FUMC Blog


I lost a hero last week.

 At the age of 12, I fell head over heels in love…..with the game of golf. I pretty much gave up football, basketball, and baseball, which I had loved, for a sport I loved even more. I don’t know why it was that way, but it was. I like to say I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the game all these years. I like to point out that “golf” is a 4- letter word. Sometimes the game is so frustrating that  I even wonder why I play it.


(This post was also printed in this week’s First Words.)

 October is here! We are beginning to feel a bit of it in the air. Leaves are already turning and falling. And it’s another busy month at First Church…..a month of opportunities!


It was 10:55 on Sunday morning and I went upstairs to enter the sanctuary in order to be ready to greet the congregation in a few short minutes. “Did you know there’s a situation in the sanctuary?” someone asked. No, I didn’t, but I soon learned that a dear lady was in the sanctuary grasping the baptismal font for all she was worth. Several ushers were there with her, as was Susan, our Associate Pastor,talking with her.


(This post was also printed in this week’s First Words.)

 I find myself reflecting on this past Sunday with much gratitude. On most Sundays when I preach, I do so early in the 8:30 service then leave to preach late in the 8:40 service. It’s not ideal to not be present for the entire services, but this is how it works. This past Sunday, with Becky Brown preaching, I spent the entire service at 8:40 while Susan Giles presided at 8:30.


(This post was also printed in this week’s First Words.)

 I find myself reflecting on this past Sunday with much gratitude. On most Sundays when I preach, I do so early in the 8:30 service then leave to preach late in the 8:40 service. It’s not ideal to not be present for the entire services, but this is how it works. This past Sunday, with Becky Brown preaching, I spent the entire service at 8:40 while Susan Giles presided at 8:30.


This past Sunday was a holiday Sunday. Conventional wisdom is that on such Sundays there will be low attendance. I’ve always experienced that in other churches, in fact. Labor Day, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, not to mention the Sundays after Christmas and Easter, are all low Sundays. But not here. This past Sunday, in fact, we had 571 in the three services, more than our average Sunday attendance in 2015. And, more importantly, there was great energy and participation. How exciting to be part of a church that realizes the need to worship God--even on holidays!


This past Sunday was one of those busy, crazy, fun, exhilarating, inspirational Sundays at First Church. (I could add a few more adjectives, too!)


(This post also appears in this week’s First Words.)

The Olympics are in full swing. Every time they come around I think that I’m not all that interested, and every time I end up getting hooked! I’m enjoying swimming, for starters. Seeing Michael Phelps back once again, and with renewed vigor, is fun. I think he’s now up to 21 gold metals! Katie Ledecky is awesome…some say maybe to be greater than Phelps! And how about the gold medal winning women’s gymnastics team and Simone Biles, who has been called the greatest gymnast ever!


My daughter Kari and her family arrived on Sunday evening after driving from Charlotte/Fort Mill by way of Tennessee. Well, Kari’s husband Mark realized before Tennessee that he had missed his turn, but never could tell me where exactly they turned around!

Monday afternoon Kari and Mark headed to Asheville for an overnight engagement and break from baby. Right after they left, my wife Susan headed out to an event of her own. Which meant 10-month-old Mercer and his Papa (that’s me!) were left on their own.

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