The last two months provided some very meaningful opportunities for me. I had the opportunity to preach at a homecoming worship service in Baldwin County at Rosinton United Methodist Church, which was one of the first churches my Dad served back in the late 1930’s. That was the beginning of his ministry. On June 30th I preached at homecoming worship service at First United Methodist Church Panama City, Florida, where my Dad had served for about 15 years when he reached the mandatory retirement of 70. To preach in churches at the beginning and end of his “official ministry” was very meaningful. My granddad John Wesley Mathison was also the minister at First Methodist Panama City for a few years beginning in 1911.
I had the opportunity to speak at two large youth events honoring outstanding high school seniors in Butler County and Elmore County. It was impressive to see the achievements of these young people.
Also the book When God Redefines the Possible became available on iPad, Nook, and Kindle. I am grateful to Donnie Claxton with Claxton Creative Enterprises in Dallas, Texas and all the people who worked with that – Linda Poole, Matt Gamble, Will Adams, Si Mathison, and others. It will really be a good resource for individuals and organizations.
Here are a few of the larger events in which I participated the last two months.
May 2 – Spoke at the Achiever Awards in Greenville, AL that honored the top high school seniors from six high schools.
May 4 – Was a guest on Mobile Sports Radio Station with Coach Rick Cleveland. We spent 30 minutes talking about sports and faith. Rick was an All-American Tennis player at Huntingdon College, and an outstanding high school coach. I enjoyed that event.
May 5 – Preached at Cain’s Chapel United Methodist Church. Rev. Susie Beeson is the pastor there. She went into the ministry from Frazer. She is having a bout with breast cancer. I was able to fill in one of the Sunday’s while she is taking her chemo. Please pray for Susie. The people there really love her.
May 7 – Spoke at the Joe Sewell Awards in Wetumpka, AL, which honored high school seniors from seven high schools in Elmore County. It was extra special for me because I attended the second through the sixth grades in elementary school in Wetumpka.
May 11 – Officiated at the baptism for a special family, Dan and Bobbie Cooper. Their grandchild Cooper was baptized. He is the son of Kelly and Mark. I also baptized Kelly. The Coopers have been extremely active leaders at Frazer.
May 12 – I went back to Chandler School of Theology at Emory University for the 50th reunion of our seminary class. I was amazed at how much so many of the people there had aged! I saw people that I have not seen since graduating from Candler.
May 16 – Spoke at the Men’s Ministry Supper at Frazer United Methodist Church.
May 18 – On Saturday morning attended the 100th anniversary of the opening of Hall’s Store in Cecil, AL. My first church to serve was the Woodland United Church, which technically is in Cecil. I was a senior in college at Huntingdon. The Halls were active members of Woodland. Tim Thompson lives in that area and frequents Hall’s Store. Connie Mac Darnell has written a little book about the history of Cecil. It brought back a lot of memoires to have a copy of his book. I was there for the 100th celebration – I was not there when it opened!
I had the opportunity of officiating at the wedding for Katie Copeland and Randall Hunt at the Faulkner University Chapel. I then left to drive to south Alabama.
May 19 – I preached at the Rosinton United Methodist Church, which was one of four churches on a charge that my Dad, Si Mathison, served when he first entered the ministry. Rosinton is in Baldwin County, just below Loxley, AL. I lived in the parsonage at Loxley. Rosinton United Methodist Church is rapidly changing as it is located between Mobile and Pensacola. The new highway from Interstate 65 to Orange Beach will go right in front of the Rosinton United Methodist Church. It has an exciting future. My son, Si and my grandson Si both went with me. The people enjoyed meeting two more Si’s.
May 21 – The Board of John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries met. This Board is an active group of men and women. We meet quarterly. You can go to the website and read the resumes of the Board members. It will give you great confidence in the accountability of this ministry.
May 23 – I was invited to dress up like Ryan Segrest and emcee a skit for the annual music ministry banquet at Frazer United Methodist Church. The skit is as close as I have ever been allowed to come to the music ministry! I am glad to say that I can sing a touch better than Tim Thompson – which isn’t really saying much!
May 25 – Officiated at the wedding for Ben Nanney and Hali Hunter at the First United Methodist Church in Prattville. Ben’s grandparents, Walter and Donna Nanney, had just joined Frazer when I became pastor in 1972.
May 26 – I preached at the three Frazer sanctuary worship services for Memorial Day. I told them that being Pastor Emeritus means that I am called in on holidays!
May 29 – Had an opportunity to speak to Alabama High School Coaches meeting in Panama City, FL. I love being around coaches and having an opportunity to speak to them.
June 2 – I preached at the South Brookley United Methodist Church in Mobile, AL. After finishing seminary I served for two years as an Associate at Capitol Heights United Methodist Church in Montgomery. I was then appointed to the South Brookley United Methodist Church in Mobile. Those people did a lot to shape my ministry in the four years I served there. It brought back a lot of good memories to be there.
June 2-5 – Attended and participated in the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference meeting at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile.
June 8 – Helped officiate at the wedding of my great-niece Hannah Stockman. I had officiated at the weddings of several of her family members, including her Mom and Dad. She was the flower girl in Si’s wedding.
June 9 – Preached at the First Presbyterian Church in Selma, AL. They are without a pastor. I inquired about putting in an application, but after the sermon they said that wouldn’t go anywhere! Lynn is from Selma and at one time was a member of that church.
June 10 – Drove down to Georgiana to the First Baptist Church of Georgiana, AL. I got there thirty minutes early. The church was already filled. Baptists come to church early – Methodists usually try to wait until after the offering. So many of the people in the Georgiana area regularly worshipped with Frazer through television. Rev. Allen Stephenson is a wonderful leader.
June 15 – Frazer Men sponsored a Father’s Day Run. We had about 500 people participate. I enjoyed passing out the medals for the winners in each of the categories. It was especially exciting to see so many fathers running with their kids.
June 16 – Preached at the three Frazer Contemporary Worship services. It was Father’s Day so they gave the “Emeritus” another chance. Frazer is blessed to have such wonderful music in both the three sanctuary and three contemporary worship settings.
June 20 – Drove down to Park Memorial United Methodist Church in Troy, AL for the Men’s Club Ladies Night. This is an exciting, growing church.
June 23-25 – Drove up to Hartselle, AL to preach in the Hartselle Campmeeting. This encampment was occurring for the 114th consecutive year. The tabernacle is right near the high school football stadium. It is just off Interstate 65. They built a big, new dining hall and a new dormitory for youth which will sleep about 50 people.
June 24 – Conducted a seminar on Developing Lay Led Evangelism in the Local Church for the pastors of the North Alabama Conference at the Campmeeting site.
June 30 – Drove down to Panama City, FL to preach at homecoming service at the First United Methodist Church. My Dad served there for 15 years until he reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. He and my Mom continued to live in Panama City. My son Si went with me. Again it was a great opportunity for them to meet another Si. My granddad and I got the name John and my Dad, son and grandson got the name Si.
I get a lot of response from the two minute audio devotional each day which appears on my Ministry Facebook. If you miss the blogs, go back to Father’s Day and read the one about my Dad. Also the blog about the Flora-Bama has really been shared and circulated. I will be preaching at the Flora-Bama on August 4.
Thank you for your prayers and financial support for this ministry!
John Ed Mathison