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 

September 30th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

First, let me say how much I enjoyed Rev. Bomi Kim’s sermon this past Sunday. If you missed it, you’ll find the link in the Wednesday Word to watch or watch it again. 

Now, I want everyone to know that McEachern will be celebrating World Communion Sunday with Holy Communion at both our morning services. If you are watching online, make sure that you have bread and grape juice and let us all celebrate together! It has been months since I received Holy Communion and I am really looking forward to the holy meal. 

Also this Sunday, we will be beginning a new sermon series called “Seeds for the Sower.” each week we will be looking at how God sows into us and how we sow into others. This Sunday the sermon will be based on Galatians 6:7-9 and titled “Seeds for the Sower: The Irrefutable Law of Sowing and Reaping.” 

Lastly, little mention has been made concerning the finances of the church. The finances are in pretty good shape right now due largely to the government’s PPP plan. But, if we were to look simply at the offerings that we have received as compared to our budgeted expenses, we are about $50,000 behind our budget. This is about where the church was this time last year and I understand that the church made a big push at the end of the year and caught up. 

This month, part of the teaching concerning sowing and reaping will be related to personal stewardship of time, talents, gifts, service, and witness. I want to ask everyone to pray this month concerning your own personal stewardship of God’s gifts to you. On Sunday, October 25th we will be making personal commitments of the financial portion of this stewardship. Be praying, I will be as well. 

 

I look forward to worship on  Sunday! 

I love you all, 

Doug 

September 23rd, 2020

Dear Friends

Dear Friends, 

We are continuing our three-part worship series on John Wesley’s Three Simple Rules. This Sunday the focus will be on “Stay in love with God.” I’m excited that Rev. Bomi Kim will be preaching at both the 9:30 and 11 am worship services. I’m looking forward to her sermon. 

So, I got to thinking about “Staying in love with God” and decided to do some research on the subject of ‘Staying in love” by talking with my wife, Debbie, to see what she might say after being married a long time—but not long enough! 

Here are some of our thoughts about staying in love. 

We spend time together. We share our lives with each other. 

We don’t take each other for granted. We support one another. 

We tell each other we love each other regularly. We laugh together. 

We are loyal to one another. We do nice things for each other. 

In other words, we focus on our relationship in several ways every day. 

And…to stay in love with God, it takes the same kind of effort and conscientiousness.  I look forward to Sunday! 

I love you all, 

Doug 

September 16th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Two passages have captured my attention; one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. The OT passage is Genesis 2:7, “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (NIV) The NT passage is John 20:22, “And with that, he (Jesus) breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” (NIV) 

While studying these two passages together, I discovered that the Greek word used in the NT passage is used nowhere else in the NT, but is the same word used by the Septuagint translators of Genesis 2:7. (Thanks to my handy Blue Letter Bible app.) 

God breathed into a human. Jesus breathed into the Disciples. Humans were created. Disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, born anew, and, in fact, recreated. 

Hear the words of the old hymn: 

“Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I may love what thou dost love, and do what thou wouldst do.” (v.1) 

“Breathe on me, Breath of God, till I am wholly thine, Till all this earthly part of me glows with thy fire divine.” (v.3) 

May God breathe on us all! 

I love you all, 

Doug

September 9th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

It was wonderful journeying through the Psalms over the last six weeks. My prayer is that by reading and by worshiping and praying that every one of us has heard God’s amazing message of grace and love and of how God watches over us all the time. 

This Sunday, people will have the option of participating in online worship at 11 am, worshiping outdoors at Higher Ground at 9:30 am, or worshiping in the Sanctuary at 11 am. Everyone will still need to social distance and wear masks while participating in worship in person. 

It may seem like we have a lot of rules to live by right now. Both of my children said the same thing when each came home from the first day of kindergarten, “There sure are a lot of rules at school!” There are a lot right now, but it isn’t the first time that there were a lot of rules. (Read Leviticus to learn a lot about rules!) 

Over the next three weeks, the sermons will be about rules—specifically, John Wesley’s rules for Methodist Societies. In the 1700s as the Methodist movement was beginning, Wesley formed people into small accountability groups called Societies and he gave them three simple rules to govern all their actions. We will be looking at the Three Simple Rules and see how they apply to us today. 

I am looking forward to seeing you in the days to come. Please pray for me and pray for our church as we continue to live faithfully in the midst of our current circumstances. 

