for the year, if you can give to help catch us up, that would be a blessing. 

I love serving McEachern and am looking forward to a great year in 2021.

 I love you all, 

Doug

December 9th, 2020

Dear Friends,

Last Tuesday night, the McEachern Church Council voted unanimously to approve the priorities that emerged from the church’s Visioning session in October. These priorities came from those gathered as they prayed and listened to what we understood God to be calling us to do in the coming years.

The priorities were:
– to become a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation
– to focus on discipleship building
– to be prayer centered
– to work to grow the Kingdom of God through witnessing and on line ministry
– to build community partnerships for mission work
– to be debt-free
– to experience a culture change

Leaders in the church will meet again in January to develop a strategic plan for accomplishing these priorities. If you would like to be a part of this session and are not currently serving in leadership, please let me know.

After this has been done, then we will begin to work on the plan. It is so exciting to be a part of McEachern, even in the midst of COVID-19. I truly believe God is moving in this church.
I look forward to continuing to teach “The Wise Men Rules” in worship. This week we will be looking at the third rule: Live Joyfully!

I love you all,
Doug

December 2nd, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone had a Happy, if unusual, Thanksgiving. Debbie and I spent time with each of our children and their families independently and then visited her 96-year-old Aunt and then spent a few days away. It was a good time and we are thankful for family and we are thankful for you.
I thought I’d take a moment and update you regarding COVID-19 and the church. The Staff and I have been closely watching the Georgia Department of Public Health’s reports regarding the coronavirus. Currently, Cobb County and Paulding County are yellow/light-orange on the state map of COVID-19 cases. I know that you are reading and hearing about a surge of coronavirus cases in our nation. There has been a slight uptick in cases since October, but not so much that we feel a need to change the church’s approach.
So, here’s where we are today. We will continue in-person worship for those who desire it and feel safe to attend. We are only able to do this because you have been diligent in wearing masks, social distancing, and entering and exiting the building quickly. I appreciate you so much for your willingness to do these things so that others might enjoy worship in-person. We will be adding back the 9:30 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary, as well as continuing the 11 am in the Sanctuary. We will continue to offer the on-line Worship option at 11 am. Higher Ground Worship will move to 11 am in-person and on-line.
The McEachern Kids Academy meets at 9:30 am on Sundays in the children’s area then the children move into small groups to study a variety of subjects. They also have scheduled a Family Manger Project for this coming Sunday at 4 pm. It will be held outside and you need to register for either of these events.
Our Youth open the doors at 9 am and then have Bible Study beginning around 9:40 am and are done by 10:30 am. They meet in the Youth Suite.
Some of our Adult classes are meeting on-line and some are meeting in-person. (And some both!) Please contact your class for your meeting time.
I also want you to know that Debbie and I appreciate the invitations we have received to various Christmas parties. Unfortunately, we will not be attending them this year. I am in the public a lot as it is and I feel it important to place some limits as a safety precaution. I look forward to next year and being free to participate in many Christmas celebrations.
I love you all,
Doug

November 25th, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Whether we are celebrating alone, on Zoom, or with family and friends, I pray that this will be a day of thankfulness to God for His love and blessings.

Sunday in my sermon I shared the idea of an Alphabet of Thanksgiving – recording at least one thing you are thankful for, using each letter of the alphabet. At our last Staff meeting, the Staff wrote their own Alphabet of Thanksgiving. I told them I would share it with you this week.

A – Alleluias!
B – Bible, beauty
C – Christ, children, Children’s Ministry
D – dogs, digital learning, Dads
E – Eating (we’re Methodists after all), exercise
F – Friends, family
G – God, goodness, grace
H – help, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Higher Ground Worship
I – Isaac (family name), invitation
J – Jesus
K – Kindness
L – Love, laughter
M – memories, McEachern, music, Music Ministry, Missions
O – opportunity
P – Pumpkin pie, Peace, our Pastors
Q – Quiet
R – Remembrance
S – Sanctuary, singing, Salvation, Staff
T – Truth, thankfulness
U – Unity
W – wonder, wisdom, Worship in the Sanctuary
X – Xylophone (X is always hard)
Y – You, Y’all, Youth Ministry
Z – Zoom, ZZZZ’s

On behalf of the Staff, we love you and love being in ministry with you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

November 18th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating a Thanksgiving Sunday. As I got to thinking about this, I  decided to do a little research into what people in America say they are most thankful for.  

Here’s the list: 

  •  – Family (84%) 

  •  – Health (69%) 

  •  – Friends (63%) 

  •  – Memories (63%) 

  •  – Freedom (53%) 

  •  – Safety and Security (47%) 

  •  – Opportunity (45%) 

  •  – Fun Experiences (42%) 

  •  – Achievements (33%) 

  •  – Wealth (21%) 

I am not surprised to see Family, Friends, and Health at the top of the list. All three of these have been made even more precious this year as we have lived with COVID-19. I still remember the first hugs from my grandchildren after the lockdown in March and April.  

However, I must admit that I am surprised that Faith in God is not listed as one of the things that people are most thankful for. When President Abraham Lincoln issued his proclamation in  October 1863, establishing the 4th Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, he did so while the nation was still engaged in the Civil War. In that proclamation, Lincoln designated the day as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in Heaven.” Lincoln called upon the people of the United States to give thanks for all the ways that God had blessed everyone and to also repent for those things that had been done that were not in accordance with God’s will. 

This Sunday we will gather together to offer our thanks to God. Whether you attend in person or online, I look forward to celebrating with you. 


I love you all,
Doug

November 11th, 2020

Dear Friends,
It was great to hear today that a vaccine for COVID-19 is looking very good. I pray that it works and that we might return to living without constantly considering the impact of the virus. I applaud all of you for the way that you are practicing wearing masks in worship, social distancing, and following safety for us to gather every week to worship God. Thank you for your cooperation.
I want you to know of a couple of schedule changes that will happen beginning December 6th. Higher Ground will move its Worship time to 11 am. They will meet both inside and outside at Higher Ground. Also, we will begin again the 9:30 am Worship Service in addition to the 11 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary. To keep adequate social distancing and with increasing numbers in worship, it is necessary to start this service back. We will continue to be online for all our Worship Services as well.
I also want to share that your prayers for the church are being felt. The Spirit in the Sanctuary and at Higher Ground is evident to me. Thank you for your continued prayers and know that I am praying for you.
I love you all,
Doug

November 4th, 2020

Dear Friends,
So, this article is a “Heads Up” article as I share with you some things that will be happening in
the next couple of months. Starting with Communion this Sunday. If you are joining us from home, please have your sacraments prepared. 

First, this month we will celebrate Thanksgiving to God on the fourth Sunday of November. In some ways, I am reminded of the first Thanksgiving after a year that saw a large number of the Pilgrim community die due to exposure to the cold and hunger. That next year they celebrated the fall harvest with a great feast remembering God who provided for them and was with them through that first difficult year. We have had quite a year dealing with COVID-19. This year Thanksgiving might be different, but it will certainly be meaningful.

We begin the celebration of Advent on November 29th. Our Sermon Series for Advent is “The Wise Men Rules.” The focus is on rules we learn for living from the story of the Wise Men we find in the Gospel of Matthew. I hope you will plan on being a part. By the way, Tanya has hatched a plan for the annual Christmas Concert performed by the Choir. It will be on the evening of December 12th and you will be able to attend either in person or virtually.

Christmas Eve Services will be on the 24th at 3pm and 6pm in the Sanctuary. If you attend in person, we will socially distance and may need to use overflow spaces. We are also planning a Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service at 4:30pm which will be online, however, there will be a Watch Party in the Christian Life Center for folks who want to attend.

In January we will focus on Stewardship and you will have the opportunity to make commitments to serve in various ministries as well as a commitment to support the Church’s ministry financially.

We are looking at a busy next few months and I look forward to sharing these times with you!

I love you all,
Doug

October 28th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day with a time in our Worship to remember those of our congregation who have died in the past year. I find that I react to these times of  remembrance with both sadness and thanksgiving for the life that was lived. I hope you will come and be a part of this special service. 

I have now been here for four months. The time has flown! I have never lived through a crazier season of ministry than what we are experiencing now due to COVID-19. But, I do want to say how thankful I am that I am going through this season with you. McEachern is a caring, committed church that truly is seeking to love God and love people. I have personally experienced this through the encouraging words that you all have graciously shared with me. I pray for COVID-19 to be behind us. But, until that time, we will work together to sow seeds of the love and the grace of Jesus with a hurting world.  

May God bless you and be with you! I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday either in-person or online. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 21st, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday you will have the unique opportunity to hear from all four of McEachern’s Pastors, together, as we share a dialogue sermon on Discipleship. This is the last Sunday of our “Seeds for the Sower” series and we will speak about Sowing with Faith. I hope you will join us either online or in-person worship.  

I also want to applaud you for following the guidelines while worshiping in-person. Thank you for wearing masks,  sitting 6 feet apart, and refraining from extended conversations in the Sanctuary. I know that all this is awkward, and, if you’re like me, you’d really like to hug somebody. That time will come eventually.  

One little reminder about the guidelines,  everyone please exit the church building after worship and once you are outside then you can visit with one another. I notice people want to hang out in the Sanctuary and the Narthex to visit. Let the visiting continue, but please let’s move it outside to keep safe. 

I am proud to be a part of McEachern UMC. It is a joy meeting folks and getting to know people.  I’m excited about Sunday and our dialogue sermon at 9:30 am and 11 am. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 14th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I just came from our staff meeting. I hope you all realize just how gifted and committed the Staff here at McEachern is. I am constantly amazed at the creativity and perseverance. Please make sure and express appreciation to them. 

Reading the Bible for my devotion the other day, I came across these verses, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your  hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

We live in an anxious time. Part of the anxiety comes from encountering a disease unlike any we have seen in our lifetime. Part of the anxiety is from the changes in our daily living: wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands frequently, not touching one another (I really miss handshakes and hugs!). Yet another part of is fearfulness for our safety and security. I’m sure you have your own reasons for feeling anxious. 

But, Paul writes that we should not be anxious about anything. He tells us to take our concerns to Jesus in prayer and petition. I did a study once that required me to keep a prayer journal. The study was “The Workbook of Living Prayer.” Several years later, I led the study again in another church and used my original workbook with my notes and prayer requests. As I went through, I  discovered that every prayer request that I had written down had been answered.  

God listens to our prayers and answers everyone. His answers may not be exactly what we want or exactly in the time frame that we want, but I know that God answers prayer.  

Paul tells us when we pray to God that He will give us His peace. What that means is that any time you are feeling anxious, let that be a call to prayer knowing that God will answer your prayer. And soon, you will notice the peace of God coming over you. 

The old saying is true, “No God, No Peace …Know God, Know Peace.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 7th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

When I was 16, I went to Camp Glisson for the first time on a Conference Youth Retreat. I had an encounter with God that weekend that changed my life. The next time I went to Glisson, I was elected to the North Georgia Conference Youth Council. For the next two years, I spent a lot of time helping plan and lead retreats there. 

I served as a Camp Counselor the summer after I graduated from High School. By this time, it was clear that God had called me into ministry and that summer was one of my favorites of all time. I learned things as a Counselor that I use in ministry today. I kept song sheets and my Counselor manual from the summer of 1972. 

Glisson has been an important part of my life and, in many ways, I consider it to be my spiritual home. When my children started going as campers when they were old enough. Every year, the week at Glisson was scheduled before we even thought about vacation plans. Both of them were greatly affected by their time at Glisson; they grew spiritually. Brianne and Jordan eventually served as Camp Counselors for several years, and Jordan even met his future wife, Meredith, there. 

Over time, I have served on the Board for Camp Glisson, worked as a T.I.R. (preacher of the week), and attended many retreats and conferences. I have sought to give back to Glisson with my time and monetary gifts. I figure the ministry of Glisson has sown into me and I want to help the ministry sow into others. 

Now, my grandchildren are Glisson campers. They love the Camp and they have grown spiritually as a result. 

I share this because it is a tale of sowing and reaping. Just as participating in the church and giving to the church is a tale of sowing and reaping. When we sow, we do not know what exactly the harvest will be or who will be affected. Whoever sowed into Glisson had little idea that in 1970 a 16-year-old boy would meet God in a way that would change his life forever. 

That boy is now serving as Senior Pastor here. When we sow into the church, we do not know who will meet Jesus and be changed. Thousands have over the history of McEachern. Who knows how many more will come to God. 

 

I love you all, 

Doug 

June 9th, 2021

Dear Friends,
This past weekend I attended the 2021 Virtual North Georgia Annual Conference. You can go to the ngumc.org website to view videos and see photos of the Annual Conference, but I thought I’d lift up a few highlights for everyone.
– The North Georgia Conference passed a Resolution supporting the Protocol for the Separation of churches that will be considered at General Conference next year, 2022. Please understand, this action simply indicates the support of the Annual Conference. It does not allow any church to take any action of separation.
– The Annual Conference budget was reduced by 5 %. This should mean lower Apportionments for local churches next year.
– Twelve people were approved as Provisional Deacons (2) and Provisional Elders (10) Also, twenty were approved for Ordination, two Deacons and eighteen Elders.
– Four Deacons retired (including my brother Don, who once served here at McEachern) and 22 Elders retired (including Charlie Marus, who also served here at McEachern) – 8 Churches were closed.
– The Conference Trustees presented a plan for churches to Disaffiliate from the Annual Conference. In the FAQ on our website I give more detail about the plan for Disaffiliation, which is quite costly to local churches.
– Several of our McEachern folks were elected to Conference Committees: Cindy Blocksidge to the Board of Ordained Ministry where she serves on the Executive Committee, Randy Hardy as District Lay Leader also serving on the Conference Nominations Committee, Hilda de Leon to the Latino Congregational Development Committee, and Morris Henderson to the Board of Pensions and the Committee on the Episcopacy.
– All four of the Ordained Pastors serving at McEachern – Doug, Cindy, Tony, and Bomi – were reappointed for the coming year.
It is a blessing to be a part of the ministry here. I am looking forward to the year to come as we work together to build the church!
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 28th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I pray that you are all doing well today. My prayers are with you each and every day. I celebrate the Confirmation of 10 of our young people Sunday and the growing number of reports I have heard of ones who are seeking to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ. 

Today I want to urge you to participate in the Global Impact Celebration at McEachern and to give a brief report from the Church Council meeting Monday night. 

Global Impact Celebration—Today through Sunday, May 2. 

Schedule: Today (Wednesday) Tomorrow (Thursday) and Saturday 

 Devotional at 8am on McEachern’s Facebook page. Videos of Mission on McEachern’s Facebook at Noon Questions and Answers on McEachern’s Facebook at 7pm GIC Celebration in Worship at 9:30am and 11:00am in the Sanctuary. 

 At each Service on Sunday we will be receiving Faith Promise Commitments. Please bring your Card for both Financial and Service Commitments! 

Church Council Report – 

The Church Council heard reports from Finance, Staff Parish Relations Committee, and the Trustees. 

 Finance reported that the church has finally received confirmation that the PPP loan from the US Government has been forgiven. Through March, we have spent $18,000 more than we have received in offering. Our current Church Checking Account balance was $72,000 with approximately $600,000 in undesignated reserves. We have received 149 Commitments towards the budget of the church, and still hope that as people return to church they will make financial commitments. 

 SPRC –

– All four of our clergy have been reappointed for the year 2021-2022. Denise Register is retiring from the Pre School and her successor will be Denise Ribeiro. It was also reported that Misty Dolph has left the church staff and that her Administrative job responsibilities have been shifted to Nancy Folds, Teresa McDaniel, and Sharon Brand. In addition, Stacie Barrow will be working with DeDe in Children’s Ministry beginning in May and her responsibilities will be taken over by Rev. Tony Philips and Rev. Bomi Kim. All of these staff changes are budget neutral. 

 Trustees –

 The Lula Dobbs project is underway and will be completed in about 6 weeks after permits are received. 

 Pastor’s Time – 

I’ve asked the help of the Church Council in preparing a Frequently Asked Questions document to circulate to the congregation as a result of Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson and The North Georgia Cabinet’s Welcoming Table Vision and webinar. Both of these can be viewed on the North Georgia Conference website at ngumc.org. This document will be sent to the McEachern families to communicate truthfulness, be transparent, and minimize confusion. 

I want to urge everyone who has not attended to attend a Listening Session. The next one is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 4pm in the Gym in the CLC. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

April 21st, 2021

Dear Friends,
It is easy to get distracted. The phone rings. A child cries out. You get a text. Something comes across on a news feed, etc., etc. Really easy to get distracted.
It is really hard to maintain focus. As Christians, we are called to maintain our focus. When the world is caught up in all sorts of distractions, Christians are called to focus on following Christ with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. Christians are called to love God which means to obey God. We obey God when we worship Him, when we pray, when we study His Word, and when we serve Him by sharing Christ’s love and telling people about Jesus.
Last week I wrote to you about Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson and her Cabinet presenting a webinar basically stating that they would be working towards changing the Book of Discipline at the next General Conference, which will be either in 2022 or 2024, in a way that will be inclusive of all people in the LGBTQ community and offer the opportunity for folks in that community to be married by United Methodist clergy and for folks in that community to be Ordained to serve as clergy in the United Methodist Church. Please understand that until the General Conference meets Bishop Sue and the Cabinet must abide by the 2016 Discipline which forbids the above. However, you feel about this – don’t let it distract you from being faithful to Jesus and keeping your focus on following Him.
As a church, we will be holding our Global Impact Celebration next week. There will be numerous opportunities for you to learn about how McEachern is being faithful to Christ in serving and loving our community and the world. Our celebration will conclude on Sunday, May 2 in the Sanctuary at both the 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM services where you will be given the opportunity to make a Faith Promise financial commitment to fund local and global mission outreach as well as the opportunity to make a commitment to serve Christ through involvement in one of McEachern’s many mission projects.
I am asking you to do three things. First, be in prayer as to how you will participate both personally and financially in missions work this coming year. Second, participate online next week in the various learning opportunities. Third, come be a part of the celebration on Sunday, May 2nd. I look forward to participating with you.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 14th, 2021

Dear Friends,
First I want to make sure everyone is aware of the Global Impact Celebration the weekend of May 2. Watch for details of how you can participate both online and in person. It will be a great weekend!
Now I want to tell you about a time that Debbie and I visited our granddaughters’ school to eat lunch with them. We got there a little early and sat on a bench outside the lunchroom to wait. I got to tell you, sitting on a bench in an elementary school hallway is really something!
We watched children entering and leaving the lunchroom. It’s hard for me to describe just how much happens in the line as kids are going to lunch. There’s picking at each other; all sorts of gyrations, spins, and twirls; speaking and whispering all happening at once as the kids maintain some semblance of a line slowly rolling into the lunchroom. Also, I want you to know that, from my observation, boys and girls act really differently. Boys tended to be louder and more active. I still have a vivid memory of the boy who flipped his water bottle the ENTIRE TIME he was in the lunchroom. Girls tended to be quieter and ate in groups. This is just what I saw on that particular day. It was a wonder that anyone ate anything!
But there was something else that I noticed that day. On the wall outside the lunchroom was a fire extinguisher. It was encased in a fire extinguisher box and duly labeled. However, over time the “F” from the word “Fire” had worn off. So, rather than reading “Fire Extinguisher” it actually read “Ire Extinguisher.” And I thought, “Boy, would I like to have an Ire Extinguisher!”
Think about the ways an Ire Extinguisher could be used. You do something and get your spouse mad at you. Rather than experiencing all the pain and difficulty of working things out, you simply pull out the Ire Extinguisher. Or, with Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching and family gatherings happening, rather than experiencing the tensions that accompany a lot of those gatherings you simply spray everyone with the Ire Extinguisher as they enter the house. Instant peace!
Just imagine if we sprayed Congress with the Ire Extinguisher—something might actually get done! And, what if we placed an Ire Extinguisher in every church? By eliminating church fights I believe we could be much more effective in spreading the Gospel.
But, then I thought, we already have an Ire Extinguisher. His name is Jesus. I believe if we followed His teachings about love, grace, and forgiveness then Ire would be extinguished and peace would come upon the earth.
May it be so.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 7th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

It was wonderful to gather with so many of you on Easter. It was also joyful sharing with so many online. Nothing compares to the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! 

Truly, the most amazing moment in all of history! 

Thank you to everyone who had a part in our Holy Week Services from Palm Sunday through Easter. I know I will not mention everyone, but thanks to Tanya and the Choir for all the special music, thanks to Susan and our Nursery workers, thanks to DeDe and all those who work with children for the Palm procession, Monday night in the parking lot, and Easter Sunday morning 

celebrations, thanks to Nancy and all those who made registrations, thanks to Aubrey and Bomi for getting the word out, thanks to Tony for Higher Ground worship, thanks to Cindy for all her many contributions, thanks to our ushers and greeters and acolytes and everyone connected to worship, thanks to James and all the sound folks, and thanks to Carlos for all his work with the youth this past week. Easter week takes everyone and you all made this week a special week. 

Going forward there are several upcoming things that you need to be aware of: 

Confirmation Sunday – April 25th at the 11am Service 

Global Impact Celebration weekend – May 1-3 

Mother’s Day – May 10 

Graduate Recognition Sunday – May 17 

Pentecost – May 24. 

A lot of special days for a lot of special people. Please put all these on your calendars and I look forward to sharing them with you. 

May we all be blessed as we share this Easter Season. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

March 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A year ago we were in total lockdown due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Most businesses and restaurants were closed. People did not venture out except to get food, gas, or for a few other essential things. Church facilities were closed – and remain closed for several months.

 
I will never forget last Easter. The only worship available was online. There were no Easter Lilies, no wonderful music, no sanctuaries open to attend, no Easter outfits to wear, no friends to see. It was a dark Easter.

 
So, I started a new tradition for the observance of Easter last year. I made a wooden cross and covered it with white lights. And at sunrise, Debbie and I carried the cross down to the street and planted it in the ground, turned the lights on, and remembered Easter. We hugged and we prayed. We went inside and put on Easter outfits and took a picture and sent it to our kids and grandkids wishing them a Happy Easter. I imagine you did something also – because faith finds a way!

 
This Easter we will be worshipping in the ball field for Sonrise at 7 AM and in the Sanctuary at 9:30 and 11:00 AM and at Higher Ground at 11:00 AM. We will smell the lilies and sing the songs of faith and we will worship the Risen Lord with deep and abiding joy. There will be tears of thanksgiving, I am sure.

 
But, before any of that happens, I will be carrying a little wooden cross with white lights on it and plant it in my yard, and lighting it up to celebrate that faith finds a way. Faith always finds a way.

 
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 17th, 2021

Dear Friends,

I wanted everyone to know some exciting Easter plans that we are making. I am excited that we will be worshipping on Easter after not being able to last year.

This year our Holy Week and Easter Schedule will be as follows:

Palm/Passion Sunday Celebration – March 28th. At both 9:30 and 11 am. Higher Ground will be meeting at 11 am as well.

In the Sanctuary the children will be processing in with palm branches and we have planned a special service of music and message to help us remember both Palm Sunday and the Crucifixion. 

Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae Service – Thursday, April 1 at 7 pm in the Sanctuary

Come celebrate Holy Communion to remember the Last Supper and experience the Tenebrae Service – the Service of Darkness as we remember the Crucifixion.

Easter Sunday – April 4th

Sonrise at 7 am behind Higher Ground

Sanctuary Worship 9:30 and 11 am 

Higher Ground 11 am 

No Sunday School on Easter.

Please make reservations for all these services. We are setting the Sanctuary capacity at 320, which is about half. If we fill up both services then we will add additional services as needed.

I look forward to worshipping with you this Holy Week.

Save your seat for Holy Week Services Here.

I love you all,

Dr. Doug

March 10th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A little over a week ago leaders of the United Methodist Church decided to postpone the
General Conference scheduled for 2021 to 2022 due to the worldwide COVID pandemic and the
difficulty of travel during these times. By postponing the General Conference there will be no
discussion or action taken regarding the Protocol for Separation that had been proposed for
General Conference that was supposed to meet last year.


Basically this means that there is no viable pathway for any United Methodist Church to
separate from the Denomination for at least the next year and a half. It also means that the
current position of the United Methodist Church recorded in the Book of Discipline regarding
homosexuality and forbidding homosexual marriages being performed in UMC churches and
being performed by UMC Clergy is still in force. It also means that the prohibition of self avowed
practicing homosexuals from being ordained as clergy in the UMC is still in place.


If McEachern is like most United Methodist Churches, I’m sure that there are a lot of different
opinions on most subjects, including homosexuality. We are all different and have different life
experiences. Hence, we have different opinions.


But, the beauty of Christianity is that we can all be one in Jesus Christ. We have one faith, one
Lord, one Baptism. One of the reasons I enjoy preaching on the “I Am” sayings of Jesus is that
there is such a clear focus on Jesus in all of these sayings.


This Sunday we will be preaching on “I am the Light of the World.” (John 8:12) Come and let
Jesus shine light upon your life, your thoughts, and in your life. I look forward to seeing you.


I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Over the years I’ve witnessed the scene on TV many times. It’s people coming out from shelters  to see what damage the hurricane has caused. Sometimes they find their house destroyed.  Other times, it’s still standing. Whatever they find, it is difficult and emotional and they are  always asked what they are going to do and they respond that they will rebuild, start over, etc.  And they do. And teams of people come from all over to help them. I imagine McEachern has  even sent some of those teams. 

Similarly, for the past year, we have been dealing with the ravages of COVID-19. It has  caused a lot of damage: sickness, death, schools going virtual, businesses closing, jobs lost,  and even the church suspending in-person worship and carrying out ministry virtually. It has  been a hard year. 

But, things are changing. Vaccinations have begun and most people who choose to receive the  vaccine will receive it sometime this year. Schools are reopening. Sickness and death due to  COVID are slowing down. And people are reemerging after the storm. 

We have started back with in-person worship while continuing online worship. I told the staff to  plan ministry accordingly knowing that we will not suspend our on-campus activities again. We  will continue to use safety protocols but we will also continue to meet. 

As you emerge after this COVID-19 storm, know that McEachern is here. And we are in the  process of rebuilding the ministry of the church. Leaders will be meeting this Sunday afternoon  to continue planning for the unfolding story of ministry at McEachern. 

I look forward to seeing you at worship. There are so many who are a part of McEachern that I  have not had the pleasure of meeting since I arrived last July. I look forward to those meetings.  Let’s rebuild together. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

February 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
The Season of Lent is a time for a return to Spiritual Discipline. Traditionally, it has been a time of prayer and fasting as a way to prepare for the celebration of the most Holy day of the year—Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. The practice of fasting is where the whole idea of “giving up something for Lent” came from.

 
I’d like to challenge you this year to “give up something” and “to take on something.” You choose what you will give up. In years past I have given up desserts, potatoes, fried food, and other things. This year I’m giving up chips of any kind. That may not sound like much to you, but I eat chips all the time, especially at night while watching TV. The idea of giving up something is that whenever you think about or desire what you have given up, that is a call to prayer. I should be praying a lot this Lenten season! What will you give up?

 
This challenge also includes “taking on something.” For this, I have a specific challenge for you. I’m asking everyone to pray for someone that you know who is not a practicing Christian. Pray for that person throughout the season of Lent, and then invite that person to worship on Palm Sunday or Easter. If you’re wondering about capacity in Worship, we’ll have as many services as we need to accommodate as many people who come.

 
So, I’ve “thrown down the gauntlet,” who will accept these challenges?

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

February 17th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I’m looking forward to seeing folks at Worship Sunday. We will be open at 9:30 am and 11:00 am in the  Sanctuary and at 11:00 am at Higher Ground. It will be the first Sunday of Lent and we will be  preaching throughout Lent on the “I Am…” sayings of Jesus. This Sunday the sermon will be “I  am the Door.” Seems appropriate with McEachern opening its doors. 

I have been asked by a number of people about the financial condition of the church. To quote our  Finance Chair, Donnie Newsom, “The financial state of our church is sound.” Donnie can write that for the following reasons. We received a forgivable loan from the Federal Government  called the Payroll Protection Plan last year in the amount of approximately $193,000 dollars.  This loan has not yet been officially forgiven and so we have not reported it as income to the  church. This money would move our year-end number from $103,000 in the red to $90,000 in  the black. In addition, the church has significant reserves both in church operating money and in  our Trustees Fund. 

So, we are financially sound. 

At the same time, we want to be good stewards of the financial resources of the church and so  are asking all our church members to fill out and return Estimate of Giving Cards so that we can  have a clearer picture of our church finances for this year. If you have not yet returned your  card, please do so as soon as possible.  

 

All in all, I praise God for providing for us in a time of trial and I praise God for you!

 

 I love you all, 

Doug

February 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends,
In the Gospel of John we read these words; “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus has previously told them that they will know persecution, that they will be scattered, that He is going to die and rise again, and that this is necessary in order for the Holy Spirit to come. I imagine the Disciples were pretty scared when they heard all this – yet He tells them what is to come in order for them to know peace. And not freedom from trouble – they will know trouble! But peace in the midst of trouble. A peace that comes from knowing Christ has overcome the world.

 
We have certainly known a lot of trouble this past year. Yet, I believe Christ has overcome the world and, so, I have peace and hope. And I have seen you overcoming circumstances to stay connected to one another, to feed thousands of people, to minister in cars and outside at Higher Ground and on flatbed trucks on Christmas Eve and scattered in the Sanctuary singing the songs of Christmas and in parking lots and online in Zoom meetings and on Facebook and in so many ways in order to communicate the Gospel of Jesus. Doing God’s work with you is so awesome!

 
Trouble will come and trouble will go. When (not if) COVID passes, something else will pop up. It’s the nature of a sinful world. But, take heart! Christ has overcome the world. Write that in the depth of your heart. And let’s move forward in ministry!

 
I love you all,

 
Doug
PS. Don’t forget to mail back in your Estimate of Giving Cards this week!

January 20th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Be Bridge Builders. That’s what we have been focusing on all month. I have spoken and written about how we are created by God to be a royal priesthood—building bridges between people and God and people and other people. Certainly, in our world right now we need bridge builders! 

We build these bridges using the Spiritual Gifts God has given us. But that is not the only way. We also practice bridge-building through giving our financial resources to Christ’s ministry through the church, pooling resources in order to make disciples of Jesus and love people. 

The year 2020 was challenging financially for McEachern. I want to thank everyone for your faithfulness in giving. Because of your giving and being good stewards of all the gifts the church received, we finished the year on a positive note financially. 

I do believe that probably by this coming Fall everyone will be able to resume all the participatory ministries of the church without fear of COVID due to all the vaccinations that will have happened by that time. In the meantime, the Leadership and Staff of McEachern are working to lead the church forward in ministry. 

Here are the things we are working on. We are working to be a church that reaches out to everyone in our community so that the active body of the church is multiethnic and multigenerational. We are working to be a church that emphasizes growing as disciples of Jesus Christ who are prayer focused. We are working to form partnerships in mission with all the various outreach ministries in our community. And, we are working to find new ways to reach our community with the Gospel of Jesus especially through the development of online ministries. 

It is exciting to imagine how McEachern is going to develop as a church. But this will not happen unless you participate in the ministry with your time and talents, with your prayers, and with your financial resources. 

Next week you will receive an Estimate of Giving Card from the church. I am asking you to prayerfully consider how you will invest in the growing ministry of McEachern, fill out the card and return it in the envelope provided. I am also asking you to prayerfully think about increasing your giving by 1% of your income over your giving last year. Our goal is to have over 200 Estimate of Giving Cards returned this year. 

Together, by the grace of God, we will see a new day dawn on the ministry of McEachern in the months to come. I want to be a part of a church that truly loves God, loves people, and make disciples. 

I love you all, 

Doug

January 6th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I hope by now that you have gotten the message that we are temporarily pausing in-person functions at McEachern due to the surge in Cobb County of COVID-19 infections. I’ve been here long enough that you probably know that I really resisted the idea, but it is the right decision at this time. 

Monday night, I found myself tossing and turning instead of sleeping. Over time, I have discovered that whenever I am restless like that, the best thing for me to do is get up, get some water, go sit on the couch, and pray. My prayer that night was focused on the decision to pause. I considered whether it was motivated by fear or by faith. And the Lord led me to see that it was neither. Instead, it was a decision based on the fact of the rapidly rising infections and the desire to keep people as safe as possible. 

I then prayed and asked God to help me to know it was the right decision. God reminded me that He is a God of peace and asked me what decision led me to a place of peace—continuing in-person worship or pausing in-person worship. God’s peace came over me; pausing was the decision at this time and this was a temporary state. God also reminded me very warmly that He is with us, no matter what. After this time of prayer, I found myself able to go back to bed and back to sleep. 

I do not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future—and so do you. God is a God whose love endures forever. I praise and worship Him. 

I invite you to join me online for the Traditional Service or to join Rev. Tony online for the Higher Ground Service, both at 11am. Let us worship together, even though we might be apart. We will be continuing to focus on “Be Bridge Builders.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

December 30th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I have been praying for you. My prayer is that everyone had a Christmastime during which they were able to communicate with family, worship, and reflect on the amazing gift of Jesus Christ. True, this Christmas has been different, but also memorable. 

I will never forget the folks who worked so hard to provide the Drive-In Christmas Eve Worship service. We thought the weather would break when looking at the forecast. But it didn’t so we worshipped anyway in cold, windy, wet conditions. Thank you to everyone who was a part of that service and who attended. It reminded me of the cold, windy, primitive conditions that Jesus was born in a cave 2000 years ago. 

I will not soon forget the online service that McEachern Kids did. It was warm and funny and touching and helped me remember that Jesus loves all the children of the world, including me and including you. 

I will not forget having to celebrate Christmas Eve online out of a concern for safety for everyone. I lit my candle and I hope you lit your candle while singing “Silent Night” with the angels. 

I will always remember the new friends that God has placed in my path this year—the people of McEachern! You are warm and loving and, slowly, I am beginning to recognize faces covered by masks. I look forward to getting to know many more of you as 2021 unfolds. 

We have a lot to accomplish as a church in the year to come; one of the most important is to be a people of prayer. I am praying for you and the whole church and the whole world as we face difficult circumstances. God has always called His people “overcomers,” and we will overcome whatever we face by relying on the peer of God and His Holy Spirit. I believe there is much for us to do as we “Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples of Jesus Christ.” 

I love you all, 

 Doug

December 16th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Over these Sundays of Advent, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the Wise Men Rules with you. I do believe that we can learn a lot from the Wise Men as we: Watch Expectantly, Act Faithfully, Live Joyfully, and the last two that I will be preaching on this coming Sunday, Give Generously and Bow Humbly. 

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I am very much aware of the challenge that COVID-19 has created. We want to Worship as safely as we can. We want to participate in various ministries safely. We want to be strong and vital as a church, despite extremely adverse circumstances. 

So, I want to thank you for practicing the church’s COVID-19 protocols and we will continue to offer in-person worship unless the pandemic simply goes crazy. 

I want to encourage you to participate on Christmas Eve, either at the Drive-In Service in the back parking lot at 3 pm or either of our online Services: 4:30 pm for the Children’s Service and 6 pm for the Traditional Service. 

I need to remind you that we will only have an online Worship Service at 10 am on Sunday, December 27th. Please watch from your home in the most comfortable clothing you have. 

Lastly, the SPR Committee has graciously offered the Church Staff the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a time to slow down and recharge before entering 2021. If there are any pastoral needs, we will certainly be available; please call us. 

During the last week of the year, if you have End of Year Financial gifts, you can give them online or you can come by the church on Tuesday or Wednesday from 9 am ‘til Noon and make a contribution. Staff will be present to receive your gifts. 

Please remember the church this year both in your prayers and in your giving. We are only receiving mission gifts using the Christmas Mission Catalogue or in the offering on Christmas Eve. We are still a good ways behind our budget projections for the year, if you can give to help catch us up, that would be a blessing. 

I love serving McEachern and am looking forward to a great year in 2021.

 I love you all, 

Doug

December 9th, 2020

Dear Friends,

Last Tuesday night, the McEachern Church Council voted unanimously to approve the priorities that emerged from the church’s Visioning session in October. These priorities came from those gathered as they prayed and listened to what we understood God to be calling us to do in the coming years.

The priorities were:
– to become a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation
– to focus on discipleship building
– to be prayer centered
– to work to grow the Kingdom of God through witnessing and on line ministry
– to build community partnerships for mission work
– to be debt-free
– to experience a culture change

Leaders in the church will meet again in January to develop a strategic plan for accomplishing these priorities. If you would like to be a part of this session and are not currently serving in leadership, please let me know.

After this has been done, then we will begin to work on the plan. It is so exciting to be a part of McEachern, even in the midst of COVID-19. I truly believe God is moving in this church.
I look forward to continuing to teach “The Wise Men Rules” in worship. This week we will be looking at the third rule: Live Joyfully!

I love you all,
Doug

December 2nd, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone had a Happy, if unusual, Thanksgiving. Debbie and I spent time with each of our children and their families independently and then visited her 96-year-old Aunt and then spent a few days away. It was a good time and we are thankful for family and we are thankful for you.
I thought I’d take a moment and update you regarding COVID-19 and the church. The Staff and I have been closely watching the Georgia Department of Public Health’s reports regarding the coronavirus. Currently, Cobb County and Paulding County are yellow/light-orange on the state map of COVID-19 cases. I know that you are reading and hearing about a surge of coronavirus cases in our nation. There has been a slight uptick in cases since October, but not so much that we feel a need to change the church’s approach.
So, here’s where we are today. We will continue in-person worship for those who desire it and feel safe to attend. We are only able to do this because you have been diligent in wearing masks, social distancing, and entering and exiting the building quickly. I appreciate you so much for your willingness to do these things so that others might enjoy worship in-person. We will be adding back the 9:30 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary, as well as continuing the 11 am in the Sanctuary. We will continue to offer the on-line Worship option at 11 am. Higher Ground Worship will move to 11 am in-person and on-line.
The McEachern Kids Academy meets at 9:30 am on Sundays in the children’s area then the children move into small groups to study a variety of subjects. They also have scheduled a Family Manger Project for this coming Sunday at 4 pm. It will be held outside and you need to register for either of these events.
Our Youth open the doors at 9 am and then have Bible Study beginning around 9:40 am and are done by 10:30 am. They meet in the Youth Suite.
Some of our Adult classes are meeting on-line and some are meeting in-person. (And some both!) Please contact your class for your meeting time.
I also want you to know that Debbie and I appreciate the invitations we have received to various Christmas parties. Unfortunately, we will not be attending them this year. I am in the public a lot as it is and I feel it important to place some limits as a safety precaution. I look forward to next year and being free to participate in many Christmas celebrations.
I love you all,
Doug

November 25th, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Whether we are celebrating alone, on Zoom, or with family and friends, I pray that this will be a day of thankfulness to God for His love and blessings.

Sunday in my sermon I shared the idea of an Alphabet of Thanksgiving – recording at least one thing you are thankful for, using each letter of the alphabet. At our last Staff meeting, the Staff wrote their own Alphabet of Thanksgiving. I told them I would share it with you this week.

A – Alleluias!
B – Bible, beauty
C – Christ, children, Children’s Ministry
D – dogs, digital learning, Dads
E – Eating (we’re Methodists after all), exercise
F – Friends, family
G – God, goodness, grace
H – help, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Higher Ground Worship
I – Isaac (family name), invitation
J – Jesus
K – Kindness
L – Love, laughter
M – memories, McEachern, music, Music Ministry, Missions
O – opportunity
P – Pumpkin pie, Peace, our Pastors
Q – Quiet
R – Remembrance
S – Sanctuary, singing, Salvation, Staff
T – Truth, thankfulness
U – Unity
W – wonder, wisdom, Worship in the Sanctuary
X – Xylophone (X is always hard)
Y – You, Y’all, Youth Ministry
Z – Zoom, ZZZZ’s

On behalf of the Staff, we love you and love being in ministry with you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

November 18th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating a Thanksgiving Sunday. As I got to thinking about this, I  decided to do a little research into what people in America say they are most thankful for.  

Here’s the list: 

  •  – Family (84%) 

  •  – Health (69%) 

  •  – Friends (63%) 

  •  – Memories (63%) 

  •  – Freedom (53%) 

  •  – Safety and Security (47%) 

  •  – Opportunity (45%) 

  •  – Fun Experiences (42%) 

  •  – Achievements (33%) 

  •  – Wealth (21%) 

I am not surprised to see Family, Friends, and Health at the top of the list. All three of these have been made even more precious this year as we have lived with COVID-19. I still remember the first hugs from my grandchildren after the lockdown in March and April.  

However, I must admit that I am surprised that Faith in God is not listed as one of the things that people are most thankful for. When President Abraham Lincoln issued his proclamation in  October 1863, establishing the 4th Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, he did so while the nation was still engaged in the Civil War. In that proclamation, Lincoln designated the day as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in Heaven.” Lincoln called upon the people of the United States to give thanks for all the ways that God had blessed everyone and to also repent for those things that had been done that were not in accordance with God’s will. 

This Sunday we will gather together to offer our thanks to God. Whether you attend in person or online, I look forward to celebrating with you. 


I love you all,
Doug

November 11th, 2020

Dear Friends,
It was great to hear today that a vaccine for COVID-19 is looking very good. I pray that it works and that we might return to living without constantly considering the impact of the virus. I applaud all of you for the way that you are practicing wearing masks in worship, social distancing, and following safety for us to gather every week to worship God. Thank you for your cooperation.
I want you to know of a couple of schedule changes that will happen beginning December 6th. Higher Ground will move its Worship time to 11 am. They will meet both inside and outside at Higher Ground. Also, we will begin again the 9:30 am Worship Service in addition to the 11 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary. To keep adequate social distancing and with increasing numbers in worship, it is necessary to start this service back. We will continue to be online for all our Worship Services as well.
I also want to share that your prayers for the church are being felt. The Spirit in the Sanctuary and at Higher Ground is evident to me. Thank you for your continued prayers and know that I am praying for you.
I love you all,
Doug

November 4th, 2020

Dear Friends,
So, this article is a “Heads Up” article as I share with you some things that will be happening in
the next couple of months. Starting with Communion this Sunday. If you are joining us from home, please have your sacraments prepared. 

First, this month we will celebrate Thanksgiving to God on the fourth Sunday of November. In some ways, I am reminded of the first Thanksgiving after a year that saw a large number of the Pilgrim community die due to exposure to the cold and hunger. That next year they celebrated the fall harvest with a great feast remembering God who provided for them and was with them through that first difficult year. We have had quite a year dealing with COVID-19. This year Thanksgiving might be different, but it will certainly be meaningful.

We begin the celebration of Advent on November 29th. Our Sermon Series for Advent is “The Wise Men Rules.” The focus is on rules we learn for living from the story of the Wise Men we find in the Gospel of Matthew. I hope you will plan on being a part. By the way, Tanya has hatched a plan for the annual Christmas Concert performed by the Choir. It will be on the evening of December 12th and you will be able to attend either in person or virtually.

Christmas Eve Services will be on the 24th at 3pm and 6pm in the Sanctuary. If you attend in person, we will socially distance and may need to use overflow spaces. We are also planning a Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service at 4:30pm which will be online, however, there will be a Watch Party in the Christian Life Center for folks who want to attend.

In January we will focus on Stewardship and you will have the opportunity to make commitments to serve in various ministries as well as a commitment to support the Church’s ministry financially.

We are looking at a busy next few months and I look forward to sharing these times with you!

I love you all,
Doug

October 28th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day with a time in our Worship to remember those of our congregation who have died in the past year. I find that I react to these times of  remembrance with both sadness and thanksgiving for the life that was lived. I hope you will come and be a part of this special service. 

I have now been here for four months. The time has flown! I have never lived through a crazier season of ministry than what we are experiencing now due to COVID-19. But, I do want to say how thankful I am that I am going through this season with you. McEachern is a caring, committed church that truly is seeking to love God and love people. I have personally experienced this through the encouraging words that you all have graciously shared with me. I pray for COVID-19 to be behind us. But, until that time, we will work together to sow seeds of the love and the grace of Jesus with a hurting world.  

May God bless you and be with you! I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday either in-person or online. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 21st, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday you will have the unique opportunity to hear from all four of McEachern’s Pastors, together, as we share a dialogue sermon on Discipleship. This is the last Sunday of our “Seeds for the Sower” series and we will speak about Sowing with Faith. I hope you will join us either online or in-person worship.  

I also want to applaud you for following the guidelines while worshiping in-person. Thank you for wearing masks,  sitting 6 feet apart, and refraining from extended conversations in the Sanctuary. I know that all this is awkward, and, if you’re like me, you’d really like to hug somebody. That time will come eventually.  

One little reminder about the guidelines,  everyone please exit the church building after worship and once you are outside then you can visit with one another. I notice people want to hang out in the Sanctuary and the Narthex to visit. Let the visiting continue, but please let’s move it outside to keep safe. 

I am proud to be a part of McEachern UMC. It is a joy meeting folks and getting to know people.  I’m excited about Sunday and our dialogue sermon at 9:30 am and 11 am. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 14th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I just came from our staff meeting. I hope you all realize just how gifted and committed the Staff here at McEachern is. I am constantly amazed at the creativity and perseverance. Please make sure and express appreciation to them. 

Reading the Bible for my devotion the other day, I came across these verses, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your  hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

We live in an anxious time. Part of the anxiety comes from encountering a disease unlike any we have seen in our lifetime. Part of the anxiety is from the changes in our daily living: wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands frequently, not touching one another (I really miss handshakes and hugs!). Yet another part of is fearfulness for our safety and security. I’m sure you have your own reasons for feeling anxious. 

But, Paul writes that we should not be anxious about anything. He tells us to take our concerns to Jesus in prayer and petition. I did a study once that required me to keep a prayer journal. The study was “The Workbook of Living Prayer.” Several years later, I led the study again in another church and used my original workbook with my notes and prayer requests. As I went through, I  discovered that every prayer request that I had written down had been answered.  

God listens to our prayers and answers everyone. His answers may not be exactly what we want or exactly in the time frame that we want, but I know that God answers prayer.  

Paul tells us when we pray to God that He will give us His peace. What that means is that any time you are feeling anxious, let that be a call to prayer knowing that God will answer your prayer. And soon, you will notice the peace of God coming over you. 

The old saying is true, “No God, No Peace …Know God, Know Peace.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 7th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

When I was 16, I went to Camp Glisson for the first time on a Conference Youth Retreat. I had an encounter with God that weekend that changed my life. The next time I went to Glisson, I was elected to the North Georgia Conference Youth Council. For the next two years, I spent a lot of time helping plan and lead retreats there. 

I served as a Camp Counselor the summer after I graduated from High School. By this time, it was clear that God had called me into ministry and that summer was one of my favorites of all time. I learned things as a Counselor that I use in ministry today. I kept song sheets and my Counselor manual from the summer of 1972. 

Glisson has been an important part of my life and, in many ways, I consider it to be my spiritual home. When my children started going as campers when they were old enough. Every year, the week at Glisson was scheduled before we even thought about vacation plans. Both of them were greatly affected by their time at Glisson; they grew spiritually. Brianne and Jordan eventually served as Camp Counselors for several years, and Jordan even met his future wife, Meredith, there. 

Over time, I have served on the Board for Camp Glisson, worked as a T.I.R. (preacher of the week), and attended many retreats and conferences. I have sought to give back to Glisson with my time and monetary gifts. I figure the ministry of Glisson has sown into me and I want to help the ministry sow into others. 

Now, my grandchildren are Glisson campers. They love the Camp and they have grown spiritually as a result. 

I share this because it is a tale of sowing and reaping. Just as participating in the church and giving to the church is a tale of sowing and reaping. When we sow, we do not know what exactly the harvest will be or who will be affected. Whoever sowed into Glisson had little idea that in 1970 a 16-year-old boy would meet God in a way that would change his life forever. 

