March Recap

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

The first Sunday of March I went to Monroeville, Alabama for special Lenten services at the Monroeville United Methodist Church on Sunday and Monday. Rev. Bob Penton is the Senior Minister there. I met many folks who have Frazer connections.

I had an opportunity to visit with Mrs. Alice Lee, one of the great leaders in the State of Alabama and in the United Methodist Church. She is 96-years-old and goes to her office for a full day’s work each day. Her sister is Harper Lee who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird.

I went to Knoxville, Tennessee, March 7-11. My friend, Dr. Edd Templeton retired as a United Methodist preacher. He got a little bored and asked the District Superintendent just to give him a church that nobody else wanted. The District Superintendent quickly found such a place at the Macedonia UMC in Knoxville. Edd has brought new life into that church that had lost most hope for the future. The people were so responsive and excited and have a new sense of vision. It was encouraging to see a retired minister who is making such an impact in Tennessee.

On Tuesday morning the District Superintendent, Dr. Doug Fairbanks invited me to lead a session for the ministers of his District and other Districts were invited. The theme was “Offer Them Christ.” I had an opportunity to spend some hours with some pastors who are passionate as Methodists about “Offering Them Christ.”

I got back to Montgomery in time to prepare to go up to Titus, Alabama for a Tent Revival March 12-15.. Several churches in Elmore County went together for this event. It was an inspiring and unique experience.

The tent was placed out on a large field. Somebody put down sawdust. They brought in about 425 chairs. The tent was almost filled with people.

The amazing thing about the tent was that they did not bring in hymnals so they set up PowerPoint. Now get this picture—a Tent Revival with sawdust on the ground and PowerPoint! We had worship service Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night and then Sunday morning and Sunday night. We have a lot of people in Elmore County that are making a difference.

I left for Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday, March 21. I had an opportunity to spend time at the Hermitage United Methodist Church in Nashville. I preached at the morning worship services and then preached Sunday evening at the Confirmation Service for the young people. Dr. Allen Black and the wonderful staff and lay leaders have many creative ministries. My good friend Dr. Eddie Fox who heads up World Methodist Evangelism is a member of that congregation.

Monday, March 23, I participated as a director in the Methodist Publishing House meeting. I actually am serving as chair of the investments committee—that is about the toughest job anybody could have in today’s financial culture. Fortunately, on the committee, there is Mike Kelley who is a former member of the Federal Reserve. When he speaks—we all listen. I returned home on Wednesday night, March 25.

On Saturday, March 28, I drove over to Cairo, Georgia. I had been in that United Methodist Church last fall. They have developed an excellent plan of action for that church. I had been talking a lot with the leaders as they developed this. They invited me back for the celebration Sunday when reports would be given about the progress being made toward the plan. It is amazing what lay people can do when they prayerfully and creatively think about how to reach people for Jesus Christ. I think I learned more from the people at Cairo than I taught.

On March 31, I conducted the Bible study for Governor Bob Riley and his cabinet. I am doing a series with them on leadership. It is a huge opportunity and responsibility to study leadership with the leaders of the State of Alabama.

I drove over 3,000 miles in March and was extremely busy. March was a very productive month.

Please pray for God’s continued blessing.

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