I love you all, 

 Doug 

September 2nd, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Recently, Debbie and I watched the musical Hamilton for the first time. (My grandkids love it and know all the words!) We really enjoyed it! One of my favorite songs was “I wanna be in the room where it happens …” This was sung by different characters, but always about being in the place where decisions were being made and where the power was in the creation of and governing of the United States of America. 

So, I began thinking about that idea—of wanting to be in the room where it happens—from the perspective of the ministry of the church. And what occurred to me was that the church is different. Yes, there are decisions that are made that affect the church. In the United Methodist Church, Pastoral Appointment is one of those decisions that can really affect the life and health of a church. 

But, for the majority of the work of the church, it’s not about being in a room where it happens because where ministry happens is not in a room. Ministry happens because of our relationship with Christ and ministry happens in relationship with others. Ministry happens in conversation. Ministry happens on the phone. Ministry happens when people give their time to teach Sunday School or work with Youth or take care of babies in the nursery. Ministry happens when we feed the hungry and share the Good News of Christ with the oppressed. Ministry, for the most part, does not happen in a room, it happens in our hearts. 

How is Christ touching your heart? For the past several weeks we have been reading and preaching from Psalms. This week is our last week focusing on them, and we will be looking at Psalm 139. It will also be our last week of Camp Meeting Worship at Higher Ground. On the 13th we will return to the Sanctuary for in-person worship at 11am. 

Throughout these weeks I have been struck by how much the Psalms touch our hearts. I pray Christ is touching your heart and transforming your heart into one that sings a song of praise for the opportunity to get out of the room where it happens and into a relationship with God and Christ that inspires us all to reach out for Him. 

I love you all, 

Doug 

August 26th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

Many years ago, Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote what I consider one of the best books ever written, entitled, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” He wrote out of his personal experience of grief. His son was born with a rare condition called progeria, which causes rapid aging. Essentially, his son died of old age in his twenties. Rabbi Kushner, like so many of us, found himself face to face with the question “Why did this happen, God?” 

I believe many of us are facing that question right now. COVID-19 has disrupted the way that we live our lives. I certainly don’t like not being able to hug people or shake hands or see them smile. I would rather not wear a mask when out in public or meeting with others. I would like to be able to eat out where and when I want, attend worship when I want, go to ball games, etc. 

Rabbi Kushner faced the question, “Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People?” and so must we. I recommend you read the book, but here are some of the thoughts that I remember from reading it over and over. 

God loves us no matter what happens. God chooses to give us free will. There is evil in the world and sometimes people choose to do evil to us. Accidents happen. God chooses not to control everything in the world in order for us to have free will. 

And the most important thing I remember about the book is this question: “Now that this has happened, what will I do about it?” 

Right now, we can choose to use the restrictions we are facing because of COVID-19 to help us grow closer to God and spend more time with Him in prayer and study. We can choose to help others who have lost jobs and need food and other things. We can choose to help kids who are trying to learn virtually. We can choose to worship virtually or with restrictions in-person. We can choose to wear masks in order to protect others. We can choose to listen to the recommendations of people who have studied this disease and how it is transmitted. 

We can choose God and we can choose life. 

I love you all, 

Doug 

August 19th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I remember sitting in a hospital waiting room with a church member while her husband was undergoing surgery. We were talking about many things and somehow got on the subject of favorite Scriptures. 

She said to me, “You know what my absolute favorite Scripture is? ‘It came to pass…’.” 

I said, “That’s quite unusual. Why is that your favorite Scripture?”

 She replied, “Because ‘It came to pass,’ it didn’t come to stay.” 

I remember that conversation often. I remember it when a person is facing an illness. I remember it when the church is faced with some sort of challenge. I remember it when money seems to be running short. I remember it when I read the headlines that seem to declare the end of the world over and over again. Anytime I am facing a crisis, I remember that conversation. 

I’m remembering it right now as we all are facing COVID-19 and how that disease is challenging everything from work to school to athletics to how we worship and how we serve and how we stay connected to Christ and the church in this difficult time. 

 

And I will say to you—it came to pass, it didn’t come to stay! 

In the meantime, read the Psalms with me. Worship however you can—either online or in-person. Stay safe. Zoom or meet in small groups with proper precautions. Continue giving to support the various ministries of the church including feeding hundreds of families each week, worship in various settings, coordinating groups meeting, pastoral care, and many other ways. 