That boy is now serving as Senior Pastor here. When we sow into the church, we do not know who will meet Jesus and be changed. Thousands have over the history of McEachern. Who knows how many more will come to God. 

 

I love you all, 

Doug 

June 2nd, 2021

Dear Friends,
It is very different entering into this summer compared to last summer. This time last year, the church campus was still closed and worship was online only. Now, we are fully opening the campus and offer three in-person worship opportunities each Sunday as well as online services.
We are also offering more and more opportunities for you to connect and be involved in the ministry of the church. On Wednesday this week at 6 pm, you are invited to Wednesday evening prayer. Each Wednesday night, at 6 pm in the Chapel, everyone is invited to be a part of a thirty-minute prayer Service.
Also, beginning this week, McEachern Kids will hold Thursday evening Drive-In Services at 6 pm and 7 pm. I attended some of these last Summer and they are a lot of fun. Bring the whole family!
On Friday evening this week, we will be offering Foodshare and you can come and serve beginning at 5 pm. And, then, after Foodshare you can worship at Friday Night Fire up at Higher Ground. Come and be blessed.
These are just a few of the upcoming opportunities, so watch McEachern’s communications for other things that will be happening.
It’s time to be involved! Let’s celebrate the gift of faith that we have received!


I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 28th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I pray that you are all doing well today. My prayers are with you each and every day. I celebrate the Confirmation of 10 of our young people Sunday and the growing number of reports I have heard of ones who are seeking to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ. 

Today I want to urge you to participate in the Global Impact Celebration at McEachern and to give a brief report from the Church Council meeting Monday night. 

Global Impact Celebration—Today through Sunday, May 2. 

Schedule: Today (Wednesday) Tomorrow (Thursday) and Saturday 

 Devotional at 8am on McEachern’s Facebook page. Videos of Mission on McEachern’s Facebook at Noon Questions and Answers on McEachern’s Facebook at 7pm GIC Celebration in Worship at 9:30am and 11:00am in the Sanctuary. 

 At each Service on Sunday we will be receiving Faith Promise Commitments. Please bring your Card for both Financial and Service Commitments! 

Church Council Report – 

The Church Council heard reports from Finance, Staff Parish Relations Committee, and the Trustees. 

 Finance reported that the church has finally received confirmation that the PPP loan from the US Government has been forgiven. Through March, we have spent $18,000 more than we have received in offering. Our current Church Checking Account balance was $72,000 with approximately $600,000 in undesignated reserves. We have received 149 Commitments towards the budget of the church, and still hope that as people return to church they will make financial commitments. 

 SPRC –

– All four of our clergy have been reappointed for the year 2021-2022. Denise Register is retiring from the Pre School and her successor will be Denise Ribeiro. It was also reported that Misty Dolph has left the church staff and that her Administrative job responsibilities have been shifted to Nancy Folds, Teresa McDaniel, and Sharon Brand. In addition, Stacie Barrow will be working with DeDe in Children’s Ministry beginning in May and her responsibilities will be taken over by Rev. Tony Philips and Rev. Bomi Kim. All of these staff changes are budget neutral. 

 Trustees –

 The Lula Dobbs project is underway and will be completed in about 6 weeks after permits are received. 

 Pastor’s Time – 

I’ve asked the help of the Church Council in preparing a Frequently Asked Questions document to circulate to the congregation as a result of Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson and The North Georgia Cabinet’s Welcoming Table Vision and webinar. Both of these can be viewed on the North Georgia Conference website at ngumc.org. This document will be sent to the McEachern families to communicate truthfulness, be transparent, and minimize confusion. 

I want to urge everyone who has not attended to attend a Listening Session. The next one is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 4pm in the Gym in the CLC. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

April 21st, 2021

Dear Friends,
It is easy to get distracted. The phone rings. A child cries out. You get a text. Something comes across on a news feed, etc., etc. Really easy to get distracted.
It is really hard to maintain focus. As Christians, we are called to maintain our focus. When the world is caught up in all sorts of distractions, Christians are called to focus on following Christ with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. Christians are called to love God which means to obey God. We obey God when we worship Him, when we pray, when we study His Word, and when we serve Him by sharing Christ’s love and telling people about Jesus.
Last week I wrote to you about Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson and her Cabinet presenting a webinar basically stating that they would be working towards changing the Book of Discipline at the next General Conference, which will be either in 2022 or 2024, in a way that will be inclusive of all people in the LGBTQ community and offer the opportunity for folks in that community to be married by United Methodist clergy and for folks in that community to be Ordained to serve as clergy in the United Methodist Church. Please understand that until the General Conference meets Bishop Sue and the Cabinet must abide by the 2016 Discipline which forbids the above. However, you feel about this – don’t let it distract you from being faithful to Jesus and keeping your focus on following Him.
As a church, we will be holding our Global Impact Celebration next week. There will be numerous opportunities for you to learn about how McEachern is being faithful to Christ in serving and loving our community and the world. Our celebration will conclude on Sunday, May 2 in the Sanctuary at both the 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM services where you will be given the opportunity to make a Faith Promise financial commitment to fund local and global mission outreach as well as the opportunity to make a commitment to serve Christ through involvement in one of McEachern’s many mission projects.
I am asking you to do three things. First, be in prayer as to how you will participate both personally and financially in missions work this coming year. Second, participate online next week in the various learning opportunities. Third, come be a part of the celebration on Sunday, May 2nd. I look forward to participating with you.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 14th, 2021

Dear Friends,
First I want to make sure everyone is aware of the Global Impact Celebration the weekend of May 2. Watch for details of how you can participate both online and in person. It will be a great weekend!
Now I want to tell you about a time that Debbie and I visited our granddaughters’ school to eat lunch with them. We got there a little early and sat on a bench outside the lunchroom to wait. I got to tell you, sitting on a bench in an elementary school hallway is really something!
We watched children entering and leaving the lunchroom. It’s hard for me to describe just how much happens in the line as kids are going to lunch. There’s picking at each other; all sorts of gyrations, spins, and twirls; speaking and whispering all happening at once as the kids maintain some semblance of a line slowly rolling into the lunchroom. Also, I want you to know that, from my observation, boys and girls act really differently. Boys tended to be louder and more active. I still have a vivid memory of the boy who flipped his water bottle the ENTIRE TIME he was in the lunchroom. Girls tended to be quieter and ate in groups. This is just what I saw on that particular day. It was a wonder that anyone ate anything!
But there was something else that I noticed that day. On the wall outside the lunchroom was a fire extinguisher. It was encased in a fire extinguisher box and duly labeled. However, over time the “F” from the word “Fire” had worn off. So, rather than reading “Fire Extinguisher” it actually read “Ire Extinguisher.” And I thought, “Boy, would I like to have an Ire Extinguisher!”
Think about the ways an Ire Extinguisher could be used. You do something and get your spouse mad at you. Rather than experiencing all the pain and difficulty of working things out, you simply pull out the Ire Extinguisher. Or, with Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching and family gatherings happening, rather than experiencing the tensions that accompany a lot of those gatherings you simply spray everyone with the Ire Extinguisher as they enter the house. Instant peace!
Just imagine if we sprayed Congress with the Ire Extinguisher—something might actually get done! And, what if we placed an Ire Extinguisher in every church? By eliminating church fights I believe we could be much more effective in spreading the Gospel.
But, then I thought, we already have an Ire Extinguisher. His name is Jesus. I believe if we followed His teachings about love, grace, and forgiveness then Ire would be extinguished and peace would come upon the earth.
May it be so.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 7th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

It was wonderful to gather with so many of you on Easter. It was also joyful sharing with so many online. Nothing compares to the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! 

Truly, the most amazing moment in all of history! 

Thank you to everyone who had a part in our Holy Week Services from Palm Sunday through Easter. I know I will not mention everyone, but thanks to Tanya and the Choir for all the special music, thanks to Susan and our Nursery workers, thanks to DeDe and all those who work with children for the Palm procession, Monday night in the parking lot, and Easter Sunday morning 

celebrations, thanks to Nancy and all those who made registrations, thanks to Aubrey and Bomi for getting the word out, thanks to Tony for Higher Ground worship, thanks to Cindy for all her many contributions, thanks to our ushers and greeters and acolytes and everyone connected to worship, thanks to James and all the sound folks, and thanks to Carlos for all his work with the youth this past week. Easter week takes everyone and you all made this week a special week. 

Going forward there are several upcoming things that you need to be aware of: 

Confirmation Sunday – April 25th at the 11am Service 

Global Impact Celebration weekend – May 1-3 

Mother’s Day – May 10 

Graduate Recognition Sunday – May 17 

Pentecost – May 24. 

A lot of special days for a lot of special people. Please put all these on your calendars and I look forward to sharing them with you. 

May we all be blessed as we share this Easter Season. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

March 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A year ago we were in total lockdown due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Most businesses and restaurants were closed. People did not venture out except to get food, gas, or for a few other essential things. Church facilities were closed – and remain closed for several months.

 
I will never forget last Easter. The only worship available was online. There were no Easter Lilies, no wonderful music, no sanctuaries open to attend, no Easter outfits to wear, no friends to see. It was a dark Easter.

 
So, I started a new tradition for the observance of Easter last year. I made a wooden cross and covered it with white lights. And at sunrise, Debbie and I carried the cross down to the street and planted it in the ground, turned the lights on, and remembered Easter. We hugged and we prayed. We went inside and put on Easter outfits and took a picture and sent it to our kids and grandkids wishing them a Happy Easter. I imagine you did something also – because faith finds a way!

 
This Easter we will be worshipping in the ball field for Sonrise at 7 AM and in the Sanctuary at 9:30 and 11:00 AM and at Higher Ground at 11:00 AM. We will smell the lilies and sing the songs of faith and we will worship the Risen Lord with deep and abiding joy. There will be tears of thanksgiving, I am sure.

 
But, before any of that happens, I will be carrying a little wooden cross with white lights on it and plant it in my yard, and lighting it up to celebrate that faith finds a way. Faith always finds a way.

 
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 17th, 2021

Dear Friends,

I wanted everyone to know some exciting Easter plans that we are making. I am excited that we will be worshipping on Easter after not being able to last year.

This year our Holy Week and Easter Schedule will be as follows:

Palm/Passion Sunday Celebration – March 28th. At both 9:30 and 11 am. Higher Ground will be meeting at 11 am as well.

In the Sanctuary the children will be processing in with palm branches and we have planned a special service of music and message to help us remember both Palm Sunday and the Crucifixion. 

Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae Service – Thursday, April 1 at 7 pm in the Sanctuary

Come celebrate Holy Communion to remember the Last Supper and experience the Tenebrae Service – the Service of Darkness as we remember the Crucifixion.

Easter Sunday – April 4th

Sonrise at 7 am behind Higher Ground

Sanctuary Worship 9:30 and 11 am 

Higher Ground 11 am 

No Sunday School on Easter.

Please make reservations for all these services. We are setting the Sanctuary capacity at 320, which is about half. If we fill up both services then we will add additional services as needed.

I look forward to worshipping with you this Holy Week.

Save your seat for Holy Week Services Here.

I love you all,

Dr. Doug

March 10th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A little over a week ago leaders of the United Methodist Church decided to postpone the
General Conference scheduled for 2021 to 2022 due to the worldwide COVID pandemic and the
difficulty of travel during these times. By postponing the General Conference there will be no
discussion or action taken regarding the Protocol for Separation that had been proposed for
General Conference that was supposed to meet last year.


Basically this means that there is no viable pathway for any United Methodist Church to
separate from the Denomination for at least the next year and a half. It also means that the
current position of the United Methodist Church recorded in the Book of Discipline regarding
homosexuality and forbidding homosexual marriages being performed in UMC churches and
being performed by UMC Clergy is still in force. It also means that the prohibition of self avowed
practicing homosexuals from being ordained as clergy in the UMC is still in place.


If McEachern is like most United Methodist Churches, I’m sure that there are a lot of different
opinions on most subjects, including homosexuality. We are all different and have different life
experiences. Hence, we have different opinions.


But, the beauty of Christianity is that we can all be one in Jesus Christ. We have one faith, one
Lord, one Baptism. One of the reasons I enjoy preaching on the “I Am” sayings of Jesus is that
there is such a clear focus on Jesus in all of these sayings.


This Sunday we will be preaching on “I am the Light of the World.” (John 8:12) Come and let
Jesus shine light upon your life, your thoughts, and in your life. I look forward to seeing you.


I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Over the years I’ve witnessed the scene on TV many times. It’s people coming out from shelters  to see what damage the hurricane has caused. Sometimes they find their house destroyed.  Other times, it’s still standing. Whatever they find, it is difficult and emotional and they are  always asked what they are going to do and they respond that they will rebuild, start over, etc.  And they do. And teams of people come from all over to help them. I imagine McEachern has  even sent some of those teams. 

Similarly, for the past year, we have been dealing with the ravages of COVID-19. It has  caused a lot of damage: sickness, death, schools going virtual, businesses closing, jobs lost,  and even the church suspending in-person worship and carrying out ministry virtually. It has  been a hard year. 

But, things are changing. Vaccinations have begun and most people who choose to receive the  vaccine will receive it sometime this year. Schools are reopening. Sickness and death due to  COVID are slowing down. And people are reemerging after the storm. 

We have started back with in-person worship while continuing online worship. I told the staff to  plan ministry accordingly knowing that we will not suspend our on-campus activities again. We  will continue to use safety protocols but we will also continue to meet. 

As you emerge after this COVID-19 storm, know that McEachern is here. And we are in the  process of rebuilding the ministry of the church. Leaders will be meeting this Sunday afternoon  to continue planning for the unfolding story of ministry at McEachern. 

I look forward to seeing you at worship. There are so many who are a part of McEachern that I  have not had the pleasure of meeting since I arrived last July. I look forward to those meetings.  Let’s rebuild together. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

February 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
The Season of Lent is a time for a return to Spiritual Discipline. Traditionally, it has been a time of prayer and fasting as a way to prepare for the celebration of the most Holy day of the year—Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. The practice of fasting is where the whole idea of “giving up something for Lent” came from.

 
I’d like to challenge you this year to “give up something” and “to take on something.” You choose what you will give up. In years past I have given up desserts, potatoes, fried food, and other things. This year I’m giving up chips of any kind. That may not sound like much to you, but I eat chips all the time, especially at night while watching TV. The idea of giving up something is that whenever you think about or desire what you have given up, that is a call to prayer. I should be praying a lot this Lenten season! What will you give up?

 
This challenge also includes “taking on something.” For this, I have a specific challenge for you. I’m asking everyone to pray for someone that you know who is not a practicing Christian. Pray for that person throughout the season of Lent, and then invite that person to worship on Palm Sunday or Easter. If you’re wondering about capacity in Worship, we’ll have as many services as we need to accommodate as many people who come.

 
So, I’ve “thrown down the gauntlet,” who will accept these challenges?

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

February 17th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I’m looking forward to seeing folks at Worship Sunday. We will be open at 9:30 am and 11:00 am in the  Sanctuary and at 11:00 am at Higher Ground. It will be the first Sunday of Lent and we will be  preaching throughout Lent on the “I Am…” sayings of Jesus. This Sunday the sermon will be “I  am the Door.” Seems appropriate with McEachern opening its doors. 

I have been asked by a number of people about the financial condition of the church. To quote our  Finance Chair, Donnie Newsom, “The financial state of our church is sound.” Donnie can write that for the following reasons. We received a forgivable loan from the Federal Government  called the Payroll Protection Plan last year in the amount of approximately $193,000 dollars.  This loan has not yet been officially forgiven and so we have not reported it as income to the  church. This money would move our year-end number from $103,000 in the red to $90,000 in  the black. In addition, the church has significant reserves both in church operating money and in  our Trustees Fund. 

So, we are financially sound. 

At the same time, we want to be good stewards of the financial resources of the church and so  are asking all our church members to fill out and return Estimate of Giving Cards so that we can  have a clearer picture of our church finances for this year. If you have not yet returned your  card, please do so as soon as possible.  

 

All in all, I praise God for providing for us in a time of trial and I praise God for you!

 

 I love you all, 

Doug

February 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends,
In the Gospel of John we read these words; “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus has previously told them that they will know persecution, that they will be scattered, that He is going to die and rise again, and that this is necessary in order for the Holy Spirit to come. I imagine the Disciples were pretty scared when they heard all this – yet He tells them what is to come in order for them to know peace. And not freedom from trouble – they will know trouble! But peace in the midst of trouble. A peace that comes from knowing Christ has overcome the world.

 
We have certainly known a lot of trouble this past year. Yet, I believe Christ has overcome the world and, so, I have peace and hope. And I have seen you overcoming circumstances to stay connected to one another, to feed thousands of people, to minister in cars and outside at Higher Ground and on flatbed trucks on Christmas Eve and scattered in the Sanctuary singing the songs of Christmas and in parking lots and online in Zoom meetings and on Facebook and in so many ways in order to communicate the Gospel of Jesus. Doing God’s work with you is so awesome!

 
Trouble will come and trouble will go. When (not if) COVID passes, something else will pop up. It’s the nature of a sinful world. But, take heart! Christ has overcome the world. Write that in the depth of your heart. And let’s move forward in ministry!

 
I love you all,

 
Doug
PS. Don’t forget to mail back in your Estimate of Giving Cards this week!

January 20th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Be Bridge Builders. That’s what we have been focusing on all month. I have spoken and written about how we are created by God to be a royal priesthood—building bridges between people and God and people and other people. Certainly, in our world right now we need bridge builders! 

We build these bridges using the Spiritual Gifts God has given us. But that is not the only way. We also practice bridge-building through giving our financial resources to Christ’s ministry through the church, pooling resources in order to make disciples of Jesus and love people. 

The year 2020 was challenging financially for McEachern. I want to thank everyone for your faithfulness in giving. Because of your giving and being good stewards of all the gifts the church received, we finished the year on a positive note financially. 

I do believe that probably by this coming Fall everyone will be able to resume all the participatory ministries of the church without fear of COVID due to all the vaccinations that will have happened by that time. In the meantime, the Leadership and Staff of McEachern are working to lead the church forward in ministry. 

Here are the things we are working on. We are working to be a church that reaches out to everyone in our community so that the active body of the church is multiethnic and multigenerational. We are working to be a church that emphasizes growing as disciples of Jesus Christ who are prayer focused. We are working to form partnerships in mission with all the various outreach ministries in our community. And, we are working to find new ways to reach our community with the Gospel of Jesus especially through the development of online ministries. 

It is exciting to imagine how McEachern is going to develop as a church. But this will not happen unless you participate in the ministry with your time and talents, with your prayers, and with your financial resources. 

Next week you will receive an Estimate of Giving Card from the church. I am asking you to prayerfully consider how you will invest in the growing ministry of McEachern, fill out the card and return it in the envelope provided. I am also asking you to prayerfully think about increasing your giving by 1% of your income over your giving last year. Our goal is to have over 200 Estimate of Giving Cards returned this year. 

Together, by the grace of God, we will see a new day dawn on the ministry of McEachern in the months to come. I want to be a part of a church that truly loves God, loves people, and make disciples. 

I love you all, 

Doug

January 6th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I hope by now that you have gotten the message that we are temporarily pausing in-person functions at McEachern due to the surge in Cobb County of COVID-19 infections. I’ve been here long enough that you probably know that I really resisted the idea, but it is the right decision at this time. 

Monday night, I found myself tossing and turning instead of sleeping. Over time, I have discovered that whenever I am restless like that, the best thing for me to do is get up, get some water, go sit on the couch, and pray. My prayer that night was focused on the decision to pause. I considered whether it was motivated by fear or by faith. And the Lord led me to see that it was neither. Instead, it was a decision based on the fact of the rapidly rising infections and the desire to keep people as safe as possible. 

I then prayed and asked God to help me to know it was the right decision. God reminded me that He is a God of peace and asked me what decision led me to a place of peace—continuing in-person worship or pausing in-person worship. God’s peace came over me; pausing was the decision at this time and this was a temporary state. God also reminded me very warmly that He is with us, no matter what. After this time of prayer, I found myself able to go back to bed and back to sleep. 

I do not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future—and so do you. God is a God whose love endures forever. I praise and worship Him. 

I invite you to join me online for the Traditional Service or to join Rev. Tony online for the Higher Ground Service, both at 11am. Let us worship together, even though we might be apart. We will be continuing to focus on “Be Bridge Builders.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

December 30th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I have been praying for you. My prayer is that everyone had a Christmastime during which they were able to communicate with family, worship, and reflect on the amazing gift of Jesus Christ. True, this Christmas has been different, but also memorable. 

I will never forget the folks who worked so hard to provide the Drive-In Christmas Eve Worship service. We thought the weather would break when looking at the forecast. But it didn’t so we worshipped anyway in cold, windy, wet conditions. Thank you to everyone who was a part of that service and who attended. It reminded me of the cold, windy, primitive conditions that Jesus was born in a cave 2000 years ago. 

I will not soon forget the online service that McEachern Kids did. It was warm and funny and touching and helped me remember that Jesus loves all the children of the world, including me and including you. 

I will not forget having to celebrate Christmas Eve online out of a concern for safety for everyone. I lit my candle and I hope you lit your candle while singing “Silent Night” with the angels. 

I will always remember the new friends that God has placed in my path this year—the people of McEachern! You are warm and loving and, slowly, I am beginning to recognize faces covered by masks. I look forward to getting to know many more of you as 2021 unfolds. 

We have a lot to accomplish as a church in the year to come; one of the most important is to be a people of prayer. I am praying for you and the whole church and the whole world as we face difficult circumstances. God has always called His people “overcomers,” and we will overcome whatever we face by relying on the peer of God and His Holy Spirit. I believe there is much for us to do as we “Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples of Jesus Christ.” 

I love you all, 

 Doug

December 16th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Over these Sundays of Advent, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the Wise Men Rules with you. I do believe that we can learn a lot from the Wise Men as we: Watch Expectantly, Act Faithfully, Live Joyfully, and the last two that I will be preaching on this coming Sunday, Give Generously and Bow Humbly. 

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I am very much aware of the challenge that COVID-19 has created. We want to Worship as safely as we can. We want to participate in various ministries safely. We want to be strong and vital as a church, despite extremely adverse circumstances. 

So, I want to thank you for practicing the church’s COVID-19 protocols and we will continue to offer in-person worship unless the pandemic simply goes crazy. 

I want to encourage you to participate on Christmas Eve, either at the Drive-In Service in the back parking lot at 3 pm or either of our online Services: 4:30 pm for the Children’s Service and 6 pm for the Traditional Service. 

I need to remind you that we will only have an online Worship Service at 10 am on Sunday, December 27th. Please watch from your home in the most comfortable clothing you have. 

Lastly, the SPR Committee has graciously offered the Church Staff the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a time to slow down and recharge before entering 2021. If there are any pastoral needs, we will certainly be available; please call us. 

During the last week of the year, if you have End of Year Financial gifts, you can give them online or you can come by the church on Tuesday or Wednesday from 9 am ‘til Noon and make a contribution. Staff will be present to receive your gifts. 

Please remember the church this year both in your prayers and in your giving. We are only receiving mission gifts using the Christmas Mission Catalogue or in the offering on Christmas Eve. We are still a good ways behind our budget projections for the year, if you can give to help catch us up, that would be a blessing. 

I love serving McEachern and am looking forward to a great year in 2021.

 I love you all, 

Doug

December 9th, 2020

Dear Friends,

Last Tuesday night, the McEachern Church Council voted unanimously to approve the priorities that emerged from the church’s Visioning session in October. These priorities came from those gathered as they prayed and listened to what we understood God to be calling us to do in the coming years.

The priorities were:
– to become a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation
– to focus on discipleship building
– to be prayer centered
– to work to grow the Kingdom of God through witnessing and on line ministry
– to build community partnerships for mission work
– to be debt-free
– to experience a culture change

Leaders in the church will meet again in January to develop a strategic plan for accomplishing these priorities. If you would like to be a part of this session and are not currently serving in leadership, please let me know.

After this has been done, then we will begin to work on the plan. It is so exciting to be a part of McEachern, even in the midst of COVID-19. I truly believe God is moving in this church.
I look forward to continuing to teach “The Wise Men Rules” in worship. This week we will be looking at the third rule: Live Joyfully!

I love you all,
Doug

December 2nd, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone had a Happy, if unusual, Thanksgiving. Debbie and I spent time with each of our children and their families independently and then visited her 96-year-old Aunt and then spent a few days away. It was a good time and we are thankful for family and we are thankful for you.
I thought I’d take a moment and update you regarding COVID-19 and the church. The Staff and I have been closely watching the Georgia Department of Public Health’s reports regarding the coronavirus. Currently, Cobb County and Paulding County are yellow/light-orange on the state map of COVID-19 cases. I know that you are reading and hearing about a surge of coronavirus cases in our nation. There has been a slight uptick in cases since October, but not so much that we feel a need to change the church’s approach.
So, here’s where we are today. We will continue in-person worship for those who desire it and feel safe to attend. We are only able to do this because you have been diligent in wearing masks, social distancing, and entering and exiting the building quickly. I appreciate you so much for your willingness to do these things so that others might enjoy worship in-person. We will be adding back the 9:30 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary, as well as continuing the 11 am in the Sanctuary. We will continue to offer the on-line Worship option at 11 am. Higher Ground Worship will move to 11 am in-person and on-line.
The McEachern Kids Academy meets at 9:30 am on Sundays in the children’s area then the children move into small groups to study a variety of subjects. They also have scheduled a Family Manger Project for this coming Sunday at 4 pm. It will be held outside and you need to register for either of these events.
Our Youth open the doors at 9 am and then have Bible Study beginning around 9:40 am and are done by 10:30 am. They meet in the Youth Suite.
Some of our Adult classes are meeting on-line and some are meeting in-person. (And some both!) Please contact your class for your meeting time.
I also want you to know that Debbie and I appreciate the invitations we have received to various Christmas parties. Unfortunately, we will not be attending them this year. I am in the public a lot as it is and I feel it important to place some limits as a safety precaution. I look forward to next year and being free to participate in many Christmas celebrations.
I love you all,
Doug

November 25th, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Whether we are celebrating alone, on Zoom, or with family and friends, I pray that this will be a day of thankfulness to God for His love and blessings.

Sunday in my sermon I shared the idea of an Alphabet of Thanksgiving – recording at least one thing you are thankful for, using each letter of the alphabet. At our last Staff meeting, the Staff wrote their own Alphabet of Thanksgiving. I told them I would share it with you this week.

A – Alleluias!
B – Bible, beauty
C – Christ, children, Children’s Ministry
D – dogs, digital learning, Dads
E – Eating (we’re Methodists after all), exercise
F – Friends, family
G – God, goodness, grace
H – help, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Higher Ground Worship
I – Isaac (family name), invitation
J – Jesus
K – Kindness
L – Love, laughter
M – memories, McEachern, music, Music Ministry, Missions
O – opportunity
P – Pumpkin pie, Peace, our Pastors
Q – Quiet
R – Remembrance
S – Sanctuary, singing, Salvation, Staff
T – Truth, thankfulness
U – Unity
W – wonder, wisdom, Worship in the Sanctuary
X – Xylophone (X is always hard)
Y – You, Y’all, Youth Ministry
Z – Zoom, ZZZZ’s

On behalf of the Staff, we love you and love being in ministry with you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

November 18th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating a Thanksgiving Sunday. As I got to thinking about this, I  decided to do a little research into what people in America say they are most thankful for.  

Here’s the list: 

  •  – Family (84%) 

  •  – Health (69%) 

  •  – Friends (63%) 

  •  – Memories (63%) 

  •  – Freedom (53%) 

  •  – Safety and Security (47%) 

  •  – Opportunity (45%) 

  •  – Fun Experiences (42%) 

  •  – Achievements (33%) 

  •  – Wealth (21%) 

I am not surprised to see Family, Friends, and Health at the top of the list. All three of these have been made even more precious this year as we have lived with COVID-19. I still remember the first hugs from my grandchildren after the lockdown in March and April.  

However, I must admit that I am surprised that Faith in God is not listed as one of the things that people are most thankful for. When President Abraham Lincoln issued his proclamation in  October 1863, establishing the 4th Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, he did so while the nation was still engaged in the Civil War. In that proclamation, Lincoln designated the day as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in Heaven.” Lincoln called upon the people of the United States to give thanks for all the ways that God had blessed everyone and to also repent for those things that had been done that were not in accordance with God’s will. 

This Sunday we will gather together to offer our thanks to God. Whether you attend in person or online, I look forward to celebrating with you. 


I love you all,
Doug

November 11th, 2020

Dear Friends,
It was great to hear today that a vaccine for COVID-19 is looking very good. I pray that it works and that we might return to living without constantly considering the impact of the virus. I applaud all of you for the way that you are practicing wearing masks in worship, social distancing, and following safety for us to gather every week to worship God. Thank you for your cooperation.
I want you to know of a couple of schedule changes that will happen beginning December 6th. Higher Ground will move its Worship time to 11 am. They will meet both inside and outside at Higher Ground. Also, we will begin again the 9:30 am Worship Service in addition to the 11 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary. To keep adequate social distancing and with increasing numbers in worship, it is necessary to start this service back. We will continue to be online for all our Worship Services as well.
I also want to share that your prayers for the church are being felt. The Spirit in the Sanctuary and at Higher Ground is evident to me. Thank you for your continued prayers and know that I am praying for you.
I love you all,
Doug

November 4th, 2020

Dear Friends,
So, this article is a “Heads Up” article as I share with you some things that will be happening in
the next couple of months. Starting with Communion this Sunday. If you are joining us from home, please have your sacraments prepared. 

First, this month we will celebrate Thanksgiving to God on the fourth Sunday of November. In some ways, I am reminded of the first Thanksgiving after a year that saw a large number of the Pilgrim community die due to exposure to the cold and hunger. That next year they celebrated the fall harvest with a great feast remembering God who provided for them and was with them through that first difficult year. We have had quite a year dealing with COVID-19. This year Thanksgiving might be different, but it will certainly be meaningful.

We begin the celebration of Advent on November 29th. Our Sermon Series for Advent is “The Wise Men Rules.” The focus is on rules we learn for living from the story of the Wise Men we find in the Gospel of Matthew. I hope you will plan on being a part. By the way, Tanya has hatched a plan for the annual Christmas Concert performed by the Choir. It will be on the evening of December 12th and you will be able to attend either in person or virtually.

Christmas Eve Services will be on the 24th at 3pm and 6pm in the Sanctuary. If you attend in person, we will socially distance and may need to use overflow spaces. We are also planning a Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service at 4:30pm which will be online, however, there will be a Watch Party in the Christian Life Center for folks who want to attend.

In January we will focus on Stewardship and you will have the opportunity to make commitments to serve in various ministries as well as a commitment to support the Church’s ministry financially.

We are looking at a busy next few months and I look forward to sharing these times with you!

I love you all,
Doug

October 28th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day with a time in our Worship to remember those of our congregation who have died in the past year. I find that I react to these times of  remembrance with both sadness and thanksgiving for the life that was lived. I hope you will come and be a part of this special service. 

I have now been here for four months. The time has flown! I have never lived through a crazier season of ministry than what we are experiencing now due to COVID-19. But, I do want to say how thankful I am that I am going through this season with you. McEachern is a caring, committed church that truly is seeking to love God and love people. I have personally experienced this through the encouraging words that you all have graciously shared with me. I pray for COVID-19 to be behind us. But, until that time, we will work together to sow seeds of the love and the grace of Jesus with a hurting world.  

May God bless you and be with you! I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday either in-person or online. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 21st, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday you will have the unique opportunity to hear from all four of McEachern’s Pastors, together, as we share a dialogue sermon on Discipleship. This is the last Sunday of our “Seeds for the Sower” series and we will speak about Sowing with Faith. I hope you will join us either online or in-person worship.  

I also want to applaud you for following the guidelines while worshiping in-person. Thank you for wearing masks,  sitting 6 feet apart, and refraining from extended conversations in the Sanctuary. I know that all this is awkward, and, if you’re like me, you’d really like to hug somebody. That time will come eventually.  

One little reminder about the guidelines,  everyone please exit the church building after worship and once you are outside then you can visit with one another. I notice people want to hang out in the Sanctuary and the Narthex to visit. Let the visiting continue, but please let’s move it outside to keep safe. 

I am proud to be a part of McEachern UMC. It is a joy meeting folks and getting to know people.  I’m excited about Sunday and our dialogue sermon at 9:30 am and 11 am. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 14th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I just came from our staff meeting. I hope you all realize just how gifted and committed the Staff here at McEachern is. I am constantly amazed at the creativity and perseverance. Please make sure and express appreciation to them. 

Reading the Bible for my devotion the other day, I came across these verses, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your  hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

We live in an anxious time. Part of the anxiety comes from encountering a disease unlike any we have seen in our lifetime. Part of the anxiety is from the changes in our daily living: wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands frequently, not touching one another (I really miss handshakes and hugs!). Yet another part of is fearfulness for our safety and security. I’m sure you have your own reasons for feeling anxious. 

But, Paul writes that we should not be anxious about anything. He tells us to take our concerns to Jesus in prayer and petition. I did a study once that required me to keep a prayer journal. The study was “The Workbook of Living Prayer.” Several years later, I led the study again in another church and used my original workbook with my notes and prayer requests. As I went through, I  discovered that every prayer request that I had written down had been answered.  

God listens to our prayers and answers everyone. His answers may not be exactly what we want or exactly in the time frame that we want, but I know that God answers prayer.  

Paul tells us when we pray to God that He will give us His peace. What that means is that any time you are feeling anxious, let that be a call to prayer knowing that God will answer your prayer. And soon, you will notice the peace of God coming over you. 

The old saying is true, “No God, No Peace …Know God, Know Peace.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 7th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

When I was 16, I went to Camp Glisson for the first time on a Conference Youth Retreat. I had an encounter with God that weekend that changed my life. The next time I went to Glisson, I was elected to the North Georgia Conference Youth Council. For the next two years, I spent a lot of time helping plan and lead retreats there. 

I served as a Camp Counselor the summer after I graduated from High School. By this time, it was clear that God had called me into ministry and that summer was one of my favorites of all time. I learned things as a Counselor that I use in ministry today. I kept song sheets and my Counselor manual from the summer of 1972. 

Glisson has been an important part of my life and, in many ways, I consider it to be my spiritual home. When my children started going as campers when they were old enough. Every year, the week at Glisson was scheduled before we even thought about vacation plans. Both of them were greatly affected by their time at Glisson; they grew spiritually. Brianne and Jordan eventually served as Camp Counselors for several years, and Jordan even met his future wife, Meredith, there. 

Over time, I have served on the Board for Camp Glisson, worked as a T.I.R. (preacher of the week), and attended many retreats and conferences. I have sought to give back to Glisson with my time and monetary gifts. I figure the ministry of Glisson has sown into me and I want to help the ministry sow into others. 

Now, my grandchildren are Glisson campers. They love the Camp and they have grown spiritually as a result. 

I share this because it is a tale of sowing and reaping. Just as participating in the church and giving to the church is a tale of sowing and reaping. When we sow, we do not know what exactly the harvest will be or who will be affected. Whoever sowed into Glisson had little idea that in 1970 a 16-year-old boy would meet God in a way that would change his life forever. 

That boy is now serving as Senior Pastor here. When we sow into the church, we do not know who will meet Jesus and be changed. Thousands have over the history of McEachern. Who knows how many more will come to God. 

 

I love you all, 

Doug 

May 26th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend, which usually signifies the beginning of Summer. During the Summer, we will be a bit less formal in worship. We will not be wearing robes and plan the services a little differently. Our Sermon Series beginning this Sunday will be “Masterpiece Theater Stories of Faith.” We will be looking at a different Old Testament Story each week during May and June. It should be a lot of fun. 

During July we will celebrate the 4th of July on the 4th of July and the rest of the month will be “People’s Choice “ sermons. Over the next few weeks, there will be a chance for you to submit subjects or scriptures that you would like us to consider preaching on. We will only be able to choose three but we will hold onto the rest for future Sundays. 

Yesterday I mentioned in my sermon that all great revivals were preceded by a time of prayer. I’m asking everyone to pray for the coming reopening of McEachern that it will not be just a reopening, but truly a time of revival. If you would include in your daily prayers this short prayer: 

“Come Holy Spirit. You are welcome in my life and in our church. Fill us with your power and with your love so that we might be disciples on fire and a church on fire for You. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.” 

Also, beginning June 2 at 6 pm we will begin Wednesday Prayer Services. We anticipate these lasting about 30 minutes. You can read more about this elsewhere in the Wednesday Word. 

Pray! 

I love you all, 

Doug

 

April 28th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I pray that you are all doing well today. My prayers are with you each and every day. I celebrate the Confirmation of 10 of our young people Sunday and the growing number of reports I have heard of ones who are seeking to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ. 

Today I want to urge you to participate in the Global Impact Celebration at McEachern and to give a brief report from the Church Council meeting Monday night. 

Global Impact Celebration—Today through Sunday, May 2. 

Schedule: Today (Wednesday) Tomorrow (Thursday) and Saturday 

 Devotional at 8am on McEachern’s Facebook page. Videos of Mission on McEachern’s Facebook at Noon Questions and Answers on McEachern’s Facebook at 7pm GIC Celebration in Worship at 9:30am and 11:00am in the Sanctuary. 

 At each Service on Sunday we will be receiving Faith Promise Commitments. Please bring your Card for both Financial and Service Commitments! 

Church Council Report – 

The Church Council heard reports from Finance, Staff Parish Relations Committee, and the Trustees. 

 Finance reported that the church has finally received confirmation that the PPP loan from the US Government has been forgiven. Through March, we have spent $18,000 more than we have received in offering. Our current Church Checking Account balance was $72,000 with approximately $600,000 in undesignated reserves. We have received 149 Commitments towards the budget of the church, and still hope that as people return to church they will make financial commitments. 

 SPRC –

– All four of our clergy have been reappointed for the year 2021-2022. Denise Register is retiring from the Pre School and her successor will be Denise Ribeiro. It was also reported that Misty Dolph has left the church staff and that her Administrative job responsibilities have been shifted to Nancy Folds, Teresa McDaniel, and Sharon Brand. In addition, Stacie Barrow will be working with DeDe in Children’s Ministry beginning in May and her responsibilities will be taken over by Rev. Tony Philips and Rev. Bomi Kim. All of these staff changes are budget neutral. 

 Trustees –

 The Lula Dobbs project is underway and will be completed in about 6 weeks after permits are received. 

 Pastor’s Time – 

I’ve asked the help of the Church Council in preparing a Frequently Asked Questions document to circulate to the congregation as a result of Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson and The North Georgia Cabinet’s Welcoming Table Vision and webinar. Both of these can be viewed on the North Georgia Conference website at ngumc.org. This document will be sent to the McEachern families to communicate truthfulness, be transparent, and minimize confusion. 

I want to urge everyone who has not attended to attend a Listening Session. The next one is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 4pm in the Gym in the CLC. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

April 21st, 2021

Dear Friends,
It is easy to get distracted. The phone rings. A child cries out. You get a text. Something comes across on a news feed, etc., etc. Really easy to get distracted.
It is really hard to maintain focus. As Christians, we are called to maintain our focus. When the world is caught up in all sorts of distractions, Christians are called to focus on following Christ with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. Christians are called to love God which means to obey God. We obey God when we worship Him, when we pray, when we study His Word, and when we serve Him by sharing Christ’s love and telling people about Jesus.
Last week I wrote to you about Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson and her Cabinet presenting a webinar basically stating that they would be working towards changing the Book of Discipline at the next General Conference, which will be either in 2022 or 2024, in a way that will be inclusive of all people in the LGBTQ community and offer the opportunity for folks in that community to be married by United Methodist clergy and for folks in that community to be Ordained to serve as clergy in the United Methodist Church. Please understand that until the General Conference meets Bishop Sue and the Cabinet must abide by the 2016 Discipline which forbids the above. However, you feel about this – don’t let it distract you from being faithful to Jesus and keeping your focus on following Him.
As a church, we will be holding our Global Impact Celebration next week. There will be numerous opportunities for you to learn about how McEachern is being faithful to Christ in serving and loving our community and the world. Our celebration will conclude on Sunday, May 2 in the Sanctuary at both the 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM services where you will be given the opportunity to make a Faith Promise financial commitment to fund local and global mission outreach as well as the opportunity to make a commitment to serve Christ through involvement in one of McEachern’s many mission projects.
I am asking you to do three things. First, be in prayer as to how you will participate both personally and financially in missions work this coming year. Second, participate online next week in the various learning opportunities. Third, come be a part of the celebration on Sunday, May 2nd. I look forward to participating with you.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 14th, 2021

Dear Friends,
First I want to make sure everyone is aware of the Global Impact Celebration the weekend of May 2. Watch for details of how you can participate both online and in person. It will be a great weekend!
Now I want to tell you about a time that Debbie and I visited our granddaughters’ school to eat lunch with them. We got there a little early and sat on a bench outside the lunchroom to wait. I got to tell you, sitting on a bench in an elementary school hallway is really something!
We watched children entering and leaving the lunchroom. It’s hard for me to describe just how much happens in the line as kids are going to lunch. There’s picking at each other; all sorts of gyrations, spins, and twirls; speaking and whispering all happening at once as the kids maintain some semblance of a line slowly rolling into the lunchroom. Also, I want you to know that, from my observation, boys and girls act really differently. Boys tended to be louder and more active. I still have a vivid memory of the boy who flipped his water bottle the ENTIRE TIME he was in the lunchroom. Girls tended to be quieter and ate in groups. This is just what I saw on that particular day. It was a wonder that anyone ate anything!
But there was something else that I noticed that day. On the wall outside the lunchroom was a fire extinguisher. It was encased in a fire extinguisher box and duly labeled. However, over time the “F” from the word “Fire” had worn off. So, rather than reading “Fire Extinguisher” it actually read “Ire Extinguisher.” And I thought, “Boy, would I like to have an Ire Extinguisher!”
Think about the ways an Ire Extinguisher could be used. You do something and get your spouse mad at you. Rather than experiencing all the pain and difficulty of working things out, you simply pull out the Ire Extinguisher. Or, with Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching and family gatherings happening, rather than experiencing the tensions that accompany a lot of those gatherings you simply spray everyone with the Ire Extinguisher as they enter the house. Instant peace!
Just imagine if we sprayed Congress with the Ire Extinguisher—something might actually get done! And, what if we placed an Ire Extinguisher in every church? By eliminating church fights I believe we could be much more effective in spreading the Gospel.
But, then I thought, we already have an Ire Extinguisher. His name is Jesus. I believe if we followed His teachings about love, grace, and forgiveness then Ire would be extinguished and peace would come upon the earth.
May it be so.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 7th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

It was wonderful to gather with so many of you on Easter. It was also joyful sharing with so many online. Nothing compares to the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! 

Truly, the most amazing moment in all of history! 

Thank you to everyone who had a part in our Holy Week Services from Palm Sunday through Easter. I know I will not mention everyone, but thanks to Tanya and the Choir for all the special music, thanks to Susan and our Nursery workers, thanks to DeDe and all those who work with children for the Palm procession, Monday night in the parking lot, and Easter Sunday morning 

celebrations, thanks to Nancy and all those who made registrations, thanks to Aubrey and Bomi for getting the word out, thanks to Tony for Higher Ground worship, thanks to Cindy for all her many contributions, thanks to our ushers and greeters and acolytes and everyone connected to worship, thanks to James and all the sound folks, and thanks to Carlos for all his work with the youth this past week. Easter week takes everyone and you all made this week a special week. 

Going forward there are several upcoming things that you need to be aware of: 

Confirmation Sunday – April 25th at the 11am Service 

Global Impact Celebration weekend – May 1-3 

Mother’s Day – May 10 

Graduate Recognition Sunday – May 17 

Pentecost – May 24. 

A lot of special days for a lot of special people. Please put all these on your calendars and I look forward to sharing them with you. 

May we all be blessed as we share this Easter Season. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

March 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A year ago we were in total lockdown due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Most businesses and restaurants were closed. People did not venture out except to get food, gas, or for a few other essential things. Church facilities were closed – and remain closed for several months.

 
I will never forget last Easter. The only worship available was online. There were no Easter Lilies, no wonderful music, no sanctuaries open to attend, no Easter outfits to wear, no friends to see. It was a dark Easter.

 
So, I started a new tradition for the observance of Easter last year. I made a wooden cross and covered it with white lights. And at sunrise, Debbie and I carried the cross down to the street and planted it in the ground, turned the lights on, and remembered Easter. We hugged and we prayed. We went inside and put on Easter outfits and took a picture and sent it to our kids and grandkids wishing them a Happy Easter. I imagine you did something also – because faith finds a way!

 
This Easter we will be worshipping in the ball field for Sonrise at 7 AM and in the Sanctuary at 9:30 and 11:00 AM and at Higher Ground at 11:00 AM. We will smell the lilies and sing the songs of faith and we will worship the Risen Lord with deep and abiding joy. There will be tears of thanksgiving, I am sure.

 
But, before any of that happens, I will be carrying a little wooden cross with white lights on it and plant it in my yard, and lighting it up to celebrate that faith finds a way. Faith always finds a way.

 
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 17th, 2021

Dear Friends,

I wanted everyone to know some exciting Easter plans that we are making. I am excited that we will be worshipping on Easter after not being able to last year.

This year our Holy Week and Easter Schedule will be as follows:

Palm/Passion Sunday Celebration – March 28th. At both 9:30 and 11 am. Higher Ground will be meeting at 11 am as well.

In the Sanctuary the children will be processing in with palm branches and we have planned a special service of music and message to help us remember both Palm Sunday and the Crucifixion. 

Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae Service – Thursday, April 1 at 7 pm in the Sanctuary

Come celebrate Holy Communion to remember the Last Supper and experience the Tenebrae Service – the Service of Darkness as we remember the Crucifixion.

Easter Sunday – April 4th

Sonrise at 7 am behind Higher Ground

Sanctuary Worship 9:30 and 11 am 

Higher Ground 11 am 

No Sunday School on Easter.

Please make reservations for all these services. We are setting the Sanctuary capacity at 320, which is about half. If we fill up both services then we will add additional services as needed.

I look forward to worshipping with you this Holy Week.

Save your seat for Holy Week Services Here.

I love you all,

Dr. Doug

March 10th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A little over a week ago leaders of the United Methodist Church decided to postpone the
General Conference scheduled for 2021 to 2022 due to the worldwide COVID pandemic and the
difficulty of travel during these times. By postponing the General Conference there will be no
discussion or action taken regarding the Protocol for Separation that had been proposed for
General Conference that was supposed to meet last year.


Basically this means that there is no viable pathway for any United Methodist Church to
separate from the Denomination for at least the next year and a half. It also means that the
current position of the United Methodist Church recorded in the Book of Discipline regarding
homosexuality and forbidding homosexual marriages being performed in UMC churches and
being performed by UMC Clergy is still in force. It also means that the prohibition of self avowed
practicing homosexuals from being ordained as clergy in the UMC is still in place.


If McEachern is like most United Methodist Churches, I’m sure that there are a lot of different
opinions on most subjects, including homosexuality. We are all different and have different life
experiences. Hence, we have different opinions.


But, the beauty of Christianity is that we can all be one in Jesus Christ. We have one faith, one
Lord, one Baptism. One of the reasons I enjoy preaching on the “I Am” sayings of Jesus is that
there is such a clear focus on Jesus in all of these sayings.


This Sunday we will be preaching on “I am the Light of the World.” (John 8:12) Come and let
Jesus shine light upon your life, your thoughts, and in your life. I look forward to seeing you.


I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Over the years I’ve witnessed the scene on TV many times. It’s people coming out from shelters  to see what damage the hurricane has caused. Sometimes they find their house destroyed.  Other times, it’s still standing. Whatever they find, it is difficult and emotional and they are  always asked what they are going to do and they respond that they will rebuild, start over, etc.  And they do. And teams of people come from all over to help them. I imagine McEachern has  even sent some of those teams. 

