We had the wonderful privilege this past Sunday, after celebrating All Saints Sunday in all three morning services,  of hosting the Council of Bishops memorial service and dinner before they began their week of meetings at the Lake. I was very, very proud of our congregation! The service went well, with staff, ushers and greeters, and communion stewards helping things go smoothly, and our choir singing three magnificent anthems.


Long ago John Wesley, our Methodist founder, wrote in his journal, “Nov. 1 was a day of triumphant joy, as All Saints’ Day generally is. How superstitious are they who scruple giving God solemn thanks for the lives and deaths of his saints!”

It’s a moving experience for me, each year when I watch the congregation file forward on Commitment Sunday and place their estimate of giving cards on the altar as an act of dedication to God.  I believe it’s important for this to be done as an act of worship. Because God has first given us so much, worship is, at its core, giving…giving “worth” to…giving thanks and praise, giving of ourselves to God for service, giving of our resources to further the kingdom.

     By now you should have received in the mail the brochure for this year’s financial stewardship campaign, “Giving to Grow.....in 2012 and Beyond.” We are building on last year’s theme, acknowledging that growth comes from God...our personal growth, as well as growth of the congregation. The brochure is meant to provide you with information on where the church’s finances are invested, and to encourage prayerful and thoughtful consideration of your financial commitment for 2012.

The cool mornings and warm, sunny days we are having are wonderful, aren’t they?! And the pumpkins in the church yard help remind us it is October, one of our most beautiful and enjoyable months.


There are two things on my mind this morning, both having to do with how we live in the world and make it a better place. We had a most interesting program at Wonderful Wednesday on September 14. The Ries family from Georgia presented the purposes and causes of their One More Generation efforts to save endangered animals, and, more broadly, to save this good earth. The 9 and 11 year old children spoke with urgency about their concerns and their positive efforts to make a difference. One of their suggestions—stop using plastic bags!


Well, 9-11 caught me by surprise. I mentioned here last week that in the months and weeks leading up to 9-11, I wasn’t sure if it would be more of a media event or one that truly was on the minds and hearts of us all. I found out…it was a media event, but it was also very much on our minds and hearts!

The wounds are still there. For many they are healed or are healing…for some they still fester. We have not forgotten. It was clear to me from the depth of the reactions and comments I received, that 9-11 is still “in us.” And well it should be.


Someone asked me today (Thursday) if we are going to focus on 9-11 this Sunday. It’s a good question, one I’ve been pondering, in fact, for some time.

The media is ramping up its coverage, with special news reports and programs reflecting back to that awful day a decade ago. How much will this be a media event, I’ve been wondering, and how much is it really something that captures and demands our attention?


It’s Labor Day weekend, and I’m excited! My son and family are headed this way this evening, meaning I will see my 17-month-old granddaughter for the first time since May. That’s almost ¼ of her life! And I can tell by the pictures that she’s really grown. Of course, I’ll be glad to see my son and daughter-in-law, too, and our daughter when she arrives  tomorrow night! Holidays are great times for families to gather.


I met this morning (Thursday) with an ecumenical group of clergy. Most places I have served have had some type of ministerial association, which met once a month or so for breakfast or lunch and maybe sponsored a Thanksgiving service, baccalaureate service, or something of the sort. This group is different. This group is passionate about making a difference in Haywood County. This is the group that sparked interest in the Homeless Shelter and the one that initiated the annual school workday and partnerships with schools.


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