COVID-19 came to pass—it didn’t come to stay. But you know what has come to stay? The grace, love, and presence of God. Jesus said, “I will be with you always.” Count on it! 

I love you all, 

Doug 

 

August 12th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

The hardest thing about starting as Senior Pastor at McEachern has been the separation that has been forced upon us by the Coronavirus pandemic. Previously when I had gone to new churches in my ministry, I was able to spend the first few months meeting and getting to know the congregation. Presently, I am really handicapped by the inability to meet most of you in person—and when I do meet you, it’s behind a mask and I am unable to shake your hand or give you a hug due to health precautions. I have to tell you, this has been frustrating for us all! 

What I have been doing is focusing on meeting and getting to know the staff and the leadership of the church. McEachern has an excellent staff and every person I have met has been warm and welcoming. 

What I would like to do in the next couple of months is meet with as many Sunday School classes and small groups as I possibly can. Whether this is through technology or in-person observing social distancing doesn’t matter. I’d just like to start making connections with the people of the church and also to see who is staying connected to the congregation and who is currently disconnected. 

With my Pastor’s heart, I truly desire to see everyone who has been a part of the church in the past get connected to Christ and one another somehow. I also desire to help people who are disconnected or who have never been connected to get connected to Christ and others. 

I know that I won’t be able to do this without your help. So, will you help me? 

I love you all, 

Doug 

August 5th, 2020

Dear Friends, 

The word “pastor” comes from a Latin word that means “herdsman” or “shepherd.” In my sermon last Sunday, I spoke about God as our chief shepherd who watches over us and is with us through all the circumstances of life and will be with us always. 

I, along with Cindy Blocksidge and Tony Phillips and very soon Bomi Kim, serve as the Pastor of McEachern. We seek to teach and preach the Word of God, provide pastoral care, and work with the leadership of the church to envision the call that God is placing upon McEachern and then to provide leadership towards achieving that vision. 

As Pastors, we also function as shepherds who watch over the congregation in all sorts of situations. With the coronavirus, we are currently facing a situation that I have not seen in all my years of ministry. It is a very dangerous virus and is also a very contagious virus. It has affected how all of us live our lives and it has affected how we function as a church. 

Elsewhere in the Wednesday Word, you will find a chart that the church staff has developed to clarify how we are seeking to deal with the coronavirus situation. We will be using this as a point of reference in making decisions about how we do ministry here at McEachern. To determine what phase we are in we are using data from the Georgia Department of Health and also from the Cobb County Department of Health. Based on this data regarding COVID-19 infections, we see ourselves right now in Phase 2 on our chart. 

With that in mind, and also after listening to the Lay Leadership of the church who overwhelmingly affirmed offering the option of in-person worship, on August 16th we will provide an in-person worship option outside located at Higher Ground at 9:30am each Sunday for the next several weeks. This will be Camp Meeting style and everyone should bring their own lawn chair. We will hold an in-person worship service in the Sanctuary at 11 AM this Sunday, August 9th, but will stop holding this in-person option after this Sunday until we move to Phase 3. We will continue to offer the Traditional Worship at 11 AM in the Sanctuary and also Higher Ground Contemporary Worship via Livestream. 

I am looking forward to Camp Meeting time with you as we continue to focus on “Living Right Side Up in an Upside Down World.” 

I love you all, 

Dr. Doug 

July 28th, 2020

 

Dear Friends, 

Welcome to our newest way of reaching out and seeking to connect to our church community. “The Wednesday Word” will be emailed to you each Wednesday with: A Word from the Pastor, the weekly prayer list, and links to previous Sunday Worship Services, Bulletin, and Scripture lessons. 

This coming Sunday, August 2, we will begin a new sermon series entitled. “Right Side Up Living in an Upside Down World.” The series will relate the Book of Psalms to our current day crises. This Sunday the sermon will be based on Psalm 23. 

In addition, I am asking you to read the Psalms with me and the entire staff. We will furnish you each week with a reading guide. Each day, you will read the designated Psalms and then meditate on the question of the day. Over six weeks we will read the entire Book of Psalms together. 

I am excited about this new way to reach out as well as excited about Worship here at McEachern. Please know that I keep you in my prayers always. 

I love you all, 

Doug

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