Similarly, for the past year, we have been dealing with the ravages of COVID-19. It has  caused a lot of damage: sickness, death, schools going virtual, businesses closing, jobs lost,  and even the church suspending in-person worship and carrying out ministry virtually. It has  been a hard year. 

But, things are changing. Vaccinations have begun and most people who choose to receive the  vaccine will receive it sometime this year. Schools are reopening. Sickness and death due to  COVID are slowing down. And people are reemerging after the storm. 

We have started back with in-person worship while continuing online worship. I told the staff to  plan ministry accordingly knowing that we will not suspend our on-campus activities again. We  will continue to use safety protocols but we will also continue to meet. 

As you emerge after this COVID-19 storm, know that McEachern is here. And we are in the  process of rebuilding the ministry of the church. Leaders will be meeting this Sunday afternoon  to continue planning for the unfolding story of ministry at McEachern. 

I look forward to seeing you at worship. There are so many who are a part of McEachern that I  have not had the pleasure of meeting since I arrived last July. I look forward to those meetings.  Let’s rebuild together. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

February 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
The Season of Lent is a time for a return to Spiritual Discipline. Traditionally, it has been a time of prayer and fasting as a way to prepare for the celebration of the most Holy day of the year—Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. The practice of fasting is where the whole idea of “giving up something for Lent” came from.

 
I’d like to challenge you this year to “give up something” and “to take on something.” You choose what you will give up. In years past I have given up desserts, potatoes, fried food, and other things. This year I’m giving up chips of any kind. That may not sound like much to you, but I eat chips all the time, especially at night while watching TV. The idea of giving up something is that whenever you think about or desire what you have given up, that is a call to prayer. I should be praying a lot this Lenten season! What will you give up?

 
This challenge also includes “taking on something.” For this, I have a specific challenge for you. I’m asking everyone to pray for someone that you know who is not a practicing Christian. Pray for that person throughout the season of Lent, and then invite that person to worship on Palm Sunday or Easter. If you’re wondering about capacity in Worship, we’ll have as many services as we need to accommodate as many people who come.

 
So, I’ve “thrown down the gauntlet,” who will accept these challenges?

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

February 17th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I’m looking forward to seeing folks at Worship Sunday. We will be open at 9:30 am and 11:00 am in the  Sanctuary and at 11:00 am at Higher Ground. It will be the first Sunday of Lent and we will be  preaching throughout Lent on the “I Am…” sayings of Jesus. This Sunday the sermon will be “I  am the Door.” Seems appropriate with McEachern opening its doors. 

I have been asked by a number of people about the financial condition of the church. To quote our  Finance Chair, Donnie Newsom, “The financial state of our church is sound.” Donnie can write that for the following reasons. We received a forgivable loan from the Federal Government  called the Payroll Protection Plan last year in the amount of approximately $193,000 dollars.  This loan has not yet been officially forgiven and so we have not reported it as income to the  church. This money would move our year-end number from $103,000 in the red to $90,000 in  the black. In addition, the church has significant reserves both in church operating money and in  our Trustees Fund. 

So, we are financially sound. 

At the same time, we want to be good stewards of the financial resources of the church and so  are asking all our church members to fill out and return Estimate of Giving Cards so that we can  have a clearer picture of our church finances for this year. If you have not yet returned your  card, please do so as soon as possible.  

 

All in all, I praise God for providing for us in a time of trial and I praise God for you!

 

 I love you all, 

Doug

February 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends,
In the Gospel of John we read these words; “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus has previously told them that they will know persecution, that they will be scattered, that He is going to die and rise again, and that this is necessary in order for the Holy Spirit to come. I imagine the Disciples were pretty scared when they heard all this – yet He tells them what is to come in order for them to know peace. And not freedom from trouble – they will know trouble! But peace in the midst of trouble. A peace that comes from knowing Christ has overcome the world.

 
We have certainly known a lot of trouble this past year. Yet, I believe Christ has overcome the world and, so, I have peace and hope. And I have seen you overcoming circumstances to stay connected to one another, to feed thousands of people, to minister in cars and outside at Higher Ground and on flatbed trucks on Christmas Eve and scattered in the Sanctuary singing the songs of Christmas and in parking lots and online in Zoom meetings and on Facebook and in so many ways in order to communicate the Gospel of Jesus. Doing God’s work with you is so awesome!

 
Trouble will come and trouble will go. When (not if) COVID passes, something else will pop up. It’s the nature of a sinful world. But, take heart! Christ has overcome the world. Write that in the depth of your heart. And let’s move forward in ministry!

 
I love you all,

 
Doug
PS. Don’t forget to mail back in your Estimate of Giving Cards this week!

January 20th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Be Bridge Builders. That’s what we have been focusing on all month. I have spoken and written about how we are created by God to be a royal priesthood—building bridges between people and God and people and other people. Certainly, in our world right now we need bridge builders! 

We build these bridges using the Spiritual Gifts God has given us. But that is not the only way. We also practice bridge-building through giving our financial resources to Christ’s ministry through the church, pooling resources in order to make disciples of Jesus and love people. 

The year 2020 was challenging financially for McEachern. I want to thank everyone for your faithfulness in giving. Because of your giving and being good stewards of all the gifts the church received, we finished the year on a positive note financially. 

I do believe that probably by this coming Fall everyone will be able to resume all the participatory ministries of the church without fear of COVID due to all the vaccinations that will have happened by that time. In the meantime, the Leadership and Staff of McEachern are working to lead the church forward in ministry. 

Here are the things we are working on. We are working to be a church that reaches out to everyone in our community so that the active body of the church is multiethnic and multigenerational. We are working to be a church that emphasizes growing as disciples of Jesus Christ who are prayer focused. We are working to form partnerships in mission with all the various outreach ministries in our community. And, we are working to find new ways to reach our community with the Gospel of Jesus especially through the development of online ministries. 

It is exciting to imagine how McEachern is going to develop as a church. But this will not happen unless you participate in the ministry with your time and talents, with your prayers, and with your financial resources. 

Next week you will receive an Estimate of Giving Card from the church. I am asking you to prayerfully consider how you will invest in the growing ministry of McEachern, fill out the card and return it in the envelope provided. I am also asking you to prayerfully think about increasing your giving by 1% of your income over your giving last year. Our goal is to have over 200 Estimate of Giving Cards returned this year. 

Together, by the grace of God, we will see a new day dawn on the ministry of McEachern in the months to come. I want to be a part of a church that truly loves God, loves people, and make disciples. 

I love you all, 

Doug

January 6th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I hope by now that you have gotten the message that we are temporarily pausing in-person functions at McEachern due to the surge in Cobb County of COVID-19 infections. I’ve been here long enough that you probably know that I really resisted the idea, but it is the right decision at this time. 

Monday night, I found myself tossing and turning instead of sleeping. Over time, I have discovered that whenever I am restless like that, the best thing for me to do is get up, get some water, go sit on the couch, and pray. My prayer that night was focused on the decision to pause. I considered whether it was motivated by fear or by faith. And the Lord led me to see that it was neither. Instead, it was a decision based on the fact of the rapidly rising infections and the desire to keep people as safe as possible. 

I then prayed and asked God to help me to know it was the right decision. God reminded me that He is a God of peace and asked me what decision led me to a place of peace—continuing in-person worship or pausing in-person worship. God’s peace came over me; pausing was the decision at this time and this was a temporary state. God also reminded me very warmly that He is with us, no matter what. After this time of prayer, I found myself able to go back to bed and back to sleep. 

I do not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future—and so do you. God is a God whose love endures forever. I praise and worship Him. 

I invite you to join me online for the Traditional Service or to join Rev. Tony online for the Higher Ground Service, both at 11am. Let us worship together, even though we might be apart. We will be continuing to focus on “Be Bridge Builders.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

December 30th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I have been praying for you. My prayer is that everyone had a Christmastime during which they were able to communicate with family, worship, and reflect on the amazing gift of Jesus Christ. True, this Christmas has been different, but also memorable. 

I will never forget the folks who worked so hard to provide the Drive-In Christmas Eve Worship service. We thought the weather would break when looking at the forecast. But it didn’t so we worshipped anyway in cold, windy, wet conditions. Thank you to everyone who was a part of that service and who attended. It reminded me of the cold, windy, primitive conditions that Jesus was born in a cave 2000 years ago. 

I will not soon forget the online service that McEachern Kids did. It was warm and funny and touching and helped me remember that Jesus loves all the children of the world, including me and including you. 

I will not forget having to celebrate Christmas Eve online out of a concern for safety for everyone. I lit my candle and I hope you lit your candle while singing “Silent Night” with the angels. 

I will always remember the new friends that God has placed in my path this year—the people of McEachern! You are warm and loving and, slowly, I am beginning to recognize faces covered by masks. I look forward to getting to know many more of you as 2021 unfolds. 

We have a lot to accomplish as a church in the year to come; one of the most important is to be a people of prayer. I am praying for you and the whole church and the whole world as we face difficult circumstances. God has always called His people “overcomers,” and we will overcome whatever we face by relying on the peer of God and His Holy Spirit. I believe there is much for us to do as we “Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples of Jesus Christ.” 

I love you all, 

 Doug

December 16th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Over these Sundays of Advent, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the Wise Men Rules with you. I do believe that we can learn a lot from the Wise Men as we: Watch Expectantly, Act Faithfully, Live Joyfully, and the last two that I will be preaching on this coming Sunday, Give Generously and Bow Humbly. 

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I am very much aware of the challenge that COVID-19 has created. We want to Worship as safely as we can. We want to participate in various ministries safely. We want to be strong and vital as a church, despite extremely adverse circumstances. 

So, I want to thank you for practicing the church’s COVID-19 protocols and we will continue to offer in-person worship unless the pandemic simply goes crazy. 

I want to encourage you to participate on Christmas Eve, either at the Drive-In Service in the back parking lot at 3 pm or either of our online Services: 4:30 pm for the Children’s Service and 6 pm for the Traditional Service. 

I need to remind you that we will only have an online Worship Service at 10 am on Sunday, December 27th. Please watch from your home in the most comfortable clothing you have. 

Lastly, the SPR Committee has graciously offered the Church Staff the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a time to slow down and recharge before entering 2021. If there are any pastoral needs, we will certainly be available; please call us. 

During the last week of the year, if you have End of Year Financial gifts, you can give them online or you can come by the church on Tuesday or Wednesday from 9 am ‘til Noon and make a contribution. Staff will be present to receive your gifts. 

Please remember the church this year both in your prayers and in your giving. We are only receiving mission gifts using the Christmas Mission Catalogue or in the offering on Christmas Eve. We are still a good ways behind our budget projections for the year, if you can give to help catch us up, that would be a blessing. 

I love serving McEachern and am looking forward to a great year in 2021.

 I love you all, 

Doug

December 9th, 2020

Dear Friends,

Last Tuesday night, the McEachern Church Council voted unanimously to approve the priorities that emerged from the church’s Visioning session in October. These priorities came from those gathered as they prayed and listened to what we understood God to be calling us to do in the coming years.

The priorities were:
– to become a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation
– to focus on discipleship building
– to be prayer centered
– to work to grow the Kingdom of God through witnessing and on line ministry
– to build community partnerships for mission work
– to be debt-free
– to experience a culture change

Leaders in the church will meet again in January to develop a strategic plan for accomplishing these priorities. If you would like to be a part of this session and are not currently serving in leadership, please let me know.

After this has been done, then we will begin to work on the plan. It is so exciting to be a part of McEachern, even in the midst of COVID-19. I truly believe God is moving in this church.
I look forward to continuing to teach “The Wise Men Rules” in worship. This week we will be looking at the third rule: Live Joyfully!

I love you all,
Doug

December 2nd, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone had a Happy, if unusual, Thanksgiving. Debbie and I spent time with each of our children and their families independently and then visited her 96-year-old Aunt and then spent a few days away. It was a good time and we are thankful for family and we are thankful for you.
I thought I’d take a moment and update you regarding COVID-19 and the church. The Staff and I have been closely watching the Georgia Department of Public Health’s reports regarding the coronavirus. Currently, Cobb County and Paulding County are yellow/light-orange on the state map of COVID-19 cases. I know that you are reading and hearing about a surge of coronavirus cases in our nation. There has been a slight uptick in cases since October, but not so much that we feel a need to change the church’s approach.
So, here’s where we are today. We will continue in-person worship for those who desire it and feel safe to attend. We are only able to do this because you have been diligent in wearing masks, social distancing, and entering and exiting the building quickly. I appreciate you so much for your willingness to do these things so that others might enjoy worship in-person. We will be adding back the 9:30 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary, as well as continuing the 11 am in the Sanctuary. We will continue to offer the on-line Worship option at 11 am. Higher Ground Worship will move to 11 am in-person and on-line.
The McEachern Kids Academy meets at 9:30 am on Sundays in the children’s area then the children move into small groups to study a variety of subjects. They also have scheduled a Family Manger Project for this coming Sunday at 4 pm. It will be held outside and you need to register for either of these events.
Our Youth open the doors at 9 am and then have Bible Study beginning around 9:40 am and are done by 10:30 am. They meet in the Youth Suite.
Some of our Adult classes are meeting on-line and some are meeting in-person. (And some both!) Please contact your class for your meeting time.
I also want you to know that Debbie and I appreciate the invitations we have received to various Christmas parties. Unfortunately, we will not be attending them this year. I am in the public a lot as it is and I feel it important to place some limits as a safety precaution. I look forward to next year and being free to participate in many Christmas celebrations.
I love you all,
Doug

November 25th, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Whether we are celebrating alone, on Zoom, or with family and friends, I pray that this will be a day of thankfulness to God for His love and blessings.

Sunday in my sermon I shared the idea of an Alphabet of Thanksgiving – recording at least one thing you are thankful for, using each letter of the alphabet. At our last Staff meeting, the Staff wrote their own Alphabet of Thanksgiving. I told them I would share it with you this week.

A – Alleluias!
B – Bible, beauty
C – Christ, children, Children’s Ministry
D – dogs, digital learning, Dads
E – Eating (we’re Methodists after all), exercise
F – Friends, family
G – God, goodness, grace
H – help, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Higher Ground Worship
I – Isaac (family name), invitation
J – Jesus
K – Kindness
L – Love, laughter
M – memories, McEachern, music, Music Ministry, Missions
O – opportunity
P – Pumpkin pie, Peace, our Pastors
Q – Quiet
R – Remembrance
S – Sanctuary, singing, Salvation, Staff
T – Truth, thankfulness
U – Unity
W – wonder, wisdom, Worship in the Sanctuary
X – Xylophone (X is always hard)
Y – You, Y’all, Youth Ministry
Z – Zoom, ZZZZ’s

On behalf of the Staff, we love you and love being in ministry with you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

November 18th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating a Thanksgiving Sunday. As I got to thinking about this, I  decided to do a little research into what people in America say they are most thankful for.  

Here’s the list: 

  •  – Family (84%) 

  •  – Health (69%) 

  •  – Friends (63%) 

  •  – Memories (63%) 

  •  – Freedom (53%) 

  •  – Safety and Security (47%) 

  •  – Opportunity (45%) 

  •  – Fun Experiences (42%) 

  •  – Achievements (33%) 

  •  – Wealth (21%) 

I am not surprised to see Family, Friends, and Health at the top of the list. All three of these have been made even more precious this year as we have lived with COVID-19. I still remember the first hugs from my grandchildren after the lockdown in March and April.  

However, I must admit that I am surprised that Faith in God is not listed as one of the things that people are most thankful for. When President Abraham Lincoln issued his proclamation in  October 1863, establishing the 4th Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, he did so while the nation was still engaged in the Civil War. In that proclamation, Lincoln designated the day as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in Heaven.” Lincoln called upon the people of the United States to give thanks for all the ways that God had blessed everyone and to also repent for those things that had been done that were not in accordance with God’s will. 

This Sunday we will gather together to offer our thanks to God. Whether you attend in person or online, I look forward to celebrating with you. 


I love you all,
Doug

November 11th, 2020

Dear Friends,
It was great to hear today that a vaccine for COVID-19 is looking very good. I pray that it works and that we might return to living without constantly considering the impact of the virus. I applaud all of you for the way that you are practicing wearing masks in worship, social distancing, and following safety for us to gather every week to worship God. Thank you for your cooperation.
I want you to know of a couple of schedule changes that will happen beginning December 6th. Higher Ground will move its Worship time to 11 am. They will meet both inside and outside at Higher Ground. Also, we will begin again the 9:30 am Worship Service in addition to the 11 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary. To keep adequate social distancing and with increasing numbers in worship, it is necessary to start this service back. We will continue to be online for all our Worship Services as well.
I also want to share that your prayers for the church are being felt. The Spirit in the Sanctuary and at Higher Ground is evident to me. Thank you for your continued prayers and know that I am praying for you.
I love you all,
Doug

November 4th, 2020

Dear Friends,
So, this article is a “Heads Up” article as I share with you some things that will be happening in
the next couple of months. Starting with Communion this Sunday. If you are joining us from home, please have your sacraments prepared. 

First, this month we will celebrate Thanksgiving to God on the fourth Sunday of November. In some ways, I am reminded of the first Thanksgiving after a year that saw a large number of the Pilgrim community die due to exposure to the cold and hunger. That next year they celebrated the fall harvest with a great feast remembering God who provided for them and was with them through that first difficult year. We have had quite a year dealing with COVID-19. This year Thanksgiving might be different, but it will certainly be meaningful.

We begin the celebration of Advent on November 29th. Our Sermon Series for Advent is “The Wise Men Rules.” The focus is on rules we learn for living from the story of the Wise Men we find in the Gospel of Matthew. I hope you will plan on being a part. By the way, Tanya has hatched a plan for the annual Christmas Concert performed by the Choir. It will be on the evening of December 12th and you will be able to attend either in person or virtually.

Christmas Eve Services will be on the 24th at 3pm and 6pm in the Sanctuary. If you attend in person, we will socially distance and may need to use overflow spaces. We are also planning a Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service at 4:30pm which will be online, however, there will be a Watch Party in the Christian Life Center for folks who want to attend.

In January we will focus on Stewardship and you will have the opportunity to make commitments to serve in various ministries as well as a commitment to support the Church’s ministry financially.

We are looking at a busy next few months and I look forward to sharing these times with you!

I love you all,
Doug

October 28th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day with a time in our Worship to remember those of our congregation who have died in the past year. I find that I react to these times of  remembrance with both sadness and thanksgiving for the life that was lived. I hope you will come and be a part of this special service. 

I have now been here for four months. The time has flown! I have never lived through a crazier season of ministry than what we are experiencing now due to COVID-19. But, I do want to say how thankful I am that I am going through this season with you. McEachern is a caring, committed church that truly is seeking to love God and love people. I have personally experienced this through the encouraging words that you all have graciously shared with me. I pray for COVID-19 to be behind us. But, until that time, we will work together to sow seeds of the love and the grace of Jesus with a hurting world.  

May God bless you and be with you! I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday either in-person or online. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 21st, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday you will have the unique opportunity to hear from all four of McEachern’s Pastors, together, as we share a dialogue sermon on Discipleship. This is the last Sunday of our “Seeds for the Sower” series and we will speak about Sowing with Faith. I hope you will join us either online or in-person worship.  

I also want to applaud you for following the guidelines while worshiping in-person. Thank you for wearing masks,  sitting 6 feet apart, and refraining from extended conversations in the Sanctuary. I know that all this is awkward, and, if you’re like me, you’d really like to hug somebody. That time will come eventually.  

One little reminder about the guidelines,  everyone please exit the church building after worship and once you are outside then you can visit with one another. I notice people want to hang out in the Sanctuary and the Narthex to visit. Let the visiting continue, but please let’s move it outside to keep safe. 

I am proud to be a part of McEachern UMC. It is a joy meeting folks and getting to know people.  I’m excited about Sunday and our dialogue sermon at 9:30 am and 11 am. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 14th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I just came from our staff meeting. I hope you all realize just how gifted and committed the Staff here at McEachern is. I am constantly amazed at the creativity and perseverance. Please make sure and express appreciation to them. 

Reading the Bible for my devotion the other day, I came across these verses, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your  hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

We live in an anxious time. Part of the anxiety comes from encountering a disease unlike any we have seen in our lifetime. Part of the anxiety is from the changes in our daily living: wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands frequently, not touching one another (I really miss handshakes and hugs!). Yet another part of is fearfulness for our safety and security. I’m sure you have your own reasons for feeling anxious. 

But, Paul writes that we should not be anxious about anything. He tells us to take our concerns to Jesus in prayer and petition. I did a study once that required me to keep a prayer journal. The study was “The Workbook of Living Prayer.” Several years later, I led the study again in another church and used my original workbook with my notes and prayer requests. As I went through, I  discovered that every prayer request that I had written down had been answered.  

God listens to our prayers and answers everyone. His answers may not be exactly what we want or exactly in the time frame that we want, but I know that God answers prayer.  

Paul tells us when we pray to God that He will give us His peace. What that means is that any time you are feeling anxious, let that be a call to prayer knowing that God will answer your prayer. And soon, you will notice the peace of God coming over you. 

The old saying is true, “No God, No Peace …Know God, Know Peace.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 7th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

When I was 16, I went to Camp Glisson for the first time on a Conference Youth Retreat. I had an encounter with God that weekend that changed my life. The next time I went to Glisson, I was elected to the North Georgia Conference Youth Council. For the next two years, I spent a lot of time helping plan and lead retreats there. 

I served as a Camp Counselor the summer after I graduated from High School. By this time, it was clear that God had called me into ministry and that summer was one of my favorites of all time. I learned things as a Counselor that I use in ministry today. I kept song sheets and my Counselor manual from the summer of 1972. 

Glisson has been an important part of my life and, in many ways, I consider it to be my spiritual home. When my children started going as campers when they were old enough. Every year, the week at Glisson was scheduled before we even thought about vacation plans. Both of them were greatly affected by their time at Glisson; they grew spiritually. Brianne and Jordan eventually served as Camp Counselors for several years, and Jordan even met his future wife, Meredith, there. 

Over time, I have served on the Board for Camp Glisson, worked as a T.I.R. (preacher of the week), and attended many retreats and conferences. I have sought to give back to Glisson with my time and monetary gifts. I figure the ministry of Glisson has sown into me and I want to help the ministry sow into others. 

Now, my grandchildren are Glisson campers. They love the Camp and they have grown spiritually as a result. 

I share this because it is a tale of sowing and reaping. Just as participating in the church and giving to the church is a tale of sowing and reaping. When we sow, we do not know what exactly the harvest will be or who will be affected. Whoever sowed into Glisson had little idea that in 1970 a 16-year-old boy would meet God in a way that would change his life forever. 

That boy is now serving as Senior Pastor here. When we sow into the church, we do not know who will meet Jesus and be changed. Thousands have over the history of McEachern. Who knows how many more will come to God. 

 

I love you all, 

Doug 

May 19th, 2021

Dear Friends,
COVID-19 Protocol Update
First, I want to thank everyone for cooperating in observing the protocols established by the church as we have dealt with the COVID-19-19 pandemic together. You have followed the guidelines and as a result, we have not had any cases of COVID-19 in our congregation that we can trace to worship or any other church activities. We have had a number of people in the church who have had COVID-19, but we cannot trace those cases to exposure as a result of church activities. Again, thank you for your cooperation.
Today, as a result of science and CDC recommendations, we are establishing new guidelines.
REGISTRATION
Reservations will no longer be required in order to attend worship. We do need to continue to register attendance as we will not be using pew pads for now. So, we ask that everyone register as they enter the church building. You can pre-register to speed up the registration process or you can register when you enter the narthex.
MASKS
In keeping with CDC guidelines, masks will be optional. Everyone who is two weeks past his or her vaccine will not be required to wear a mask. For everyone else, masks will be optional. If you are sick it is expected that you will not attend in person but participate in our online worship.
SOCIAL DISTANCING
We are removing all of the taping that has separated us in the Sanctuary. We are asking that people social distance as they feel comfortable.
IMPORTANT
Please be respectful of each other. People have a wide variety of comfort levels with respect to masking and social distancing. Please allow everyone to participate at each person’s comfort. Do not in any way force yourself into anyone else’s space. The best policy is to ask wherever you might be–Worship, Sunday School, small groups, etc.
We have come this far together. Hopefully, COVID-19 is mostly behind us and we can operate in the above ways for a long time. If things change, we may need to change our approach in the future. The most important thing is that we continue to work together to share the love and grace of Jesus.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 28th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I pray that you are all doing well today. My prayers are with you each and every day. I celebrate the Confirmation of 10 of our young people Sunday and the growing number of reports I have heard of ones who are seeking to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ. 

Today I want to urge you to participate in the Global Impact Celebration at McEachern and to give a brief report from the Church Council meeting Monday night. 

Global Impact Celebration—Today through Sunday, May 2. 

Schedule: Today (Wednesday) Tomorrow (Thursday) and Saturday 

 Devotional at 8am on McEachern’s Facebook page. Videos of Mission on McEachern’s Facebook at Noon Questions and Answers on McEachern’s Facebook at 7pm GIC Celebration in Worship at 9:30am and 11:00am in the Sanctuary. 

 At each Service on Sunday we will be receiving Faith Promise Commitments. Please bring your Card for both Financial and Service Commitments! 

Church Council Report – 

The Church Council heard reports from Finance, Staff Parish Relations Committee, and the Trustees. 

 Finance reported that the church has finally received confirmation that the PPP loan from the US Government has been forgiven. Through March, we have spent $18,000 more than we have received in offering. Our current Church Checking Account balance was $72,000 with approximately $600,000 in undesignated reserves. We have received 149 Commitments towards the budget of the church, and still hope that as people return to church they will make financial commitments. 

 SPRC –

– All four of our clergy have been reappointed for the year 2021-2022. Denise Register is retiring from the Pre School and her successor will be Denise Ribeiro. It was also reported that Misty Dolph has left the church staff and that her Administrative job responsibilities have been shifted to Nancy Folds, Teresa McDaniel, and Sharon Brand. In addition, Stacie Barrow will be working with DeDe in Children’s Ministry beginning in May and her responsibilities will be taken over by Rev. Tony Philips and Rev. Bomi Kim. All of these staff changes are budget neutral. 

 Trustees –

 The Lula Dobbs project is underway and will be completed in about 6 weeks after permits are received. 

 Pastor’s Time – 

I’ve asked the help of the Church Council in preparing a Frequently Asked Questions document to circulate to the congregation as a result of Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson and The North Georgia Cabinet’s Welcoming Table Vision and webinar. Both of these can be viewed on the North Georgia Conference website at ngumc.org. This document will be sent to the McEachern families to communicate truthfulness, be transparent, and minimize confusion. 

I want to urge everyone who has not attended to attend a Listening Session. The next one is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 4pm in the Gym in the CLC. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

April 21st, 2021

Dear Friends,
It is easy to get distracted. The phone rings. A child cries out. You get a text. Something comes across on a news feed, etc., etc. Really easy to get distracted.
It is really hard to maintain focus. As Christians, we are called to maintain our focus. When the world is caught up in all sorts of distractions, Christians are called to focus on following Christ with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. Christians are called to love God which means to obey God. We obey God when we worship Him, when we pray, when we study His Word, and when we serve Him by sharing Christ’s love and telling people about Jesus.
Last week I wrote to you about Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson and her Cabinet presenting a webinar basically stating that they would be working towards changing the Book of Discipline at the next General Conference, which will be either in 2022 or 2024, in a way that will be inclusive of all people in the LGBTQ community and offer the opportunity for folks in that community to be married by United Methodist clergy and for folks in that community to be Ordained to serve as clergy in the United Methodist Church. Please understand that until the General Conference meets Bishop Sue and the Cabinet must abide by the 2016 Discipline which forbids the above. However, you feel about this – don’t let it distract you from being faithful to Jesus and keeping your focus on following Him.
As a church, we will be holding our Global Impact Celebration next week. There will be numerous opportunities for you to learn about how McEachern is being faithful to Christ in serving and loving our community and the world. Our celebration will conclude on Sunday, May 2 in the Sanctuary at both the 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM services where you will be given the opportunity to make a Faith Promise financial commitment to fund local and global mission outreach as well as the opportunity to make a commitment to serve Christ through involvement in one of McEachern’s many mission projects.
I am asking you to do three things. First, be in prayer as to how you will participate both personally and financially in missions work this coming year. Second, participate online next week in the various learning opportunities. Third, come be a part of the celebration on Sunday, May 2nd. I look forward to participating with you.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 14th, 2021

Dear Friends,
First I want to make sure everyone is aware of the Global Impact Celebration the weekend of May 2. Watch for details of how you can participate both online and in person. It will be a great weekend!
Now I want to tell you about a time that Debbie and I visited our granddaughters’ school to eat lunch with them. We got there a little early and sat on a bench outside the lunchroom to wait. I got to tell you, sitting on a bench in an elementary school hallway is really something!
We watched children entering and leaving the lunchroom. It’s hard for me to describe just how much happens in the line as kids are going to lunch. There’s picking at each other; all sorts of gyrations, spins, and twirls; speaking and whispering all happening at once as the kids maintain some semblance of a line slowly rolling into the lunchroom. Also, I want you to know that, from my observation, boys and girls act really differently. Boys tended to be louder and more active. I still have a vivid memory of the boy who flipped his water bottle the ENTIRE TIME he was in the lunchroom. Girls tended to be quieter and ate in groups. This is just what I saw on that particular day. It was a wonder that anyone ate anything!
But there was something else that I noticed that day. On the wall outside the lunchroom was a fire extinguisher. It was encased in a fire extinguisher box and duly labeled. However, over time the “F” from the word “Fire” had worn off. So, rather than reading “Fire Extinguisher” it actually read “Ire Extinguisher.” And I thought, “Boy, would I like to have an Ire Extinguisher!”
Think about the ways an Ire Extinguisher could be used. You do something and get your spouse mad at you. Rather than experiencing all the pain and difficulty of working things out, you simply pull out the Ire Extinguisher. Or, with Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching and family gatherings happening, rather than experiencing the tensions that accompany a lot of those gatherings you simply spray everyone with the Ire Extinguisher as they enter the house. Instant peace!
Just imagine if we sprayed Congress with the Ire Extinguisher—something might actually get done! And, what if we placed an Ire Extinguisher in every church? By eliminating church fights I believe we could be much more effective in spreading the Gospel.
But, then I thought, we already have an Ire Extinguisher. His name is Jesus. I believe if we followed His teachings about love, grace, and forgiveness then Ire would be extinguished and peace would come upon the earth.
May it be so.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 7th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

It was wonderful to gather with so many of you on Easter. It was also joyful sharing with so many online. Nothing compares to the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! 

Truly, the most amazing moment in all of history! 

Thank you to everyone who had a part in our Holy Week Services from Palm Sunday through Easter. I know I will not mention everyone, but thanks to Tanya and the Choir for all the special music, thanks to Susan and our Nursery workers, thanks to DeDe and all those who work with children for the Palm procession, Monday night in the parking lot, and Easter Sunday morning 

celebrations, thanks to Nancy and all those who made registrations, thanks to Aubrey and Bomi for getting the word out, thanks to Tony for Higher Ground worship, thanks to Cindy for all her many contributions, thanks to our ushers and greeters and acolytes and everyone connected to worship, thanks to James and all the sound folks, and thanks to Carlos for all his work with the youth this past week. Easter week takes everyone and you all made this week a special week. 

Going forward there are several upcoming things that you need to be aware of: 

Confirmation Sunday – April 25th at the 11am Service 

Global Impact Celebration weekend – May 1-3 

Mother’s Day – May 10 

Graduate Recognition Sunday – May 17 

Pentecost – May 24. 

A lot of special days for a lot of special people. Please put all these on your calendars and I look forward to sharing them with you. 

May we all be blessed as we share this Easter Season. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

March 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A year ago we were in total lockdown due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Most businesses and restaurants were closed. People did not venture out except to get food, gas, or for a few other essential things. Church facilities were closed – and remain closed for several months.

 
I will never forget last Easter. The only worship available was online. There were no Easter Lilies, no wonderful music, no sanctuaries open to attend, no Easter outfits to wear, no friends to see. It was a dark Easter.

 
So, I started a new tradition for the observance of Easter last year. I made a wooden cross and covered it with white lights. And at sunrise, Debbie and I carried the cross down to the street and planted it in the ground, turned the lights on, and remembered Easter. We hugged and we prayed. We went inside and put on Easter outfits and took a picture and sent it to our kids and grandkids wishing them a Happy Easter. I imagine you did something also – because faith finds a way!

 
This Easter we will be worshipping in the ball field for Sonrise at 7 AM and in the Sanctuary at 9:30 and 11:00 AM and at Higher Ground at 11:00 AM. We will smell the lilies and sing the songs of faith and we will worship the Risen Lord with deep and abiding joy. There will be tears of thanksgiving, I am sure.

 
But, before any of that happens, I will be carrying a little wooden cross with white lights on it and plant it in my yard, and lighting it up to celebrate that faith finds a way. Faith always finds a way.

 
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 17th, 2021

Dear Friends,

I wanted everyone to know some exciting Easter plans that we are making. I am excited that we will be worshipping on Easter after not being able to last year.

This year our Holy Week and Easter Schedule will be as follows:

Palm/Passion Sunday Celebration – March 28th. At both 9:30 and 11 am. Higher Ground will be meeting at 11 am as well.

In the Sanctuary the children will be processing in with palm branches and we have planned a special service of music and message to help us remember both Palm Sunday and the Crucifixion. 

Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae Service – Thursday, April 1 at 7 pm in the Sanctuary

Come celebrate Holy Communion to remember the Last Supper and experience the Tenebrae Service – the Service of Darkness as we remember the Crucifixion.

Easter Sunday – April 4th

Sonrise at 7 am behind Higher Ground

Sanctuary Worship 9:30 and 11 am 

Higher Ground 11 am 

No Sunday School on Easter.

Please make reservations for all these services. We are setting the Sanctuary capacity at 320, which is about half. If we fill up both services then we will add additional services as needed.

I look forward to worshipping with you this Holy Week.

Save your seat for Holy Week Services Here.

I love you all,

Dr. Doug

March 10th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A little over a week ago leaders of the United Methodist Church decided to postpone the
General Conference scheduled for 2021 to 2022 due to the worldwide COVID pandemic and the
difficulty of travel during these times. By postponing the General Conference there will be no
discussion or action taken regarding the Protocol for Separation that had been proposed for
General Conference that was supposed to meet last year.


Basically this means that there is no viable pathway for any United Methodist Church to
separate from the Denomination for at least the next year and a half. It also means that the
current position of the United Methodist Church recorded in the Book of Discipline regarding
homosexuality and forbidding homosexual marriages being performed in UMC churches and
being performed by UMC Clergy is still in force. It also means that the prohibition of self avowed
practicing homosexuals from being ordained as clergy in the UMC is still in place.


If McEachern is like most United Methodist Churches, I’m sure that there are a lot of different
opinions on most subjects, including homosexuality. We are all different and have different life
experiences. Hence, we have different opinions.


But, the beauty of Christianity is that we can all be one in Jesus Christ. We have one faith, one
Lord, one Baptism. One of the reasons I enjoy preaching on the “I Am” sayings of Jesus is that
there is such a clear focus on Jesus in all of these sayings.


This Sunday we will be preaching on “I am the Light of the World.” (John 8:12) Come and let
Jesus shine light upon your life, your thoughts, and in your life. I look forward to seeing you.


I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Over the years I’ve witnessed the scene on TV many times. It’s people coming out from shelters  to see what damage the hurricane has caused. Sometimes they find their house destroyed.  Other times, it’s still standing. Whatever they find, it is difficult and emotional and they are  always asked what they are going to do and they respond that they will rebuild, start over, etc.  And they do. And teams of people come from all over to help them. I imagine McEachern has  even sent some of those teams. 

Similarly, for the past year, we have been dealing with the ravages of COVID-19. It has  caused a lot of damage: sickness, death, schools going virtual, businesses closing, jobs lost,  and even the church suspending in-person worship and carrying out ministry virtually. It has  been a hard year. 

But, things are changing. Vaccinations have begun and most people who choose to receive the  vaccine will receive it sometime this year. Schools are reopening. Sickness and death due to  COVID are slowing down. And people are reemerging after the storm. 

We have started back with in-person worship while continuing online worship. I told the staff to  plan ministry accordingly knowing that we will not suspend our on-campus activities again. We  will continue to use safety protocols but we will also continue to meet. 

As you emerge after this COVID-19 storm, know that McEachern is here. And we are in the  process of rebuilding the ministry of the church. Leaders will be meeting this Sunday afternoon  to continue planning for the unfolding story of ministry at McEachern. 

I look forward to seeing you at worship. There are so many who are a part of McEachern that I  have not had the pleasure of meeting since I arrived last July. I look forward to those meetings.  Let’s rebuild together. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

February 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
The Season of Lent is a time for a return to Spiritual Discipline. Traditionally, it has been a time of prayer and fasting as a way to prepare for the celebration of the most Holy day of the year—Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. The practice of fasting is where the whole idea of “giving up something for Lent” came from.

 
I’d like to challenge you this year to “give up something” and “to take on something.” You choose what you will give up. In years past I have given up desserts, potatoes, fried food, and other things. This year I’m giving up chips of any kind. That may not sound like much to you, but I eat chips all the time, especially at night while watching TV. The idea of giving up something is that whenever you think about or desire what you have given up, that is a call to prayer. I should be praying a lot this Lenten season! What will you give up?

 
This challenge also includes “taking on something.” For this, I have a specific challenge for you. I’m asking everyone to pray for someone that you know who is not a practicing Christian. Pray for that person throughout the season of Lent, and then invite that person to worship on Palm Sunday or Easter. If you’re wondering about capacity in Worship, we’ll have as many services as we need to accommodate as many people who come.

 
So, I’ve “thrown down the gauntlet,” who will accept these challenges?

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

February 17th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I’m looking forward to seeing folks at Worship Sunday. We will be open at 9:30 am and 11:00 am in the  Sanctuary and at 11:00 am at Higher Ground. It will be the first Sunday of Lent and we will be  preaching throughout Lent on the “I Am…” sayings of Jesus. This Sunday the sermon will be “I  am the Door.” Seems appropriate with McEachern opening its doors. 

I have been asked by a number of people about the financial condition of the church. To quote our  Finance Chair, Donnie Newsom, “The financial state of our church is sound.” Donnie can write that for the following reasons. We received a forgivable loan from the Federal Government  called the Payroll Protection Plan last year in the amount of approximately $193,000 dollars.  This loan has not yet been officially forgiven and so we have not reported it as income to the  church. This money would move our year-end number from $103,000 in the red to $90,000 in  the black. In addition, the church has significant reserves both in church operating money and in  our Trustees Fund. 

So, we are financially sound. 

At the same time, we want to be good stewards of the financial resources of the church and so  are asking all our church members to fill out and return Estimate of Giving Cards so that we can  have a clearer picture of our church finances for this year. If you have not yet returned your  card, please do so as soon as possible.  

 

All in all, I praise God for providing for us in a time of trial and I praise God for you!

 

 I love you all, 

Doug

February 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends,
In the Gospel of John we read these words; “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus has previously told them that they will know persecution, that they will be scattered, that He is going to die and rise again, and that this is necessary in order for the Holy Spirit to come. I imagine the Disciples were pretty scared when they heard all this – yet He tells them what is to come in order for them to know peace. And not freedom from trouble – they will know trouble! But peace in the midst of trouble. A peace that comes from knowing Christ has overcome the world.

 
We have certainly known a lot of trouble this past year. Yet, I believe Christ has overcome the world and, so, I have peace and hope. And I have seen you overcoming circumstances to stay connected to one another, to feed thousands of people, to minister in cars and outside at Higher Ground and on flatbed trucks on Christmas Eve and scattered in the Sanctuary singing the songs of Christmas and in parking lots and online in Zoom meetings and on Facebook and in so many ways in order to communicate the Gospel of Jesus. Doing God’s work with you is so awesome!

 
Trouble will come and trouble will go. When (not if) COVID passes, something else will pop up. It’s the nature of a sinful world. But, take heart! Christ has overcome the world. Write that in the depth of your heart. And let’s move forward in ministry!

 
I love you all,

 
Doug
PS. Don’t forget to mail back in your Estimate of Giving Cards this week!

January 20th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Be Bridge Builders. That’s what we have been focusing on all month. I have spoken and written about how we are created by God to be a royal priesthood—building bridges between people and God and people and other people. Certainly, in our world right now we need bridge builders! 

We build these bridges using the Spiritual Gifts God has given us. But that is not the only way. We also practice bridge-building through giving our financial resources to Christ’s ministry through the church, pooling resources in order to make disciples of Jesus and love people. 

The year 2020 was challenging financially for McEachern. I want to thank everyone for your faithfulness in giving. Because of your giving and being good stewards of all the gifts the church received, we finished the year on a positive note financially. 

I do believe that probably by this coming Fall everyone will be able to resume all the participatory ministries of the church without fear of COVID due to all the vaccinations that will have happened by that time. In the meantime, the Leadership and Staff of McEachern are working to lead the church forward in ministry. 

Here are the things we are working on. We are working to be a church that reaches out to everyone in our community so that the active body of the church is multiethnic and multigenerational. We are working to be a church that emphasizes growing as disciples of Jesus Christ who are prayer focused. We are working to form partnerships in mission with all the various outreach ministries in our community. And, we are working to find new ways to reach our community with the Gospel of Jesus especially through the development of online ministries. 

It is exciting to imagine how McEachern is going to develop as a church. But this will not happen unless you participate in the ministry with your time and talents, with your prayers, and with your financial resources. 

Next week you will receive an Estimate of Giving Card from the church. I am asking you to prayerfully consider how you will invest in the growing ministry of McEachern, fill out the card and return it in the envelope provided. I am also asking you to prayerfully think about increasing your giving by 1% of your income over your giving last year. Our goal is to have over 200 Estimate of Giving Cards returned this year. 

Together, by the grace of God, we will see a new day dawn on the ministry of McEachern in the months to come. I want to be a part of a church that truly loves God, loves people, and make disciples. 

I love you all, 

Doug

January 6th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I hope by now that you have gotten the message that we are temporarily pausing in-person functions at McEachern due to the surge in Cobb County of COVID-19 infections. I’ve been here long enough that you probably know that I really resisted the idea, but it is the right decision at this time. 

Monday night, I found myself tossing and turning instead of sleeping. Over time, I have discovered that whenever I am restless like that, the best thing for me to do is get up, get some water, go sit on the couch, and pray. My prayer that night was focused on the decision to pause. I considered whether it was motivated by fear or by faith. And the Lord led me to see that it was neither. Instead, it was a decision based on the fact of the rapidly rising infections and the desire to keep people as safe as possible. 

I then prayed and asked God to help me to know it was the right decision. God reminded me that He is a God of peace and asked me what decision led me to a place of peace—continuing in-person worship or pausing in-person worship. God’s peace came over me; pausing was the decision at this time and this was a temporary state. God also reminded me very warmly that He is with us, no matter what. After this time of prayer, I found myself able to go back to bed and back to sleep. 

I do not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future—and so do you. God is a God whose love endures forever. I praise and worship Him. 

I invite you to join me online for the Traditional Service or to join Rev. Tony online for the Higher Ground Service, both at 11am. Let us worship together, even though we might be apart. We will be continuing to focus on “Be Bridge Builders.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

December 30th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I have been praying for you. My prayer is that everyone had a Christmastime during which they were able to communicate with family, worship, and reflect on the amazing gift of Jesus Christ. True, this Christmas has been different, but also memorable. 

I will never forget the folks who worked so hard to provide the Drive-In Christmas Eve Worship service. We thought the weather would break when looking at the forecast. But it didn’t so we worshipped anyway in cold, windy, wet conditions. Thank you to everyone who was a part of that service and who attended. It reminded me of the cold, windy, primitive conditions that Jesus was born in a cave 2000 years ago. 

I will not soon forget the online service that McEachern Kids did. It was warm and funny and touching and helped me remember that Jesus loves all the children of the world, including me and including you. 

I will not forget having to celebrate Christmas Eve online out of a concern for safety for everyone. I lit my candle and I hope you lit your candle while singing “Silent Night” with the angels. 

I will always remember the new friends that God has placed in my path this year—the people of McEachern! You are warm and loving and, slowly, I am beginning to recognize faces covered by masks. I look forward to getting to know many more of you as 2021 unfolds. 

We have a lot to accomplish as a church in the year to come; one of the most important is to be a people of prayer. I am praying for you and the whole church and the whole world as we face difficult circumstances. God has always called His people “overcomers,” and we will overcome whatever we face by relying on the peer of God and His Holy Spirit. I believe there is much for us to do as we “Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples of Jesus Christ.” 

I love you all, 

 Doug

December 16th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Over these Sundays of Advent, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the Wise Men Rules with you. I do believe that we can learn a lot from the Wise Men as we: Watch Expectantly, Act Faithfully, Live Joyfully, and the last two that I will be preaching on this coming Sunday, Give Generously and Bow Humbly. 

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I am very much aware of the challenge that COVID-19 has created. We want to Worship as safely as we can. We want to participate in various ministries safely. We want to be strong and vital as a church, despite extremely adverse circumstances. 

So, I want to thank you for practicing the church’s COVID-19 protocols and we will continue to offer in-person worship unless the pandemic simply goes crazy. 

I want to encourage you to participate on Christmas Eve, either at the Drive-In Service in the back parking lot at 3 pm or either of our online Services: 4:30 pm for the Children’s Service and 6 pm for the Traditional Service. 

I need to remind you that we will only have an online Worship Service at 10 am on Sunday, December 27th. Please watch from your home in the most comfortable clothing you have. 

Lastly, the SPR Committee has graciously offered the Church Staff the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a time to slow down and recharge before entering 2021. If there are any pastoral needs, we will certainly be available; please call us. 

During the last week of the year, if you have End of Year Financial gifts, you can give them online or you can come by the church on Tuesday or Wednesday from 9 am ‘til Noon and make a contribution. Staff will be present to receive your gifts. 

Please remember the church this year both in your prayers and in your giving. We are only receiving mission gifts using the Christmas Mission Catalogue or in the offering on Christmas Eve. We are still a good ways behind our budget projections for the year, if you can give to help catch us up, that would be a blessing. 

I love serving McEachern and am looking forward to a great year in 2021.

 I love you all, 

Doug

December 9th, 2020

Dear Friends,

Last Tuesday night, the McEachern Church Council voted unanimously to approve the priorities that emerged from the church’s Visioning session in October. These priorities came from those gathered as they prayed and listened to what we understood God to be calling us to do in the coming years.

The priorities were:
– to become a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation
– to focus on discipleship building
– to be prayer centered
– to work to grow the Kingdom of God through witnessing and on line ministry
– to build community partnerships for mission work
– to be debt-free
– to experience a culture change

Leaders in the church will meet again in January to develop a strategic plan for accomplishing these priorities. If you would like to be a part of this session and are not currently serving in leadership, please let me know.

After this has been done, then we will begin to work on the plan. It is so exciting to be a part of McEachern, even in the midst of COVID-19. I truly believe God is moving in this church.
I look forward to continuing to teach “The Wise Men Rules” in worship. This week we will be looking at the third rule: Live Joyfully!

