Because you have indicated an interest in my ministry, I am offering this brief report of some of the opportunities for ministry during the month of March.
March 1 – Preached at Luverne United Methodist Church where Ken Jackson is the pastor. This community produced many fine young people who have since married and moved to Montgomery and joined Frazer United Methodist Church. I think Luverne has produced more future Frazer members per capita than any other town.
March 3 – Attended the prayer breakfast for legislators and state government officials at First United Methodist Church in Montgomery. It was a time for pastors to meet our leaders and to pray for them.
March 4 – Went to Trinity United Methodist Church in Opelika, Alabama, to speak at the kick off for their Missions Conference. Joe Lay is the Senior Pastor. This church has a core value of continually growing in its support of missions.
March 5 – Part of the Missions Conference was a day where people went out into the community to help with repairs, clean up, etc. We met at 8:00 a.m., Saturday morning for coffee and muffins. I spoke to the group about serving. The rain was heavy, but over 300 people were ready to go out and serve.
March 6 – Preached at the three morning worship services at Trinity in Opelika. Faith promise commitments for missions were made at the worship services. Everyone was excited as Trinity went well beyond twice the goal that had been set!!
March 8-9 – Went to Blue Lake in Andalusia, Alabama. This was a meeting of retired ministers and spouses from our Annual Conference. I preached the memorial service as ministers and spouses were remembered. It was meaningful to light a candle for one of the special ministers from our Conference and from Frazer – Earl Andrews.
March 10 – Spoke at the celebration at the Hyundai Plant in Montgomery. The occasion was to be with Tommy Allgood and his team who won special honors for car sells. On March 17, I posted a blog about the teamwork I experienced.
March 11 – Traveled to Lansing, Michigan, for a Bishops Day Apart event. I was scheduled to arrive in Detroit about 4:00 in the afternoon. The plane was delayed for 4 ½ hours in Memphis, so I got in about 9:00 p.m. It is a 2 hour drive to Lansing. About 10:00 we stopped in Ann Arbor, Michigan, home of the University of Michigan, to get a quick meal at a restaurant. After the football bowl season, people from Alabama might not be very welcome in Michigan. The pastor apologized because there was a band and it was pretty loud. As we walked in the door, the band started playing and singing “Sweet Home Alabama.” Doesn’t God have a sense of humor!
March 12 – I had five hours with key pastors and laity from the Michigan area. They were extremely enthusiastic about mobilizing lay people for ministry. Bob Hundley is the District Superintendent. The event was held in Holt United Methodist Church. The Senior Pastor, Glenn Waggoner demonstrated lay involvement in hosting the Bishop’s Event. Left Detroit at 7:30 p.m.
March 13 – Preached the three morning worship services at Frazer. I have the title of Pastor Emeritus. Part of what “emeritus” means is that you are invited to preach when the topic of the sermon series is “Persecution”, and it is the beginning of spring break, and it is the first day of the time change with Daylight Savings Time! Regardless, it was a good experience. Sunday afternoon I participated in an engagement blessing for a wonderful young couple, Robin Crook and Clint Darby. Many friends came together to pray for them. They will be getting married in June.
March 17 – Spoke at the men’s monthly event at Frazer. There were over 100 men present. I was inspired and challenged as several men gave their personal witnesses. The Men’s Ministry at Frazer is reaching a lot of men.
March 20 – Preached at the Sunday night worship at Frazer.
March 21-22 – Our ministry helped host and I taught a group of pastors in a Matrix Connexion which consists of about 16 ministers selected from across the United States. Maxie Dunnam, former President of Asbury Seminary and his daughter, Kim Reisman, designed this ministry. Frazer demonstrated servant hospitality in helping us host this. I had an opportunity to teach Monday night for two hours, then on Tuesday for five hours. These were young ministers, and I feel like this is one of the best investments of my time. A positive seed planted in the life of a young minister can bear fruit for years to come.
March 24 – Went up to the Union community in Tallapoosa County where several churches came together for a couple of nights of outdoor worship services. Bob Bachant from the New Prospect/Pentecost Methodist Church and Dana Miller from the Union Methodist Church were the Methodist churches participating. They concluded with a big community day on Saturday with a wild game lunch, etc.
March 25-26 – Went to Atlanta, Georgia to officiate at the wedding of my niece, Mallory Mathison. She is George and Monteigne’s only daughter. It was a marvelous event at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church. Assisting in the wedding was Bishop Mike Watson and a Deacon from the Roman Catholic Church. It was the first time in my ministry I ever had the opportunity to have a Bishop assist me and I could tell him what he needed to do!
March 28 – Spoke at a Teaching Parish of young pastors from our Annual Conference. This is part of the seminary training from Candler School of Theology. Dr. Karl Stegall works with this group throughout the year.
March 29 – Went to Mobile, Alabama, to conduct a funeral for a very special friend, Mr. Perry Jones, Jr. Everybody knew him as Hop. Hop and his wife Dot had a tremendous influence on my ministry in my first assignment as a pastor at South Brookley United Methodist Church in Mobile.
March 30 – Officiated at the funeral for Don Markwell. Don’s family is extremely gifted in music. There were several marvelous musical presentations by family members and friends.
March 31 – I serve as the Chairman of the Investments Committee for the United Methodist Board of Publications. In order to conserve money, the Board only meets once a year in Nashville. We then meet by conference call several times throughout the year. This was a conference call and was a bit more fun because investments are doing better.
Thank you so much for your support through your prayers, finances and encouragement. Please pray every day for me, for Linda Poole in the office, and for the nine members of our Board. Please pray that we will be totally open to what God wants to do in and through us.