The August/September time frame offered a lot of various opportunities for ministry. I will briefly share a few of them below.
August 6 – Officiated at the wedding for Erin Gowan. I have a long relationship with the Gowan family. Erin’s grandmother use to look after me when I was 2- years-old living in Loxley, Alabama. I also served the Woodland Methodist Church in 1960 as I was a senior in college. The Gowans’ had moved to that area and were members. Erin’s father Lyn was born. They asked me to baptize him. He was the first person that I baptized as a pastor. I am not really sure now that I was authorized to do it, but I did it anyway. The baptism took!
August 7 – Preached at Frazer UMC for the three morning worship services, had a memorial service Sunday afternoon, and preached at the evening worship at Frazer. I also had an interesting experience with Greg Calhoun. I met Evander Holifield, Isaiah Thomas and other atheletes in conjunction with his charity golf tournament. I wrote a blog about it on August 10.
August 8 – Met with some young pastors to focus on ministry opportunities.
August 11 – Went to Birmingham to give the opening devotional for the Board of Directors meeting for the United Methodist Homes for the Aging for North Alabama and Alabama-West Florida Conference. My Dad served on that Board for some 30 years, and I have had the privilege of serving on the Board in recent years.
August 12 – Had an opportunity to speak to about 1,100 public school teachers in Autauga County. Greg Faulkner is the School Superintendent. I shared a blog about this experience that was posted August 17.
August 14 – Went to LaGrange, Georgia, to preach at the First United Methodist Church. That church was preparing to begin the Treasures of the Transformed Life stewardship study. Dr. Harold Lawrence is the Senior Pastor.
August 16 – Went down to Calhoun High School to speak to the football team. This school is located in rural Autauga County. I was greatly impressed with Coach Williamson who decided to go there and coach. He had to have three fundraisers to buy enough helmets so that all 24 of his players could have a helmet. I watched one kid practice without football pants. Since most of the boys do not have any form of transportation, most of them could not start football practice until school started. One big challenge is to keep the boys there on Friday afternoon when they have a game Friday night. Regulations will not allow them to have food out of the cafeteria so Coach Williamson has to provide a pregame meal. He currently has negotiated with Subway for that pregame meal.
August 19 – Spoke at the Frazer Men’s program. This is an exciting ministry for men. They had over 150 men present.
August 20-23 – I traveled to Brownsville, Tennessee, for a Preaching Mission. Brownsville is located northeast of Memphis, Tennessee. I enjoyed a great experience there with Rev. Philip Cook and the good people of Brownsville. This is also where Bishop Paul Duffey grew up.
August 25 – Attended a meeting for the Alabama Sports Commission. This is a very interesting group that I will tell you more about later. I also participated in a conference call for the Confessing Movement.
August 26 – Retired staff members from Frazer get together once a quarter to visit and pray together. We meet at Steak-Out on Taylor Road and usually have about 15 staff members and spouses present. It is a good time of reflecting on past ministry.
August 27 – Officiated at the wedding for Bethany Black and John Neubauer. I also officiated at the wedding of Bethany’s parents – Buddy and Rhonda Black. Bethany’s mother Rhonda has served on the Frazer staff for 17 years.
August 28 – Preached at the Notasulga Methodist Church homecoming. My Dad served five years in Notasulga. My brother George was born while we lived there. Notasulga is the place where I got in deep trouble for a babysitting incident with my brother where I tied him to a tree while a group of us boys played football.
August 30 – Attended a special meeting to raise funds for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Troy University. I posted a blog about this on September 7.
September 7 – I was invited by Buzz Phillips, Athletic Director at Huntingdon College, to speak to 526 student athletes at Huntingdon. This was an impressive group of young men and women. Buzz Phillips wanted to be sure that the young people stayed focused not only on athletics and academics, but also setting goals for future achievement in their profession and the development of their spiritual life..
September 9-10 – Traveled to North Carolina. Lead a stewardship seminar at the Fuquay- Varina United Methodist Church, which is a suburb of Raleigh. Several former members of Frazer are members of that church. Dr. Albert Shuler is the Senior Pastor.
September 10-15 – Traveled to Mocksville, North Carolina, to preach at the Sprinkle Preaching Mission at the United Methodist Church. Rev. Joe Collins is the pastor there. On Monday I lead a seminar for a group of District ministers. On Tuesday noon I spoke at the Rotary Club. Each night we had worship services. I drove on a lot of highways in North Carolina in the space of those seven days.
September 18 – Preached at Frazer at the three morning worship services and at the evening worship service.
September 20 – Attended our Annual Conference Committee on Episcopacy meeting. This was a time of evaluation for Bishop Paul Leeland. He scored as high as could be scored on his evaluation. We are blessed with his leadership. Bishop Lindsey Davis came to Montgomery to assist in that process.
September 23 – Attended an event honoring Bishop Paul Duffey as he has served faithfully in our Annual Conference. I was one of the presenters for this occasion. Bishop Duffey is moving from Montgomery to North Georgia to be nearer his family members.
September 25 – Preached at the homecoming for Fort Deposit Methodist Church. Reverend Dennis Carlson is the pastor. It was the 150th anniversary of that church.
September 26-30 – Drove to St. George, South Carolina for the Indian Field Camp Meeting. I began on Monday night the 26th and preached each night of the week. This is a Camp Meeting that has 100 hundred cabins in a circle around a large tabernacle. Each of these cabins will sleep about 20 people. I will write more about this unique experience.
As usual, I was on the road quite a bit the last two months. I do block out time each day I am in town to be in the office for study, preparation and meeting with pastors. One of the growing opportunities is to counsel individually with young pastors. During this next year I am going to be meeting with some small groups of pastors.
Thank you so much for your interest in and support of this ministry. I receive a lot of communications from pastors that indicate that this leadership ministry is making a difference in their ministry. That is really what I am about.