I love you all,
Doug

December 2nd, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone had a Happy, if unusual, Thanksgiving. Debbie and I spent time with each of our children and their families independently and then visited her 96-year-old Aunt and then spent a few days away. It was a good time and we are thankful for family and we are thankful for you.
I thought I’d take a moment and update you regarding COVID-19 and the church. The Staff and I have been closely watching the Georgia Department of Public Health’s reports regarding the coronavirus. Currently, Cobb County and Paulding County are yellow/light-orange on the state map of COVID-19 cases. I know that you are reading and hearing about a surge of coronavirus cases in our nation. There has been a slight uptick in cases since October, but not so much that we feel a need to change the church’s approach.
So, here’s where we are today. We will continue in-person worship for those who desire it and feel safe to attend. We are only able to do this because you have been diligent in wearing masks, social distancing, and entering and exiting the building quickly. I appreciate you so much for your willingness to do these things so that others might enjoy worship in-person. We will be adding back the 9:30 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary, as well as continuing the 11 am in the Sanctuary. We will continue to offer the on-line Worship option at 11 am. Higher Ground Worship will move to 11 am in-person and on-line.
The McEachern Kids Academy meets at 9:30 am on Sundays in the children’s area then the children move into small groups to study a variety of subjects. They also have scheduled a Family Manger Project for this coming Sunday at 4 pm. It will be held outside and you need to register for either of these events.
Our Youth open the doors at 9 am and then have Bible Study beginning around 9:40 am and are done by 10:30 am. They meet in the Youth Suite.
Some of our Adult classes are meeting on-line and some are meeting in-person. (And some both!) Please contact your class for your meeting time.
I also want you to know that Debbie and I appreciate the invitations we have received to various Christmas parties. Unfortunately, we will not be attending them this year. I am in the public a lot as it is and I feel it important to place some limits as a safety precaution. I look forward to next year and being free to participate in many Christmas celebrations.
I love you all,
Doug

November 25th, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Whether we are celebrating alone, on Zoom, or with family and friends, I pray that this will be a day of thankfulness to God for His love and blessings.

Sunday in my sermon I shared the idea of an Alphabet of Thanksgiving – recording at least one thing you are thankful for, using each letter of the alphabet. At our last Staff meeting, the Staff wrote their own Alphabet of Thanksgiving. I told them I would share it with you this week.

A – Alleluias!
B – Bible, beauty
C – Christ, children, Children’s Ministry
D – dogs, digital learning, Dads
E – Eating (we’re Methodists after all), exercise
F – Friends, family
G – God, goodness, grace
H – help, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Higher Ground Worship
I – Isaac (family name), invitation
J – Jesus
K – Kindness
L – Love, laughter
M – memories, McEachern, music, Music Ministry, Missions
O – opportunity
P – Pumpkin pie, Peace, our Pastors
Q – Quiet
R – Remembrance
S – Sanctuary, singing, Salvation, Staff
T – Truth, thankfulness
U – Unity
W – wonder, wisdom, Worship in the Sanctuary
X – Xylophone (X is always hard)
Y – You, Y’all, Youth Ministry
Z – Zoom, ZZZZ’s

On behalf of the Staff, we love you and love being in ministry with you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

November 18th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating a Thanksgiving Sunday. As I got to thinking about this, I  decided to do a little research into what people in America say they are most thankful for.  

Here’s the list: 

  •  – Family (84%) 

  •  – Health (69%) 

  •  – Friends (63%) 

  •  – Memories (63%) 

  •  – Freedom (53%) 

  •  – Safety and Security (47%) 

  •  – Opportunity (45%) 

  •  – Fun Experiences (42%) 

  •  – Achievements (33%) 

  •  – Wealth (21%) 

I am not surprised to see Family, Friends, and Health at the top of the list. All three of these have been made even more precious this year as we have lived with COVID-19. I still remember the first hugs from my grandchildren after the lockdown in March and April.  

However, I must admit that I am surprised that Faith in God is not listed as one of the things that people are most thankful for. When President Abraham Lincoln issued his proclamation in  October 1863, establishing the 4th Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, he did so while the nation was still engaged in the Civil War. In that proclamation, Lincoln designated the day as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in Heaven.” Lincoln called upon the people of the United States to give thanks for all the ways that God had blessed everyone and to also repent for those things that had been done that were not in accordance with God’s will. 

This Sunday we will gather together to offer our thanks to God. Whether you attend in person or online, I look forward to celebrating with you. 


I love you all,
Doug

November 11th, 2020

Dear Friends,
It was great to hear today that a vaccine for COVID-19 is looking very good. I pray that it works and that we might return to living without constantly considering the impact of the virus. I applaud all of you for the way that you are practicing wearing masks in worship, social distancing, and following safety for us to gather every week to worship God. Thank you for your cooperation.
I want you to know of a couple of schedule changes that will happen beginning December 6th. Higher Ground will move its Worship time to 11 am. They will meet both inside and outside at Higher Ground. Also, we will begin again the 9:30 am Worship Service in addition to the 11 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary. To keep adequate social distancing and with increasing numbers in worship, it is necessary to start this service back. We will continue to be online for all our Worship Services as well.
I also want to share that your prayers for the church are being felt. The Spirit in the Sanctuary and at Higher Ground is evident to me. Thank you for your continued prayers and know that I am praying for you.
I love you all,
Doug

November 4th, 2020

Dear Friends,
So, this article is a “Heads Up” article as I share with you some things that will be happening in
the next couple of months. Starting with Communion this Sunday. If you are joining us from home, please have your sacraments prepared. 

First, this month we will celebrate Thanksgiving to God on the fourth Sunday of November. In some ways, I am reminded of the first Thanksgiving after a year that saw a large number of the Pilgrim community die due to exposure to the cold and hunger. That next year they celebrated the fall harvest with a great feast remembering God who provided for them and was with them through that first difficult year. We have had quite a year dealing with COVID-19. This year Thanksgiving might be different, but it will certainly be meaningful.

We begin the celebration of Advent on November 29th. Our Sermon Series for Advent is “The Wise Men Rules.” The focus is on rules we learn for living from the story of the Wise Men we find in the Gospel of Matthew. I hope you will plan on being a part. By the way, Tanya has hatched a plan for the annual Christmas Concert performed by the Choir. It will be on the evening of December 12th and you will be able to attend either in person or virtually.

Christmas Eve Services will be on the 24th at 3pm and 6pm in the Sanctuary. If you attend in person, we will socially distance and may need to use overflow spaces. We are also planning a Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service at 4:30pm which will be online, however, there will be a Watch Party in the Christian Life Center for folks who want to attend.

In January we will focus on Stewardship and you will have the opportunity to make commitments to serve in various ministries as well as a commitment to support the Church’s ministry financially.

We are looking at a busy next few months and I look forward to sharing these times with you!

I love you all,
Doug

October 28th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day with a time in our Worship to remember those of our congregation who have died in the past year. I find that I react to these times of  remembrance with both sadness and thanksgiving for the life that was lived. I hope you will come and be a part of this special service. 

I have now been here for four months. The time has flown! I have never lived through a crazier season of ministry than what we are experiencing now due to COVID-19. But, I do want to say how thankful I am that I am going through this season with you. McEachern is a caring, committed church that truly is seeking to love God and love people. I have personally experienced this through the encouraging words that you all have graciously shared with me. I pray for COVID-19 to be behind us. But, until that time, we will work together to sow seeds of the love and the grace of Jesus with a hurting world.  

May God bless you and be with you! I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday either in-person or online. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 21st, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday you will have the unique opportunity to hear from all four of McEachern’s Pastors, together, as we share a dialogue sermon on Discipleship. This is the last Sunday of our “Seeds for the Sower” series and we will speak about Sowing with Faith. I hope you will join us either online or in-person worship.  

I also want to applaud you for following the guidelines while worshiping in-person. Thank you for wearing masks,  sitting 6 feet apart, and refraining from extended conversations in the Sanctuary. I know that all this is awkward, and, if you’re like me, you’d really like to hug somebody. That time will come eventually.  

One little reminder about the guidelines,  everyone please exit the church building after worship and once you are outside then you can visit with one another. I notice people want to hang out in the Sanctuary and the Narthex to visit. Let the visiting continue, but please let’s move it outside to keep safe. 

I am proud to be a part of McEachern UMC. It is a joy meeting folks and getting to know people.  I’m excited about Sunday and our dialogue sermon at 9:30 am and 11 am. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 14th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I just came from our staff meeting. I hope you all realize just how gifted and committed the Staff here at McEachern is. I am constantly amazed at the creativity and perseverance. Please make sure and express appreciation to them. 

Reading the Bible for my devotion the other day, I came across these verses, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your  hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

We live in an anxious time. Part of the anxiety comes from encountering a disease unlike any we have seen in our lifetime. Part of the anxiety is from the changes in our daily living: wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands frequently, not touching one another (I really miss handshakes and hugs!). Yet another part of is fearfulness for our safety and security. I’m sure you have your own reasons for feeling anxious. 

But, Paul writes that we should not be anxious about anything. He tells us to take our concerns to Jesus in prayer and petition. I did a study once that required me to keep a prayer journal. The study was “The Workbook of Living Prayer.” Several years later, I led the study again in another church and used my original workbook with my notes and prayer requests. As I went through, I  discovered that every prayer request that I had written down had been answered.  

God listens to our prayers and answers everyone. His answers may not be exactly what we want or exactly in the time frame that we want, but I know that God answers prayer.  

Paul tells us when we pray to God that He will give us His peace. What that means is that any time you are feeling anxious, let that be a call to prayer knowing that God will answer your prayer. And soon, you will notice the peace of God coming over you. 

The old saying is true, “No God, No Peace …Know God, Know Peace.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 7th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

When I was 16, I went to Camp Glisson for the first time on a Conference Youth Retreat. I had an encounter with God that weekend that changed my life. The next time I went to Glisson, I was elected to the North Georgia Conference Youth Council. For the next two years, I spent a lot of time helping plan and lead retreats there. 

I served as a Camp Counselor the summer after I graduated from High School. By this time, it was clear that God had called me into ministry and that summer was one of my favorites of all time. I learned things as a Counselor that I use in ministry today. I kept song sheets and my Counselor manual from the summer of 1972. 

Glisson has been an important part of my life and, in many ways, I consider it to be my spiritual home. When my children started going as campers when they were old enough. Every year, the week at Glisson was scheduled before we even thought about vacation plans. Both of them were greatly affected by their time at Glisson; they grew spiritually. Brianne and Jordan eventually served as Camp Counselors for several years, and Jordan even met his future wife, Meredith, there. 

Over time, I have served on the Board for Camp Glisson, worked as a T.I.R. (preacher of the week), and attended many retreats and conferences. I have sought to give back to Glisson with my time and monetary gifts. I figure the ministry of Glisson has sown into me and I want to help the ministry sow into others. 

Now, my grandchildren are Glisson campers. They love the Camp and they have grown spiritually as a result. 

I share this because it is a tale of sowing and reaping. Just as participating in the church and giving to the church is a tale of sowing and reaping. When we sow, we do not know what exactly the harvest will be or who will be affected. Whoever sowed into Glisson had little idea that in 1970 a 16-year-old boy would meet God in a way that would change his life forever. 

That boy is now serving as Senior Pastor here. When we sow into the church, we do not know who will meet Jesus and be changed. Thousands have over the history of McEachern. Who knows how many more will come to God. 

 

I love you all, 

Doug 

May 12th, 2021

Dear Friends,
My daughter had a picture hanging on her wall all through college. It was a picture of a boat at sea and the sea was stormy. The quote on the picture was an old Breton’s Fisherman’s prayer. It read, “O God, thy sea is so great and my boat is so small.” The prayer comes from the first line of a poem by Winfred Ernest Garrison. You can find the poem in its entirety, but here is the third stanza:
“Thy world, O God, so fierce,
And I so frail.
Yet, though its arrows often threaten oft to pierce
My fragile mail,
Cities of refuge rise where dangers cease,
Sweet silences abound, and all is peace.”
I am very aware that we live in a fierce world. Conflict, crises, and COVID-19 seem to be the order of the day. Still, God is our city of refuge and He created the church as His agency of peace on earth.
Jesus only referred to one thing in Scripture with the possessive pronoun “my.” He said, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18)
If you are looking for a city of refuge, the church built on solid rock is alive and well. Come and find Jesus who gives us a peace that passes all understanding.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 28th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I pray that you are all doing well today. My prayers are with you each and every day. I celebrate the Confirmation of 10 of our young people Sunday and the growing number of reports I have heard of ones who are seeking to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ. 

Today I want to urge you to participate in the Global Impact Celebration at McEachern and to give a brief report from the Church Council meeting Monday night. 

Global Impact Celebration—Today through Sunday, May 2. 

Schedule: Today (Wednesday) Tomorrow (Thursday) and Saturday 

 Devotional at 8am on McEachern’s Facebook page. Videos of Mission on McEachern’s Facebook at Noon Questions and Answers on McEachern’s Facebook at 7pm GIC Celebration in Worship at 9:30am and 11:00am in the Sanctuary. 

 At each Service on Sunday we will be receiving Faith Promise Commitments. Please bring your Card for both Financial and Service Commitments! 

Church Council Report – 

The Church Council heard reports from Finance, Staff Parish Relations Committee, and the Trustees. 

 Finance reported that the church has finally received confirmation that the PPP loan from the US Government has been forgiven. Through March, we have spent $18,000 more than we have received in offering. Our current Church Checking Account balance was $72,000 with approximately $600,000 in undesignated reserves. We have received 149 Commitments towards the budget of the church, and still hope that as people return to church they will make financial commitments. 

 SPRC –

– All four of our clergy have been reappointed for the year 2021-2022. Denise Register is retiring from the Pre School and her successor will be Denise Ribeiro. It was also reported that Misty Dolph has left the church staff and that her Administrative job responsibilities have been shifted to Nancy Folds, Teresa McDaniel, and Sharon Brand. In addition, Stacie Barrow will be working with DeDe in Children’s Ministry beginning in May and her responsibilities will be taken over by Rev. Tony Philips and Rev. Bomi Kim. All of these staff changes are budget neutral. 

 Trustees –

 The Lula Dobbs project is underway and will be completed in about 6 weeks after permits are received. 

 Pastor’s Time – 

I’ve asked the help of the Church Council in preparing a Frequently Asked Questions document to circulate to the congregation as a result of Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson and The North Georgia Cabinet’s Welcoming Table Vision and webinar. Both of these can be viewed on the North Georgia Conference website at ngumc.org. This document will be sent to the McEachern families to communicate truthfulness, be transparent, and minimize confusion. 

I want to urge everyone who has not attended to attend a Listening Session. The next one is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 4pm in the Gym in the CLC. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

April 21st, 2021

Dear Friends,
It is easy to get distracted. The phone rings. A child cries out. You get a text. Something comes across on a news feed, etc., etc. Really easy to get distracted.
It is really hard to maintain focus. As Christians, we are called to maintain our focus. When the world is caught up in all sorts of distractions, Christians are called to focus on following Christ with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. Christians are called to love God which means to obey God. We obey God when we worship Him, when we pray, when we study His Word, and when we serve Him by sharing Christ’s love and telling people about Jesus.
Last week I wrote to you about Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson and her Cabinet presenting a webinar basically stating that they would be working towards changing the Book of Discipline at the next General Conference, which will be either in 2022 or 2024, in a way that will be inclusive of all people in the LGBTQ community and offer the opportunity for folks in that community to be married by United Methodist clergy and for folks in that community to be Ordained to serve as clergy in the United Methodist Church. Please understand that until the General Conference meets Bishop Sue and the Cabinet must abide by the 2016 Discipline which forbids the above. However, you feel about this – don’t let it distract you from being faithful to Jesus and keeping your focus on following Him.
As a church, we will be holding our Global Impact Celebration next week. There will be numerous opportunities for you to learn about how McEachern is being faithful to Christ in serving and loving our community and the world. Our celebration will conclude on Sunday, May 2 in the Sanctuary at both the 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM services where you will be given the opportunity to make a Faith Promise financial commitment to fund local and global mission outreach as well as the opportunity to make a commitment to serve Christ through involvement in one of McEachern’s many mission projects.
I am asking you to do three things. First, be in prayer as to how you will participate both personally and financially in missions work this coming year. Second, participate online next week in the various learning opportunities. Third, come be a part of the celebration on Sunday, May 2nd. I look forward to participating with you.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 14th, 2021

Dear Friends,
First I want to make sure everyone is aware of the Global Impact Celebration the weekend of May 2. Watch for details of how you can participate both online and in person. It will be a great weekend!
Now I want to tell you about a time that Debbie and I visited our granddaughters’ school to eat lunch with them. We got there a little early and sat on a bench outside the lunchroom to wait. I got to tell you, sitting on a bench in an elementary school hallway is really something!
We watched children entering and leaving the lunchroom. It’s hard for me to describe just how much happens in the line as kids are going to lunch. There’s picking at each other; all sorts of gyrations, spins, and twirls; speaking and whispering all happening at once as the kids maintain some semblance of a line slowly rolling into the lunchroom. Also, I want you to know that, from my observation, boys and girls act really differently. Boys tended to be louder and more active. I still have a vivid memory of the boy who flipped his water bottle the ENTIRE TIME he was in the lunchroom. Girls tended to be quieter and ate in groups. This is just what I saw on that particular day. It was a wonder that anyone ate anything!
But there was something else that I noticed that day. On the wall outside the lunchroom was a fire extinguisher. It was encased in a fire extinguisher box and duly labeled. However, over time the “F” from the word “Fire” had worn off. So, rather than reading “Fire Extinguisher” it actually read “Ire Extinguisher.” And I thought, “Boy, would I like to have an Ire Extinguisher!”
Think about the ways an Ire Extinguisher could be used. You do something and get your spouse mad at you. Rather than experiencing all the pain and difficulty of working things out, you simply pull out the Ire Extinguisher. Or, with Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching and family gatherings happening, rather than experiencing the tensions that accompany a lot of those gatherings you simply spray everyone with the Ire Extinguisher as they enter the house. Instant peace!
Just imagine if we sprayed Congress with the Ire Extinguisher—something might actually get done! And, what if we placed an Ire Extinguisher in every church? By eliminating church fights I believe we could be much more effective in spreading the Gospel.
But, then I thought, we already have an Ire Extinguisher. His name is Jesus. I believe if we followed His teachings about love, grace, and forgiveness then Ire would be extinguished and peace would come upon the earth.
May it be so.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 7th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

It was wonderful to gather with so many of you on Easter. It was also joyful sharing with so many online. Nothing compares to the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! 

Truly, the most amazing moment in all of history! 

Thank you to everyone who had a part in our Holy Week Services from Palm Sunday through Easter. I know I will not mention everyone, but thanks to Tanya and the Choir for all the special music, thanks to Susan and our Nursery workers, thanks to DeDe and all those who work with children for the Palm procession, Monday night in the parking lot, and Easter Sunday morning 

celebrations, thanks to Nancy and all those who made registrations, thanks to Aubrey and Bomi for getting the word out, thanks to Tony for Higher Ground worship, thanks to Cindy for all her many contributions, thanks to our ushers and greeters and acolytes and everyone connected to worship, thanks to James and all the sound folks, and thanks to Carlos for all his work with the youth this past week. Easter week takes everyone and you all made this week a special week. 

Going forward there are several upcoming things that you need to be aware of: 

Confirmation Sunday – April 25th at the 11am Service 

Global Impact Celebration weekend – May 1-3 

Mother’s Day – May 10 

Graduate Recognition Sunday – May 17 

Pentecost – May 24. 

A lot of special days for a lot of special people. Please put all these on your calendars and I look forward to sharing them with you. 

May we all be blessed as we share this Easter Season. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

March 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A year ago we were in total lockdown due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Most businesses and restaurants were closed. People did not venture out except to get food, gas, or for a few other essential things. Church facilities were closed – and remain closed for several months.

 
I will never forget last Easter. The only worship available was online. There were no Easter Lilies, no wonderful music, no sanctuaries open to attend, no Easter outfits to wear, no friends to see. It was a dark Easter.

 
So, I started a new tradition for the observance of Easter last year. I made a wooden cross and covered it with white lights. And at sunrise, Debbie and I carried the cross down to the street and planted it in the ground, turned the lights on, and remembered Easter. We hugged and we prayed. We went inside and put on Easter outfits and took a picture and sent it to our kids and grandkids wishing them a Happy Easter. I imagine you did something also – because faith finds a way!

 
This Easter we will be worshipping in the ball field for Sonrise at 7 AM and in the Sanctuary at 9:30 and 11:00 AM and at Higher Ground at 11:00 AM. We will smell the lilies and sing the songs of faith and we will worship the Risen Lord with deep and abiding joy. There will be tears of thanksgiving, I am sure.

 
But, before any of that happens, I will be carrying a little wooden cross with white lights on it and plant it in my yard, and lighting it up to celebrate that faith finds a way. Faith always finds a way.

 
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 17th, 2021

Dear Friends,

I wanted everyone to know some exciting Easter plans that we are making. I am excited that we will be worshipping on Easter after not being able to last year.

This year our Holy Week and Easter Schedule will be as follows:

Palm/Passion Sunday Celebration – March 28th. At both 9:30 and 11 am. Higher Ground will be meeting at 11 am as well.

In the Sanctuary the children will be processing in with palm branches and we have planned a special service of music and message to help us remember both Palm Sunday and the Crucifixion. 

Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae Service – Thursday, April 1 at 7 pm in the Sanctuary

Come celebrate Holy Communion to remember the Last Supper and experience the Tenebrae Service – the Service of Darkness as we remember the Crucifixion.

Easter Sunday – April 4th

Sonrise at 7 am behind Higher Ground

Sanctuary Worship 9:30 and 11 am 

Higher Ground 11 am 

No Sunday School on Easter.

Please make reservations for all these services. We are setting the Sanctuary capacity at 320, which is about half. If we fill up both services then we will add additional services as needed.

I look forward to worshipping with you this Holy Week.

Save your seat for Holy Week Services Here.

I love you all,

Dr. Doug

March 10th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A little over a week ago leaders of the United Methodist Church decided to postpone the
General Conference scheduled for 2021 to 2022 due to the worldwide COVID pandemic and the
difficulty of travel during these times. By postponing the General Conference there will be no
discussion or action taken regarding the Protocol for Separation that had been proposed for
General Conference that was supposed to meet last year.


Basically this means that there is no viable pathway for any United Methodist Church to
separate from the Denomination for at least the next year and a half. It also means that the
current position of the United Methodist Church recorded in the Book of Discipline regarding
homosexuality and forbidding homosexual marriages being performed in UMC churches and
being performed by UMC Clergy is still in force. It also means that the prohibition of self avowed
practicing homosexuals from being ordained as clergy in the UMC is still in place.


If McEachern is like most United Methodist Churches, I’m sure that there are a lot of different
opinions on most subjects, including homosexuality. We are all different and have different life
experiences. Hence, we have different opinions.


But, the beauty of Christianity is that we can all be one in Jesus Christ. We have one faith, one
Lord, one Baptism. One of the reasons I enjoy preaching on the “I Am” sayings of Jesus is that
there is such a clear focus on Jesus in all of these sayings.


This Sunday we will be preaching on “I am the Light of the World.” (John 8:12) Come and let
Jesus shine light upon your life, your thoughts, and in your life. I look forward to seeing you.


I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Over the years I’ve witnessed the scene on TV many times. It’s people coming out from shelters  to see what damage the hurricane has caused. Sometimes they find their house destroyed.  Other times, it’s still standing. Whatever they find, it is difficult and emotional and they are  always asked what they are going to do and they respond that they will rebuild, start over, etc.  And they do. And teams of people come from all over to help them. I imagine McEachern has  even sent some of those teams. 

Similarly, for the past year, we have been dealing with the ravages of COVID-19. It has  caused a lot of damage: sickness, death, schools going virtual, businesses closing, jobs lost,  and even the church suspending in-person worship and carrying out ministry virtually. It has  been a hard year. 

But, things are changing. Vaccinations have begun and most people who choose to receive the  vaccine will receive it sometime this year. Schools are reopening. Sickness and death due to  COVID are slowing down. And people are reemerging after the storm. 

We have started back with in-person worship while continuing online worship. I told the staff to  plan ministry accordingly knowing that we will not suspend our on-campus activities again. We  will continue to use safety protocols but we will also continue to meet. 

As you emerge after this COVID-19 storm, know that McEachern is here. And we are in the  process of rebuilding the ministry of the church. Leaders will be meeting this Sunday afternoon  to continue planning for the unfolding story of ministry at McEachern. 

I look forward to seeing you at worship. There are so many who are a part of McEachern that I  have not had the pleasure of meeting since I arrived last July. I look forward to those meetings.  Let’s rebuild together. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

February 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
The Season of Lent is a time for a return to Spiritual Discipline. Traditionally, it has been a time of prayer and fasting as a way to prepare for the celebration of the most Holy day of the year—Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. The practice of fasting is where the whole idea of “giving up something for Lent” came from.

 
I’d like to challenge you this year to “give up something” and “to take on something.” You choose what you will give up. In years past I have given up desserts, potatoes, fried food, and other things. This year I’m giving up chips of any kind. That may not sound like much to you, but I eat chips all the time, especially at night while watching TV. The idea of giving up something is that whenever you think about or desire what you have given up, that is a call to prayer. I should be praying a lot this Lenten season! What will you give up?

 
This challenge also includes “taking on something.” For this, I have a specific challenge for you. I’m asking everyone to pray for someone that you know who is not a practicing Christian. Pray for that person throughout the season of Lent, and then invite that person to worship on Palm Sunday or Easter. If you’re wondering about capacity in Worship, we’ll have as many services as we need to accommodate as many people who come.

 
So, I’ve “thrown down the gauntlet,” who will accept these challenges?

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

February 17th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I’m looking forward to seeing folks at Worship Sunday. We will be open at 9:30 am and 11:00 am in the  Sanctuary and at 11:00 am at Higher Ground. It will be the first Sunday of Lent and we will be  preaching throughout Lent on the “I Am…” sayings of Jesus. This Sunday the sermon will be “I  am the Door.” Seems appropriate with McEachern opening its doors. 

I have been asked by a number of people about the financial condition of the church. To quote our  Finance Chair, Donnie Newsom, “The financial state of our church is sound.” Donnie can write that for the following reasons. We received a forgivable loan from the Federal Government  called the Payroll Protection Plan last year in the amount of approximately $193,000 dollars.  This loan has not yet been officially forgiven and so we have not reported it as income to the  church. This money would move our year-end number from $103,000 in the red to $90,000 in  the black. In addition, the church has significant reserves both in church operating money and in  our Trustees Fund. 

So, we are financially sound. 

At the same time, we want to be good stewards of the financial resources of the church and so  are asking all our church members to fill out and return Estimate of Giving Cards so that we can  have a clearer picture of our church finances for this year. If you have not yet returned your  card, please do so as soon as possible.  

 

All in all, I praise God for providing for us in a time of trial and I praise God for you!

 

 I love you all, 

Doug

February 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends,
In the Gospel of John we read these words; “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus has previously told them that they will know persecution, that they will be scattered, that He is going to die and rise again, and that this is necessary in order for the Holy Spirit to come. I imagine the Disciples were pretty scared when they heard all this – yet He tells them what is to come in order for them to know peace. And not freedom from trouble – they will know trouble! But peace in the midst of trouble. A peace that comes from knowing Christ has overcome the world.

 
We have certainly known a lot of trouble this past year. Yet, I believe Christ has overcome the world and, so, I have peace and hope. And I have seen you overcoming circumstances to stay connected to one another, to feed thousands of people, to minister in cars and outside at Higher Ground and on flatbed trucks on Christmas Eve and scattered in the Sanctuary singing the songs of Christmas and in parking lots and online in Zoom meetings and on Facebook and in so many ways in order to communicate the Gospel of Jesus. Doing God’s work with you is so awesome!

 
Trouble will come and trouble will go. When (not if) COVID passes, something else will pop up. It’s the nature of a sinful world. But, take heart! Christ has overcome the world. Write that in the depth of your heart. And let’s move forward in ministry!

 
I love you all,

 
Doug
PS. Don’t forget to mail back in your Estimate of Giving Cards this week!

January 20th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Be Bridge Builders. That’s what we have been focusing on all month. I have spoken and written about how we are created by God to be a royal priesthood—building bridges between people and God and people and other people. Certainly, in our world right now we need bridge builders! 

We build these bridges using the Spiritual Gifts God has given us. But that is not the only way. We also practice bridge-building through giving our financial resources to Christ’s ministry through the church, pooling resources in order to make disciples of Jesus and love people. 

The year 2020 was challenging financially for McEachern. I want to thank everyone for your faithfulness in giving. Because of your giving and being good stewards of all the gifts the church received, we finished the year on a positive note financially. 

I do believe that probably by this coming Fall everyone will be able to resume all the participatory ministries of the church without fear of COVID due to all the vaccinations that will have happened by that time. In the meantime, the Leadership and Staff of McEachern are working to lead the church forward in ministry. 

Here are the things we are working on. We are working to be a church that reaches out to everyone in our community so that the active body of the church is multiethnic and multigenerational. We are working to be a church that emphasizes growing as disciples of Jesus Christ who are prayer focused. We are working to form partnerships in mission with all the various outreach ministries in our community. And, we are working to find new ways to reach our community with the Gospel of Jesus especially through the development of online ministries. 

It is exciting to imagine how McEachern is going to develop as a church. But this will not happen unless you participate in the ministry with your time and talents, with your prayers, and with your financial resources. 

Next week you will receive an Estimate of Giving Card from the church. I am asking you to prayerfully consider how you will invest in the growing ministry of McEachern, fill out the card and return it in the envelope provided. I am also asking you to prayerfully think about increasing your giving by 1% of your income over your giving last year. Our goal is to have over 200 Estimate of Giving Cards returned this year. 

Together, by the grace of God, we will see a new day dawn on the ministry of McEachern in the months to come. I want to be a part of a church that truly loves God, loves people, and make disciples. 

I love you all, 

Doug

January 6th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I hope by now that you have gotten the message that we are temporarily pausing in-person functions at McEachern due to the surge in Cobb County of COVID-19 infections. I’ve been here long enough that you probably know that I really resisted the idea, but it is the right decision at this time. 

Monday night, I found myself tossing and turning instead of sleeping. Over time, I have discovered that whenever I am restless like that, the best thing for me to do is get up, get some water, go sit on the couch, and pray. My prayer that night was focused on the decision to pause. I considered whether it was motivated by fear or by faith. And the Lord led me to see that it was neither. Instead, it was a decision based on the fact of the rapidly rising infections and the desire to keep people as safe as possible. 

I then prayed and asked God to help me to know it was the right decision. God reminded me that He is a God of peace and asked me what decision led me to a place of peace—continuing in-person worship or pausing in-person worship. God’s peace came over me; pausing was the decision at this time and this was a temporary state. God also reminded me very warmly that He is with us, no matter what. After this time of prayer, I found myself able to go back to bed and back to sleep. 

I do not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future—and so do you. God is a God whose love endures forever. I praise and worship Him. 

I invite you to join me online for the Traditional Service or to join Rev. Tony online for the Higher Ground Service, both at 11am. Let us worship together, even though we might be apart. We will be continuing to focus on “Be Bridge Builders.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

December 30th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I have been praying for you. My prayer is that everyone had a Christmastime during which they were able to communicate with family, worship, and reflect on the amazing gift of Jesus Christ. True, this Christmas has been different, but also memorable. 

I will never forget the folks who worked so hard to provide the Drive-In Christmas Eve Worship service. We thought the weather would break when looking at the forecast. But it didn’t so we worshipped anyway in cold, windy, wet conditions. Thank you to everyone who was a part of that service and who attended. It reminded me of the cold, windy, primitive conditions that Jesus was born in a cave 2000 years ago. 

I will not soon forget the online service that McEachern Kids did. It was warm and funny and touching and helped me remember that Jesus loves all the children of the world, including me and including you. 

I will not forget having to celebrate Christmas Eve online out of a concern for safety for everyone. I lit my candle and I hope you lit your candle while singing “Silent Night” with the angels. 

I will always remember the new friends that God has placed in my path this year—the people of McEachern! You are warm and loving and, slowly, I am beginning to recognize faces covered by masks. I look forward to getting to know many more of you as 2021 unfolds. 

We have a lot to accomplish as a church in the year to come; one of the most important is to be a people of prayer. I am praying for you and the whole church and the whole world as we face difficult circumstances. God has always called His people “overcomers,” and we will overcome whatever we face by relying on the peer of God and His Holy Spirit. I believe there is much for us to do as we “Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples of Jesus Christ.” 

I love you all, 

 Doug

December 16th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Over these Sundays of Advent, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the Wise Men Rules with you. I do believe that we can learn a lot from the Wise Men as we: Watch Expectantly, Act Faithfully, Live Joyfully, and the last two that I will be preaching on this coming Sunday, Give Generously and Bow Humbly. 

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I am very much aware of the challenge that COVID-19 has created. We want to Worship as safely as we can. We want to participate in various ministries safely. We want to be strong and vital as a church, despite extremely adverse circumstances. 

So, I want to thank you for practicing the church’s COVID-19 protocols and we will continue to offer in-person worship unless the pandemic simply goes crazy. 

I want to encourage you to participate on Christmas Eve, either at the Drive-In Service in the back parking lot at 3 pm or either of our online Services: 4:30 pm for the Children’s Service and 6 pm for the Traditional Service. 

I need to remind you that we will only have an online Worship Service at 10 am on Sunday, December 27th. Please watch from your home in the most comfortable clothing you have. 

Lastly, the SPR Committee has graciously offered the Church Staff the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a time to slow down and recharge before entering 2021. If there are any pastoral needs, we will certainly be available; please call us. 

During the last week of the year, if you have End of Year Financial gifts, you can give them online or you can come by the church on Tuesday or Wednesday from 9 am ‘til Noon and make a contribution. Staff will be present to receive your gifts. 

Please remember the church this year both in your prayers and in your giving. We are only receiving mission gifts using the Christmas Mission Catalogue or in the offering on Christmas Eve. We are still a good ways behind our budget projections for the year, if you can give to help catch us up, that would be a blessing. 

I love serving McEachern and am looking forward to a great year in 2021.

 I love you all, 

Doug

December 9th, 2020

Dear Friends,

Last Tuesday night, the McEachern Church Council voted unanimously to approve the priorities that emerged from the church’s Visioning session in October. These priorities came from those gathered as they prayed and listened to what we understood God to be calling us to do in the coming years.

The priorities were:
– to become a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation
– to focus on discipleship building
– to be prayer centered
– to work to grow the Kingdom of God through witnessing and on line ministry
– to build community partnerships for mission work
– to be debt-free
– to experience a culture change

Leaders in the church will meet again in January to develop a strategic plan for accomplishing these priorities. If you would like to be a part of this session and are not currently serving in leadership, please let me know.

After this has been done, then we will begin to work on the plan. It is so exciting to be a part of McEachern, even in the midst of COVID-19. I truly believe God is moving in this church.
I look forward to continuing to teach “The Wise Men Rules” in worship. This week we will be looking at the third rule: Live Joyfully!

I love you all,
Doug

December 2nd, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone had a Happy, if unusual, Thanksgiving. Debbie and I spent time with each of our children and their families independently and then visited her 96-year-old Aunt and then spent a few days away. It was a good time and we are thankful for family and we are thankful for you.
I thought I’d take a moment and update you regarding COVID-19 and the church. The Staff and I have been closely watching the Georgia Department of Public Health’s reports regarding the coronavirus. Currently, Cobb County and Paulding County are yellow/light-orange on the state map of COVID-19 cases. I know that you are reading and hearing about a surge of coronavirus cases in our nation. There has been a slight uptick in cases since October, but not so much that we feel a need to change the church’s approach.
So, here’s where we are today. We will continue in-person worship for those who desire it and feel safe to attend. We are only able to do this because you have been diligent in wearing masks, social distancing, and entering and exiting the building quickly. I appreciate you so much for your willingness to do these things so that others might enjoy worship in-person. We will be adding back the 9:30 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary, as well as continuing the 11 am in the Sanctuary. We will continue to offer the on-line Worship option at 11 am. Higher Ground Worship will move to 11 am in-person and on-line.
The McEachern Kids Academy meets at 9:30 am on Sundays in the children’s area then the children move into small groups to study a variety of subjects. They also have scheduled a Family Manger Project for this coming Sunday at 4 pm. It will be held outside and you need to register for either of these events.
Our Youth open the doors at 9 am and then have Bible Study beginning around 9:40 am and are done by 10:30 am. They meet in the Youth Suite.
Some of our Adult classes are meeting on-line and some are meeting in-person. (And some both!) Please contact your class for your meeting time.
I also want you to know that Debbie and I appreciate the invitations we have received to various Christmas parties. Unfortunately, we will not be attending them this year. I am in the public a lot as it is and I feel it important to place some limits as a safety precaution. I look forward to next year and being free to participate in many Christmas celebrations.
I love you all,
Doug

November 25th, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Whether we are celebrating alone, on Zoom, or with family and friends, I pray that this will be a day of thankfulness to God for His love and blessings.

Sunday in my sermon I shared the idea of an Alphabet of Thanksgiving – recording at least one thing you are thankful for, using each letter of the alphabet. At our last Staff meeting, the Staff wrote their own Alphabet of Thanksgiving. I told them I would share it with you this week.

A – Alleluias!
B – Bible, beauty
C – Christ, children, Children’s Ministry
D – dogs, digital learning, Dads
E – Eating (we’re Methodists after all), exercise
F – Friends, family
G – God, goodness, grace
H – help, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Higher Ground Worship
I – Isaac (family name), invitation
J – Jesus
K – Kindness
L – Love, laughter
M – memories, McEachern, music, Music Ministry, Missions
O – opportunity
P – Pumpkin pie, Peace, our Pastors
Q – Quiet
R – Remembrance
S – Sanctuary, singing, Salvation, Staff
T – Truth, thankfulness
U – Unity
W – wonder, wisdom, Worship in the Sanctuary
X – Xylophone (X is always hard)
Y – You, Y’all, Youth Ministry
Z – Zoom, ZZZZ’s

On behalf of the Staff, we love you and love being in ministry with you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

November 18th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating a Thanksgiving Sunday. As I got to thinking about this, I  decided to do a little research into what people in America say they are most thankful for.  

Here’s the list: 

  •  – Family (84%) 

  •  – Health (69%) 

  •  – Friends (63%) 

  •  – Memories (63%) 

  •  – Freedom (53%) 

  •  – Safety and Security (47%) 

  •  – Opportunity (45%) 

  •  – Fun Experiences (42%) 

  •  – Achievements (33%) 

  •  – Wealth (21%) 

I am not surprised to see Family, Friends, and Health at the top of the list. All three of these have been made even more precious this year as we have lived with COVID-19. I still remember the first hugs from my grandchildren after the lockdown in March and April.  

However, I must admit that I am surprised that Faith in God is not listed as one of the things that people are most thankful for. When President Abraham Lincoln issued his proclamation in  October 1863, establishing the 4th Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, he did so while the nation was still engaged in the Civil War. In that proclamation, Lincoln designated the day as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in Heaven.” Lincoln called upon the people of the United States to give thanks for all the ways that God had blessed everyone and to also repent for those things that had been done that were not in accordance with God’s will. 

This Sunday we will gather together to offer our thanks to God. Whether you attend in person or online, I look forward to celebrating with you. 


I love you all,
Doug

November 11th, 2020

Dear Friends,
It was great to hear today that a vaccine for COVID-19 is looking very good. I pray that it works and that we might return to living without constantly considering the impact of the virus. I applaud all of you for the way that you are practicing wearing masks in worship, social distancing, and following safety for us to gather every week to worship God. Thank you for your cooperation.
I want you to know of a couple of schedule changes that will happen beginning December 6th. Higher Ground will move its Worship time to 11 am. They will meet both inside and outside at Higher Ground. Also, we will begin again the 9:30 am Worship Service in addition to the 11 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary. To keep adequate social distancing and with increasing numbers in worship, it is necessary to start this service back. We will continue to be online for all our Worship Services as well.
I also want to share that your prayers for the church are being felt. The Spirit in the Sanctuary and at Higher Ground is evident to me. Thank you for your continued prayers and know that I am praying for you.
I love you all,
Doug

November 4th, 2020

Dear Friends,
So, this article is a “Heads Up” article as I share with you some things that will be happening in
the next couple of months. Starting with Communion this Sunday. If you are joining us from home, please have your sacraments prepared. 

First, this month we will celebrate Thanksgiving to God on the fourth Sunday of November. In some ways, I am reminded of the first Thanksgiving after a year that saw a large number of the Pilgrim community die due to exposure to the cold and hunger. That next year they celebrated the fall harvest with a great feast remembering God who provided for them and was with them through that first difficult year. We have had quite a year dealing with COVID-19. This year Thanksgiving might be different, but it will certainly be meaningful.

We begin the celebration of Advent on November 29th. Our Sermon Series for Advent is “The Wise Men Rules.” The focus is on rules we learn for living from the story of the Wise Men we find in the Gospel of Matthew. I hope you will plan on being a part. By the way, Tanya has hatched a plan for the annual Christmas Concert performed by the Choir. It will be on the evening of December 12th and you will be able to attend either in person or virtually.

Christmas Eve Services will be on the 24th at 3pm and 6pm in the Sanctuary. If you attend in person, we will socially distance and may need to use overflow spaces. We are also planning a Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service at 4:30pm which will be online, however, there will be a Watch Party in the Christian Life Center for folks who want to attend.

In January we will focus on Stewardship and you will have the opportunity to make commitments to serve in various ministries as well as a commitment to support the Church’s ministry financially.

We are looking at a busy next few months and I look forward to sharing these times with you!

I love you all,
Doug

October 28th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day with a time in our Worship to remember those of our congregation who have died in the past year. I find that I react to these times of  remembrance with both sadness and thanksgiving for the life that was lived. I hope you will come and be a part of this special service. 

I have now been here for four months. The time has flown! I have never lived through a crazier season of ministry than what we are experiencing now due to COVID-19. But, I do want to say how thankful I am that I am going through this season with you. McEachern is a caring, committed church that truly is seeking to love God and love people. I have personally experienced this through the encouraging words that you all have graciously shared with me. I pray for COVID-19 to be behind us. But, until that time, we will work together to sow seeds of the love and the grace of Jesus with a hurting world.  

May God bless you and be with you! I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday either in-person or online. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 21st, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday you will have the unique opportunity to hear from all four of McEachern’s Pastors, together, as we share a dialogue sermon on Discipleship. This is the last Sunday of our “Seeds for the Sower” series and we will speak about Sowing with Faith. I hope you will join us either online or in-person worship.  

I also want to applaud you for following the guidelines while worshiping in-person. Thank you for wearing masks,  sitting 6 feet apart, and refraining from extended conversations in the Sanctuary. I know that all this is awkward, and, if you’re like me, you’d really like to hug somebody. That time will come eventually.  

One little reminder about the guidelines,  everyone please exit the church building after worship and once you are outside then you can visit with one another. I notice people want to hang out in the Sanctuary and the Narthex to visit. Let the visiting continue, but please let’s move it outside to keep safe. 

I am proud to be a part of McEachern UMC. It is a joy meeting folks and getting to know people.  I’m excited about Sunday and our dialogue sermon at 9:30 am and 11 am. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 14th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I just came from our staff meeting. I hope you all realize just how gifted and committed the Staff here at McEachern is. I am constantly amazed at the creativity and perseverance. Please make sure and express appreciation to them. 

Reading the Bible for my devotion the other day, I came across these verses, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your  hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

We live in an anxious time. Part of the anxiety comes from encountering a disease unlike any we have seen in our lifetime. Part of the anxiety is from the changes in our daily living: wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands frequently, not touching one another (I really miss handshakes and hugs!). Yet another part of is fearfulness for our safety and security. I’m sure you have your own reasons for feeling anxious. 

But, Paul writes that we should not be anxious about anything. He tells us to take our concerns to Jesus in prayer and petition. I did a study once that required me to keep a prayer journal. The study was “The Workbook of Living Prayer.” Several years later, I led the study again in another church and used my original workbook with my notes and prayer requests. As I went through, I  discovered that every prayer request that I had written down had been answered.  

God listens to our prayers and answers everyone. His answers may not be exactly what we want or exactly in the time frame that we want, but I know that God answers prayer.  

Paul tells us when we pray to God that He will give us His peace. What that means is that any time you are feeling anxious, let that be a call to prayer knowing that God will answer your prayer. And soon, you will notice the peace of God coming over you. 

The old saying is true, “No God, No Peace …Know God, Know Peace.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 7th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

When I was 16, I went to Camp Glisson for the first time on a Conference Youth Retreat. I had an encounter with God that weekend that changed my life. The next time I went to Glisson, I was elected to the North Georgia Conference Youth Council. For the next two years, I spent a lot of time helping plan and lead retreats there. 

I served as a Camp Counselor the summer after I graduated from High School. By this time, it was clear that God had called me into ministry and that summer was one of my favorites of all time. I learned things as a Counselor that I use in ministry today. I kept song sheets and my Counselor manual from the summer of 1972. 

Glisson has been an important part of my life and, in many ways, I consider it to be my spiritual home. When my children started going as campers when they were old enough. Every year, the week at Glisson was scheduled before we even thought about vacation plans. Both of them were greatly affected by their time at Glisson; they grew spiritually. Brianne and Jordan eventually served as Camp Counselors for several years, and Jordan even met his future wife, Meredith, there. 

Over time, I have served on the Board for Camp Glisson, worked as a T.I.R. (preacher of the week), and attended many retreats and conferences. I have sought to give back to Glisson with my time and monetary gifts. I figure the ministry of Glisson has sown into me and I want to help the ministry sow into others. 

Now, my grandchildren are Glisson campers. They love the Camp and they have grown spiritually as a result. 

I share this because it is a tale of sowing and reaping. Just as participating in the church and giving to the church is a tale of sowing and reaping. When we sow, we do not know what exactly the harvest will be or who will be affected. Whoever sowed into Glisson had little idea that in 1970 a 16-year-old boy would meet God in a way that would change his life forever. 

That boy is now serving as Senior Pastor here. When we sow into the church, we do not know who will meet Jesus and be changed. Thousands have over the history of McEachern. Who knows how many more will come to God. 

 

I love you all, 

Doug 

May 5th, 2021

Dear Friends,

 

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard for our Global Impact Celebration! Especially thank you to Carlos, our Minister of Missions, and to Martha Joyce, our Missions Coordinator. And to Rev. Tony Phillips, who also has worked very closely with Missions. This was a great celebration with wonderful information shared about all the ways McEachern is working in the area of Missions.

 

This coming Sunday we will be celebrating Mother’s Day. I had a great mother and I hope you did as well. I especially remember her sayings﹘affectionately called Momisms. Here are a few of my favorites:

 

  • Because I said so.
  • Don’t cross your eyes, they’ll freeze that way.
  • Life isn’t fair, get over it.
  • I’ll give you something to cry about.
  • What part of NO don’t you understand?
  • I’m your mother, not your maid.
  • If you can’t find something to do, I’ll find you something to do.

 

And my favorite of all time, “People do what they want to do.”

 

I imagine you have a few of your own favorite Momisms. The truth is, there’s a lot of truth in what they have said to us. 

 

Come Sunday and celebrate Mother’s Day. It will be good to do so together.

 

I love you all,

 

Dr. Doug

April 28th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I pray that you are all doing well today. My prayers are with you each and every day. I celebrate the Confirmation of 10 of our young people Sunday and the growing number of reports I have heard of ones who are seeking to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ. 

Today I want to urge you to participate in the Global Impact Celebration at McEachern and to give a brief report from the Church Council meeting Monday night. 

Global Impact Celebration—Today through Sunday, May 2. 

Schedule: Today (Wednesday) Tomorrow (Thursday) and Saturday 

 Devotional at 8am on McEachern’s Facebook page. Videos of Mission on McEachern’s Facebook at Noon Questions and Answers on McEachern’s Facebook at 7pm GIC Celebration in Worship at 9:30am and 11:00am in the Sanctuary. 

 At each Service on Sunday we will be receiving Faith Promise Commitments. Please bring your Card for both Financial and Service Commitments! 

