Hey McFarland! Pastor Wayne here with an update!
It is hard to believe that we are already in the month of November and that 2022 is almost over. We will celebrate All Saint’s Day in the service this Sunday, November 6. As I write this on Wednesday, November 2, we will remember a total of 5 persons who died since November 1, 2021. Our members who have moved from the church temporal to the Church Triumphant are Wendetta (Wendy) Shoulders, Hortense Turner, and Georgiana Hipple. They are our full members who passed within the past 12 months. Steve Roberts was not a member, but he was actively involved in our ministries along with Sunday School and worship. In addition, we pause to remember the Reverend Steve Galyon who served McFarland 2003-2006. We will take a special moment to remember them in the Worship service and in the Communion liturgy this Sunday at the 11:00 hour.
This time of year means that our annual Charge Conference is upon us. Our Charge Conference this year will be combined with the rest of the South Ministry Network. We will meet this Sunday, November 6, at 3:00 p.m. at Ft. Oglethorpe UMC.
Thanks to all those who participated in the Rossville Community Trick or Treat on McFarland this past Monday. We were represented by Vicki Riddle, Marvin and Linda Mills, Tommy and Nora Cook, Barbara Leonard and Ben Leonard as they were overwhelmed with over 1400 trick or treaters in this community event.
I want to thank Gary Grogg for subbing for me last week while Charlene and I enjoyed some extra time in Panama City Beach for my 63rd birthday.
For the remainder of November, we will focus on the Gospel lessons found in our lectionary readings. I’m calling this series, “Face to Face With Jesus” and it deals with the interaction between Jesus and his followers or his antagonizers. I hope that you’ll join us on Sunday morning in worship. If not, you can hear the sermon at our Sermon By Phone call in number (a local call from the Rossville area, 706-866-6577 . This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It will usually be available by 5:00 p.m. on the day of the service if there are no technical difficulties. Please share this information with everyone that you know. The sermons and an occasional full worship service are also available at Apple Podcasts or on the Google Play podcast site on your phone or tablet. Contact me if you need help in setting up the the link that you need to participate in worship together.
This week, the South Eastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church is meeting at Lake Junaluska, NC primarily to elect 3 Bishops to replace 5 bishops who have retired. These new Bishops will begin service on January 1, 2023. The SEJ will be meeting through Friday when the newly elected Bishops will be consecrated. At the same time, the SEJ Episcopacy Committee will assign the Bishops of the South Eastern Jurisdiction to their Episcopal areas. We are in the Holston Conference and we are currently being served by Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett who also serves the North Alabama Conference. Please keep the delegates in your prayers as they do the important work of the church. You can follow along with the SEJ Conference though our Holston Conference blog at this link by clicking here or following the live stream from the SEJ at SEJumc.org.
We are in a time when our ministry going forward will look different from the way our ministry looked in the past. Yet, we are in the “business” of sharing the gospel message of love of God and love of neighbor. I pray that all that we do and all that we are will advance that message to a world that needs to hear that God loves them and the God is there for them in every moment in their lives.
On Tuesday, I met with our District Superintendent for my annual consultation. I shared with Reed Shell, as I shared with our Staff-Parish committee, that I would like to remain at McFarland in the coming year. I also shared that I am planning (God willing) to retire at the 2025 Annual Conference following my 65th birthday in October 2024.
In that consultation, I also shared that we cannot sustain the current setup with a full-time pastor to a single church. Our Wesleyan history has (for the most part) been of churches combined in groups of churches (also known as charges) under one or more pastors. I have shared with the SPRC and the Admin Council (as several of you have confirmed) that we cannot continue as we have with a solo pastor. We have to face the reality that we would be best served by a pastor serving multiple congregations. What that will look like is yet to be determined. You will be invited to be part of those conversations going forward.
There will be lots of conversations going forward as we seek the path forward living into the vision of what God is calling us to be in this time and place. I invite you to keep this process in your prayers.
Thank you for allowing me to be your pastor. I look forward to journeying with you as we face the future together.
Love to you.