Church Council Report – 

The Church Council heard reports from Finance, Staff Parish Relations Committee, and the Trustees. 

 Finance reported that the church has finally received confirmation that the PPP loan from the US Government has been forgiven. Through March, we have spent $18,000 more than we have received in offering. Our current Church Checking Account balance was $72,000 with approximately $600,000 in undesignated reserves. We have received 149 Commitments towards the budget of the church, and still hope that as people return to church they will make financial commitments. 

 SPRC –

– All four of our clergy have been reappointed for the year 2021-2022. Denise Register is retiring from the Pre School and her successor will be Denise Ribeiro. It was also reported that Misty Dolph has left the church staff and that her Administrative job responsibilities have been shifted to Nancy Folds, Teresa McDaniel, and Sharon Brand. In addition, Stacie Barrow will be working with DeDe in Children’s Ministry beginning in May and her responsibilities will be taken over by Rev. Tony Philips and Rev. Bomi Kim. All of these staff changes are budget neutral. 

 Trustees –

 The Lula Dobbs project is underway and will be completed in about 6 weeks after permits are received. 

 Pastor’s Time – 

I’ve asked the help of the Church Council in preparing a Frequently Asked Questions document to circulate to the congregation as a result of Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson and The North Georgia Cabinet’s Welcoming Table Vision and webinar. Both of these can be viewed on the North Georgia Conference website at ngumc.org. This document will be sent to the McEachern families to communicate truthfulness, be transparent, and minimize confusion. 

I want to urge everyone who has not attended to attend a Listening Session. The next one is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 4pm in the Gym in the CLC. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

April 21st, 2021

Dear Friends,
It is easy to get distracted. The phone rings. A child cries out. You get a text. Something comes across on a news feed, etc., etc. Really easy to get distracted.
It is really hard to maintain focus. As Christians, we are called to maintain our focus. When the world is caught up in all sorts of distractions, Christians are called to focus on following Christ with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. Christians are called to love God which means to obey God. We obey God when we worship Him, when we pray, when we study His Word, and when we serve Him by sharing Christ’s love and telling people about Jesus.
Last week I wrote to you about Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson and her Cabinet presenting a webinar basically stating that they would be working towards changing the Book of Discipline at the next General Conference, which will be either in 2022 or 2024, in a way that will be inclusive of all people in the LGBTQ community and offer the opportunity for folks in that community to be married by United Methodist clergy and for folks in that community to be Ordained to serve as clergy in the United Methodist Church. Please understand that until the General Conference meets Bishop Sue and the Cabinet must abide by the 2016 Discipline which forbids the above. However, you feel about this – don’t let it distract you from being faithful to Jesus and keeping your focus on following Him.
As a church, we will be holding our Global Impact Celebration next week. There will be numerous opportunities for you to learn about how McEachern is being faithful to Christ in serving and loving our community and the world. Our celebration will conclude on Sunday, May 2 in the Sanctuary at both the 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM services where you will be given the opportunity to make a Faith Promise financial commitment to fund local and global mission outreach as well as the opportunity to make a commitment to serve Christ through involvement in one of McEachern’s many mission projects.
I am asking you to do three things. First, be in prayer as to how you will participate both personally and financially in missions work this coming year. Second, participate online next week in the various learning opportunities. Third, come be a part of the celebration on Sunday, May 2nd. I look forward to participating with you.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 14th, 2021

Dear Friends,
First I want to make sure everyone is aware of the Global Impact Celebration the weekend of May 2. Watch for details of how you can participate both online and in person. It will be a great weekend!
Now I want to tell you about a time that Debbie and I visited our granddaughters’ school to eat lunch with them. We got there a little early and sat on a bench outside the lunchroom to wait. I got to tell you, sitting on a bench in an elementary school hallway is really something!
We watched children entering and leaving the lunchroom. It’s hard for me to describe just how much happens in the line as kids are going to lunch. There’s picking at each other; all sorts of gyrations, spins, and twirls; speaking and whispering all happening at once as the kids maintain some semblance of a line slowly rolling into the lunchroom. Also, I want you to know that, from my observation, boys and girls act really differently. Boys tended to be louder and more active. I still have a vivid memory of the boy who flipped his water bottle the ENTIRE TIME he was in the lunchroom. Girls tended to be quieter and ate in groups. This is just what I saw on that particular day. It was a wonder that anyone ate anything!
But there was something else that I noticed that day. On the wall outside the lunchroom was a fire extinguisher. It was encased in a fire extinguisher box and duly labeled. However, over time the “F” from the word “Fire” had worn off. So, rather than reading “Fire Extinguisher” it actually read “Ire Extinguisher.” And I thought, “Boy, would I like to have an Ire Extinguisher!”
Think about the ways an Ire Extinguisher could be used. You do something and get your spouse mad at you. Rather than experiencing all the pain and difficulty of working things out, you simply pull out the Ire Extinguisher. Or, with Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching and family gatherings happening, rather than experiencing the tensions that accompany a lot of those gatherings you simply spray everyone with the Ire Extinguisher as they enter the house. Instant peace!
Just imagine if we sprayed Congress with the Ire Extinguisher—something might actually get done! And, what if we placed an Ire Extinguisher in every church? By eliminating church fights I believe we could be much more effective in spreading the Gospel.
But, then I thought, we already have an Ire Extinguisher. His name is Jesus. I believe if we followed His teachings about love, grace, and forgiveness then Ire would be extinguished and peace would come upon the earth.
May it be so.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 7th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

It was wonderful to gather with so many of you on Easter. It was also joyful sharing with so many online. Nothing compares to the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! 

Truly, the most amazing moment in all of history! 

Thank you to everyone who had a part in our Holy Week Services from Palm Sunday through Easter. I know I will not mention everyone, but thanks to Tanya and the Choir for all the special music, thanks to Susan and our Nursery workers, thanks to DeDe and all those who work with children for the Palm procession, Monday night in the parking lot, and Easter Sunday morning 

celebrations, thanks to Nancy and all those who made registrations, thanks to Aubrey and Bomi for getting the word out, thanks to Tony for Higher Ground worship, thanks to Cindy for all her many contributions, thanks to our ushers and greeters and acolytes and everyone connected to worship, thanks to James and all the sound folks, and thanks to Carlos for all his work with the youth this past week. Easter week takes everyone and you all made this week a special week. 

Going forward there are several upcoming things that you need to be aware of: 

Confirmation Sunday – April 25th at the 11am Service 

Global Impact Celebration weekend – May 1-3 

Mother’s Day – May 10 

Graduate Recognition Sunday – May 17 

Pentecost – May 24. 

A lot of special days for a lot of special people. Please put all these on your calendars and I look forward to sharing them with you. 

May we all be blessed as we share this Easter Season. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

March 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A year ago we were in total lockdown due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Most businesses and restaurants were closed. People did not venture out except to get food, gas, or for a few other essential things. Church facilities were closed – and remain closed for several months.

 
I will never forget last Easter. The only worship available was online. There were no Easter Lilies, no wonderful music, no sanctuaries open to attend, no Easter outfits to wear, no friends to see. It was a dark Easter.

 
So, I started a new tradition for the observance of Easter last year. I made a wooden cross and covered it with white lights. And at sunrise, Debbie and I carried the cross down to the street and planted it in the ground, turned the lights on, and remembered Easter. We hugged and we prayed. We went inside and put on Easter outfits and took a picture and sent it to our kids and grandkids wishing them a Happy Easter. I imagine you did something also – because faith finds a way!

 
This Easter we will be worshipping in the ball field for Sonrise at 7 AM and in the Sanctuary at 9:30 and 11:00 AM and at Higher Ground at 11:00 AM. We will smell the lilies and sing the songs of faith and we will worship the Risen Lord with deep and abiding joy. There will be tears of thanksgiving, I am sure.

 
But, before any of that happens, I will be carrying a little wooden cross with white lights on it and plant it in my yard, and lighting it up to celebrate that faith finds a way. Faith always finds a way.

 
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 17th, 2021

Dear Friends,

I wanted everyone to know some exciting Easter plans that we are making. I am excited that we will be worshipping on Easter after not being able to last year.

This year our Holy Week and Easter Schedule will be as follows:

Palm/Passion Sunday Celebration – March 28th. At both 9:30 and 11 am. Higher Ground will be meeting at 11 am as well.

In the Sanctuary the children will be processing in with palm branches and we have planned a special service of music and message to help us remember both Palm Sunday and the Crucifixion. 

Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae Service – Thursday, April 1 at 7 pm in the Sanctuary

Come celebrate Holy Communion to remember the Last Supper and experience the Tenebrae Service – the Service of Darkness as we remember the Crucifixion.

Easter Sunday – April 4th

Sonrise at 7 am behind Higher Ground

Sanctuary Worship 9:30 and 11 am 

Higher Ground 11 am 

No Sunday School on Easter.

Please make reservations for all these services. We are setting the Sanctuary capacity at 320, which is about half. If we fill up both services then we will add additional services as needed.

I look forward to worshipping with you this Holy Week.

Save your seat for Holy Week Services Here.

I love you all,

Dr. Doug

March 10th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A little over a week ago leaders of the United Methodist Church decided to postpone the
General Conference scheduled for 2021 to 2022 due to the worldwide COVID pandemic and the
difficulty of travel during these times. By postponing the General Conference there will be no
discussion or action taken regarding the Protocol for Separation that had been proposed for
General Conference that was supposed to meet last year.


Basically this means that there is no viable pathway for any United Methodist Church to
separate from the Denomination for at least the next year and a half. It also means that the
current position of the United Methodist Church recorded in the Book of Discipline regarding
homosexuality and forbidding homosexual marriages being performed in UMC churches and
being performed by UMC Clergy is still in force. It also means that the prohibition of self avowed
practicing homosexuals from being ordained as clergy in the UMC is still in place.


If McEachern is like most United Methodist Churches, I’m sure that there are a lot of different
opinions on most subjects, including homosexuality. We are all different and have different life
experiences. Hence, we have different opinions.


But, the beauty of Christianity is that we can all be one in Jesus Christ. We have one faith, one
Lord, one Baptism. One of the reasons I enjoy preaching on the “I Am” sayings of Jesus is that
there is such a clear focus on Jesus in all of these sayings.


This Sunday we will be preaching on “I am the Light of the World.” (John 8:12) Come and let
Jesus shine light upon your life, your thoughts, and in your life. I look forward to seeing you.


I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Over the years I’ve witnessed the scene on TV many times. It’s people coming out from shelters  to see what damage the hurricane has caused. Sometimes they find their house destroyed.  Other times, it’s still standing. Whatever they find, it is difficult and emotional and they are  always asked what they are going to do and they respond that they will rebuild, start over, etc.  And they do. And teams of people come from all over to help them. I imagine McEachern has  even sent some of those teams. 

Similarly, for the past year, we have been dealing with the ravages of COVID-19. It has  caused a lot of damage: sickness, death, schools going virtual, businesses closing, jobs lost,  and even the church suspending in-person worship and carrying out ministry virtually. It has  been a hard year. 

But, things are changing. Vaccinations have begun and most people who choose to receive the  vaccine will receive it sometime this year. Schools are reopening. Sickness and death due to  COVID are slowing down. And people are reemerging after the storm. 

We have started back with in-person worship while continuing online worship. I told the staff to  plan ministry accordingly knowing that we will not suspend our on-campus activities again. We  will continue to use safety protocols but we will also continue to meet. 

As you emerge after this COVID-19 storm, know that McEachern is here. And we are in the  process of rebuilding the ministry of the church. Leaders will be meeting this Sunday afternoon  to continue planning for the unfolding story of ministry at McEachern. 

I look forward to seeing you at worship. There are so many who are a part of McEachern that I  have not had the pleasure of meeting since I arrived last July. I look forward to those meetings.  Let’s rebuild together. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

February 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
The Season of Lent is a time for a return to Spiritual Discipline. Traditionally, it has been a time of prayer and fasting as a way to prepare for the celebration of the most Holy day of the year—Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. The practice of fasting is where the whole idea of “giving up something for Lent” came from.

 
I’d like to challenge you this year to “give up something” and “to take on something.” You choose what you will give up. In years past I have given up desserts, potatoes, fried food, and other things. This year I’m giving up chips of any kind. That may not sound like much to you, but I eat chips all the time, especially at night while watching TV. The idea of giving up something is that whenever you think about or desire what you have given up, that is a call to prayer. I should be praying a lot this Lenten season! What will you give up?

 
This challenge also includes “taking on something.” For this, I have a specific challenge for you. I’m asking everyone to pray for someone that you know who is not a practicing Christian. Pray for that person throughout the season of Lent, and then invite that person to worship on Palm Sunday or Easter. If you’re wondering about capacity in Worship, we’ll have as many services as we need to accommodate as many people who come.

 
So, I’ve “thrown down the gauntlet,” who will accept these challenges?

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

February 17th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I’m looking forward to seeing folks at Worship Sunday. We will be open at 9:30 am and 11:00 am in the  Sanctuary and at 11:00 am at Higher Ground. It will be the first Sunday of Lent and we will be  preaching throughout Lent on the “I Am…” sayings of Jesus. This Sunday the sermon will be “I  am the Door.” Seems appropriate with McEachern opening its doors. 

I have been asked by a number of people about the financial condition of the church. To quote our  Finance Chair, Donnie Newsom, “The financial state of our church is sound.” Donnie can write that for the following reasons. We received a forgivable loan from the Federal Government  called the Payroll Protection Plan last year in the amount of approximately $193,000 dollars.  This loan has not yet been officially forgiven and so we have not reported it as income to the  church. This money would move our year-end number from $103,000 in the red to $90,000 in  the black. In addition, the church has significant reserves both in church operating money and in  our Trustees Fund. 

So, we are financially sound. 

At the same time, we want to be good stewards of the financial resources of the church and so  are asking all our church members to fill out and return Estimate of Giving Cards so that we can  have a clearer picture of our church finances for this year. If you have not yet returned your  card, please do so as soon as possible.  

 

All in all, I praise God for providing for us in a time of trial and I praise God for you!

 

 I love you all, 

Doug

February 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends,
In the Gospel of John we read these words; “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus has previously told them that they will know persecution, that they will be scattered, that He is going to die and rise again, and that this is necessary in order for the Holy Spirit to come. I imagine the Disciples were pretty scared when they heard all this – yet He tells them what is to come in order for them to know peace. And not freedom from trouble – they will know trouble! But peace in the midst of trouble. A peace that comes from knowing Christ has overcome the world.

 
We have certainly known a lot of trouble this past year. Yet, I believe Christ has overcome the world and, so, I have peace and hope. And I have seen you overcoming circumstances to stay connected to one another, to feed thousands of people, to minister in cars and outside at Higher Ground and on flatbed trucks on Christmas Eve and scattered in the Sanctuary singing the songs of Christmas and in parking lots and online in Zoom meetings and on Facebook and in so many ways in order to communicate the Gospel of Jesus. Doing God’s work with you is so awesome!

 
Trouble will come and trouble will go. When (not if) COVID passes, something else will pop up. It’s the nature of a sinful world. But, take heart! Christ has overcome the world. Write that in the depth of your heart. And let’s move forward in ministry!

 
I love you all,

 
Doug
PS. Don’t forget to mail back in your Estimate of Giving Cards this week!

January 20th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Be Bridge Builders. That’s what we have been focusing on all month. I have spoken and written about how we are created by God to be a royal priesthood—building bridges between people and God and people and other people. Certainly, in our world right now we need bridge builders! 

We build these bridges using the Spiritual Gifts God has given us. But that is not the only way. We also practice bridge-building through giving our financial resources to Christ’s ministry through the church, pooling resources in order to make disciples of Jesus and love people. 

The year 2020 was challenging financially for McEachern. I want to thank everyone for your faithfulness in giving. Because of your giving and being good stewards of all the gifts the church received, we finished the year on a positive note financially. 

I do believe that probably by this coming Fall everyone will be able to resume all the participatory ministries of the church without fear of COVID due to all the vaccinations that will have happened by that time. In the meantime, the Leadership and Staff of McEachern are working to lead the church forward in ministry. 

Here are the things we are working on. We are working to be a church that reaches out to everyone in our community so that the active body of the church is multiethnic and multigenerational. We are working to be a church that emphasizes growing as disciples of Jesus Christ who are prayer focused. We are working to form partnerships in mission with all the various outreach ministries in our community. And, we are working to find new ways to reach our community with the Gospel of Jesus especially through the development of online ministries. 

It is exciting to imagine how McEachern is going to develop as a church. But this will not happen unless you participate in the ministry with your time and talents, with your prayers, and with your financial resources. 

Next week you will receive an Estimate of Giving Card from the church. I am asking you to prayerfully consider how you will invest in the growing ministry of McEachern, fill out the card and return it in the envelope provided. I am also asking you to prayerfully think about increasing your giving by 1% of your income over your giving last year. Our goal is to have over 200 Estimate of Giving Cards returned this year. 

Together, by the grace of God, we will see a new day dawn on the ministry of McEachern in the months to come. I want to be a part of a church that truly loves God, loves people, and make disciples. 

I love you all, 

Doug

January 6th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I hope by now that you have gotten the message that we are temporarily pausing in-person functions at McEachern due to the surge in Cobb County of COVID-19 infections. I’ve been here long enough that you probably know that I really resisted the idea, but it is the right decision at this time. 

Monday night, I found myself tossing and turning instead of sleeping. Over time, I have discovered that whenever I am restless like that, the best thing for me to do is get up, get some water, go sit on the couch, and pray. My prayer that night was focused on the decision to pause. I considered whether it was motivated by fear or by faith. And the Lord led me to see that it was neither. Instead, it was a decision based on the fact of the rapidly rising infections and the desire to keep people as safe as possible. 

I then prayed and asked God to help me to know it was the right decision. God reminded me that He is a God of peace and asked me what decision led me to a place of peace—continuing in-person worship or pausing in-person worship. God’s peace came over me; pausing was the decision at this time and this was a temporary state. God also reminded me very warmly that He is with us, no matter what. After this time of prayer, I found myself able to go back to bed and back to sleep. 

I do not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future—and so do you. God is a God whose love endures forever. I praise and worship Him. 

I invite you to join me online for the Traditional Service or to join Rev. Tony online for the Higher Ground Service, both at 11am. Let us worship together, even though we might be apart. We will be continuing to focus on “Be Bridge Builders.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

December 30th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I have been praying for you. My prayer is that everyone had a Christmastime during which they were able to communicate with family, worship, and reflect on the amazing gift of Jesus Christ. True, this Christmas has been different, but also memorable. 

I will never forget the folks who worked so hard to provide the Drive-In Christmas Eve Worship service. We thought the weather would break when looking at the forecast. But it didn’t so we worshipped anyway in cold, windy, wet conditions. Thank you to everyone who was a part of that service and who attended. It reminded me of the cold, windy, primitive conditions that Jesus was born in a cave 2000 years ago. 

I will not soon forget the online service that McEachern Kids did. It was warm and funny and touching and helped me remember that Jesus loves all the children of the world, including me and including you. 

I will not forget having to celebrate Christmas Eve online out of a concern for safety for everyone. I lit my candle and I hope you lit your candle while singing “Silent Night” with the angels. 

I will always remember the new friends that God has placed in my path this year—the people of McEachern! You are warm and loving and, slowly, I am beginning to recognize faces covered by masks. I look forward to getting to know many more of you as 2021 unfolds. 

We have a lot to accomplish as a church in the year to come; one of the most important is to be a people of prayer. I am praying for you and the whole church and the whole world as we face difficult circumstances. God has always called His people “overcomers,” and we will overcome whatever we face by relying on the peer of God and His Holy Spirit. I believe there is much for us to do as we “Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples of Jesus Christ.” 

I love you all, 

 Doug

December 16th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Over these Sundays of Advent, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the Wise Men Rules with you. I do believe that we can learn a lot from the Wise Men as we: Watch Expectantly, Act Faithfully, Live Joyfully, and the last two that I will be preaching on this coming Sunday, Give Generously and Bow Humbly. 

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I am very much aware of the challenge that COVID-19 has created. We want to Worship as safely as we can. We want to participate in various ministries safely. We want to be strong and vital as a church, despite extremely adverse circumstances. 

So, I want to thank you for practicing the church’s COVID-19 protocols and we will continue to offer in-person worship unless the pandemic simply goes crazy. 

I want to encourage you to participate on Christmas Eve, either at the Drive-In Service in the back parking lot at 3 pm or either of our online Services: 4:30 pm for the Children’s Service and 6 pm for the Traditional Service. 

I need to remind you that we will only have an online Worship Service at 10 am on Sunday, December 27th. Please watch from your home in the most comfortable clothing you have. 

Lastly, the SPR Committee has graciously offered the Church Staff the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a time to slow down and recharge before entering 2021. If there are any pastoral needs, we will certainly be available; please call us. 

During the last week of the year, if you have End of Year Financial gifts, you can give them online or you can come by the church on Tuesday or Wednesday from 9 am ‘til Noon and make a contribution. Staff will be present to receive your gifts. 

Please remember the church this year both in your prayers and in your giving. We are only receiving mission gifts using the Christmas Mission Catalogue or in the offering on Christmas Eve. We are still a good ways behind our budget projections for the year, if you can give to help catch us up, that would be a blessing. 

I love serving McEachern and am looking forward to a great year in 2021.

 I love you all, 

Doug

December 9th, 2020

Dear Friends,

Last Tuesday night, the McEachern Church Council voted unanimously to approve the priorities that emerged from the church’s Visioning session in October. These priorities came from those gathered as they prayed and listened to what we understood God to be calling us to do in the coming years.

The priorities were:
– to become a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation
– to focus on discipleship building
– to be prayer centered
– to work to grow the Kingdom of God through witnessing and on line ministry
– to build community partnerships for mission work
– to be debt-free
– to experience a culture change

Leaders in the church will meet again in January to develop a strategic plan for accomplishing these priorities. If you would like to be a part of this session and are not currently serving in leadership, please let me know.

After this has been done, then we will begin to work on the plan. It is so exciting to be a part of McEachern, even in the midst of COVID-19. I truly believe God is moving in this church.
I look forward to continuing to teach “The Wise Men Rules” in worship. This week we will be looking at the third rule: Live Joyfully!

I love you all,
Doug

December 2nd, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone had a Happy, if unusual, Thanksgiving. Debbie and I spent time with each of our children and their families independently and then visited her 96-year-old Aunt and then spent a few days away. It was a good time and we are thankful for family and we are thankful for you.
I thought I’d take a moment and update you regarding COVID-19 and the church. The Staff and I have been closely watching the Georgia Department of Public Health’s reports regarding the coronavirus. Currently, Cobb County and Paulding County are yellow/light-orange on the state map of COVID-19 cases. I know that you are reading and hearing about a surge of coronavirus cases in our nation. There has been a slight uptick in cases since October, but not so much that we feel a need to change the church’s approach.
So, here’s where we are today. We will continue in-person worship for those who desire it and feel safe to attend. We are only able to do this because you have been diligent in wearing masks, social distancing, and entering and exiting the building quickly. I appreciate you so much for your willingness to do these things so that others might enjoy worship in-person. We will be adding back the 9:30 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary, as well as continuing the 11 am in the Sanctuary. We will continue to offer the on-line Worship option at 11 am. Higher Ground Worship will move to 11 am in-person and on-line.
The McEachern Kids Academy meets at 9:30 am on Sundays in the children’s area then the children move into small groups to study a variety of subjects. They also have scheduled a Family Manger Project for this coming Sunday at 4 pm. It will be held outside and you need to register for either of these events.
Our Youth open the doors at 9 am and then have Bible Study beginning around 9:40 am and are done by 10:30 am. They meet in the Youth Suite.
Some of our Adult classes are meeting on-line and some are meeting in-person. (And some both!) Please contact your class for your meeting time.
I also want you to know that Debbie and I appreciate the invitations we have received to various Christmas parties. Unfortunately, we will not be attending them this year. I am in the public a lot as it is and I feel it important to place some limits as a safety precaution. I look forward to next year and being free to participate in many Christmas celebrations.
I love you all,
Doug

November 25th, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Whether we are celebrating alone, on Zoom, or with family and friends, I pray that this will be a day of thankfulness to God for His love and blessings.

Sunday in my sermon I shared the idea of an Alphabet of Thanksgiving – recording at least one thing you are thankful for, using each letter of the alphabet. At our last Staff meeting, the Staff wrote their own Alphabet of Thanksgiving. I told them I would share it with you this week.

A – Alleluias!
B – Bible, beauty
C – Christ, children, Children’s Ministry
D – dogs, digital learning, Dads
E – Eating (we’re Methodists after all), exercise
F – Friends, family
G – God, goodness, grace
H – help, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Higher Ground Worship
I – Isaac (family name), invitation
J – Jesus
K – Kindness
L – Love, laughter
M – memories, McEachern, music, Music Ministry, Missions
O – opportunity
P – Pumpkin pie, Peace, our Pastors
Q – Quiet
R – Remembrance
S – Sanctuary, singing, Salvation, Staff
T – Truth, thankfulness
U – Unity
W – wonder, wisdom, Worship in the Sanctuary
X – Xylophone (X is always hard)
Y – You, Y’all, Youth Ministry
Z – Zoom, ZZZZ’s

On behalf of the Staff, we love you and love being in ministry with you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

November 18th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating a Thanksgiving Sunday. As I got to thinking about this, I  decided to do a little research into what people in America say they are most thankful for.  

Here’s the list: 

  •  – Family (84%) 

  •  – Health (69%) 

  •  – Friends (63%) 

  •  – Memories (63%) 

  •  – Freedom (53%) 

  •  – Safety and Security (47%) 

  •  – Opportunity (45%) 

  •  – Fun Experiences (42%) 

  •  – Achievements (33%) 

  •  – Wealth (21%) 

I am not surprised to see Family, Friends, and Health at the top of the list. All three of these have been made even more precious this year as we have lived with COVID-19. I still remember the first hugs from my grandchildren after the lockdown in March and April.  

However, I must admit that I am surprised that Faith in God is not listed as one of the things that people are most thankful for. When President Abraham Lincoln issued his proclamation in  October 1863, establishing the 4th Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, he did so while the nation was still engaged in the Civil War. In that proclamation, Lincoln designated the day as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in Heaven.” Lincoln called upon the people of the United States to give thanks for all the ways that God had blessed everyone and to also repent for those things that had been done that were not in accordance with God’s will. 

This Sunday we will gather together to offer our thanks to God. Whether you attend in person or online, I look forward to celebrating with you. 


I love you all,
Doug

November 11th, 2020

Dear Friends,
It was great to hear today that a vaccine for COVID-19 is looking very good. I pray that it works and that we might return to living without constantly considering the impact of the virus. I applaud all of you for the way that you are practicing wearing masks in worship, social distancing, and following safety for us to gather every week to worship God. Thank you for your cooperation.
I want you to know of a couple of schedule changes that will happen beginning December 6th. Higher Ground will move its Worship time to 11 am. They will meet both inside and outside at Higher Ground. Also, we will begin again the 9:30 am Worship Service in addition to the 11 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary. To keep adequate social distancing and with increasing numbers in worship, it is necessary to start this service back. We will continue to be online for all our Worship Services as well.
I also want to share that your prayers for the church are being felt. The Spirit in the Sanctuary and at Higher Ground is evident to me. Thank you for your continued prayers and know that I am praying for you.
I love you all,
Doug

November 4th, 2020

Dear Friends,
So, this article is a “Heads Up” article as I share with you some things that will be happening in
the next couple of months. Starting with Communion this Sunday. If you are joining us from home, please have your sacraments prepared. 

First, this month we will celebrate Thanksgiving to God on the fourth Sunday of November. In some ways, I am reminded of the first Thanksgiving after a year that saw a large number of the Pilgrim community die due to exposure to the cold and hunger. That next year they celebrated the fall harvest with a great feast remembering God who provided for them and was with them through that first difficult year. We have had quite a year dealing with COVID-19. This year Thanksgiving might be different, but it will certainly be meaningful.

We begin the celebration of Advent on November 29th. Our Sermon Series for Advent is “The Wise Men Rules.” The focus is on rules we learn for living from the story of the Wise Men we find in the Gospel of Matthew. I hope you will plan on being a part. By the way, Tanya has hatched a plan for the annual Christmas Concert performed by the Choir. It will be on the evening of December 12th and you will be able to attend either in person or virtually.

Christmas Eve Services will be on the 24th at 3pm and 6pm in the Sanctuary. If you attend in person, we will socially distance and may need to use overflow spaces. We are also planning a Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service at 4:30pm which will be online, however, there will be a Watch Party in the Christian Life Center for folks who want to attend.

In January we will focus on Stewardship and you will have the opportunity to make commitments to serve in various ministries as well as a commitment to support the Church’s ministry financially.

We are looking at a busy next few months and I look forward to sharing these times with you!

I love you all,
Doug

October 28th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day with a time in our Worship to remember those of our congregation who have died in the past year. I find that I react to these times of  remembrance with both sadness and thanksgiving for the life that was lived. I hope you will come and be a part of this special service. 

I have now been here for four months. The time has flown! I have never lived through a crazier season of ministry than what we are experiencing now due to COVID-19. But, I do want to say how thankful I am that I am going through this season with you. McEachern is a caring, committed church that truly is seeking to love God and love people. I have personally experienced this through the encouraging words that you all have graciously shared with me. I pray for COVID-19 to be behind us. But, until that time, we will work together to sow seeds of the love and the grace of Jesus with a hurting world.  

May God bless you and be with you! I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday either in-person or online. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 21st, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday you will have the unique opportunity to hear from all four of McEachern’s Pastors, together, as we share a dialogue sermon on Discipleship. This is the last Sunday of our “Seeds for the Sower” series and we will speak about Sowing with Faith. I hope you will join us either online or in-person worship.  

I also want to applaud you for following the guidelines while worshiping in-person. Thank you for wearing masks,  sitting 6 feet apart, and refraining from extended conversations in the Sanctuary. I know that all this is awkward, and, if you’re like me, you’d really like to hug somebody. That time will come eventually.  

One little reminder about the guidelines,  everyone please exit the church building after worship and once you are outside then you can visit with one another. I notice people want to hang out in the Sanctuary and the Narthex to visit. Let the visiting continue, but please let’s move it outside to keep safe. 

I am proud to be a part of McEachern UMC. It is a joy meeting folks and getting to know people.  I’m excited about Sunday and our dialogue sermon at 9:30 am and 11 am. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 14th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I just came from our staff meeting. I hope you all realize just how gifted and committed the Staff here at McEachern is. I am constantly amazed at the creativity and perseverance. Please make sure and express appreciation to them. 

Reading the Bible for my devotion the other day, I came across these verses, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your  hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

We live in an anxious time. Part of the anxiety comes from encountering a disease unlike any we have seen in our lifetime. Part of the anxiety is from the changes in our daily living: wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands frequently, not touching one another (I really miss handshakes and hugs!). Yet another part of is fearfulness for our safety and security. I’m sure you have your own reasons for feeling anxious. 

But, Paul writes that we should not be anxious about anything. He tells us to take our concerns to Jesus in prayer and petition. I did a study once that required me to keep a prayer journal. The study was “The Workbook of Living Prayer.” Several years later, I led the study again in another church and used my original workbook with my notes and prayer requests. As I went through, I  discovered that every prayer request that I had written down had been answered.  

God listens to our prayers and answers everyone. His answers may not be exactly what we want or exactly in the time frame that we want, but I know that God answers prayer.  

Paul tells us when we pray to God that He will give us His peace. What that means is that any time you are feeling anxious, let that be a call to prayer knowing that God will answer your prayer. And soon, you will notice the peace of God coming over you. 

The old saying is true, “No God, No Peace …Know God, Know Peace.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 7th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

When I was 16, I went to Camp Glisson for the first time on a Conference Youth Retreat. I had an encounter with God that weekend that changed my life. The next time I went to Glisson, I was elected to the North Georgia Conference Youth Council. For the next two years, I spent a lot of time helping plan and lead retreats there. 

I served as a Camp Counselor the summer after I graduated from High School. By this time, it was clear that God had called me into ministry and that summer was one of my favorites of all time. I learned things as a Counselor that I use in ministry today. I kept song sheets and my Counselor manual from the summer of 1972. 

Glisson has been an important part of my life and, in many ways, I consider it to be my spiritual home. When my children started going as campers when they were old enough. Every year, the week at Glisson was scheduled before we even thought about vacation plans. Both of them were greatly affected by their time at Glisson; they grew spiritually. Brianne and Jordan eventually served as Camp Counselors for several years, and Jordan even met his future wife, Meredith, there. 

Over time, I have served on the Board for Camp Glisson, worked as a T.I.R. (preacher of the week), and attended many retreats and conferences. I have sought to give back to Glisson with my time and monetary gifts. I figure the ministry of Glisson has sown into me and I want to help the ministry sow into others. 

Now, my grandchildren are Glisson campers. They love the Camp and they have grown spiritually as a result. 

I share this because it is a tale of sowing and reaping. Just as participating in the church and giving to the church is a tale of sowing and reaping. When we sow, we do not know what exactly the harvest will be or who will be affected. Whoever sowed into Glisson had little idea that in 1970 a 16-year-old boy would meet God in a way that would change his life forever. 

That boy is now serving as Senior Pastor here. When we sow into the church, we do not know who will meet Jesus and be changed. Thousands have over the history of McEachern. Who knows how many more will come to God. 

 

I love you all, 

Doug 

April 21st, 2021

Dear Friends,
It is easy to get distracted. The phone rings. A child cries out. You get a text. Something comes across on a news feed, etc., etc. Really easy to get distracted.
It is really hard to maintain focus. As Christians, we are called to maintain our focus. When the world is caught up in all sorts of distractions, Christians are called to focus on following Christ with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. Christians are called to love God which means to obey God. We obey God when we worship Him, when we pray, when we study His Word, and when we serve Him by sharing Christ’s love and telling people about Jesus.
Last week I wrote to you about Bishop Sue Haupert Johnson and her Cabinet presenting a webinar basically stating that they would be working towards changing the Book of Discipline at the next General Conference, which will be either in 2022 or 2024, in a way that will be inclusive of all people in the LGBTQ community and offer the opportunity for folks in that community to be married by United Methodist clergy and for folks in that community to be Ordained to serve as clergy in the United Methodist Church. Please understand that until the General Conference meets Bishop Sue and the Cabinet must abide by the 2016 Discipline which forbids the above. However, you feel about this – don’t let it distract you from being faithful to Jesus and keeping your focus on following Him.
As a church, we will be holding our Global Impact Celebration next week. There will be numerous opportunities for you to learn about how McEachern is being faithful to Christ in serving and loving our community and the world. Our celebration will conclude on Sunday, May 2 in the Sanctuary at both the 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM services where you will be given the opportunity to make a Faith Promise financial commitment to fund local and global mission outreach as well as the opportunity to make a commitment to serve Christ through involvement in one of McEachern’s many mission projects.
I am asking you to do three things. First, be in prayer as to how you will participate both personally and financially in missions work this coming year. Second, participate online next week in the various learning opportunities. Third, come be a part of the celebration on Sunday, May 2nd. I look forward to participating with you.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 14th, 2021

Dear Friends,
First I want to make sure everyone is aware of the Global Impact Celebration the weekend of May 2. Watch for details of how you can participate both online and in person. It will be a great weekend!
Now I want to tell you about a time that Debbie and I visited our granddaughters’ school to eat lunch with them. We got there a little early and sat on a bench outside the lunchroom to wait. I got to tell you, sitting on a bench in an elementary school hallway is really something!
We watched children entering and leaving the lunchroom. It’s hard for me to describe just how much happens in the line as kids are going to lunch. There’s picking at each other; all sorts of gyrations, spins, and twirls; speaking and whispering all happening at once as the kids maintain some semblance of a line slowly rolling into the lunchroom. Also, I want you to know that, from my observation, boys and girls act really differently. Boys tended to be louder and more active. I still have a vivid memory of the boy who flipped his water bottle the ENTIRE TIME he was in the lunchroom. Girls tended to be quieter and ate in groups. This is just what I saw on that particular day. It was a wonder that anyone ate anything!
But there was something else that I noticed that day. On the wall outside the lunchroom was a fire extinguisher. It was encased in a fire extinguisher box and duly labeled. However, over time the “F” from the word “Fire” had worn off. So, rather than reading “Fire Extinguisher” it actually read “Ire Extinguisher.” And I thought, “Boy, would I like to have an Ire Extinguisher!”
Think about the ways an Ire Extinguisher could be used. You do something and get your spouse mad at you. Rather than experiencing all the pain and difficulty of working things out, you simply pull out the Ire Extinguisher. Or, with Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching and family gatherings happening, rather than experiencing the tensions that accompany a lot of those gatherings you simply spray everyone with the Ire Extinguisher as they enter the house. Instant peace!
Just imagine if we sprayed Congress with the Ire Extinguisher—something might actually get done! And, what if we placed an Ire Extinguisher in every church? By eliminating church fights I believe we could be much more effective in spreading the Gospel.
But, then I thought, we already have an Ire Extinguisher. His name is Jesus. I believe if we followed His teachings about love, grace, and forgiveness then Ire would be extinguished and peace would come upon the earth.
May it be so.
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

April 7th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

It was wonderful to gather with so many of you on Easter. It was also joyful sharing with so many online. Nothing compares to the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! 

Truly, the most amazing moment in all of history! 

Thank you to everyone who had a part in our Holy Week Services from Palm Sunday through Easter. I know I will not mention everyone, but thanks to Tanya and the Choir for all the special music, thanks to Susan and our Nursery workers, thanks to DeDe and all those who work with children for the Palm procession, Monday night in the parking lot, and Easter Sunday morning 

celebrations, thanks to Nancy and all those who made registrations, thanks to Aubrey and Bomi for getting the word out, thanks to Tony for Higher Ground worship, thanks to Cindy for all her many contributions, thanks to our ushers and greeters and acolytes and everyone connected to worship, thanks to James and all the sound folks, and thanks to Carlos for all his work with the youth this past week. Easter week takes everyone and you all made this week a special week. 

Going forward there are several upcoming things that you need to be aware of: 

Confirmation Sunday – April 25th at the 11am Service 

Global Impact Celebration weekend – May 1-3 

Mother’s Day – May 10 

Graduate Recognition Sunday – May 17 

Pentecost – May 24. 

A lot of special days for a lot of special people. Please put all these on your calendars and I look forward to sharing them with you. 

May we all be blessed as we share this Easter Season. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

March 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A year ago we were in total lockdown due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Most businesses and restaurants were closed. People did not venture out except to get food, gas, or for a few other essential things. Church facilities were closed – and remain closed for several months.

 
I will never forget last Easter. The only worship available was online. There were no Easter Lilies, no wonderful music, no sanctuaries open to attend, no Easter outfits to wear, no friends to see. It was a dark Easter.

 
So, I started a new tradition for the observance of Easter last year. I made a wooden cross and covered it with white lights. And at sunrise, Debbie and I carried the cross down to the street and planted it in the ground, turned the lights on, and remembered Easter. We hugged and we prayed. We went inside and put on Easter outfits and took a picture and sent it to our kids and grandkids wishing them a Happy Easter. I imagine you did something also – because faith finds a way!

 
This Easter we will be worshipping in the ball field for Sonrise at 7 AM and in the Sanctuary at 9:30 and 11:00 AM and at Higher Ground at 11:00 AM. We will smell the lilies and sing the songs of faith and we will worship the Risen Lord with deep and abiding joy. There will be tears of thanksgiving, I am sure.

 
But, before any of that happens, I will be carrying a little wooden cross with white lights on it and plant it in my yard, and lighting it up to celebrate that faith finds a way. Faith always finds a way.

 
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 17th, 2021

Dear Friends,

I wanted everyone to know some exciting Easter plans that we are making. I am excited that we will be worshipping on Easter after not being able to last year.

This year our Holy Week and Easter Schedule will be as follows:

Palm/Passion Sunday Celebration – March 28th. At both 9:30 and 11 am. Higher Ground will be meeting at 11 am as well.

In the Sanctuary the children will be processing in with palm branches and we have planned a special service of music and message to help us remember both Palm Sunday and the Crucifixion. 

Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae Service – Thursday, April 1 at 7 pm in the Sanctuary

Come celebrate Holy Communion to remember the Last Supper and experience the Tenebrae Service – the Service of Darkness as we remember the Crucifixion.

Easter Sunday – April 4th

Sonrise at 7 am behind Higher Ground

Sanctuary Worship 9:30 and 11 am 

Higher Ground 11 am 

No Sunday School on Easter.

Please make reservations for all these services. We are setting the Sanctuary capacity at 320, which is about half. If we fill up both services then we will add additional services as needed.

I look forward to worshipping with you this Holy Week.

Save your seat for Holy Week Services Here.

I love you all,

Dr. Doug

March 10th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A little over a week ago leaders of the United Methodist Church decided to postpone the
General Conference scheduled for 2021 to 2022 due to the worldwide COVID pandemic and the
difficulty of travel during these times. By postponing the General Conference there will be no
discussion or action taken regarding the Protocol for Separation that had been proposed for
General Conference that was supposed to meet last year.


Basically this means that there is no viable pathway for any United Methodist Church to
separate from the Denomination for at least the next year and a half. It also means that the
current position of the United Methodist Church recorded in the Book of Discipline regarding
homosexuality and forbidding homosexual marriages being performed in UMC churches and
being performed by UMC Clergy is still in force. It also means that the prohibition of self avowed
practicing homosexuals from being ordained as clergy in the UMC is still in place.


If McEachern is like most United Methodist Churches, I’m sure that there are a lot of different
opinions on most subjects, including homosexuality. We are all different and have different life
experiences. Hence, we have different opinions.


But, the beauty of Christianity is that we can all be one in Jesus Christ. We have one faith, one
Lord, one Baptism. One of the reasons I enjoy preaching on the “I Am” sayings of Jesus is that
there is such a clear focus on Jesus in all of these sayings.


This Sunday we will be preaching on “I am the Light of the World.” (John 8:12) Come and let
Jesus shine light upon your life, your thoughts, and in your life. I look forward to seeing you.


I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Over the years I’ve witnessed the scene on TV many times. It’s people coming out from shelters  to see what damage the hurricane has caused. Sometimes they find their house destroyed.  Other times, it’s still standing. Whatever they find, it is difficult and emotional and they are  always asked what they are going to do and they respond that they will rebuild, start over, etc.  And they do. And teams of people come from all over to help them. I imagine McEachern has  even sent some of those teams. 

Similarly, for the past year, we have been dealing with the ravages of COVID-19. It has  caused a lot of damage: sickness, death, schools going virtual, businesses closing, jobs lost,  and even the church suspending in-person worship and carrying out ministry virtually. It has  been a hard year. 

But, things are changing. Vaccinations have begun and most people who choose to receive the  vaccine will receive it sometime this year. Schools are reopening. Sickness and death due to  COVID are slowing down. And people are reemerging after the storm. 

We have started back with in-person worship while continuing online worship. I told the staff to  plan ministry accordingly knowing that we will not suspend our on-campus activities again. We  will continue to use safety protocols but we will also continue to meet. 

As you emerge after this COVID-19 storm, know that McEachern is here. And we are in the  process of rebuilding the ministry of the church. Leaders will be meeting this Sunday afternoon  to continue planning for the unfolding story of ministry at McEachern. 

I look forward to seeing you at worship. There are so many who are a part of McEachern that I  have not had the pleasure of meeting since I arrived last July. I look forward to those meetings.  Let’s rebuild together. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

February 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
The Season of Lent is a time for a return to Spiritual Discipline. Traditionally, it has been a time of prayer and fasting as a way to prepare for the celebration of the most Holy day of the year—Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. The practice of fasting is where the whole idea of “giving up something for Lent” came from.

 
I’d like to challenge you this year to “give up something” and “to take on something.” You choose what you will give up. In years past I have given up desserts, potatoes, fried food, and other things. This year I’m giving up chips of any kind. That may not sound like much to you, but I eat chips all the time, especially at night while watching TV. The idea of giving up something is that whenever you think about or desire what you have given up, that is a call to prayer. I should be praying a lot this Lenten season! What will you give up?

 
This challenge also includes “taking on something.” For this, I have a specific challenge for you. I’m asking everyone to pray for someone that you know who is not a practicing Christian. Pray for that person throughout the season of Lent, and then invite that person to worship on Palm Sunday or Easter. If you’re wondering about capacity in Worship, we’ll have as many services as we need to accommodate as many people who come.

 
So, I’ve “thrown down the gauntlet,” who will accept these challenges?

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

February 17th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I’m looking forward to seeing folks at Worship Sunday. We will be open at 9:30 am and 11:00 am in the  Sanctuary and at 11:00 am at Higher Ground. It will be the first Sunday of Lent and we will be  preaching throughout Lent on the “I Am…” sayings of Jesus. This Sunday the sermon will be “I  am the Door.” Seems appropriate with McEachern opening its doors. 

I have been asked by a number of people about the financial condition of the church. To quote our  Finance Chair, Donnie Newsom, “The financial state of our church is sound.” Donnie can write that for the following reasons. We received a forgivable loan from the Federal Government  called the Payroll Protection Plan last year in the amount of approximately $193,000 dollars.  This loan has not yet been officially forgiven and so we have not reported it as income to the  church. This money would move our year-end number from $103,000 in the red to $90,000 in  the black. In addition, the church has significant reserves both in church operating money and in  our Trustees Fund. 

So, we are financially sound. 

At the same time, we want to be good stewards of the financial resources of the church and so  are asking all our church members to fill out and return Estimate of Giving Cards so that we can  have a clearer picture of our church finances for this year. If you have not yet returned your  card, please do so as soon as possible.  

 

All in all, I praise God for providing for us in a time of trial and I praise God for you!

 

 I love you all, 

Doug

February 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends,
In the Gospel of John we read these words; “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus has previously told them that they will know persecution, that they will be scattered, that He is going to die and rise again, and that this is necessary in order for the Holy Spirit to come. I imagine the Disciples were pretty scared when they heard all this – yet He tells them what is to come in order for them to know peace. And not freedom from trouble – they will know trouble! But peace in the midst of trouble. A peace that comes from knowing Christ has overcome the world.

 
We have certainly known a lot of trouble this past year. Yet, I believe Christ has overcome the world and, so, I have peace and hope. And I have seen you overcoming circumstances to stay connected to one another, to feed thousands of people, to minister in cars and outside at Higher Ground and on flatbed trucks on Christmas Eve and scattered in the Sanctuary singing the songs of Christmas and in parking lots and online in Zoom meetings and on Facebook and in so many ways in order to communicate the Gospel of Jesus. Doing God’s work with you is so awesome!

 
Trouble will come and trouble will go. When (not if) COVID passes, something else will pop up. It’s the nature of a sinful world. But, take heart! Christ has overcome the world. Write that in the depth of your heart. And let’s move forward in ministry!

 
I love you all,

 
Doug
PS. Don’t forget to mail back in your Estimate of Giving Cards this week!

January 20th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Be Bridge Builders. That’s what we have been focusing on all month. I have spoken and written about how we are created by God to be a royal priesthood—building bridges between people and God and people and other people. Certainly, in our world right now we need bridge builders! 

We build these bridges using the Spiritual Gifts God has given us. But that is not the only way. We also practice bridge-building through giving our financial resources to Christ’s ministry through the church, pooling resources in order to make disciples of Jesus and love people. 

The year 2020 was challenging financially for McEachern. I want to thank everyone for your faithfulness in giving. Because of your giving and being good stewards of all the gifts the church received, we finished the year on a positive note financially. 

I do believe that probably by this coming Fall everyone will be able to resume all the participatory ministries of the church without fear of COVID due to all the vaccinations that will have happened by that time. In the meantime, the Leadership and Staff of McEachern are working to lead the church forward in ministry. 

Here are the things we are working on. We are working to be a church that reaches out to everyone in our community so that the active body of the church is multiethnic and multigenerational. We are working to be a church that emphasizes growing as disciples of Jesus Christ who are prayer focused. We are working to form partnerships in mission with all the various outreach ministries in our community. And, we are working to find new ways to reach our community with the Gospel of Jesus especially through the development of online ministries. 

It is exciting to imagine how McEachern is going to develop as a church. But this will not happen unless you participate in the ministry with your time and talents, with your prayers, and with your financial resources. 

Next week you will receive an Estimate of Giving Card from the church. I am asking you to prayerfully consider how you will invest in the growing ministry of McEachern, fill out the card and return it in the envelope provided. I am also asking you to prayerfully think about increasing your giving by 1% of your income over your giving last year. Our goal is to have over 200 Estimate of Giving Cards returned this year. 

Together, by the grace of God, we will see a new day dawn on the ministry of McEachern in the months to come. I want to be a part of a church that truly loves God, loves people, and make disciples. 

I love you all, 

Doug

January 6th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I hope by now that you have gotten the message that we are temporarily pausing in-person functions at McEachern due to the surge in Cobb County of COVID-19 infections. I’ve been here long enough that you probably know that I really resisted the idea, but it is the right decision at this time. 

Monday night, I found myself tossing and turning instead of sleeping. Over time, I have discovered that whenever I am restless like that, the best thing for me to do is get up, get some water, go sit on the couch, and pray. My prayer that night was focused on the decision to pause. I considered whether it was motivated by fear or by faith. And the Lord led me to see that it was neither. Instead, it was a decision based on the fact of the rapidly rising infections and the desire to keep people as safe as possible. 

I then prayed and asked God to help me to know it was the right decision. God reminded me that He is a God of peace and asked me what decision led me to a place of peace—continuing in-person worship or pausing in-person worship. God’s peace came over me; pausing was the decision at this time and this was a temporary state. God also reminded me very warmly that He is with us, no matter what. After this time of prayer, I found myself able to go back to bed and back to sleep. 

I do not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future—and so do you. God is a God whose love endures forever. I praise and worship Him. 

I invite you to join me online for the Traditional Service or to join Rev. Tony online for the Higher Ground Service, both at 11am. Let us worship together, even though we might be apart. We will be continuing to focus on “Be Bridge Builders.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

December 30th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I have been praying for you. My prayer is that everyone had a Christmastime during which they were able to communicate with family, worship, and reflect on the amazing gift of Jesus Christ. True, this Christmas has been different, but also memorable. 

I will never forget the folks who worked so hard to provide the Drive-In Christmas Eve Worship service. We thought the weather would break when looking at the forecast. But it didn’t so we worshipped anyway in cold, windy, wet conditions. Thank you to everyone who was a part of that service and who attended. It reminded me of the cold, windy, primitive conditions that Jesus was born in a cave 2000 years ago. 

I will not soon forget the online service that McEachern Kids did. It was warm and funny and touching and helped me remember that Jesus loves all the children of the world, including me and including you. 

I will not forget having to celebrate Christmas Eve online out of a concern for safety for everyone. I lit my candle and I hope you lit your candle while singing “Silent Night” with the angels. 

I will always remember the new friends that God has placed in my path this year—the people of McEachern! You are warm and loving and, slowly, I am beginning to recognize faces covered by masks. I look forward to getting to know many more of you as 2021 unfolds. 

We have a lot to accomplish as a church in the year to come; one of the most important is to be a people of prayer. I am praying for you and the whole church and the whole world as we face difficult circumstances. God has always called His people “overcomers,” and we will overcome whatever we face by relying on the peer of God and His Holy Spirit. I believe there is much for us to do as we “Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples of Jesus Christ.” 

I love you all, 

 Doug

December 16th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Over these Sundays of Advent, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the Wise Men Rules with you. I do believe that we can learn a lot from the Wise Men as we: Watch Expectantly, Act Faithfully, Live Joyfully, and the last two that I will be preaching on this coming Sunday, Give Generously and Bow Humbly. 

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I am very much aware of the challenge that COVID-19 has created. We want to Worship as safely as we can. We want to participate in various ministries safely. We want to be strong and vital as a church, despite extremely adverse circumstances. 

So, I want to thank you for practicing the church’s COVID-19 protocols and we will continue to offer in-person worship unless the pandemic simply goes crazy. 

I want to encourage you to participate on Christmas Eve, either at the Drive-In Service in the back parking lot at 3 pm or either of our online Services: 4:30 pm for the Children’s Service and 6 pm for the Traditional Service. 

I need to remind you that we will only have an online Worship Service at 10 am on Sunday, December 27th. Please watch from your home in the most comfortable clothing you have. 

Lastly, the SPR Committee has graciously offered the Church Staff the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a time to slow down and recharge before entering 2021. If there are any pastoral needs, we will certainly be available; please call us. 

During the last week of the year, if you have End of Year Financial gifts, you can give them online or you can come by the church on Tuesday or Wednesday from 9 am ‘til Noon and make a contribution. Staff will be present to receive your gifts. 

Please remember the church this year both in your prayers and in your giving. We are only receiving mission gifts using the Christmas Mission Catalogue or in the offering on Christmas Eve. We are still a good ways behind our budget projections for the year, if you can give to help catch us up, that would be a blessing. 

I love serving McEachern and am looking forward to a great year in 2021.

 I love you all, 

Doug

December 9th, 2020

Dear Friends,

Last Tuesday night, the McEachern Church Council voted unanimously to approve the priorities that emerged from the church’s Visioning session in October. These priorities came from those gathered as they prayed and listened to what we understood God to be calling us to do in the coming years.

The priorities were:
– to become a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation
– to focus on discipleship building
– to be prayer centered
– to work to grow the Kingdom of God through witnessing and on line ministry
– to build community partnerships for mission work
– to be debt-free
– to experience a culture change

Leaders in the church will meet again in January to develop a strategic plan for accomplishing these priorities. If you would like to be a part of this session and are not currently serving in leadership, please let me know.

After this has been done, then we will begin to work on the plan. It is so exciting to be a part of McEachern, even in the midst of COVID-19. I truly believe God is moving in this church.
I look forward to continuing to teach “The Wise Men Rules” in worship. This week we will be looking at the third rule: Live Joyfully!

I love you all,
Doug

December 2nd, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone had a Happy, if unusual, Thanksgiving. Debbie and I spent time with each of our children and their families independently and then visited her 96-year-old Aunt and then spent a few days away. It was a good time and we are thankful for family and we are thankful for you.
I thought I’d take a moment and update you regarding COVID-19 and the church. The Staff and I have been closely watching the Georgia Department of Public Health’s reports regarding the coronavirus. Currently, Cobb County and Paulding County are yellow/light-orange on the state map of COVID-19 cases. I know that you are reading and hearing about a surge of coronavirus cases in our nation. There has been a slight uptick in cases since October, but not so much that we feel a need to change the church’s approach.
So, here’s where we are today. We will continue in-person worship for those who desire it and feel safe to attend. We are only able to do this because you have been diligent in wearing masks, social distancing, and entering and exiting the building quickly. I appreciate you so much for your willingness to do these things so that others might enjoy worship in-person. We will be adding back the 9:30 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary, as well as continuing the 11 am in the Sanctuary. We will continue to offer the on-line Worship option at 11 am. Higher Ground Worship will move to 11 am in-person and on-line.
The McEachern Kids Academy meets at 9:30 am on Sundays in the children’s area then the children move into small groups to study a variety of subjects. They also have scheduled a Family Manger Project for this coming Sunday at 4 pm. It will be held outside and you need to register for either of these events.
Our Youth open the doors at 9 am and then have Bible Study beginning around 9:40 am and are done by 10:30 am. They meet in the Youth Suite.
Some of our Adult classes are meeting on-line and some are meeting in-person. (And some both!) Please contact your class for your meeting time.
I also want you to know that Debbie and I appreciate the invitations we have received to various Christmas parties. Unfortunately, we will not be attending them this year. I am in the public a lot as it is and I feel it important to place some limits as a safety precaution. I look forward to next year and being free to participate in many Christmas celebrations.
I love you all,
Doug

November 25th, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Whether we are celebrating alone, on Zoom, or with family and friends, I pray that this will be a day of thankfulness to God for His love and blessings.

Sunday in my sermon I shared the idea of an Alphabet of Thanksgiving – recording at least one thing you are thankful for, using each letter of the alphabet. At our last Staff meeting, the Staff wrote their own Alphabet of Thanksgiving. I told them I would share it with you this week.

A – Alleluias!
B – Bible, beauty
C – Christ, children, Children’s Ministry
D – dogs, digital learning, Dads
E – Eating (we’re Methodists after all), exercise
F – Friends, family
G – God, goodness, grace
H – help, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Higher Ground Worship
I – Isaac (family name), invitation
J – Jesus
K – Kindness
L – Love, laughter
M – memories, McEachern, music, Music Ministry, Missions
O – opportunity
P – Pumpkin pie, Peace, our Pastors
Q – Quiet
R – Remembrance
S – Sanctuary, singing, Salvation, Staff
T – Truth, thankfulness
U – Unity
W – wonder, wisdom, Worship in the Sanctuary
X – Xylophone (X is always hard)
Y – You, Y’all, Youth Ministry
Z – Zoom, ZZZZ’s

On behalf of the Staff, we love you and love being in ministry with you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

November 18th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating a Thanksgiving Sunday. As I got to thinking about this, I  decided to do a little research into what people in America say they are most thankful for.  

Here’s the list: 

  •  – Family (84%) 

  •  – Health (69%) 

  •  – Friends (63%) 

  •  – Memories (63%) 

  •  – Freedom (53%) 

  •  – Safety and Security (47%) 

  •  – Opportunity (45%) 

  •  – Fun Experiences (42%) 

  •  – Achievements (33%) 

  •  – Wealth (21%) 

I am not surprised to see Family, Friends, and Health at the top of the list. All three of these have been made even more precious this year as we have lived with COVID-19. I still remember the first hugs from my grandchildren after the lockdown in March and April.  

However, I must admit that I am surprised that Faith in God is not listed as one of the things that people are most thankful for. When President Abraham Lincoln issued his proclamation in  October 1863, establishing the 4th Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, he did so while the nation was still engaged in the Civil War. In that proclamation, Lincoln designated the day as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in Heaven.” Lincoln called upon the people of the United States to give thanks for all the ways that God had blessed everyone and to also repent for those things that had been done that were not in accordance with God’s will. 

This Sunday we will gather together to offer our thanks to God. Whether you attend in person or online, I look forward to celebrating with you. 


I love you all,
Doug

November 11th, 2020

Dear Friends,
It was great to hear today that a vaccine for COVID-19 is looking very good. I pray that it works and that we might return to living without constantly considering the impact of the virus. I applaud all of you for the way that you are practicing wearing masks in worship, social distancing, and following safety for us to gather every week to worship God. Thank you for your cooperation.
I want you to know of a couple of schedule changes that will happen beginning December 6th. Higher Ground will move its Worship time to 11 am. They will meet both inside and outside at Higher Ground. Also, we will begin again the 9:30 am Worship Service in addition to the 11 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary. To keep adequate social distancing and with increasing numbers in worship, it is necessary to start this service back. We will continue to be online for all our Worship Services as well.
I also want to share that your prayers for the church are being felt. The Spirit in the Sanctuary and at Higher Ground is evident to me. Thank you for your continued prayers and know that I am praying for you.
I love you all,
Doug

November 4th, 2020

Dear Friends,
So, this article is a “Heads Up” article as I share with you some things that will be happening in
the next couple of months. Starting with Communion this Sunday. If you are joining us from home, please have your sacraments prepared. 

First, this month we will celebrate Thanksgiving to God on the fourth Sunday of November. In some ways, I am reminded of the first Thanksgiving after a year that saw a large number of the Pilgrim community die due to exposure to the cold and hunger. That next year they celebrated the fall harvest with a great feast remembering God who provided for them and was with them through that first difficult year. We have had quite a year dealing with COVID-19. This year Thanksgiving might be different, but it will certainly be meaningful.

We begin the celebration of Advent on November 29th. Our Sermon Series for Advent is “The Wise Men Rules.” The focus is on rules we learn for living from the story of the Wise Men we find in the Gospel of Matthew. I hope you will plan on being a part. By the way, Tanya has hatched a plan for the annual Christmas Concert performed by the Choir. It will be on the evening of December 12th and you will be able to attend either in person or virtually.

Christmas Eve Services will be on the 24th at 3pm and 6pm in the Sanctuary. If you attend in person, we will socially distance and may need to use overflow spaces. We are also planning a Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service at 4:30pm which will be online, however, there will be a Watch Party in the Christian Life Center for folks who want to attend.

In January we will focus on Stewardship and you will have the opportunity to make commitments to serve in various ministries as well as a commitment to support the Church’s ministry financially.

We are looking at a busy next few months and I look forward to sharing these times with you!

I love you all,
Doug

October 28th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day with a time in our Worship to remember those of our congregation who have died in the past year. I find that I react to these times of  remembrance with both sadness and thanksgiving for the life that was lived. I hope you will come and be a part of this special service. 

I have now been here for four months. The time has flown! I have never lived through a crazier season of ministry than what we are experiencing now due to COVID-19. But, I do want to say how thankful I am that I am going through this season with you. McEachern is a caring, committed church that truly is seeking to love God and love people. I have personally experienced this through the encouraging words that you all have graciously shared with me. I pray for COVID-19 to be behind us. But, until that time, we will work together to sow seeds of the love and the grace of Jesus with a hurting world.  

May God bless you and be with you! I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday either in-person or online. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 21st, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday you will have the unique opportunity to hear from all four of McEachern’s Pastors, together, as we share a dialogue sermon on Discipleship. This is the last Sunday of our “Seeds for the Sower” series and we will speak about Sowing with Faith. I hope you will join us either online or in-person worship.  

I also want to applaud you for following the guidelines while worshiping in-person. Thank you for wearing masks,  sitting 6 feet apart, and refraining from extended conversations in the Sanctuary. I know that all this is awkward, and, if you’re like me, you’d really like to hug somebody. That time will come eventually.  

One little reminder about the guidelines,  everyone please exit the church building after worship and once you are outside then you can visit with one another. I notice people want to hang out in the Sanctuary and the Narthex to visit. Let the visiting continue, but please let’s move it outside to keep safe. 

I am proud to be a part of McEachern UMC. It is a joy meeting folks and getting to know people.  I’m excited about Sunday and our dialogue sermon at 9:30 am and 11 am. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 14th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I just came from our staff meeting. I hope you all realize just how gifted and committed the Staff here at McEachern is. I am constantly amazed at the creativity and perseverance. Please make sure and express appreciation to them. 

Reading the Bible for my devotion the other day, I came across these verses, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your  hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

We live in an anxious time. Part of the anxiety comes from encountering a disease unlike any we have seen in our lifetime. Part of the anxiety is from the changes in our daily living: wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands frequently, not touching one another (I really miss handshakes and hugs!). Yet another part of is fearfulness for our safety and security. I’m sure you have your own reasons for feeling anxious. 

But, Paul writes that we should not be anxious about anything. He tells us to take our concerns to Jesus in prayer and petition. I did a study once that required me to keep a prayer journal. The study was “The Workbook of Living Prayer.” Several years later, I led the study again in another church and used my original workbook with my notes and prayer requests. As I went through, I  discovered that every prayer request that I had written down had been answered.  

God listens to our prayers and answers everyone. His answers may not be exactly what we want or exactly in the time frame that we want, but I know that God answers prayer.  

Paul tells us when we pray to God that He will give us His peace. What that means is that any time you are feeling anxious, let that be a call to prayer knowing that God will answer your prayer. And soon, you will notice the peace of God coming over you. 

The old saying is true, “No God, No Peace …Know God, Know Peace.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 7th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

When I was 16, I went to Camp Glisson for the first time on a Conference Youth Retreat. I had an encounter with God that weekend that changed my life. The next time I went to Glisson, I was elected to the North Georgia Conference Youth Council. For the next two years, I spent a lot of time helping plan and lead retreats there. 

I served as a Camp Counselor the summer after I graduated from High School. By this time, it was clear that God had called me into ministry and that summer was one of my favorites of all time. I learned things as a Counselor that I use in ministry today. I kept song sheets and my Counselor manual from the summer of 1972. 

Glisson has been an important part of my life and, in many ways, I consider it to be my spiritual home. When my children started going as campers when they were old enough. Every year, the week at Glisson was scheduled before we even thought about vacation plans. Both of them were greatly affected by their time at Glisson; they grew spiritually. Brianne and Jordan eventually served as Camp Counselors for several years, and Jordan even met his future wife, Meredith, there. 

Over time, I have served on the Board for Camp Glisson, worked as a T.I.R. (preacher of the week), and attended many retreats and conferences. I have sought to give back to Glisson with my time and monetary gifts. I figure the ministry of Glisson has sown into me and I want to help the ministry sow into others. 

Now, my grandchildren are Glisson campers. They love the Camp and they have grown spiritually as a result. 

I share this because it is a tale of sowing and reaping. Just as participating in the church and giving to the church is a tale of sowing and reaping. When we sow, we do not know what exactly the harvest will be or who will be affected. Whoever sowed into Glisson had little idea that in 1970 a 16-year-old boy would meet God in a way that would change his life forever. 

That boy is now serving as Senior Pastor here. When we sow into the church, we do not know who will meet Jesus and be changed. Thousands have over the history of McEachern. Who knows how many more will come to God. 

 

I love you all, 

Doug 

 March 31st, 2021

Dear Friends,

I love how life comes into focus during Holy Week. As we remember Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and then His Last Supper with the Disciples and onto the Garden of Gethsemane and His trial and then going before Pilate and then the scourging and Him carrying His cross through Jerusalem, we relive with Jesus all the things that we experience in life. From truth to lies, from praises to curses, from joy to sadness, and from light to darkness— we experience them all over the course of Holy Week. 

However, you must choose to experience these things. The worship services that are planned give you that opportunity. We have already experienced Palm Sunday, and there was much joy as the children processed in with the Palm Branches. On Thursday, we celebrate both Maundy Thursday with Holy Communion and Good Friday with the Order of Tenebrae. I promise you, if you come Thursday night, Sunday morning will be different.

And on Easter Sunday morning, we begin our Easter Celebration with a Sonrise Service at 7am on the field behind Higher Ground. We continue with Easter Services at 9:30 and 11am in the Sanctuary and 11am at Higher Ground. Both the 11am Services will be live-streamed. 

We will continue to wear masks and social distance, but I want to encourage you to come and celebrate Easter. We ask for reservations to make sure our crowd is not too large—but no one will be turned away if they have not made a reservation.

I look forward to celebrating Easter this year more than any Easter I have experienced in my life. Being apart last year has created a hunger in my soul. Come and celebrate!

I love you all,

Dr. Doug

Save your Seat!

March 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A year ago we were in total lockdown due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Most businesses and restaurants were closed. People did not venture out except to get food, gas, or for a few other essential things. Church facilities were closed – and remain closed for several months.

 
I will never forget last Easter. The only worship available was online. There were no Easter Lilies, no wonderful music, no sanctuaries open to attend, no Easter outfits to wear, no friends to see. It was a dark Easter.

 
So, I started a new tradition for the observance of Easter last year. I made a wooden cross and covered it with white lights. And at sunrise, Debbie and I carried the cross down to the street and planted it in the ground, turned the lights on, and remembered Easter. We hugged and we prayed. We went inside and put on Easter outfits and took a picture and sent it to our kids and grandkids wishing them a Happy Easter. I imagine you did something also – because faith finds a way!

 
This Easter we will be worshipping in the ball field for Sonrise at 7 AM and in the Sanctuary at 9:30 and 11:00 AM and at Higher Ground at 11:00 AM. We will smell the lilies and sing the songs of faith and we will worship the Risen Lord with deep and abiding joy. There will be tears of thanksgiving, I am sure.

 
But, before any of that happens, I will be carrying a little wooden cross with white lights on it and plant it in my yard, and lighting it up to celebrate that faith finds a way. Faith always finds a way.

 
I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 17th, 2021

Dear Friends,

I wanted everyone to know some exciting Easter plans that we are making. I am excited that we will be worshipping on Easter after not being able to last year.

This year our Holy Week and Easter Schedule will be as follows:

Palm/Passion Sunday Celebration – March 28th. At both 9:30 and 11 am. Higher Ground will be meeting at 11 am as well.

In the Sanctuary the children will be processing in with palm branches and we have planned a special service of music and message to help us remember both Palm Sunday and the Crucifixion. 

Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae Service – Thursday, April 1 at 7 pm in the Sanctuary

Come celebrate Holy Communion to remember the Last Supper and experience the Tenebrae Service – the Service of Darkness as we remember the Crucifixion.

Easter Sunday – April 4th

Sonrise at 7 am behind Higher Ground

Sanctuary Worship 9:30 and 11 am 

Higher Ground 11 am 

No Sunday School on Easter.

Please make reservations for all these services. We are setting the Sanctuary capacity at 320, which is about half. If we fill up both services then we will add additional services as needed.

I look forward to worshipping with you this Holy Week.

Save your seat for Holy Week Services Here.

I love you all,

Dr. Doug

March 10th, 2021

Dear Friends,
A little over a week ago leaders of the United Methodist Church decided to postpone the
General Conference scheduled for 2021 to 2022 due to the worldwide COVID pandemic and the
difficulty of travel during these times. By postponing the General Conference there will be no
discussion or action taken regarding the Protocol for Separation that had been proposed for
General Conference that was supposed to meet last year.


Basically this means that there is no viable pathway for any United Methodist Church to
separate from the Denomination for at least the next year and a half. It also means that the
current position of the United Methodist Church recorded in the Book of Discipline regarding
homosexuality and forbidding homosexual marriages being performed in UMC churches and
being performed by UMC Clergy is still in force. It also means that the prohibition of self avowed
practicing homosexuals from being ordained as clergy in the UMC is still in place.


If McEachern is like most United Methodist Churches, I’m sure that there are a lot of different
opinions on most subjects, including homosexuality. We are all different and have different life
experiences. Hence, we have different opinions.


But, the beauty of Christianity is that we can all be one in Jesus Christ. We have one faith, one
Lord, one Baptism. One of the reasons I enjoy preaching on the “I Am” sayings of Jesus is that
there is such a clear focus on Jesus in all of these sayings.


This Sunday we will be preaching on “I am the Light of the World.” (John 8:12) Come and let
Jesus shine light upon your life, your thoughts, and in your life. I look forward to seeing you.


I love you all,
Dr. Doug

March 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Over the years I’ve witnessed the scene on TV many times. It’s people coming out from shelters  to see what damage the hurricane has caused. Sometimes they find their house destroyed.  Other times, it’s still standing. Whatever they find, it is difficult and emotional and they are  always asked what they are going to do and they respond that they will rebuild, start over, etc.  And they do. And teams of people come from all over to help them. I imagine McEachern has  even sent some of those teams. 

Similarly, for the past year, we have been dealing with the ravages of COVID-19. It has  caused a lot of damage: sickness, death, schools going virtual, businesses closing, jobs lost,  and even the church suspending in-person worship and carrying out ministry virtually. It has  been a hard year. 

But, things are changing. Vaccinations have begun and most people who choose to receive the  vaccine will receive it sometime this year. Schools are reopening. Sickness and death due to  COVID are slowing down. And people are reemerging after the storm. 

We have started back with in-person worship while continuing online worship. I told the staff to  plan ministry accordingly knowing that we will not suspend our on-campus activities again. We  will continue to use safety protocols but we will also continue to meet. 

As you emerge after this COVID-19 storm, know that McEachern is here. And we are in the  process of rebuilding the ministry of the church. Leaders will be meeting this Sunday afternoon  to continue planning for the unfolding story of ministry at McEachern. 

I look forward to seeing you at worship. There are so many who are a part of McEachern that I  have not had the pleasure of meeting since I arrived last July. I look forward to those meetings.  Let’s rebuild together. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

February 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
The Season of Lent is a time for a return to Spiritual Discipline. Traditionally, it has been a time of prayer and fasting as a way to prepare for the celebration of the most Holy day of the year—Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. The practice of fasting is where the whole idea of “giving up something for Lent” came from.

 
I’d like to challenge you this year to “give up something” and “to take on something.” You choose what you will give up. In years past I have given up desserts, potatoes, fried food, and other things. This year I’m giving up chips of any kind. That may not sound like much to you, but I eat chips all the time, especially at night while watching TV. The idea of giving up something is that whenever you think about or desire what you have given up, that is a call to prayer. I should be praying a lot this Lenten season! What will you give up?

 
This challenge also includes “taking on something.” For this, I have a specific challenge for you. I’m asking everyone to pray for someone that you know who is not a practicing Christian. Pray for that person throughout the season of Lent, and then invite that person to worship on Palm Sunday or Easter. If you’re wondering about capacity in Worship, we’ll have as many services as we need to accommodate as many people who come.

 
So, I’ve “thrown down the gauntlet,” who will accept these challenges?

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

February 17th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I’m looking forward to seeing folks at Worship Sunday. We will be open at 9:30 am and 11:00 am in the  Sanctuary and at 11:00 am at Higher Ground. It will be the first Sunday of Lent and we will be  preaching throughout Lent on the “I Am…” sayings of Jesus. This Sunday the sermon will be “I  am the Door.” Seems appropriate with McEachern opening its doors. 

I have been asked by a number of people about the financial condition of the church. To quote our  Finance Chair, Donnie Newsom, “The financial state of our church is sound.” Donnie can write that for the following reasons. We received a forgivable loan from the Federal Government  called the Payroll Protection Plan last year in the amount of approximately $193,000 dollars.  This loan has not yet been officially forgiven and so we have not reported it as income to the  church. This money would move our year-end number from $103,000 in the red to $90,000 in  the black. In addition, the church has significant reserves both in church operating money and in  our Trustees Fund. 

So, we are financially sound. 

At the same time, we want to be good stewards of the financial resources of the church and so  are asking all our church members to fill out and return Estimate of Giving Cards so that we can  have a clearer picture of our church finances for this year. If you have not yet returned your  card, please do so as soon as possible.  

 

All in all, I praise God for providing for us in a time of trial and I praise God for you!

 

 I love you all, 

Doug

February 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends,
In the Gospel of John we read these words; “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus has previously told them that they will know persecution, that they will be scattered, that He is going to die and rise again, and that this is necessary in order for the Holy Spirit to come. I imagine the Disciples were pretty scared when they heard all this – yet He tells them what is to come in order for them to know peace. And not freedom from trouble – they will know trouble! But peace in the midst of trouble. A peace that comes from knowing Christ has overcome the world.

 
We have certainly known a lot of trouble this past year. Yet, I believe Christ has overcome the world and, so, I have peace and hope. And I have seen you overcoming circumstances to stay connected to one another, to feed thousands of people, to minister in cars and outside at Higher Ground and on flatbed trucks on Christmas Eve and scattered in the Sanctuary singing the songs of Christmas and in parking lots and online in Zoom meetings and on Facebook and in so many ways in order to communicate the Gospel of Jesus. Doing God’s work with you is so awesome!

 
Trouble will come and trouble will go. When (not if) COVID passes, something else will pop up. It’s the nature of a sinful world. But, take heart! Christ has overcome the world. Write that in the depth of your heart. And let’s move forward in ministry!

 
I love you all,

 
Doug
PS. Don’t forget to mail back in your Estimate of Giving Cards this week!

January 20th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Be Bridge Builders. That’s what we have been focusing on all month. I have spoken and written about how we are created by God to be a royal priesthood—building bridges between people and God and people and other people. Certainly, in our world right now we need bridge builders! 

We build these bridges using the Spiritual Gifts God has given us. But that is not the only way. We also practice bridge-building through giving our financial resources to Christ’s ministry through the church, pooling resources in order to make disciples of Jesus and love people. 

The year 2020 was challenging financially for McEachern. I want to thank everyone for your faithfulness in giving. Because of your giving and being good stewards of all the gifts the church received, we finished the year on a positive note financially. 

I do believe that probably by this coming Fall everyone will be able to resume all the participatory ministries of the church without fear of COVID due to all the vaccinations that will have happened by that time. In the meantime, the Leadership and Staff of McEachern are working to lead the church forward in ministry. 

Here are the things we are working on. We are working to be a church that reaches out to everyone in our community so that the active body of the church is multiethnic and multigenerational. We are working to be a church that emphasizes growing as disciples of Jesus Christ who are prayer focused. We are working to form partnerships in mission with all the various outreach ministries in our community. And, we are working to find new ways to reach our community with the Gospel of Jesus especially through the development of online ministries. 

It is exciting to imagine how McEachern is going to develop as a church. But this will not happen unless you participate in the ministry with your time and talents, with your prayers, and with your financial resources. 

Next week you will receive an Estimate of Giving Card from the church. I am asking you to prayerfully consider how you will invest in the growing ministry of McEachern, fill out the card and return it in the envelope provided. I am also asking you to prayerfully think about increasing your giving by 1% of your income over your giving last year. Our goal is to have over 200 Estimate of Giving Cards returned this year. 

Together, by the grace of God, we will see a new day dawn on the ministry of McEachern in the months to come. I want to be a part of a church that truly loves God, loves people, and make disciples. 

I love you all, 

Doug

January 6th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I hope by now that you have gotten the message that we are temporarily pausing in-person functions at McEachern due to the surge in Cobb County of COVID-19 infections. I’ve been here long enough that you probably know that I really resisted the idea, but it is the right decision at this time. 

Monday night, I found myself tossing and turning instead of sleeping. Over time, I have discovered that whenever I am restless like that, the best thing for me to do is get up, get some water, go sit on the couch, and pray. My prayer that night was focused on the decision to pause. I considered whether it was motivated by fear or by faith. And the Lord led me to see that it was neither. Instead, it was a decision based on the fact of the rapidly rising infections and the desire to keep people as safe as possible. 

I then prayed and asked God to help me to know it was the right decision. God reminded me that He is a God of peace and asked me what decision led me to a place of peace—continuing in-person worship or pausing in-person worship. God’s peace came over me; pausing was the decision at this time and this was a temporary state. God also reminded me very warmly that He is with us, no matter what. After this time of prayer, I found myself able to go back to bed and back to sleep. 

I do not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future—and so do you. God is a God whose love endures forever. I praise and worship Him. 

I invite you to join me online for the Traditional Service or to join Rev. Tony online for the Higher Ground Service, both at 11am. Let us worship together, even though we might be apart. We will be continuing to focus on “Be Bridge Builders.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

December 30th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I have been praying for you. My prayer is that everyone had a Christmastime during which they were able to communicate with family, worship, and reflect on the amazing gift of Jesus Christ. True, this Christmas has been different, but also memorable. 

I will never forget the folks who worked so hard to provide the Drive-In Christmas Eve Worship service. We thought the weather would break when looking at the forecast. But it didn’t so we worshipped anyway in cold, windy, wet conditions. Thank you to everyone who was a part of that service and who attended. It reminded me of the cold, windy, primitive conditions that Jesus was born in a cave 2000 years ago. 

I will not soon forget the online service that McEachern Kids did. It was warm and funny and touching and helped me remember that Jesus loves all the children of the world, including me and including you. 

I will not forget having to celebrate Christmas Eve online out of a concern for safety for everyone. I lit my candle and I hope you lit your candle while singing “Silent Night” with the angels. 

I will always remember the new friends that God has placed in my path this year—the people of McEachern! You are warm and loving and, slowly, I am beginning to recognize faces covered by masks. I look forward to getting to know many more of you as 2021 unfolds. 

We have a lot to accomplish as a church in the year to come; one of the most important is to be a people of prayer. I am praying for you and the whole church and the whole world as we face difficult circumstances. God has always called His people “overcomers,” and we will overcome whatever we face by relying on the peer of God and His Holy Spirit. I believe there is much for us to do as we “Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples of Jesus Christ.” 

I love you all, 

 Doug

December 16th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Over these Sundays of Advent, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the Wise Men Rules with you. I do believe that we can learn a lot from the Wise Men as we: Watch Expectantly, Act Faithfully, Live Joyfully, and the last two that I will be preaching on this coming Sunday, Give Generously and Bow Humbly. 

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I am very much aware of the challenge that COVID-19 has created. We want to Worship as safely as we can. We want to participate in various ministries safely. We want to be strong and vital as a church, despite extremely adverse circumstances. 

So, I want to thank you for practicing the church’s COVID-19 protocols and we will continue to offer in-person worship unless the pandemic simply goes crazy. 

I want to encourage you to participate on Christmas Eve, either at the Drive-In Service in the back parking lot at 3 pm or either of our online Services: 4:30 pm for the Children’s Service and 6 pm for the Traditional Service. 

I need to remind you that we will only have an online Worship Service at 10 am on Sunday, December 27th. Please watch from your home in the most comfortable clothing you have. 

Lastly, the SPR Committee has graciously offered the Church Staff the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a time to slow down and recharge before entering 2021. If there are any pastoral needs, we will certainly be available; please call us. 

During the last week of the year, if you have End of Year Financial gifts, you can give them online or you can come by the church on Tuesday or Wednesday from 9 am ‘til Noon and make a contribution. Staff will be present to receive your gifts. 

Please remember the church this year both in your prayers and in your giving. We are only receiving mission gifts using the Christmas Mission Catalogue or in the offering on Christmas Eve. We are still a good ways behind our budget projections for the year, if you can give to help catch us up, that would be a blessing. 

I love serving McEachern and am looking forward to a great year in 2021.

 I love you all, 

Doug

December 9th, 2020

Dear Friends,

Last Tuesday night, the McEachern Church Council voted unanimously to approve the priorities that emerged from the church’s Visioning session in October. These priorities came from those gathered as they prayed and listened to what we understood God to be calling us to do in the coming years.

The priorities were:
– to become a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation
– to focus on discipleship building
– to be prayer centered
– to work to grow the Kingdom of God through witnessing and on line ministry
– to build community partnerships for mission work
– to be debt-free
– to experience a culture change

Leaders in the church will meet again in January to develop a strategic plan for accomplishing these priorities. If you would like to be a part of this session and are not currently serving in leadership, please let me know.

After this has been done, then we will begin to work on the plan. It is so exciting to be a part of McEachern, even in the midst of COVID-19. I truly believe God is moving in this church.
I look forward to continuing to teach “The Wise Men Rules” in worship. This week we will be looking at the third rule: Live Joyfully!

I love you all,
Doug

December 2nd, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone had a Happy, if unusual, Thanksgiving. Debbie and I spent time with each of our children and their families independently and then visited her 96-year-old Aunt and then spent a few days away. It was a good time and we are thankful for family and we are thankful for you.
I thought I’d take a moment and update you regarding COVID-19 and the church. The Staff and I have been closely watching the Georgia Department of Public Health’s reports regarding the coronavirus. Currently, Cobb County and Paulding County are yellow/light-orange on the state map of COVID-19 cases. I know that you are reading and hearing about a surge of coronavirus cases in our nation. There has been a slight uptick in cases since October, but not so much that we feel a need to change the church’s approach.
So, here’s where we are today. We will continue in-person worship for those who desire it and feel safe to attend. We are only able to do this because you have been diligent in wearing masks, social distancing, and entering and exiting the building quickly. I appreciate you so much for your willingness to do these things so that others might enjoy worship in-person. We will be adding back the 9:30 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary, as well as continuing the 11 am in the Sanctuary. We will continue to offer the on-line Worship option at 11 am. Higher Ground Worship will move to 11 am in-person and on-line.
The McEachern Kids Academy meets at 9:30 am on Sundays in the children’s area then the children move into small groups to study a variety of subjects. They also have scheduled a Family Manger Project for this coming Sunday at 4 pm. It will be held outside and you need to register for either of these events.
Our Youth open the doors at 9 am and then have Bible Study beginning around 9:40 am and are done by 10:30 am. They meet in the Youth Suite.
Some of our Adult classes are meeting on-line and some are meeting in-person. (And some both!) Please contact your class for your meeting time.
I also want you to know that Debbie and I appreciate the invitations we have received to various Christmas parties. Unfortunately, we will not be attending them this year. I am in the public a lot as it is and I feel it important to place some limits as a safety precaution. I look forward to next year and being free to participate in many Christmas celebrations.
I love you all,
Doug

November 25th, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Whether we are celebrating alone, on Zoom, or with family and friends, I pray that this will be a day of thankfulness to God for His love and blessings.

Sunday in my sermon I shared the idea of an Alphabet of Thanksgiving – recording at least one thing you are thankful for, using each letter of the alphabet. At our last Staff meeting, the Staff wrote their own Alphabet of Thanksgiving. I told them I would share it with you this week.

A – Alleluias!
B – Bible, beauty
C – Christ, children, Children’s Ministry
D – dogs, digital learning, Dads
E – Eating (we’re Methodists after all), exercise
F – Friends, family
G – God, goodness, grace
H – help, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Higher Ground Worship
I – Isaac (family name), invitation
J – Jesus
K – Kindness
L – Love, laughter
M – memories, McEachern, music, Music Ministry, Missions
O – opportunity
P – Pumpkin pie, Peace, our Pastors
Q – Quiet
R – Remembrance
S – Sanctuary, singing, Salvation, Staff
T – Truth, thankfulness
U – Unity
W – wonder, wisdom, Worship in the Sanctuary
X – Xylophone (X is always hard)
Y – You, Y’all, Youth Ministry
Z – Zoom, ZZZZ’s

On behalf of the Staff, we love you and love being in ministry with you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

November 18th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating a Thanksgiving Sunday. As I got to thinking about this, I  decided to do a little research into what people in America say they are most thankful for.  

Here’s the list: 

  •  – Family (84%) 

  •  – Health (69%) 

  •  – Friends (63%) 

  •  – Memories (63%) 

  •  – Freedom (53%) 

  •  – Safety and Security (47%) 

  •  – Opportunity (45%) 

  •  – Fun Experiences (42%) 

  •  – Achievements (33%) 

  •  – Wealth (21%) 

I am not surprised to see Family, Friends, and Health at the top of the list. All three of these have been made even more precious this year as we have lived with COVID-19. I still remember the first hugs from my grandchildren after the lockdown in March and April.  

However, I must admit that I am surprised that Faith in God is not listed as one of the things that people are most thankful for. When President Abraham Lincoln issued his proclamation in  October 1863, establishing the 4th Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, he did so while the nation was still engaged in the Civil War. In that proclamation, Lincoln designated the day as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in Heaven.” Lincoln called upon the people of the United States to give thanks for all the ways that God had blessed everyone and to also repent for those things that had been done that were not in accordance with God’s will. 

This Sunday we will gather together to offer our thanks to God. Whether you attend in person or online, I look forward to celebrating with you. 


I love you all,
Doug

November 11th, 2020

Dear Friends,
It was great to hear today that a vaccine for COVID-19 is looking very good. I pray that it works and that we might return to living without constantly considering the impact of the virus. I applaud all of you for the way that you are practicing wearing masks in worship, social distancing, and following safety for us to gather every week to worship God. Thank you for your cooperation.
I want you to know of a couple of schedule changes that will happen beginning December 6th. Higher Ground will move its Worship time to 11 am. They will meet both inside and outside at Higher Ground. Also, we will begin again the 9:30 am Worship Service in addition to the 11 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary. To keep adequate social distancing and with increasing numbers in worship, it is necessary to start this service back. We will continue to be online for all our Worship Services as well.
I also want to share that your prayers for the church are being felt. The Spirit in the Sanctuary and at Higher Ground is evident to me. Thank you for your continued prayers and know that I am praying for you.
I love you all,
Doug

November 4th, 2020

Dear Friends,
So, this article is a “Heads Up” article as I share with you some things that will be happening in
the next couple of months. Starting with Communion this Sunday. If you are joining us from home, please have your sacraments prepared. 

First, this month we will celebrate Thanksgiving to God on the fourth Sunday of November. In some ways, I am reminded of the first Thanksgiving after a year that saw a large number of the Pilgrim community die due to exposure to the cold and hunger. That next year they celebrated the fall harvest with a great feast remembering God who provided for them and was with them through that first difficult year. We have had quite a year dealing with COVID-19. This year Thanksgiving might be different, but it will certainly be meaningful.

We begin the celebration of Advent on November 29th. Our Sermon Series for Advent is “The Wise Men Rules.” The focus is on rules we learn for living from the story of the Wise Men we find in the Gospel of Matthew. I hope you will plan on being a part. By the way, Tanya has hatched a plan for the annual Christmas Concert performed by the Choir. It will be on the evening of December 12th and you will be able to attend either in person or virtually.

Christmas Eve Services will be on the 24th at 3pm and 6pm in the Sanctuary. If you attend in person, we will socially distance and may need to use overflow spaces. We are also planning a Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service at 4:30pm which will be online, however, there will be a Watch Party in the Christian Life Center for folks who want to attend.

In January we will focus on Stewardship and you will have the opportunity to make commitments to serve in various ministries as well as a commitment to support the Church’s ministry financially.

We are looking at a busy next few months and I look forward to sharing these times with you!

I love you all,
Doug

October 28th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day with a time in our Worship to remember those of our congregation who have died in the past year. I find that I react to these times of  remembrance with both sadness and thanksgiving for the life that was lived. I hope you will come and be a part of this special service. 

I have now been here for four months. The time has flown! I have never lived through a crazier season of ministry than what we are experiencing now due to COVID-19. But, I do want to say how thankful I am that I am going through this season with you. McEachern is a caring, committed church that truly is seeking to love God and love people. I have personally experienced this through the encouraging words that you all have graciously shared with me. I pray for COVID-19 to be behind us. But, until that time, we will work together to sow seeds of the love and the grace of Jesus with a hurting world.  

May God bless you and be with you! I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday either in-person or online. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 21st, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday you will have the unique opportunity to hear from all four of McEachern’s Pastors, together, as we share a dialogue sermon on Discipleship. This is the last Sunday of our “Seeds for the Sower” series and we will speak about Sowing with Faith. I hope you will join us either online or in-person worship.  

I also want to applaud you for following the guidelines while worshiping in-person. Thank you for wearing masks,  sitting 6 feet apart, and refraining from extended conversations in the Sanctuary. I know that all this is awkward, and, if you’re like me, you’d really like to hug somebody. That time will come eventually.  

One little reminder about the guidelines,  everyone please exit the church building after worship and once you are outside then you can visit with one another. I notice people want to hang out in the Sanctuary and the Narthex to visit. Let the visiting continue, but please let’s move it outside to keep safe. 

I am proud to be a part of McEachern UMC. It is a joy meeting folks and getting to know people.  I’m excited about Sunday and our dialogue sermon at 9:30 am and 11 am. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 14th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I just came from our staff meeting. I hope you all realize just how gifted and committed the Staff here at McEachern is. I am constantly amazed at the creativity and perseverance. Please make sure and express appreciation to them. 

Reading the Bible for my devotion the other day, I came across these verses, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your  hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

We live in an anxious time. Part of the anxiety comes from encountering a disease unlike any we have seen in our lifetime. Part of the anxiety is from the changes in our daily living: wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands frequently, not touching one another (I really miss handshakes and hugs!). Yet another part of is fearfulness for our safety and security. I’m sure you have your own reasons for feeling anxious. 

But, Paul writes that we should not be anxious about anything. He tells us to take our concerns to Jesus in prayer and petition. I did a study once that required me to keep a prayer journal. The study was “The Workbook of Living Prayer.” Several years later, I led the study again in another church and used my original workbook with my notes and prayer requests. As I went through, I  discovered that every prayer request that I had written down had been answered.  

God listens to our prayers and answers everyone. His answers may not be exactly what we want or exactly in the time frame that we want, but I know that God answers prayer.  

Paul tells us when we pray to God that He will give us His peace. What that means is that any time you are feeling anxious, let that be a call to prayer knowing that God will answer your prayer. And soon, you will notice the peace of God coming over you. 

The old saying is true, “No God, No Peace …Know God, Know Peace.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 7th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

When I was 16, I went to Camp Glisson for the first time on a Conference Youth Retreat. I had an encounter with God that weekend that changed my life. The next time I went to Glisson, I was elected to the North Georgia Conference Youth Council. For the next two years, I spent a lot of time helping plan and lead retreats there. 

I served as a Camp Counselor the summer after I graduated from High School. By this time, it was clear that God had called me into ministry and that summer was one of my favorites of all time. I learned things as a Counselor that I use in ministry today. I kept song sheets and my Counselor manual from the summer of 1972. 

Glisson has been an important part of my life and, in many ways, I consider it to be my spiritual home. When my children started going as campers when they were old enough. Every year, the week at Glisson was scheduled before we even thought about vacation plans. Both of them were greatly affected by their time at Glisson; they grew spiritually. Brianne and Jordan eventually served as Camp Counselors for several years, and Jordan even met his future wife, Meredith, there. 

Over time, I have served on the Board for Camp Glisson, worked as a T.I.R. (preacher of the week), and attended many retreats and conferences. I have sought to give back to Glisson with my time and monetary gifts. I figure the ministry of Glisson has sown into me and I want to help the ministry sow into others. 

Now, my grandchildren are Glisson campers. They love the Camp and they have grown spiritually as a result. 

I share this because it is a tale of sowing and reaping. Just as participating in the church and giving to the church is a tale of sowing and reaping. When we sow, we do not know what exactly the harvest will be or who will be affected. Whoever sowed into Glisson had little idea that in 1970 a 16-year-old boy would meet God in a way that would change his life forever. 

That boy is now serving as Senior Pastor here. When we sow into the church, we do not know who will meet Jesus and be changed. Thousands have over the history of McEachern. Who knows how many more will come to God. 

 

I love you all, 

Doug 

March 10th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

A little over a week ago leaders of the United Methodist Church decided to postpone the  General Conference scheduled for 2021 to 2022 due to the worldwide COVID pandemic and the  difficulty of travel during these times. By postponing the General Conference there will be no  discussion or action taken regarding the Protocol for Separation that had been proposed for  General Conference that was supposed to meet last year. 

 Basically, this means that there is no viable pathway for any United Methodist Church to  separate from the Denomination for at least the next year and a half. It also means that the  current position of the United Methodist Church recorded in the Book of Discipline regarding  homosexuality and forbidding homosexual marriages being performed in UMC churches and  being performed by UMC Clergy is still in force. It also means that the prohibition of self-avowed  practicing homosexuals from being ordained as clergy in the UMC is still in place.  

If McEachern is like most United Methodist Churches, I’m sure that there are a lot of different  opinions on most subjects, including homosexuality. We are all different and have different life  experiences. Hence, we have different opinions. 

But, the beauty of Christianity is that we can all be one in Jesus Christ. We have one faith, one  Lord, one Baptism. One of the reasons I enjoy preaching on the “I Am” sayings of Jesus is that  there is such a clear focus on Jesus in all of these sayings.  

This Sunday we will be preaching on “I am the Light of the World.” (John 8:12) Come and let  Jesus shine light upon your life, your thoughts, and in your life. I look forward to seeing you. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

March 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Over the years I’ve witnessed the scene on TV many times. It’s people coming out from shelters  to see what damage the hurricane has caused. Sometimes they find their house destroyed.  Other times, it’s still standing. Whatever they find, it is difficult and emotional and they are  always asked what they are going to do and they respond that they will rebuild, start over, etc.  And they do. And teams of people come from all over to help them. I imagine McEachern has  even sent some of those teams. 

Similarly, for the past year, we have been dealing with the ravages of COVID-19. It has  caused a lot of damage: sickness, death, schools going virtual, businesses closing, jobs lost,  and even the church suspending in-person worship and carrying out ministry virtually. It has  been a hard year. 

But, things are changing. Vaccinations have begun and most people who choose to receive the  vaccine will receive it sometime this year. Schools are reopening. Sickness and death due to  COVID are slowing down. And people are reemerging after the storm. 

We have started back with in-person worship while continuing online worship. I told the staff to  plan ministry accordingly knowing that we will not suspend our on-campus activities again. We  will continue to use safety protocols but we will also continue to meet. 

As you emerge after this COVID-19 storm, know that McEachern is here. And we are in the  process of rebuilding the ministry of the church. Leaders will be meeting this Sunday afternoon  to continue planning for the unfolding story of ministry at McEachern. 

I look forward to seeing you at worship. There are so many who are a part of McEachern that I  have not had the pleasure of meeting since I arrived last July. I look forward to those meetings.  Let’s rebuild together. 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug

February 24th, 2021

Dear Friends,
The Season of Lent is a time for a return to Spiritual Discipline. Traditionally, it has been a time of prayer and fasting as a way to prepare for the celebration of the most Holy day of the year—Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. The practice of fasting is where the whole idea of “giving up something for Lent” came from.

 
I’d like to challenge you this year to “give up something” and “to take on something.” You choose what you will give up. In years past I have given up desserts, potatoes, fried food, and other things. This year I’m giving up chips of any kind. That may not sound like much to you, but I eat chips all the time, especially at night while watching TV. The idea of giving up something is that whenever you think about or desire what you have given up, that is a call to prayer. I should be praying a lot this Lenten season! What will you give up?

 
This challenge also includes “taking on something.” For this, I have a specific challenge for you. I’m asking everyone to pray for someone that you know who is not a practicing Christian. Pray for that person throughout the season of Lent, and then invite that person to worship on Palm Sunday or Easter. If you’re wondering about capacity in Worship, we’ll have as many services as we need to accommodate as many people who come.

 
So, I’ve “thrown down the gauntlet,” who will accept these challenges?

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

February 17th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I’m looking forward to seeing folks at Worship Sunday. We will be open at 9:30 am and 11:00 am in the  Sanctuary and at 11:00 am at Higher Ground. It will be the first Sunday of Lent and we will be  preaching throughout Lent on the “I Am…” sayings of Jesus. This Sunday the sermon will be “I  am the Door.” Seems appropriate with McEachern opening its doors. 

I have been asked by a number of people about the financial condition of the church. To quote our  Finance Chair, Donnie Newsom, “The financial state of our church is sound.” Donnie can write that for the following reasons. We received a forgivable loan from the Federal Government  called the Payroll Protection Plan last year in the amount of approximately $193,000 dollars.  This loan has not yet been officially forgiven and so we have not reported it as income to the  church. This money would move our year-end number from $103,000 in the red to $90,000 in  the black. In addition, the church has significant reserves both in church operating money and in  our Trustees Fund. 

So, we are financially sound. 

At the same time, we want to be good stewards of the financial resources of the church and so  are asking all our church members to fill out and return Estimate of Giving Cards so that we can  have a clearer picture of our church finances for this year. If you have not yet returned your  card, please do so as soon as possible.  

 

All in all, I praise God for providing for us in a time of trial and I praise God for you!

 

 I love you all, 

Doug

February 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends,
In the Gospel of John we read these words; “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus has previously told them that they will know persecution, that they will be scattered, that He is going to die and rise again, and that this is necessary in order for the Holy Spirit to come. I imagine the Disciples were pretty scared when they heard all this – yet He tells them what is to come in order for them to know peace. And not freedom from trouble – they will know trouble! But peace in the midst of trouble. A peace that comes from knowing Christ has overcome the world.

 
We have certainly known a lot of trouble this past year. Yet, I believe Christ has overcome the world and, so, I have peace and hope. And I have seen you overcoming circumstances to stay connected to one another, to feed thousands of people, to minister in cars and outside at Higher Ground and on flatbed trucks on Christmas Eve and scattered in the Sanctuary singing the songs of Christmas and in parking lots and online in Zoom meetings and on Facebook and in so many ways in order to communicate the Gospel of Jesus. Doing God’s work with you is so awesome!

 
Trouble will come and trouble will go. When (not if) COVID passes, something else will pop up. It’s the nature of a sinful world. But, take heart! Christ has overcome the world. Write that in the depth of your heart. And let’s move forward in ministry!

 
I love you all,

 
Doug
PS. Don’t forget to mail back in your Estimate of Giving Cards this week!

January 20th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Be Bridge Builders. That’s what we have been focusing on all month. I have spoken and written about how we are created by God to be a royal priesthood—building bridges between people and God and people and other people. Certainly, in our world right now we need bridge builders! 

We build these bridges using the Spiritual Gifts God has given us. But that is not the only way. We also practice bridge-building through giving our financial resources to Christ’s ministry through the church, pooling resources in order to make disciples of Jesus and love people. 

The year 2020 was challenging financially for McEachern. I want to thank everyone for your faithfulness in giving. Because of your giving and being good stewards of all the gifts the church received, we finished the year on a positive note financially. 

I do believe that probably by this coming Fall everyone will be able to resume all the participatory ministries of the church without fear of COVID due to all the vaccinations that will have happened by that time. In the meantime, the Leadership and Staff of McEachern are working to lead the church forward in ministry. 

Here are the things we are working on. We are working to be a church that reaches out to everyone in our community so that the active body of the church is multiethnic and multigenerational. We are working to be a church that emphasizes growing as disciples of Jesus Christ who are prayer focused. We are working to form partnerships in mission with all the various outreach ministries in our community. And, we are working to find new ways to reach our community with the Gospel of Jesus especially through the development of online ministries. 

It is exciting to imagine how McEachern is going to develop as a church. But this will not happen unless you participate in the ministry with your time and talents, with your prayers, and with your financial resources. 

Next week you will receive an Estimate of Giving Card from the church. I am asking you to prayerfully consider how you will invest in the growing ministry of McEachern, fill out the card and return it in the envelope provided. I am also asking you to prayerfully think about increasing your giving by 1% of your income over your giving last year. Our goal is to have over 200 Estimate of Giving Cards returned this year. 

Together, by the grace of God, we will see a new day dawn on the ministry of McEachern in the months to come. I want to be a part of a church that truly loves God, loves people, and make disciples. 

I love you all, 

Doug

January 6th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I hope by now that you have gotten the message that we are temporarily pausing in-person functions at McEachern due to the surge in Cobb County of COVID-19 infections. I’ve been here long enough that you probably know that I really resisted the idea, but it is the right decision at this time. 

Monday night, I found myself tossing and turning instead of sleeping. Over time, I have discovered that whenever I am restless like that, the best thing for me to do is get up, get some water, go sit on the couch, and pray. My prayer that night was focused on the decision to pause. I considered whether it was motivated by fear or by faith. And the Lord led me to see that it was neither. Instead, it was a decision based on the fact of the rapidly rising infections and the desire to keep people as safe as possible. 

I then prayed and asked God to help me to know it was the right decision. God reminded me that He is a God of peace and asked me what decision led me to a place of peace—continuing in-person worship or pausing in-person worship. God’s peace came over me; pausing was the decision at this time and this was a temporary state. God also reminded me very warmly that He is with us, no matter what. After this time of prayer, I found myself able to go back to bed and back to sleep. 

I do not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future—and so do you. God is a God whose love endures forever. I praise and worship Him. 

I invite you to join me online for the Traditional Service or to join Rev. Tony online for the Higher Ground Service, both at 11am. Let us worship together, even though we might be apart. We will be continuing to focus on “Be Bridge Builders.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

December 30th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I have been praying for you. My prayer is that everyone had a Christmastime during which they were able to communicate with family, worship, and reflect on the amazing gift of Jesus Christ. True, this Christmas has been different, but also memorable. 

I will never forget the folks who worked so hard to provide the Drive-In Christmas Eve Worship service. We thought the weather would break when looking at the forecast. But it didn’t so we worshipped anyway in cold, windy, wet conditions. Thank you to everyone who was a part of that service and who attended. It reminded me of the cold, windy, primitive conditions that Jesus was born in a cave 2000 years ago. 

I will not soon forget the online service that McEachern Kids did. It was warm and funny and touching and helped me remember that Jesus loves all the children of the world, including me and including you. 

I will not forget having to celebrate Christmas Eve online out of a concern for safety for everyone. I lit my candle and I hope you lit your candle while singing “Silent Night” with the angels. 

I will always remember the new friends that God has placed in my path this year—the people of McEachern! You are warm and loving and, slowly, I am beginning to recognize faces covered by masks. I look forward to getting to know many more of you as 2021 unfolds. 

We have a lot to accomplish as a church in the year to come; one of the most important is to be a people of prayer. I am praying for you and the whole church and the whole world as we face difficult circumstances. God has always called His people “overcomers,” and we will overcome whatever we face by relying on the peer of God and His Holy Spirit. I believe there is much for us to do as we “Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples of Jesus Christ.” 

I love you all, 

 Doug

December 16th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Over these Sundays of Advent, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the Wise Men Rules with you. I do believe that we can learn a lot from the Wise Men as we: Watch Expectantly, Act Faithfully, Live Joyfully, and the last two that I will be preaching on this coming Sunday, Give Generously and Bow Humbly. 

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I am very much aware of the challenge that COVID-19 has created. We want to Worship as safely as we can. We want to participate in various ministries safely. We want to be strong and vital as a church, despite extremely adverse circumstances. 

So, I want to thank you for practicing the church’s COVID-19 protocols and we will continue to offer in-person worship unless the pandemic simply goes crazy. 

I want to encourage you to participate on Christmas Eve, either at the Drive-In Service in the back parking lot at 3 pm or either of our online Services: 4:30 pm for the Children’s Service and 6 pm for the Traditional Service. 

I need to remind you that we will only have an online Worship Service at 10 am on Sunday, December 27th. Please watch from your home in the most comfortable clothing you have. 

Lastly, the SPR Committee has graciously offered the Church Staff the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a time to slow down and recharge before entering 2021. If there are any pastoral needs, we will certainly be available; please call us. 

During the last week of the year, if you have End of Year Financial gifts, you can give them online or you can come by the church on Tuesday or Wednesday from 9 am ‘til Noon and make a contribution. Staff will be present to receive your gifts. 

Please remember the church this year both in your prayers and in your giving. We are only receiving mission gifts using the Christmas Mission Catalogue or in the offering on Christmas Eve. We are still a good ways behind our budget projections for the year, if you can give to help catch us up, that would be a blessing. 

I love serving McEachern and am looking forward to a great year in 2021.

 I love you all, 

Doug

December 9th, 2020

Dear Friends,

Last Tuesday night, the McEachern Church Council voted unanimously to approve the priorities that emerged from the church’s Visioning session in October. These priorities came from those gathered as they prayed and listened to what we understood God to be calling us to do in the coming years.

The priorities were:
– to become a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation
– to focus on discipleship building
– to be prayer centered
– to work to grow the Kingdom of God through witnessing and on line ministry
– to build community partnerships for mission work
– to be debt-free
– to experience a culture change

Leaders in the church will meet again in January to develop a strategic plan for accomplishing these priorities. If you would like to be a part of this session and are not currently serving in leadership, please let me know.

After this has been done, then we will begin to work on the plan. It is so exciting to be a part of McEachern, even in the midst of COVID-19. I truly believe God is moving in this church.
I look forward to continuing to teach “The Wise Men Rules” in worship. This week we will be looking at the third rule: Live Joyfully!

I love you all,
Doug

December 2nd, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone had a Happy, if unusual, Thanksgiving. Debbie and I spent time with each of our children and their families independently and then visited her 96-year-old Aunt and then spent a few days away. It was a good time and we are thankful for family and we are thankful for you.
I thought I’d take a moment and update you regarding COVID-19 and the church. The Staff and I have been closely watching the Georgia Department of Public Health’s reports regarding the coronavirus. Currently, Cobb County and Paulding County are yellow/light-orange on the state map of COVID-19 cases. I know that you are reading and hearing about a surge of coronavirus cases in our nation. There has been a slight uptick in cases since October, but not so much that we feel a need to change the church’s approach.
So, here’s where we are today. We will continue in-person worship for those who desire it and feel safe to attend. We are only able to do this because you have been diligent in wearing masks, social distancing, and entering and exiting the building quickly. I appreciate you so much for your willingness to do these things so that others might enjoy worship in-person. We will be adding back the 9:30 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary, as well as continuing the 11 am in the Sanctuary. We will continue to offer the on-line Worship option at 11 am. Higher Ground Worship will move to 11 am in-person and on-line.
The McEachern Kids Academy meets at 9:30 am on Sundays in the children’s area then the children move into small groups to study a variety of subjects. They also have scheduled a Family Manger Project for this coming Sunday at 4 pm. It will be held outside and you need to register for either of these events.
Our Youth open the doors at 9 am and then have Bible Study beginning around 9:40 am and are done by 10:30 am. They meet in the Youth Suite.
Some of our Adult classes are meeting on-line and some are meeting in-person. (And some both!) Please contact your class for your meeting time.
I also want you to know that Debbie and I appreciate the invitations we have received to various Christmas parties. Unfortunately, we will not be attending them this year. I am in the public a lot as it is and I feel it important to place some limits as a safety precaution. I look forward to next year and being free to participate in many Christmas celebrations.
I love you all,
Doug

November 25th, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Whether we are celebrating alone, on Zoom, or with family and friends, I pray that this will be a day of thankfulness to God for His love and blessings.

Sunday in my sermon I shared the idea of an Alphabet of Thanksgiving – recording at least one thing you are thankful for, using each letter of the alphabet. At our last Staff meeting, the Staff wrote their own Alphabet of Thanksgiving. I told them I would share it with you this week.

A – Alleluias!
B – Bible, beauty
C – Christ, children, Children’s Ministry
D – dogs, digital learning, Dads
E – Eating (we’re Methodists after all), exercise
F – Friends, family
G – God, goodness, grace
H – help, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Higher Ground Worship
I – Isaac (family name), invitation
J – Jesus
K – Kindness
L – Love, laughter
M – memories, McEachern, music, Music Ministry, Missions
O – opportunity
P – Pumpkin pie, Peace, our Pastors
Q – Quiet
R – Remembrance
S – Sanctuary, singing, Salvation, Staff
T – Truth, thankfulness
U – Unity
W – wonder, wisdom, Worship in the Sanctuary
X – Xylophone (X is always hard)
Y – You, Y’all, Youth Ministry
Z – Zoom, ZZZZ’s

On behalf of the Staff, we love you and love being in ministry with you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

November 18th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating a Thanksgiving Sunday. As I got to thinking about this, I  decided to do a little research into what people in America say they are most thankful for.  

Here’s the list: 

  •  – Family (84%) 

  •  – Health (69%) 

  •  – Friends (63%) 

  •  – Memories (63%) 

  •  – Freedom (53%) 

  •  – Safety and Security (47%) 

  •  – Opportunity (45%) 

  •  – Fun Experiences (42%) 

  •  – Achievements (33%) 

  •  – Wealth (21%) 

I am not surprised to see Family, Friends, and Health at the top of the list. All three of these have been made even more precious this year as we have lived with COVID-19. I still remember the first hugs from my grandchildren after the lockdown in March and April.  

However, I must admit that I am surprised that Faith in God is not listed as one of the things that people are most thankful for. When President Abraham Lincoln issued his proclamation in  October 1863, establishing the 4th Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, he did so while the nation was still engaged in the Civil War. In that proclamation, Lincoln designated the day as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in Heaven.” Lincoln called upon the people of the United States to give thanks for all the ways that God had blessed everyone and to also repent for those things that had been done that were not in accordance with God’s will. 

This Sunday we will gather together to offer our thanks to God. Whether you attend in person or online, I look forward to celebrating with you. 


I love you all,
Doug

November 11th, 2020

Dear Friends,
It was great to hear today that a vaccine for COVID-19 is looking very good. I pray that it works and that we might return to living without constantly considering the impact of the virus. I applaud all of you for the way that you are practicing wearing masks in worship, social distancing, and following safety for us to gather every week to worship God. Thank you for your cooperation.
I want you to know of a couple of schedule changes that will happen beginning December 6th. Higher Ground will move its Worship time to 11 am. They will meet both inside and outside at Higher Ground. Also, we will begin again the 9:30 am Worship Service in addition to the 11 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary. To keep adequate social distancing and with increasing numbers in worship, it is necessary to start this service back. We will continue to be online for all our Worship Services as well.
I also want to share that your prayers for the church are being felt. The Spirit in the Sanctuary and at Higher Ground is evident to me. Thank you for your continued prayers and know that I am praying for you.
I love you all,
Doug

November 4th, 2020

Dear Friends,
So, this article is a “Heads Up” article as I share with you some things that will be happening in
the next couple of months. Starting with Communion this Sunday. If you are joining us from home, please have your sacraments prepared. 

First, this month we will celebrate Thanksgiving to God on the fourth Sunday of November. In some ways, I am reminded of the first Thanksgiving after a year that saw a large number of the Pilgrim community die due to exposure to the cold and hunger. That next year they celebrated the fall harvest with a great feast remembering God who provided for them and was with them through that first difficult year. We have had quite a year dealing with COVID-19. This year Thanksgiving might be different, but it will certainly be meaningful.

We begin the celebration of Advent on November 29th. Our Sermon Series for Advent is “The Wise Men Rules.” The focus is on rules we learn for living from the story of the Wise Men we find in the Gospel of Matthew. I hope you will plan on being a part. By the way, Tanya has hatched a plan for the annual Christmas Concert performed by the Choir. It will be on the evening of December 12th and you will be able to attend either in person or virtually.

Christmas Eve Services will be on the 24th at 3pm and 6pm in the Sanctuary. If you attend in person, we will socially distance and may need to use overflow spaces. We are also planning a Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service at 4:30pm which will be online, however, there will be a Watch Party in the Christian Life Center for folks who want to attend.

In January we will focus on Stewardship and you will have the opportunity to make commitments to serve in various ministries as well as a commitment to support the Church’s ministry financially.

We are looking at a busy next few months and I look forward to sharing these times with you!

I love you all,
Doug

October 28th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day with a time in our Worship to remember those of our congregation who have died in the past year. I find that I react to these times of  remembrance with both sadness and thanksgiving for the life that was lived. I hope you will come and be a part of this special service. 

I have now been here for four months. The time has flown! I have never lived through a crazier season of ministry than what we are experiencing now due to COVID-19. But, I do want to say how thankful I am that I am going through this season with you. McEachern is a caring, committed church that truly is seeking to love God and love people. I have personally experienced this through the encouraging words that you all have graciously shared with me. I pray for COVID-19 to be behind us. But, until that time, we will work together to sow seeds of the love and the grace of Jesus with a hurting world.  

May God bless you and be with you! I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday either in-person or online. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 21st, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday you will have the unique opportunity to hear from all four of McEachern’s Pastors, together, as we share a dialogue sermon on Discipleship. This is the last Sunday of our “Seeds for the Sower” series and we will speak about Sowing with Faith. I hope you will join us either online or in-person worship.  

I also want to applaud you for following the guidelines while worshiping in-person. Thank you for wearing masks,  sitting 6 feet apart, and refraining from extended conversations in the Sanctuary. I know that all this is awkward, and, if you’re like me, you’d really like to hug somebody. That time will come eventually.  

One little reminder about the guidelines,  everyone please exit the church building after worship and once you are outside then you can visit with one another. I notice people want to hang out in the Sanctuary and the Narthex to visit. Let the visiting continue, but please let’s move it outside to keep safe. 

I am proud to be a part of McEachern UMC. It is a joy meeting folks and getting to know people.  I’m excited about Sunday and our dialogue sermon at 9:30 am and 11 am. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 14th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I just came from our staff meeting. I hope you all realize just how gifted and committed the Staff here at McEachern is. I am constantly amazed at the creativity and perseverance. Please make sure and express appreciation to them. 

Reading the Bible for my devotion the other day, I came across these verses, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your  hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

We live in an anxious time. Part of the anxiety comes from encountering a disease unlike any we have seen in our lifetime. Part of the anxiety is from the changes in our daily living: wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands frequently, not touching one another (I really miss handshakes and hugs!). Yet another part of is fearfulness for our safety and security. I’m sure you have your own reasons for feeling anxious. 

But, Paul writes that we should not be anxious about anything. He tells us to take our concerns to Jesus in prayer and petition. I did a study once that required me to keep a prayer journal. The study was “The Workbook of Living Prayer.” Several years later, I led the study again in another church and used my original workbook with my notes and prayer requests. As I went through, I  discovered that every prayer request that I had written down had been answered.  

God listens to our prayers and answers everyone. His answers may not be exactly what we want or exactly in the time frame that we want, but I know that God answers prayer.  

Paul tells us when we pray to God that He will give us His peace. What that means is that any time you are feeling anxious, let that be a call to prayer knowing that God will answer your prayer. And soon, you will notice the peace of God coming over you. 

The old saying is true, “No God, No Peace …Know God, Know Peace.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 7th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

When I was 16, I went to Camp Glisson for the first time on a Conference Youth Retreat. I had an encounter with God that weekend that changed my life. The next time I went to Glisson, I was elected to the North Georgia Conference Youth Council. For the next two years, I spent a lot of time helping plan and lead retreats there. 

I served as a Camp Counselor the summer after I graduated from High School. By this time, it was clear that God had called me into ministry and that summer was one of my favorites of all time. I learned things as a Counselor that I use in ministry today. I kept song sheets and my Counselor manual from the summer of 1972. 

Glisson has been an important part of my life and, in many ways, I consider it to be my spiritual home. When my children started going as campers when they were old enough. Every year, the week at Glisson was scheduled before we even thought about vacation plans. Both of them were greatly affected by their time at Glisson; they grew spiritually. Brianne and Jordan eventually served as Camp Counselors for several years, and Jordan even met his future wife, Meredith, there. 

Over time, I have served on the Board for Camp Glisson, worked as a T.I.R. (preacher of the week), and attended many retreats and conferences. I have sought to give back to Glisson with my time and monetary gifts. I figure the ministry of Glisson has sown into me and I want to help the ministry sow into others. 

Now, my grandchildren are Glisson campers. They love the Camp and they have grown spiritually as a result. 

I share this because it is a tale of sowing and reaping. Just as participating in the church and giving to the church is a tale of sowing and reaping. When we sow, we do not know what exactly the harvest will be or who will be affected. Whoever sowed into Glisson had little idea that in 1970 a 16-year-old boy would meet God in a way that would change his life forever. 

That boy is now serving as Senior Pastor here. When we sow into the church, we do not know who will meet Jesus and be changed. Thousands have over the history of McEachern. Who knows how many more will come to God. 

 

I love you all, 

Doug 

February 10th, 2021

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to be able to invite you back to Worship Services starting February 21st. Based on the continuing decline of COVID infections over the last few weeks, the leadership of the church has decided to reopen our facilities for in-person worship, for Sunday School classes and small groups, and for many other activities. I am excited!

On February 21st we will resume Worship Services at 9:30 am and 11 am in our Sanctuary and at 11 am at Higher Ground. We will also continue to live stream services at 11 am both from the Sanctuary and from Higher Ground.

Please note that to participate we will still be asking you to make reservations. Also, previous safety practices that we have observed will continue. We will wear masks. We will socially distance. We ask that everyone enter and exit the building without stopping and visiting with folks, but instead visit outside in the open air.

This Sunday, February 14th, we will be celebrating Holy Communion as part of our worship. We will Consecrate the Bread and Cup during the Service and then the Pastors will set up two Communion Stations – in front of the Sanctuary and at the McEachern Kids entrance and we will distribute the elements to families as they drive through. We’ll be there from Noon on Sunday till 1:00 pm. I hope you will plan on coming and receiving Holy Communion from your Pastors.

Believe it or not, next Wednesday, February 17th is Ash Wednesday. Our plan to celebrate Ash Wednesday is to provide an Ash Wednesday packet to those who come by the church in the afternoon. We will specifically be set up to distribute the packets to you from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm on Wednesday and also from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm that same day. We will then have a special online Ash Wednesday Service next Wednesday night at 7 pm. I hope you will participate.

I also want to remind everyone that if they haven’t sent in their Estimate of Giving Card to the church, please do so as soon as you can. We need everyone’s support to carry out the ministry God has given to us.

I love you all,

Dr. Doug

February 3rd, 2021

Dear Friends,
In the Gospel of John we read these words; “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus has previously told them that they will know persecution, that they will be scattered, that He is going to die and rise again, and that this is necessary in order for the Holy Spirit to come. I imagine the Disciples were pretty scared when they heard all this – yet He tells them what is to come in order for them to know peace. And not freedom from trouble – they will know trouble! But peace in the midst of trouble. A peace that comes from knowing Christ has overcome the world.

 
We have certainly known a lot of trouble this past year. Yet, I believe Christ has overcome the world and, so, I have peace and hope. And I have seen you overcoming circumstances to stay connected to one another, to feed thousands of people, to minister in cars and outside at Higher Ground and on flatbed trucks on Christmas Eve and scattered in the Sanctuary singing the songs of Christmas and in parking lots and online in Zoom meetings and on Facebook and in so many ways in order to communicate the Gospel of Jesus. Doing God’s work with you is so awesome!

 
Trouble will come and trouble will go. When (not if) COVID passes, something else will pop up. It’s the nature of a sinful world. But, take heart! Christ has overcome the world. Write that in the depth of your heart. And let’s move forward in ministry!

 
I love you all,

 
Doug
PS. Don’t forget to mail back in your Estimate of Giving Cards this week!

January 20th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Be Bridge Builders. That’s what we have been focusing on all month. I have spoken and written about how we are created by God to be a royal priesthood—building bridges between people and God and people and other people. Certainly, in our world right now we need bridge builders! 

We build these bridges using the Spiritual Gifts God has given us. But that is not the only way. We also practice bridge-building through giving our financial resources to Christ’s ministry through the church, pooling resources in order to make disciples of Jesus and love people. 

The year 2020 was challenging financially for McEachern. I want to thank everyone for your faithfulness in giving. Because of your giving and being good stewards of all the gifts the church received, we finished the year on a positive note financially. 

I do believe that probably by this coming Fall everyone will be able to resume all the participatory ministries of the church without fear of COVID due to all the vaccinations that will have happened by that time. In the meantime, the Leadership and Staff of McEachern are working to lead the church forward in ministry. 

Here are the things we are working on. We are working to be a church that reaches out to everyone in our community so that the active body of the church is multiethnic and multigenerational. We are working to be a church that emphasizes growing as disciples of Jesus Christ who are prayer focused. We are working to form partnerships in mission with all the various outreach ministries in our community. And, we are working to find new ways to reach our community with the Gospel of Jesus especially through the development of online ministries. 

It is exciting to imagine how McEachern is going to develop as a church. But this will not happen unless you participate in the ministry with your time and talents, with your prayers, and with your financial resources. 

Next week you will receive an Estimate of Giving Card from the church. I am asking you to prayerfully consider how you will invest in the growing ministry of McEachern, fill out the card and return it in the envelope provided. I am also asking you to prayerfully think about increasing your giving by 1% of your income over your giving last year. Our goal is to have over 200 Estimate of Giving Cards returned this year. 

Together, by the grace of God, we will see a new day dawn on the ministry of McEachern in the months to come. I want to be a part of a church that truly loves God, loves people, and make disciples. 

I love you all, 

Doug

January 6th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I hope by now that you have gotten the message that we are temporarily pausing in-person functions at McEachern due to the surge in Cobb County of COVID-19 infections. I’ve been here long enough that you probably know that I really resisted the idea, but it is the right decision at this time. 

Monday night, I found myself tossing and turning instead of sleeping. Over time, I have discovered that whenever I am restless like that, the best thing for me to do is get up, get some water, go sit on the couch, and pray. My prayer that night was focused on the decision to pause. I considered whether it was motivated by fear or by faith. And the Lord led me to see that it was neither. Instead, it was a decision based on the fact of the rapidly rising infections and the desire to keep people as safe as possible. 

I then prayed and asked God to help me to know it was the right decision. God reminded me that He is a God of peace and asked me what decision led me to a place of peace—continuing in-person worship or pausing in-person worship. God’s peace came over me; pausing was the decision at this time and this was a temporary state. God also reminded me very warmly that He is with us, no matter what. After this time of prayer, I found myself able to go back to bed and back to sleep. 

I do not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future—and so do you. God is a God whose love endures forever. I praise and worship Him. 

I invite you to join me online for the Traditional Service or to join Rev. Tony online for the Higher Ground Service, both at 11am. Let us worship together, even though we might be apart. We will be continuing to focus on “Be Bridge Builders.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

December 30th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I have been praying for you. My prayer is that everyone had a Christmastime during which they were able to communicate with family, worship, and reflect on the amazing gift of Jesus Christ. True, this Christmas has been different, but also memorable. 

I will never forget the folks who worked so hard to provide the Drive-In Christmas Eve Worship service. We thought the weather would break when looking at the forecast. But it didn’t so we worshipped anyway in cold, windy, wet conditions. Thank you to everyone who was a part of that service and who attended. It reminded me of the cold, windy, primitive conditions that Jesus was born in a cave 2000 years ago. 

I will not soon forget the online service that McEachern Kids did. It was warm and funny and touching and helped me remember that Jesus loves all the children of the world, including me and including you. 

I will not forget having to celebrate Christmas Eve online out of a concern for safety for everyone. I lit my candle and I hope you lit your candle while singing “Silent Night” with the angels. 

I will always remember the new friends that God has placed in my path this year—the people of McEachern! You are warm and loving and, slowly, I am beginning to recognize faces covered by masks. I look forward to getting to know many more of you as 2021 unfolds. 

We have a lot to accomplish as a church in the year to come; one of the most important is to be a people of prayer. I am praying for you and the whole church and the whole world as we face difficult circumstances. God has always called His people “overcomers,” and we will overcome whatever we face by relying on the peer of God and His Holy Spirit. I believe there is much for us to do as we “Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples of Jesus Christ.” 

I love you all, 

 Doug

December 16th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Over these Sundays of Advent, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the Wise Men Rules with you. I do believe that we can learn a lot from the Wise Men as we: Watch Expectantly, Act Faithfully, Live Joyfully, and the last two that I will be preaching on this coming Sunday, Give Generously and Bow Humbly. 

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I am very much aware of the challenge that COVID-19 has created. We want to Worship as safely as we can. We want to participate in various ministries safely. We want to be strong and vital as a church, despite extremely adverse circumstances. 

So, I want to thank you for practicing the church’s COVID-19 protocols and we will continue to offer in-person worship unless the pandemic simply goes crazy. 

I want to encourage you to participate on Christmas Eve, either at the Drive-In Service in the back parking lot at 3 pm or either of our online Services: 4:30 pm for the Children’s Service and 6 pm for the Traditional Service. 

I need to remind you that we will only have an online Worship Service at 10 am on Sunday, December 27th. Please watch from your home in the most comfortable clothing you have. 

Lastly, the SPR Committee has graciously offered the Church Staff the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a time to slow down and recharge before entering 2021. If there are any pastoral needs, we will certainly be available; please call us. 

During the last week of the year, if you have End of Year Financial gifts, you can give them online or you can come by the church on Tuesday or Wednesday from 9 am ‘til Noon and make a contribution. Staff will be present to receive your gifts. 

Please remember the church this year both in your prayers and in your giving. We are only receiving mission gifts using the Christmas Mission Catalogue or in the offering on Christmas Eve. We are still a good ways behind our budget projections for the year, if you can give to help catch us up, that would be a blessing. 

I love serving McEachern and am looking forward to a great year in 2021.

 I love you all, 

Doug

December 9th, 2020

Dear Friends,

Last Tuesday night, the McEachern Church Council voted unanimously to approve the priorities that emerged from the church’s Visioning session in October. These priorities came from those gathered as they prayed and listened to what we understood God to be calling us to do in the coming years.

The priorities were:
– to become a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation
– to focus on discipleship building
– to be prayer centered
– to work to grow the Kingdom of God through witnessing and on line ministry
– to build community partnerships for mission work
– to be debt-free
– to experience a culture change

Leaders in the church will meet again in January to develop a strategic plan for accomplishing these priorities. If you would like to be a part of this session and are not currently serving in leadership, please let me know.

After this has been done, then we will begin to work on the plan. It is so exciting to be a part of McEachern, even in the midst of COVID-19. I truly believe God is moving in this church.
I look forward to continuing to teach “The Wise Men Rules” in worship. This week we will be looking at the third rule: Live Joyfully!

I love you all,
Doug

December 2nd, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone had a Happy, if unusual, Thanksgiving. Debbie and I spent time with each of our children and their families independently and then visited her 96-year-old Aunt and then spent a few days away. It was a good time and we are thankful for family and we are thankful for you.
I thought I’d take a moment and update you regarding COVID-19 and the church. The Staff and I have been closely watching the Georgia Department of Public Health’s reports regarding the coronavirus. Currently, Cobb County and Paulding County are yellow/light-orange on the state map of COVID-19 cases. I know that you are reading and hearing about a surge of coronavirus cases in our nation. There has been a slight uptick in cases since October, but not so much that we feel a need to change the church’s approach.
So, here’s where we are today. We will continue in-person worship for those who desire it and feel safe to attend. We are only able to do this because you have been diligent in wearing masks, social distancing, and entering and exiting the building quickly. I appreciate you so much for your willingness to do these things so that others might enjoy worship in-person. We will be adding back the 9:30 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary, as well as continuing the 11 am in the Sanctuary. We will continue to offer the on-line Worship option at 11 am. Higher Ground Worship will move to 11 am in-person and on-line.
The McEachern Kids Academy meets at 9:30 am on Sundays in the children’s area then the children move into small groups to study a variety of subjects. They also have scheduled a Family Manger Project for this coming Sunday at 4 pm. It will be held outside and you need to register for either of these events.
Our Youth open the doors at 9 am and then have Bible Study beginning around 9:40 am and are done by 10:30 am. They meet in the Youth Suite.
Some of our Adult classes are meeting on-line and some are meeting in-person. (And some both!) Please contact your class for your meeting time.
I also want you to know that Debbie and I appreciate the invitations we have received to various Christmas parties. Unfortunately, we will not be attending them this year. I am in the public a lot as it is and I feel it important to place some limits as a safety precaution. I look forward to next year and being free to participate in many Christmas celebrations.
I love you all,
Doug

November 25th, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Whether we are celebrating alone, on Zoom, or with family and friends, I pray that this will be a day of thankfulness to God for His love and blessings.

Sunday in my sermon I shared the idea of an Alphabet of Thanksgiving – recording at least one thing you are thankful for, using each letter of the alphabet. At our last Staff meeting, the Staff wrote their own Alphabet of Thanksgiving. I told them I would share it with you this week.

A – Alleluias!
B – Bible, beauty
C – Christ, children, Children’s Ministry
D – dogs, digital learning, Dads
E – Eating (we’re Methodists after all), exercise
F – Friends, family
G – God, goodness, grace
H – help, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Higher Ground Worship
I – Isaac (family name), invitation
J – Jesus
K – Kindness
L – Love, laughter
M – memories, McEachern, music, Music Ministry, Missions
O – opportunity
P – Pumpkin pie, Peace, our Pastors
Q – Quiet
R – Remembrance
S – Sanctuary, singing, Salvation, Staff
T – Truth, thankfulness
U – Unity
W – wonder, wisdom, Worship in the Sanctuary
X – Xylophone (X is always hard)
Y – You, Y’all, Youth Ministry
Z – Zoom, ZZZZ’s

On behalf of the Staff, we love you and love being in ministry with you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

November 18th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating a Thanksgiving Sunday. As I got to thinking about this, I  decided to do a little research into what people in America say they are most thankful for.  

Here’s the list: 

  •  – Family (84%) 

  •  – Health (69%) 

  •  – Friends (63%) 

  •  – Memories (63%) 

  •  – Freedom (53%) 

  •  – Safety and Security (47%) 

  •  – Opportunity (45%) 

  •  – Fun Experiences (42%) 

  •  – Achievements (33%) 

  •  – Wealth (21%) 

I am not surprised to see Family, Friends, and Health at the top of the list. All three of these have been made even more precious this year as we have lived with COVID-19. I still remember the first hugs from my grandchildren after the lockdown in March and April.  

However, I must admit that I am surprised that Faith in God is not listed as one of the things that people are most thankful for. When President Abraham Lincoln issued his proclamation in  October 1863, establishing the 4th Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, he did so while the nation was still engaged in the Civil War. In that proclamation, Lincoln designated the day as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in Heaven.” Lincoln called upon the people of the United States to give thanks for all the ways that God had blessed everyone and to also repent for those things that had been done that were not in accordance with God’s will. 

This Sunday we will gather together to offer our thanks to God. Whether you attend in person or online, I look forward to celebrating with you. 


I love you all,
Doug

November 11th, 2020

Dear Friends,
It was great to hear today that a vaccine for COVID-19 is looking very good. I pray that it works and that we might return to living without constantly considering the impact of the virus. I applaud all of you for the way that you are practicing wearing masks in worship, social distancing, and following safety for us to gather every week to worship God. Thank you for your cooperation.
I want you to know of a couple of schedule changes that will happen beginning December 6th. Higher Ground will move its Worship time to 11 am. They will meet both inside and outside at Higher Ground. Also, we will begin again the 9:30 am Worship Service in addition to the 11 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary. To keep adequate social distancing and with increasing numbers in worship, it is necessary to start this service back. We will continue to be online for all our Worship Services as well.
I also want to share that your prayers for the church are being felt. The Spirit in the Sanctuary and at Higher Ground is evident to me. Thank you for your continued prayers and know that I am praying for you.
I love you all,
Doug

November 4th, 2020

Dear Friends,
So, this article is a “Heads Up” article as I share with you some things that will be happening in
the next couple of months. Starting with Communion this Sunday. If you are joining us from home, please have your sacraments prepared. 

First, this month we will celebrate Thanksgiving to God on the fourth Sunday of November. In some ways, I am reminded of the first Thanksgiving after a year that saw a large number of the Pilgrim community die due to exposure to the cold and hunger. That next year they celebrated the fall harvest with a great feast remembering God who provided for them and was with them through that first difficult year. We have had quite a year dealing with COVID-19. This year Thanksgiving might be different, but it will certainly be meaningful.

We begin the celebration of Advent on November 29th. Our Sermon Series for Advent is “The Wise Men Rules.” The focus is on rules we learn for living from the story of the Wise Men we find in the Gospel of Matthew. I hope you will plan on being a part. By the way, Tanya has hatched a plan for the annual Christmas Concert performed by the Choir. It will be on the evening of December 12th and you will be able to attend either in person or virtually.

Christmas Eve Services will be on the 24th at 3pm and 6pm in the Sanctuary. If you attend in person, we will socially distance and may need to use overflow spaces. We are also planning a Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service at 4:30pm which will be online, however, there will be a Watch Party in the Christian Life Center for folks who want to attend.

In January we will focus on Stewardship and you will have the opportunity to make commitments to serve in various ministries as well as a commitment to support the Church’s ministry financially.

We are looking at a busy next few months and I look forward to sharing these times with you!

I love you all,
Doug

October 28th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day with a time in our Worship to remember those of our congregation who have died in the past year. I find that I react to these times of  remembrance with both sadness and thanksgiving for the life that was lived. I hope you will come and be a part of this special service. 

I have now been here for four months. The time has flown! I have never lived through a crazier season of ministry than what we are experiencing now due to COVID-19. But, I do want to say how thankful I am that I am going through this season with you. McEachern is a caring, committed church that truly is seeking to love God and love people. I have personally experienced this through the encouraging words that you all have graciously shared with me. I pray for COVID-19 to be behind us. But, until that time, we will work together to sow seeds of the love and the grace of Jesus with a hurting world.  

May God bless you and be with you! I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday either in-person or online. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 21st, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday you will have the unique opportunity to hear from all four of McEachern’s Pastors, together, as we share a dialogue sermon on Discipleship. This is the last Sunday of our “Seeds for the Sower” series and we will speak about Sowing with Faith. I hope you will join us either online or in-person worship.  

I also want to applaud you for following the guidelines while worshiping in-person. Thank you for wearing masks,  sitting 6 feet apart, and refraining from extended conversations in the Sanctuary. I know that all this is awkward, and, if you’re like me, you’d really like to hug somebody. That time will come eventually.  

One little reminder about the guidelines,  everyone please exit the church building after worship and once you are outside then you can visit with one another. I notice people want to hang out in the Sanctuary and the Narthex to visit. Let the visiting continue, but please let’s move it outside to keep safe. 

I am proud to be a part of McEachern UMC. It is a joy meeting folks and getting to know people.  I’m excited about Sunday and our dialogue sermon at 9:30 am and 11 am. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 14th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I just came from our staff meeting. I hope you all realize just how gifted and committed the Staff here at McEachern is. I am constantly amazed at the creativity and perseverance. Please make sure and express appreciation to them. 

Reading the Bible for my devotion the other day, I came across these verses, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your  hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

We live in an anxious time. Part of the anxiety comes from encountering a disease unlike any we have seen in our lifetime. Part of the anxiety is from the changes in our daily living: wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands frequently, not touching one another (I really miss handshakes and hugs!). Yet another part of is fearfulness for our safety and security. I’m sure you have your own reasons for feeling anxious. 

But, Paul writes that we should not be anxious about anything. He tells us to take our concerns to Jesus in prayer and petition. I did a study once that required me to keep a prayer journal. The study was “The Workbook of Living Prayer.” Several years later, I led the study again in another church and used my original workbook with my notes and prayer requests. As I went through, I  discovered that every prayer request that I had written down had been answered.  

God listens to our prayers and answers everyone. His answers may not be exactly what we want or exactly in the time frame that we want, but I know that God answers prayer.  

Paul tells us when we pray to God that He will give us His peace. What that means is that any time you are feeling anxious, let that be a call to prayer knowing that God will answer your prayer. And soon, you will notice the peace of God coming over you. 

The old saying is true, “No God, No Peace …Know God, Know Peace.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 7th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

When I was 16, I went to Camp Glisson for the first time on a Conference Youth Retreat. I had an encounter with God that weekend that changed my life. The next time I went to Glisson, I was elected to the North Georgia Conference Youth Council. For the next two years, I spent a lot of time helping plan and lead retreats there. 

I served as a Camp Counselor the summer after I graduated from High School. By this time, it was clear that God had called me into ministry and that summer was one of my favorites of all time. I learned things as a Counselor that I use in ministry today. I kept song sheets and my Counselor manual from the summer of 1972. 

Glisson has been an important part of my life and, in many ways, I consider it to be my spiritual home. When my children started going as campers when they were old enough. Every year, the week at Glisson was scheduled before we even thought about vacation plans. Both of them were greatly affected by their time at Glisson; they grew spiritually. Brianne and Jordan eventually served as Camp Counselors for several years, and Jordan even met his future wife, Meredith, there. 

Over time, I have served on the Board for Camp Glisson, worked as a T.I.R. (preacher of the week), and attended many retreats and conferences. I have sought to give back to Glisson with my time and monetary gifts. I figure the ministry of Glisson has sown into me and I want to help the ministry sow into others. 

Now, my grandchildren are Glisson campers. They love the Camp and they have grown spiritually as a result. 

I share this because it is a tale of sowing and reaping. Just as participating in the church and giving to the church is a tale of sowing and reaping. When we sow, we do not know what exactly the harvest will be or who will be affected. Whoever sowed into Glisson had little idea that in 1970 a 16-year-old boy would meet God in a way that would change his life forever. 

That boy is now serving as Senior Pastor here. When we sow into the church, we do not know who will meet Jesus and be changed. Thousands have over the history of McEachern. Who knows how many more will come to God. 

 

I love you all, 

Doug 

January 27th, 2021

Dear Friends,
One of my tasks this week is to record some videos that will be used as part of our Confirmation Class. As I was talking with Carlos about the content of the videos, I remembered a lesson that I had learned in Church History. In a nutshell, here it is. 


When you consider the differences between the Roman Catholic church and all Protestant churches (United Methodists are Protestants), the number one difference has to do with our understanding of authority. The Catholic church views the Pope as God’s authority on earth. The Pope’s teachings reveal God’s will. Protestants, on the other hand, view the Bible, God’s Word, as authority on earth. We read the Bible to understand God’s will for our lives. 


A second difference is the Protestant understanding that we are a Priesthood of all Believers. This means that all believers can serve as someone who acts as a priest connecting someone to God and Jesus. Sound familiar? This is what we’ve been preaching about all month. We have said that we are all called to Be Bridge Builders which is another way of saying that we are a priesthood of all believers. 


The question remains, will accept this role? Will you use the gifts God has given you–gifts of the Holy Spirit, talents and abilities, love, grace, the ability to communicate, financial gifts, etc.? Will you use these gifts to tell people by word and deed of the wonder of the love and grace of Jesus? 


I encourage you to step out in faith to be a bridge builder because there is someone out there who needs you. This Sunday we will finish this sermon series looking at how we dedicate ourselves to this calling. 


I love you all


Doug

January 20th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

Be Bridge Builders. That’s what we have been focusing on all month. I have spoken and written about how we are created by God to be a royal priesthood—building bridges between people and God and people and other people. Certainly, in our world right now we need bridge builders! 

We build these bridges using the Spiritual Gifts God has given us. But that is not the only way. We also practice bridge-building through giving our financial resources to Christ’s ministry through the church, pooling resources in order to make disciples of Jesus and love people. 

The year 2020 was challenging financially for McEachern. I want to thank everyone for your faithfulness in giving. Because of your giving and being good stewards of all the gifts the church received, we finished the year on a positive note financially. 

I do believe that probably by this coming Fall everyone will be able to resume all the participatory ministries of the church without fear of COVID due to all the vaccinations that will have happened by that time. In the meantime, the Leadership and Staff of McEachern are working to lead the church forward in ministry. 

Here are the things we are working on. We are working to be a church that reaches out to everyone in our community so that the active body of the church is multiethnic and multigenerational. We are working to be a church that emphasizes growing as disciples of Jesus Christ who are prayer focused. We are working to form partnerships in mission with all the various outreach ministries in our community. And, we are working to find new ways to reach our community with the Gospel of Jesus especially through the development of online ministries. 

It is exciting to imagine how McEachern is going to develop as a church. But this will not happen unless you participate in the ministry with your time and talents, with your prayers, and with your financial resources. 

Next week you will receive an Estimate of Giving Card from the church. I am asking you to prayerfully consider how you will invest in the growing ministry of McEachern, fill out the card and return it in the envelope provided. I am also asking you to prayerfully think about increasing your giving by 1% of your income over your giving last year. Our goal is to have over 200 Estimate of Giving Cards returned this year. 

Together, by the grace of God, we will see a new day dawn on the ministry of McEachern in the months to come. I want to be a part of a church that truly loves God, loves people, and make disciples. 

I love you all, 

Doug

January 6th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I hope by now that you have gotten the message that we are temporarily pausing in-person functions at McEachern due to the surge in Cobb County of COVID-19 infections. I’ve been here long enough that you probably know that I really resisted the idea, but it is the right decision at this time. 

Monday night, I found myself tossing and turning instead of sleeping. Over time, I have discovered that whenever I am restless like that, the best thing for me to do is get up, get some water, go sit on the couch, and pray. My prayer that night was focused on the decision to pause. I considered whether it was motivated by fear or by faith. And the Lord led me to see that it was neither. Instead, it was a decision based on the fact of the rapidly rising infections and the desire to keep people as safe as possible. 

I then prayed and asked God to help me to know it was the right decision. God reminded me that He is a God of peace and asked me what decision led me to a place of peace—continuing in-person worship or pausing in-person worship. God’s peace came over me; pausing was the decision at this time and this was a temporary state. God also reminded me very warmly that He is with us, no matter what. After this time of prayer, I found myself able to go back to bed and back to sleep. 

I do not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future—and so do you. God is a God whose love endures forever. I praise and worship Him. 

I invite you to join me online for the Traditional Service or to join Rev. Tony online for the Higher Ground Service, both at 11am. Let us worship together, even though we might be apart. We will be continuing to focus on “Be Bridge Builders.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

December 30th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I have been praying for you. My prayer is that everyone had a Christmastime during which they were able to communicate with family, worship, and reflect on the amazing gift of Jesus Christ. True, this Christmas has been different, but also memorable. 

I will never forget the folks who worked so hard to provide the Drive-In Christmas Eve Worship service. We thought the weather would break when looking at the forecast. But it didn’t so we worshipped anyway in cold, windy, wet conditions. Thank you to everyone who was a part of that service and who attended. It reminded me of the cold, windy, primitive conditions that Jesus was born in a cave 2000 years ago. 

I will not soon forget the online service that McEachern Kids did. It was warm and funny and touching and helped me remember that Jesus loves all the children of the world, including me and including you. 

I will not forget having to celebrate Christmas Eve online out of a concern for safety for everyone. I lit my candle and I hope you lit your candle while singing “Silent Night” with the angels. 

I will always remember the new friends that God has placed in my path this year—the people of McEachern! You are warm and loving and, slowly, I am beginning to recognize faces covered by masks. I look forward to getting to know many more of you as 2021 unfolds. 

We have a lot to accomplish as a church in the year to come; one of the most important is to be a people of prayer. I am praying for you and the whole church and the whole world as we face difficult circumstances. God has always called His people “overcomers,” and we will overcome whatever we face by relying on the peer of God and His Holy Spirit. I believe there is much for us to do as we “Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples of Jesus Christ.” 

I love you all, 

 Doug

December 16th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Over these Sundays of Advent, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the Wise Men Rules with you. I do believe that we can learn a lot from the Wise Men as we: Watch Expectantly, Act Faithfully, Live Joyfully, and the last two that I will be preaching on this coming Sunday, Give Generously and Bow Humbly. 

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I am very much aware of the challenge that COVID-19 has created. We want to Worship as safely as we can. We want to participate in various ministries safely. We want to be strong and vital as a church, despite extremely adverse circumstances. 

So, I want to thank you for practicing the church’s COVID-19 protocols and we will continue to offer in-person worship unless the pandemic simply goes crazy. 

I want to encourage you to participate on Christmas Eve, either at the Drive-In Service in the back parking lot at 3 pm or either of our online Services: 4:30 pm for the Children’s Service and 6 pm for the Traditional Service. 

I need to remind you that we will only have an online Worship Service at 10 am on Sunday, December 27th. Please watch from your home in the most comfortable clothing you have. 

Lastly, the SPR Committee has graciously offered the Church Staff the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a time to slow down and recharge before entering 2021. If there are any pastoral needs, we will certainly be available; please call us. 

During the last week of the year, if you have End of Year Financial gifts, you can give them online or you can come by the church on Tuesday or Wednesday from 9 am ‘til Noon and make a contribution. Staff will be present to receive your gifts. 

Please remember the church this year both in your prayers and in your giving. We are only receiving mission gifts using the Christmas Mission Catalogue or in the offering on Christmas Eve. We are still a good ways behind our budget projections for the year, if you can give to help catch us up, that would be a blessing. 

I love serving McEachern and am looking forward to a great year in 2021.

 I love you all, 

Doug

December 9th, 2020

Dear Friends,

Last Tuesday night, the McEachern Church Council voted unanimously to approve the priorities that emerged from the church’s Visioning session in October. These priorities came from those gathered as they prayed and listened to what we understood God to be calling us to do in the coming years.

The priorities were:
– to become a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation
– to focus on discipleship building
– to be prayer centered
– to work to grow the Kingdom of God through witnessing and on line ministry
– to build community partnerships for mission work
– to be debt-free
– to experience a culture change

Leaders in the church will meet again in January to develop a strategic plan for accomplishing these priorities. If you would like to be a part of this session and are not currently serving in leadership, please let me know.

After this has been done, then we will begin to work on the plan. It is so exciting to be a part of McEachern, even in the midst of COVID-19. I truly believe God is moving in this church.
I look forward to continuing to teach “The Wise Men Rules” in worship. This week we will be looking at the third rule: Live Joyfully!

I love you all,
Doug

December 2nd, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone had a Happy, if unusual, Thanksgiving. Debbie and I spent time with each of our children and their families independently and then visited her 96-year-old Aunt and then spent a few days away. It was a good time and we are thankful for family and we are thankful for you.
I thought I’d take a moment and update you regarding COVID-19 and the church. The Staff and I have been closely watching the Georgia Department of Public Health’s reports regarding the coronavirus. Currently, Cobb County and Paulding County are yellow/light-orange on the state map of COVID-19 cases. I know that you are reading and hearing about a surge of coronavirus cases in our nation. There has been a slight uptick in cases since October, but not so much that we feel a need to change the church’s approach.
So, here’s where we are today. We will continue in-person worship for those who desire it and feel safe to attend. We are only able to do this because you have been diligent in wearing masks, social distancing, and entering and exiting the building quickly. I appreciate you so much for your willingness to do these things so that others might enjoy worship in-person. We will be adding back the 9:30 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary, as well as continuing the 11 am in the Sanctuary. We will continue to offer the on-line Worship option at 11 am. Higher Ground Worship will move to 11 am in-person and on-line.
The McEachern Kids Academy meets at 9:30 am on Sundays in the children’s area then the children move into small groups to study a variety of subjects. They also have scheduled a Family Manger Project for this coming Sunday at 4 pm. It will be held outside and you need to register for either of these events.
Our Youth open the doors at 9 am and then have Bible Study beginning around 9:40 am and are done by 10:30 am. They meet in the Youth Suite.
Some of our Adult classes are meeting on-line and some are meeting in-person. (And some both!) Please contact your class for your meeting time.
I also want you to know that Debbie and I appreciate the invitations we have received to various Christmas parties. Unfortunately, we will not be attending them this year. I am in the public a lot as it is and I feel it important to place some limits as a safety precaution. I look forward to next year and being free to participate in many Christmas celebrations.
I love you all,
Doug

November 25th, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Whether we are celebrating alone, on Zoom, or with family and friends, I pray that this will be a day of thankfulness to God for His love and blessings.

Sunday in my sermon I shared the idea of an Alphabet of Thanksgiving – recording at least one thing you are thankful for, using each letter of the alphabet. At our last Staff meeting, the Staff wrote their own Alphabet of Thanksgiving. I told them I would share it with you this week.

A – Alleluias!
B – Bible, beauty
C – Christ, children, Children’s Ministry
D – dogs, digital learning, Dads
E – Eating (we’re Methodists after all), exercise
F – Friends, family
G – God, goodness, grace
H – help, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Higher Ground Worship
I – Isaac (family name), invitation
J – Jesus
K – Kindness
L – Love, laughter
M – memories, McEachern, music, Music Ministry, Missions
O – opportunity
P – Pumpkin pie, Peace, our Pastors
Q – Quiet
R – Remembrance
S – Sanctuary, singing, Salvation, Staff
T – Truth, thankfulness
U – Unity
W – wonder, wisdom, Worship in the Sanctuary
X – Xylophone (X is always hard)
Y – You, Y’all, Youth Ministry
Z – Zoom, ZZZZ’s

On behalf of the Staff, we love you and love being in ministry with you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

November 18th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating a Thanksgiving Sunday. As I got to thinking about this, I  decided to do a little research into what people in America say they are most thankful for.  

Here’s the list: 

  •  – Family (84%) 

  •  – Health (69%) 

  •  – Friends (63%) 

  •  – Memories (63%) 

  •  – Freedom (53%) 

  •  – Safety and Security (47%) 

  •  – Opportunity (45%) 

  •  – Fun Experiences (42%) 

  •  – Achievements (33%) 

  •  – Wealth (21%) 

I am not surprised to see Family, Friends, and Health at the top of the list. All three of these have been made even more precious this year as we have lived with COVID-19. I still remember the first hugs from my grandchildren after the lockdown in March and April.  

However, I must admit that I am surprised that Faith in God is not listed as one of the things that people are most thankful for. When President Abraham Lincoln issued his proclamation in  October 1863, establishing the 4th Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, he did so while the nation was still engaged in the Civil War. In that proclamation, Lincoln designated the day as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in Heaven.” Lincoln called upon the people of the United States to give thanks for all the ways that God had blessed everyone and to also repent for those things that had been done that were not in accordance with God’s will. 

This Sunday we will gather together to offer our thanks to God. Whether you attend in person or online, I look forward to celebrating with you. 


I love you all,
Doug

November 11th, 2020

Dear Friends,
It was great to hear today that a vaccine for COVID-19 is looking very good. I pray that it works and that we might return to living without constantly considering the impact of the virus. I applaud all of you for the way that you are practicing wearing masks in worship, social distancing, and following safety for us to gather every week to worship God. Thank you for your cooperation.
I want you to know of a couple of schedule changes that will happen beginning December 6th. Higher Ground will move its Worship time to 11 am. They will meet both inside and outside at Higher Ground. Also, we will begin again the 9:30 am Worship Service in addition to the 11 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary. To keep adequate social distancing and with increasing numbers in worship, it is necessary to start this service back. We will continue to be online for all our Worship Services as well.
I also want to share that your prayers for the church are being felt. The Spirit in the Sanctuary and at Higher Ground is evident to me. Thank you for your continued prayers and know that I am praying for you.
I love you all,
Doug

November 4th, 2020

Dear Friends,
So, this article is a “Heads Up” article as I share with you some things that will be happening in
the next couple of months. Starting with Communion this Sunday. If you are joining us from home, please have your sacraments prepared. 

First, this month we will celebrate Thanksgiving to God on the fourth Sunday of November. In some ways, I am reminded of the first Thanksgiving after a year that saw a large number of the Pilgrim community die due to exposure to the cold and hunger. That next year they celebrated the fall harvest with a great feast remembering God who provided for them and was with them through that first difficult year. We have had quite a year dealing with COVID-19. This year Thanksgiving might be different, but it will certainly be meaningful.

We begin the celebration of Advent on November 29th. Our Sermon Series for Advent is “The Wise Men Rules.” The focus is on rules we learn for living from the story of the Wise Men we find in the Gospel of Matthew. I hope you will plan on being a part. By the way, Tanya has hatched a plan for the annual Christmas Concert performed by the Choir. It will be on the evening of December 12th and you will be able to attend either in person or virtually.

Christmas Eve Services will be on the 24th at 3pm and 6pm in the Sanctuary. If you attend in person, we will socially distance and may need to use overflow spaces. We are also planning a Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service at 4:30pm which will be online, however, there will be a Watch Party in the Christian Life Center for folks who want to attend.

In January we will focus on Stewardship and you will have the opportunity to make commitments to serve in various ministries as well as a commitment to support the Church’s ministry financially.

We are looking at a busy next few months and I look forward to sharing these times with you!

I love you all,
Doug

October 28th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day with a time in our Worship to remember those of our congregation who have died in the past year. I find that I react to these times of  remembrance with both sadness and thanksgiving for the life that was lived. I hope you will come and be a part of this special service. 

I have now been here for four months. The time has flown! I have never lived through a crazier season of ministry than what we are experiencing now due to COVID-19. But, I do want to say how thankful I am that I am going through this season with you. McEachern is a caring, committed church that truly is seeking to love God and love people. I have personally experienced this through the encouraging words that you all have graciously shared with me. I pray for COVID-19 to be behind us. But, until that time, we will work together to sow seeds of the love and the grace of Jesus with a hurting world.  

May God bless you and be with you! I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday either in-person or online. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 21st, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday you will have the unique opportunity to hear from all four of McEachern’s Pastors, together, as we share a dialogue sermon on Discipleship. This is the last Sunday of our “Seeds for the Sower” series and we will speak about Sowing with Faith. I hope you will join us either online or in-person worship.  

I also want to applaud you for following the guidelines while worshiping in-person. Thank you for wearing masks,  sitting 6 feet apart, and refraining from extended conversations in the Sanctuary. I know that all this is awkward, and, if you’re like me, you’d really like to hug somebody. That time will come eventually.  

One little reminder about the guidelines,  everyone please exit the church building after worship and once you are outside then you can visit with one another. I notice people want to hang out in the Sanctuary and the Narthex to visit. Let the visiting continue, but please let’s move it outside to keep safe. 

I am proud to be a part of McEachern UMC. It is a joy meeting folks and getting to know people.  I’m excited about Sunday and our dialogue sermon at 9:30 am and 11 am. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 14th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I just came from our staff meeting. I hope you all realize just how gifted and committed the Staff here at McEachern is. I am constantly amazed at the creativity and perseverance. Please make sure and express appreciation to them. 

Reading the Bible for my devotion the other day, I came across these verses, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your  hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

We live in an anxious time. Part of the anxiety comes from encountering a disease unlike any we have seen in our lifetime. Part of the anxiety is from the changes in our daily living: wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands frequently, not touching one another (I really miss handshakes and hugs!). Yet another part of is fearfulness for our safety and security. I’m sure you have your own reasons for feeling anxious. 

But, Paul writes that we should not be anxious about anything. He tells us to take our concerns to Jesus in prayer and petition. I did a study once that required me to keep a prayer journal. The study was “The Workbook of Living Prayer.” Several years later, I led the study again in another church and used my original workbook with my notes and prayer requests. As I went through, I  discovered that every prayer request that I had written down had been answered.  

God listens to our prayers and answers everyone. His answers may not be exactly what we want or exactly in the time frame that we want, but I know that God answers prayer.  

Paul tells us when we pray to God that He will give us His peace. What that means is that any time you are feeling anxious, let that be a call to prayer knowing that God will answer your prayer. And soon, you will notice the peace of God coming over you. 

The old saying is true, “No God, No Peace …Know God, Know Peace.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 7th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

When I was 16, I went to Camp Glisson for the first time on a Conference Youth Retreat. I had an encounter with God that weekend that changed my life. The next time I went to Glisson, I was elected to the North Georgia Conference Youth Council. For the next two years, I spent a lot of time helping plan and lead retreats there. 

I served as a Camp Counselor the summer after I graduated from High School. By this time, it was clear that God had called me into ministry and that summer was one of my favorites of all time. I learned things as a Counselor that I use in ministry today. I kept song sheets and my Counselor manual from the summer of 1972. 

Glisson has been an important part of my life and, in many ways, I consider it to be my spiritual home. When my children started going as campers when they were old enough. Every year, the week at Glisson was scheduled before we even thought about vacation plans. Both of them were greatly affected by their time at Glisson; they grew spiritually. Brianne and Jordan eventually served as Camp Counselors for several years, and Jordan even met his future wife, Meredith, there. 

Over time, I have served on the Board for Camp Glisson, worked as a T.I.R. (preacher of the week), and attended many retreats and conferences. I have sought to give back to Glisson with my time and monetary gifts. I figure the ministry of Glisson has sown into me and I want to help the ministry sow into others. 

Now, my grandchildren are Glisson campers. They love the Camp and they have grown spiritually as a result. 

I share this because it is a tale of sowing and reaping. Just as participating in the church and giving to the church is a tale of sowing and reaping. When we sow, we do not know what exactly the harvest will be or who will be affected. Whoever sowed into Glisson had little idea that in 1970 a 16-year-old boy would meet God in a way that would change his life forever. 

That boy is now serving as Senior Pastor here. When we sow into the church, we do not know who will meet Jesus and be changed. Thousands have over the history of McEachern. Who knows how many more will come to God. 

 

I love you all, 

Doug 

January 13th, 2021

Dear Friends,

Be Bridge Builders.
This is the theme that we at McEachern are focusing on this month. If there was ever a time in America for us to be bridge builders—this is it.

For months we have lived in isolation due to COVID-19. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would like to hug people again! But, due to the pandemic, we remain separated and not touching, trying not to contribute to the spread of the disease. We need to work at building bridges with others through phone calls, social media, being a part of online groups such as McEachern Daily Word on Facebook where we are reading the Gospels together.
Being Bridge Builders is important.

In the last eight months, we have witnessed demonstrations, riots, protests, destruction of property, injury, and even death, all culminating in the riot at the Capitol last week. Again, we need to be bridge builders who connect people with one another to listen and dialogue and seek to understand each other and work with each other.

Being bridge builders is fundamental to who we are as Christians. Jesus told His Disciples (and therefore tells us), “A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)

By building bridges with our actions, our words, and even our social media posts, we will be living out this command. Think about it for a moment. Do you see yourself as building bridges or building walls?

I choose to be a bridge builder. I choose to be a peacemaker. Jesus said something about that. He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons and daughters of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

I choose love. How about you?

I love you all,

Doug

 

January 6th, 2021

Dear Friends, 

I hope by now that you have gotten the message that we are temporarily pausing in-person functions at McEachern due to the surge in Cobb County of COVID-19 infections. I’ve been here long enough that you probably know that I really resisted the idea, but it is the right decision at this time. 

Monday night, I found myself tossing and turning instead of sleeping. Over time, I have discovered that whenever I am restless like that, the best thing for me to do is get up, get some water, go sit on the couch, and pray. My prayer that night was focused on the decision to pause. I considered whether it was motivated by fear or by faith. And the Lord led me to see that it was neither. Instead, it was a decision based on the fact of the rapidly rising infections and the desire to keep people as safe as possible. 

I then prayed and asked God to help me to know it was the right decision. God reminded me that He is a God of peace and asked me what decision led me to a place of peace—continuing in-person worship or pausing in-person worship. God’s peace came over me; pausing was the decision at this time and this was a temporary state. God also reminded me very warmly that He is with us, no matter what. After this time of prayer, I found myself able to go back to bed and back to sleep. 

I do not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future—and so do you. God is a God whose love endures forever. I praise and worship Him. 

I invite you to join me online for the Traditional Service or to join Rev. Tony online for the Higher Ground Service, both at 11am. Let us worship together, even though we might be apart. We will be continuing to focus on “Be Bridge Builders.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

December 30th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I have been praying for you. My prayer is that everyone had a Christmastime during which they were able to communicate with family, worship, and reflect on the amazing gift of Jesus Christ. True, this Christmas has been different, but also memorable. 

I will never forget the folks who worked so hard to provide the Drive-In Christmas Eve Worship service. We thought the weather would break when looking at the forecast. But it didn’t so we worshipped anyway in cold, windy, wet conditions. Thank you to everyone who was a part of that service and who attended. It reminded me of the cold, windy, primitive conditions that Jesus was born in a cave 2000 years ago. 

I will not soon forget the online service that McEachern Kids did. It was warm and funny and touching and helped me remember that Jesus loves all the children of the world, including me and including you. 

I will not forget having to celebrate Christmas Eve online out of a concern for safety for everyone. I lit my candle and I hope you lit your candle while singing “Silent Night” with the angels. 

I will always remember the new friends that God has placed in my path this year—the people of McEachern! You are warm and loving and, slowly, I am beginning to recognize faces covered by masks. I look forward to getting to know many more of you as 2021 unfolds. 

We have a lot to accomplish as a church in the year to come; one of the most important is to be a people of prayer. I am praying for you and the whole church and the whole world as we face difficult circumstances. God has always called His people “overcomers,” and we will overcome whatever we face by relying on the peer of God and His Holy Spirit. I believe there is much for us to do as we “Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples of Jesus Christ.” 

I love you all, 

 Doug

December 16th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Over these Sundays of Advent, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the Wise Men Rules with you. I do believe that we can learn a lot from the Wise Men as we: Watch Expectantly, Act Faithfully, Live Joyfully, and the last two that I will be preaching on this coming Sunday, Give Generously and Bow Humbly. 

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I am very much aware of the challenge that COVID-19 has created. We want to Worship as safely as we can. We want to participate in various ministries safely. We want to be strong and vital as a church, despite extremely adverse circumstances. 

So, I want to thank you for practicing the church’s COVID-19 protocols and we will continue to offer in-person worship unless the pandemic simply goes crazy. 

I want to encourage you to participate on Christmas Eve, either at the Drive-In Service in the back parking lot at 3 pm or either of our online Services: 4:30 pm for the Children’s Service and 6 pm for the Traditional Service. 

I need to remind you that we will only have an online Worship Service at 10 am on Sunday, December 27th. Please watch from your home in the most comfortable clothing you have. 

Lastly, the SPR Committee has graciously offered the Church Staff the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a time to slow down and recharge before entering 2021. If there are any pastoral needs, we will certainly be available; please call us. 

During the last week of the year, if you have End of Year Financial gifts, you can give them online or you can come by the church on Tuesday or Wednesday from 9 am ‘til Noon and make a contribution. Staff will be present to receive your gifts. 

Please remember the church this year both in your prayers and in your giving. We are only receiving mission gifts using the Christmas Mission Catalogue or in the offering on Christmas Eve. We are still a good ways behind our budget projections for the year, if you can give to help catch us up, that would be a blessing. 

I love serving McEachern and am looking forward to a great year in 2021.

 I love you all, 

Doug

December 9th, 2020

Dear Friends,

Last Tuesday night, the McEachern Church Council voted unanimously to approve the priorities that emerged from the church’s Visioning session in October. These priorities came from those gathered as they prayed and listened to what we understood God to be calling us to do in the coming years.

The priorities were:
– to become a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation
– to focus on discipleship building
– to be prayer centered
– to work to grow the Kingdom of God through witnessing and on line ministry
– to build community partnerships for mission work
– to be debt-free
– to experience a culture change

Leaders in the church will meet again in January to develop a strategic plan for accomplishing these priorities. If you would like to be a part of this session and are not currently serving in leadership, please let me know.

After this has been done, then we will begin to work on the plan. It is so exciting to be a part of McEachern, even in the midst of COVID-19. I truly believe God is moving in this church.
I look forward to continuing to teach “The Wise Men Rules” in worship. This week we will be looking at the third rule: Live Joyfully!

I love you all,
Doug

December 2nd, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone had a Happy, if unusual, Thanksgiving. Debbie and I spent time with each of our children and their families independently and then visited her 96-year-old Aunt and then spent a few days away. It was a good time and we are thankful for family and we are thankful for you.
I thought I’d take a moment and update you regarding COVID-19 and the church. The Staff and I have been closely watching the Georgia Department of Public Health’s reports regarding the coronavirus. Currently, Cobb County and Paulding County are yellow/light-orange on the state map of COVID-19 cases. I know that you are reading and hearing about a surge of coronavirus cases in our nation. There has been a slight uptick in cases since October, but not so much that we feel a need to change the church’s approach.
So, here’s where we are today. We will continue in-person worship for those who desire it and feel safe to attend. We are only able to do this because you have been diligent in wearing masks, social distancing, and entering and exiting the building quickly. I appreciate you so much for your willingness to do these things so that others might enjoy worship in-person. We will be adding back the 9:30 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary, as well as continuing the 11 am in the Sanctuary. We will continue to offer the on-line Worship option at 11 am. Higher Ground Worship will move to 11 am in-person and on-line.
The McEachern Kids Academy meets at 9:30 am on Sundays in the children’s area then the children move into small groups to study a variety of subjects. They also have scheduled a Family Manger Project for this coming Sunday at 4 pm. It will be held outside and you need to register for either of these events.
Our Youth open the doors at 9 am and then have Bible Study beginning around 9:40 am and are done by 10:30 am. They meet in the Youth Suite.
Some of our Adult classes are meeting on-line and some are meeting in-person. (And some both!) Please contact your class for your meeting time.
I also want you to know that Debbie and I appreciate the invitations we have received to various Christmas parties. Unfortunately, we will not be attending them this year. I am in the public a lot as it is and I feel it important to place some limits as a safety precaution. I look forward to next year and being free to participate in many Christmas celebrations.
I love you all,
Doug

November 25th, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Whether we are celebrating alone, on Zoom, or with family and friends, I pray that this will be a day of thankfulness to God for His love and blessings.

Sunday in my sermon I shared the idea of an Alphabet of Thanksgiving – recording at least one thing you are thankful for, using each letter of the alphabet. At our last Staff meeting, the Staff wrote their own Alphabet of Thanksgiving. I told them I would share it with you this week.

A – Alleluias!
B – Bible, beauty
C – Christ, children, Children’s Ministry
D – dogs, digital learning, Dads
E – Eating (we’re Methodists after all), exercise
F – Friends, family
G – God, goodness, grace
H – help, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Higher Ground Worship
I – Isaac (family name), invitation
J – Jesus
K – Kindness
L – Love, laughter
M – memories, McEachern, music, Music Ministry, Missions
O – opportunity
P – Pumpkin pie, Peace, our Pastors
Q – Quiet
R – Remembrance
S – Sanctuary, singing, Salvation, Staff
T – Truth, thankfulness
U – Unity
W – wonder, wisdom, Worship in the Sanctuary
X – Xylophone (X is always hard)
Y – You, Y’all, Youth Ministry
Z – Zoom, ZZZZ’s

On behalf of the Staff, we love you and love being in ministry with you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

November 18th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating a Thanksgiving Sunday. As I got to thinking about this, I  decided to do a little research into what people in America say they are most thankful for.  

Here’s the list: 

  •  – Family (84%) 

  •  – Health (69%) 

  •  – Friends (63%) 

  •  – Memories (63%) 

  •  – Freedom (53%) 

  •  – Safety and Security (47%) 

  •  – Opportunity (45%) 

  •  – Fun Experiences (42%) 

  •  – Achievements (33%) 

  •  – Wealth (21%) 

I am not surprised to see Family, Friends, and Health at the top of the list. All three of these have been made even more precious this year as we have lived with COVID-19. I still remember the first hugs from my grandchildren after the lockdown in March and April.  

However, I must admit that I am surprised that Faith in God is not listed as one of the things that people are most thankful for. When President Abraham Lincoln issued his proclamation in  October 1863, establishing the 4th Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, he did so while the nation was still engaged in the Civil War. In that proclamation, Lincoln designated the day as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in Heaven.” Lincoln called upon the people of the United States to give thanks for all the ways that God had blessed everyone and to also repent for those things that had been done that were not in accordance with God’s will. 

This Sunday we will gather together to offer our thanks to God. Whether you attend in person or online, I look forward to celebrating with you. 


I love you all,
Doug

November 11th, 2020

Dear Friends,
It was great to hear today that a vaccine for COVID-19 is looking very good. I pray that it works and that we might return to living without constantly considering the impact of the virus. I applaud all of you for the way that you are practicing wearing masks in worship, social distancing, and following safety for us to gather every week to worship God. Thank you for your cooperation.
I want you to know of a couple of schedule changes that will happen beginning December 6th. Higher Ground will move its Worship time to 11 am. They will meet both inside and outside at Higher Ground. Also, we will begin again the 9:30 am Worship Service in addition to the 11 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary. To keep adequate social distancing and with increasing numbers in worship, it is necessary to start this service back. We will continue to be online for all our Worship Services as well.
I also want to share that your prayers for the church are being felt. The Spirit in the Sanctuary and at Higher Ground is evident to me. Thank you for your continued prayers and know that I am praying for you.
I love you all,
Doug

November 4th, 2020

Dear Friends,
So, this article is a “Heads Up” article as I share with you some things that will be happening in
the next couple of months. Starting with Communion this Sunday. If you are joining us from home, please have your sacraments prepared. 

First, this month we will celebrate Thanksgiving to God on the fourth Sunday of November. In some ways, I am reminded of the first Thanksgiving after a year that saw a large number of the Pilgrim community die due to exposure to the cold and hunger. That next year they celebrated the fall harvest with a great feast remembering God who provided for them and was with them through that first difficult year. We have had quite a year dealing with COVID-19. This year Thanksgiving might be different, but it will certainly be meaningful.

We begin the celebration of Advent on November 29th. Our Sermon Series for Advent is “The Wise Men Rules.” The focus is on rules we learn for living from the story of the Wise Men we find in the Gospel of Matthew. I hope you will plan on being a part. By the way, Tanya has hatched a plan for the annual Christmas Concert performed by the Choir. It will be on the evening of December 12th and you will be able to attend either in person or virtually.

Christmas Eve Services will be on the 24th at 3pm and 6pm in the Sanctuary. If you attend in person, we will socially distance and may need to use overflow spaces. We are also planning a Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service at 4:30pm which will be online, however, there will be a Watch Party in the Christian Life Center for folks who want to attend.

In January we will focus on Stewardship and you will have the opportunity to make commitments to serve in various ministries as well as a commitment to support the Church’s ministry financially.

We are looking at a busy next few months and I look forward to sharing these times with you!

I love you all,
Doug

October 28th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day with a time in our Worship to remember those of our congregation who have died in the past year. I find that I react to these times of  remembrance with both sadness and thanksgiving for the life that was lived. I hope you will come and be a part of this special service. 

I have now been here for four months. The time has flown! I have never lived through a crazier season of ministry than what we are experiencing now due to COVID-19. But, I do want to say how thankful I am that I am going through this season with you. McEachern is a caring, committed church that truly is seeking to love God and love people. I have personally experienced this through the encouraging words that you all have graciously shared with me. I pray for COVID-19 to be behind us. But, until that time, we will work together to sow seeds of the love and the grace of Jesus with a hurting world.  

May God bless you and be with you! I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday either in-person or online. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 21st, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday you will have the unique opportunity to hear from all four of McEachern’s Pastors, together, as we share a dialogue sermon on Discipleship. This is the last Sunday of our “Seeds for the Sower” series and we will speak about Sowing with Faith. I hope you will join us either online or in-person worship.  

I also want to applaud you for following the guidelines while worshiping in-person. Thank you for wearing masks,  sitting 6 feet apart, and refraining from extended conversations in the Sanctuary. I know that all this is awkward, and, if you’re like me, you’d really like to hug somebody. That time will come eventually.  

One little reminder about the guidelines,  everyone please exit the church building after worship and once you are outside then you can visit with one another. I notice people want to hang out in the Sanctuary and the Narthex to visit. Let the visiting continue, but please let’s move it outside to keep safe. 

I am proud to be a part of McEachern UMC. It is a joy meeting folks and getting to know people.  I’m excited about Sunday and our dialogue sermon at 9:30 am and 11 am. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 14th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I just came from our staff meeting. I hope you all realize just how gifted and committed the Staff here at McEachern is. I am constantly amazed at the creativity and perseverance. Please make sure and express appreciation to them. 

Reading the Bible for my devotion the other day, I came across these verses, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your  hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

We live in an anxious time. Part of the anxiety comes from encountering a disease unlike any we have seen in our lifetime. Part of the anxiety is from the changes in our daily living: wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands frequently, not touching one another (I really miss handshakes and hugs!). Yet another part of is fearfulness for our safety and security. I’m sure you have your own reasons for feeling anxious. 

But, Paul writes that we should not be anxious about anything. He tells us to take our concerns to Jesus in prayer and petition. I did a study once that required me to keep a prayer journal. The study was “The Workbook of Living Prayer.” Several years later, I led the study again in another church and used my original workbook with my notes and prayer requests. As I went through, I  discovered that every prayer request that I had written down had been answered.  

God listens to our prayers and answers everyone. His answers may not be exactly what we want or exactly in the time frame that we want, but I know that God answers prayer.  

Paul tells us when we pray to God that He will give us His peace. What that means is that any time you are feeling anxious, let that be a call to prayer knowing that God will answer your prayer. And soon, you will notice the peace of God coming over you. 

The old saying is true, “No God, No Peace …Know God, Know Peace.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 7th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

When I was 16, I went to Camp Glisson for the first time on a Conference Youth Retreat. I had an encounter with God that weekend that changed my life. The next time I went to Glisson, I was elected to the North Georgia Conference Youth Council. For the next two years, I spent a lot of time helping plan and lead retreats there. 

I served as a Camp Counselor the summer after I graduated from High School. By this time, it was clear that God had called me into ministry and that summer was one of my favorites of all time. I learned things as a Counselor that I use in ministry today. I kept song sheets and my Counselor manual from the summer of 1972. 

Glisson has been an important part of my life and, in many ways, I consider it to be my spiritual home. When my children started going as campers when they were old enough. Every year, the week at Glisson was scheduled before we even thought about vacation plans. Both of them were greatly affected by their time at Glisson; they grew spiritually. Brianne and Jordan eventually served as Camp Counselors for several years, and Jordan even met his future wife, Meredith, there. 

Over time, I have served on the Board for Camp Glisson, worked as a T.I.R. (preacher of the week), and attended many retreats and conferences. I have sought to give back to Glisson with my time and monetary gifts. I figure the ministry of Glisson has sown into me and I want to help the ministry sow into others. 

Now, my grandchildren are Glisson campers. They love the Camp and they have grown spiritually as a result. 

I share this because it is a tale of sowing and reaping. Just as participating in the church and giving to the church is a tale of sowing and reaping. When we sow, we do not know what exactly the harvest will be or who will be affected. Whoever sowed into Glisson had little idea that in 1970 a 16-year-old boy would meet God in a way that would change his life forever. 

That boy is now serving as Senior Pastor here. When we sow into the church, we do not know who will meet Jesus and be changed. Thousands have over the history of McEachern. Who knows how many more will come to God. 

 

I love you all, 

Doug 

December 23rd, 2020

Dear Friends, 

There is a line in the song “O Holy Night” that goes “the weary world rejoices.” If ever there was a year that this line applies, I believe it is this one. My sense is that there is a lot of weariness out there. We are weary of COVID-19 and all the accommodations that we have had to make in our daily lives. We are weary of elections that go on and on and on. We are weary of bad news pouring down upon us from every news media outlet 24/7. We are weary of lots of things. 

And yet…We rejoice.

 We rejoice that Jesus was born for us, lived for us, died for us, rose for us. We rejoice that we can continue to worship whether in the sanctuary, in the parking lot, outside, or online. We rejoice that we can serve Christ in many and varied ways and that lives are touched with the love of Christ and that people profess their faith in Christ. We rejoice that we can adjust to new ways of doing things whether it is Christmas concerts, Christmas Eve worship, feeding the hungry, reaching out to the world in missions. We rejoice that we can choose to love God and love others and make disciples of Jesus. 

The next line in “O Holy Night” is “for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.” That is what we are waiting for. We know that there will be a new and glorious morn and we will rejoice in it whenever it arrives! 

Merry Christmas! 

I love you all, 

Doug

December 16th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Over these Sundays of Advent, I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the Wise Men Rules with you. I do believe that we can learn a lot from the Wise Men as we: Watch Expectantly, Act Faithfully, Live Joyfully, and the last two that I will be preaching on this coming Sunday, Give Generously and Bow Humbly. 

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, I am very much aware of the challenge that COVID-19 has created. We want to Worship as safely as we can. We want to participate in various ministries safely. We want to be strong and vital as a church, despite extremely adverse circumstances. 

So, I want to thank you for practicing the church’s COVID-19 protocols and we will continue to offer in-person worship unless the pandemic simply goes crazy. 

I want to encourage you to participate on Christmas Eve, either at the Drive-In Service in the back parking lot at 3 pm or either of our online Services: 4:30 pm for the Children’s Service and 6 pm for the Traditional Service. 

I need to remind you that we will only have an online Worship Service at 10 am on Sunday, December 27th. Please watch from your home in the most comfortable clothing you have. 

Lastly, the SPR Committee has graciously offered the Church Staff the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a time to slow down and recharge before entering 2021. If there are any pastoral needs, we will certainly be available; please call us. 

During the last week of the year, if you have End of Year Financial gifts, you can give them online or you can come by the church on Tuesday or Wednesday from 9 am ‘til Noon and make a contribution. Staff will be present to receive your gifts. 

Please remember the church this year both in your prayers and in your giving. We are only receiving mission gifts using the Christmas Mission Catalogue or in the offering on Christmas Eve. We are still a good ways behind our budget projections for the year, if you can give to help catch us up, that would be a blessing. 

I love serving McEachern and am looking forward to a great year in 2021.

 I love you all, 

Doug

December 9th, 2020

Dear Friends,

Last Tuesday night, the McEachern Church Council voted unanimously to approve the priorities that emerged from the church’s Visioning session in October. These priorities came from those gathered as they prayed and listened to what we understood God to be calling us to do in the coming years.

The priorities were:
– to become a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation
– to focus on discipleship building
– to be prayer centered
– to work to grow the Kingdom of God through witnessing and on line ministry
– to build community partnerships for mission work
– to be debt-free
– to experience a culture change

Leaders in the church will meet again in January to develop a strategic plan for accomplishing these priorities. If you would like to be a part of this session and are not currently serving in leadership, please let me know.

After this has been done, then we will begin to work on the plan. It is so exciting to be a part of McEachern, even in the midst of COVID-19. I truly believe God is moving in this church.
I look forward to continuing to teach “The Wise Men Rules” in worship. This week we will be looking at the third rule: Live Joyfully!

I love you all,
Doug

December 2nd, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone had a Happy, if unusual, Thanksgiving. Debbie and I spent time with each of our children and their families independently and then visited her 96-year-old Aunt and then spent a few days away. It was a good time and we are thankful for family and we are thankful for you.
I thought I’d take a moment and update you regarding COVID-19 and the church. The Staff and I have been closely watching the Georgia Department of Public Health’s reports regarding the coronavirus. Currently, Cobb County and Paulding County are yellow/light-orange on the state map of COVID-19 cases. I know that you are reading and hearing about a surge of coronavirus cases in our nation. There has been a slight uptick in cases since October, but not so much that we feel a need to change the church’s approach.
So, here’s where we are today. We will continue in-person worship for those who desire it and feel safe to attend. We are only able to do this because you have been diligent in wearing masks, social distancing, and entering and exiting the building quickly. I appreciate you so much for your willingness to do these things so that others might enjoy worship in-person. We will be adding back the 9:30 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary, as well as continuing the 11 am in the Sanctuary. We will continue to offer the on-line Worship option at 11 am. Higher Ground Worship will move to 11 am in-person and on-line.
The McEachern Kids Academy meets at 9:30 am on Sundays in the children’s area then the children move into small groups to study a variety of subjects. They also have scheduled a Family Manger Project for this coming Sunday at 4 pm. It will be held outside and you need to register for either of these events.
Our Youth open the doors at 9 am and then have Bible Study beginning around 9:40 am and are done by 10:30 am. They meet in the Youth Suite.
Some of our Adult classes are meeting on-line and some are meeting in-person. (And some both!) Please contact your class for your meeting time.
I also want you to know that Debbie and I appreciate the invitations we have received to various Christmas parties. Unfortunately, we will not be attending them this year. I am in the public a lot as it is and I feel it important to place some limits as a safety precaution. I look forward to next year and being free to participate in many Christmas celebrations.
I love you all,
Doug

November 25th, 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Whether we are celebrating alone, on Zoom, or with family and friends, I pray that this will be a day of thankfulness to God for His love and blessings.

Sunday in my sermon I shared the idea of an Alphabet of Thanksgiving – recording at least one thing you are thankful for, using each letter of the alphabet. At our last Staff meeting, the Staff wrote their own Alphabet of Thanksgiving. I told them I would share it with you this week.

A – Alleluias!
B – Bible, beauty
C – Christ, children, Children’s Ministry
D – dogs, digital learning, Dads
E – Eating (we’re Methodists after all), exercise
F – Friends, family
G – God, goodness, grace
H – help, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Higher Ground Worship
I – Isaac (family name), invitation
J – Jesus
K – Kindness
L – Love, laughter
M – memories, McEachern, music, Music Ministry, Missions
O – opportunity
P – Pumpkin pie, Peace, our Pastors
Q – Quiet
R – Remembrance
S – Sanctuary, singing, Salvation, Staff
T – Truth, thankfulness
U – Unity
W – wonder, wisdom, Worship in the Sanctuary
X – Xylophone (X is always hard)
Y – You, Y’all, Youth Ministry
Z – Zoom, ZZZZ’s

On behalf of the Staff, we love you and love being in ministry with you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

I love you all,
Dr. Doug

November 18th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating a Thanksgiving Sunday. As I got to thinking about this, I  decided to do a little research into what people in America say they are most thankful for.  

Here’s the list: 

  •  – Family (84%) 

  •  – Health (69%) 

  •  – Friends (63%) 

  •  – Memories (63%) 

  •  – Freedom (53%) 

  •  – Safety and Security (47%) 

  •  – Opportunity (45%) 

  •  – Fun Experiences (42%) 

  •  – Achievements (33%) 

  •  – Wealth (21%) 

I am not surprised to see Family, Friends, and Health at the top of the list. All three of these have been made even more precious this year as we have lived with COVID-19. I still remember the first hugs from my grandchildren after the lockdown in March and April.  

However, I must admit that I am surprised that Faith in God is not listed as one of the things that people are most thankful for. When President Abraham Lincoln issued his proclamation in  October 1863, establishing the 4th Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, he did so while the nation was still engaged in the Civil War. In that proclamation, Lincoln designated the day as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in Heaven.” Lincoln called upon the people of the United States to give thanks for all the ways that God had blessed everyone and to also repent for those things that had been done that were not in accordance with God’s will. 

This Sunday we will gather together to offer our thanks to God. Whether you attend in person or online, I look forward to celebrating with you. 


I love you all,
Doug

November 11th, 2020

Dear Friends,
It was great to hear today that a vaccine for COVID-19 is looking very good. I pray that it works and that we might return to living without constantly considering the impact of the virus. I applaud all of you for the way that you are practicing wearing masks in worship, social distancing, and following safety for us to gather every week to worship God. Thank you for your cooperation.
I want you to know of a couple of schedule changes that will happen beginning December 6th. Higher Ground will move its Worship time to 11 am. They will meet both inside and outside at Higher Ground. Also, we will begin again the 9:30 am Worship Service in addition to the 11 am Worship Service in the Sanctuary. To keep adequate social distancing and with increasing numbers in worship, it is necessary to start this service back. We will continue to be online for all our Worship Services as well.
I also want to share that your prayers for the church are being felt. The Spirit in the Sanctuary and at Higher Ground is evident to me. Thank you for your continued prayers and know that I am praying for you.
I love you all,
Doug

November 4th, 2020

Dear Friends,
So, this article is a “Heads Up” article as I share with you some things that will be happening in
the next couple of months. Starting with Communion this Sunday. If you are joining us from home, please have your sacraments prepared. 

First, this month we will celebrate Thanksgiving to God on the fourth Sunday of November. In some ways, I am reminded of the first Thanksgiving after a year that saw a large number of the Pilgrim community die due to exposure to the cold and hunger. That next year they celebrated the fall harvest with a great feast remembering God who provided for them and was with them through that first difficult year. We have had quite a year dealing with COVID-19. This year Thanksgiving might be different, but it will certainly be meaningful.

We begin the celebration of Advent on November 29th. Our Sermon Series for Advent is “The Wise Men Rules.” The focus is on rules we learn for living from the story of the Wise Men we find in the Gospel of Matthew. I hope you will plan on being a part. By the way, Tanya has hatched a plan for the annual Christmas Concert performed by the Choir. It will be on the evening of December 12th and you will be able to attend either in person or virtually.

Christmas Eve Services will be on the 24th at 3pm and 6pm in the Sanctuary. If you attend in person, we will socially distance and may need to use overflow spaces. We are also planning a Family Friendly Christmas Eve Service at 4:30pm which will be online, however, there will be a Watch Party in the Christian Life Center for folks who want to attend.

In January we will focus on Stewardship and you will have the opportunity to make commitments to serve in various ministries as well as a commitment to support the Church’s ministry financially.

We are looking at a busy next few months and I look forward to sharing these times with you!

I love you all,
Doug

October 28th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day with a time in our Worship to remember those of our congregation who have died in the past year. I find that I react to these times of  remembrance with both sadness and thanksgiving for the life that was lived. I hope you will come and be a part of this special service. 

I have now been here for four months. The time has flown! I have never lived through a crazier season of ministry than what we are experiencing now due to COVID-19. But, I do want to say how thankful I am that I am going through this season with you. McEachern is a caring, committed church that truly is seeking to love God and love people. I have personally experienced this through the encouraging words that you all have graciously shared with me. I pray for COVID-19 to be behind us. But, until that time, we will work together to sow seeds of the love and the grace of Jesus with a hurting world.  

May God bless you and be with you! I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday either in-person or online. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 21st, 2020

Dear Friends, 

This Sunday you will have the unique opportunity to hear from all four of McEachern’s Pastors, together, as we share a dialogue sermon on Discipleship. This is the last Sunday of our “Seeds for the Sower” series and we will speak about Sowing with Faith. I hope you will join us either online or in-person worship.  

I also want to applaud you for following the guidelines while worshiping in-person. Thank you for wearing masks,  sitting 6 feet apart, and refraining from extended conversations in the Sanctuary. I know that all this is awkward, and, if you’re like me, you’d really like to hug somebody. That time will come eventually.  

One little reminder about the guidelines,  everyone please exit the church building after worship and once you are outside then you can visit with one another. I notice people want to hang out in the Sanctuary and the Narthex to visit. Let the visiting continue, but please let’s move it outside to keep safe. 

I am proud to be a part of McEachern UMC. It is a joy meeting folks and getting to know people.  I’m excited about Sunday and our dialogue sermon at 9:30 am and 11 am. 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 14th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I just came from our staff meeting. I hope you all realize just how gifted and committed the Staff here at McEachern is. I am constantly amazed at the creativity and perseverance. Please make sure and express appreciation to them. 

Reading the Bible for my devotion the other day, I came across these verses, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your  hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

We live in an anxious time. Part of the anxiety comes from encountering a disease unlike any we have seen in our lifetime. Part of the anxiety is from the changes in our daily living: wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands frequently, not touching one another (I really miss handshakes and hugs!). Yet another part of is fearfulness for our safety and security. I’m sure you have your own reasons for feeling anxious. 

But, Paul writes that we should not be anxious about anything. He tells us to take our concerns to Jesus in prayer and petition. I did a study once that required me to keep a prayer journal. The study was “The Workbook of Living Prayer.” Several years later, I led the study again in another church and used my original workbook with my notes and prayer requests. As I went through, I  discovered that every prayer request that I had written down had been answered.  

God listens to our prayers and answers everyone. His answers may not be exactly what we want or exactly in the time frame that we want, but I know that God answers prayer.  

Paul tells us when we pray to God that He will give us His peace. What that means is that any time you are feeling anxious, let that be a call to prayer knowing that God will answer your prayer. And soon, you will notice the peace of God coming over you. 

The old saying is true, “No God, No Peace …Know God, Know Peace.” 

I love you all, 

Doug

October 7th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

When I was 16, I went to Camp Glisson for the first time on a Conference Youth Retreat. I had an encounter with God that weekend that changed my life. The next time I went to Glisson, I was elected to the North Georgia Conference Youth Council. For the next two years, I spent a lot of time helping plan and lead retreats there. 

I served as a Camp Counselor the summer after I graduated from High School. By this time, it was clear that God had called me into ministry and that summer was one of my favorites of all time. I learned things as a Counselor that I use in ministry today. I kept song sheets and my Counselor manual from the summer of 1972. 

Glisson has been an important part of my life and, in many ways, I consider it to be my spiritual home. When my children started going as campers when they were old enough. Every year, the week at Glisson was scheduled before we even thought about vacation plans. Both of them were greatly affected by their time at Glisson; they grew spiritually. Brianne and Jordan eventually served as Camp Counselors for several years, and Jordan even met his future wife, Meredith, there. 

Over time, I have served on the Board for Camp Glisson, worked as a T.I.R. (preacher of the week), and attended many retreats and conferences. I have sought to give back to Glisson with my time and monetary gifts. I figure the ministry of Glisson has sown into me and I want to help the ministry sow into others. 

Now, my grandchildren are Glisson campers. They love the Camp and they have grown spiritually as a result. 

I share this because it is a tale of sowing and reaping. Just as participating in the church and giving to the church is a tale of sowing and reaping. When we sow, we do not know what exactly the harvest will be or who will be affected. Whoever sowed into Glisson had little idea that in 1970 a 16-year-old boy would meet God in a way that would change his life forever. 

That boy is now serving as Senior Pastor here. When we sow into the church, we do not know who will meet Jesus and be changed. Thousands have over the history of McEachern. Who knows how many more will come to God. 

 

I love you all, 

Doug