Update November 5, 2023

Update November 5, 2023

Hey McFarland! Pastor Wayne here!

Today is All Saints Sunday. All Saints Day is always November 1. However, we tend to celebrate All Saints on the first Sunday of November. It is a day when we remember those in our congregation who passed on since the last All Saints Sunday. This year, we remembered 7 of our Saints from McFarland: Myna Castings, Kenneth Hays, Peggy Kelly, Benny North, Tina Campbell, Jim Price, and Ryland Donald. We also remember Laura Trent who was our Pastor at one time and who spoke at our 2022 Homecoming. In worship service this morning, we lit a candle for each one of these Saints as part of our call to worship. Then, during the Communion liturgy, we honored a moment of silence to remember those who we hold in our hearts. This is always a special service for me each year. I’m in good company as one of John Wesley’s favorite services was the All Saints liturgy in the Church of England. Thank God for the saints who have influenced us in our walk toward discipleship. In worship, we were blessed with the presence of Bryant Lowery, who subbed for David as our musician on the organ. It is always a blessing to hear organ in worship. As Edwina Gillespie said to me after worship this morning, “I had forgotten how the organ adds to our worship.” Thank you, Bryant for sharing your gift with us today.

Today was also a day of frustration for me. We ran into some technical problems with the Media Shout program that controls the slides in our worship service when I made some adjustments to the service this morning as I opened the church. I had no idea what I had done, but, luckily, Ben was able to troubleshoot the problem and get us back up and running as I shared announcements with the congregation. We were all prepared to use those old school methods called bulletins and hymnals if needed (thanks, Ben!). In my frustration, I skipped the order for robing this morning which is normally 1) get the mic and belt pack in place; then 2) put on the alb (the white robe that I wear); and 3) tie the cincture (the braided rope that I wear in the seasonal colors) around my waist. Well, I was flustered with the technical problems as time was getting closer to worship and I put the alb on before the mic and then I flummoxed the cincture such that it started coming undone during the service and was drifting down in the direction of my feet as I was preaching. Finally, I just had to stop, apologize to everyone and get myself untangled. This morning proves that God has a sense of humor even on days of serious focus. It is good that God has a sense of humor.

Church Conference
Our annual Church Conference will be Wednesday, November 15, at 1:00 p.m. in Fellowship Halll. The Reverend Mickey Rainwater, our District Superintendent, will be with us at that time to celebrate our success and analyze our issues in sharing the love and grace of Christ with the community that surrounds us. We will also brainstorm our next steps in this process of offering Christ to the Rossville and East Lake Communities.

Day With the Bishop
We will have an opportunity to visit and worship with our Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett on Monday, November 27 at Christ United Methodist Church in East Brainerd. Please be watching for more information as we get closer to the date. We are blessed to have Bishop Wallace-Padgett even if we are currently sharing her with the North Alabama Conference.

Seeking Input for Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve this year falls on Sunday. Now, I am used to serving multiple churches and when this situation would present itself, I would plan for an Advent 4 service at one church in the morning followed by a Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols service in the evening at the other church. I am perfectly willing to offer both services that day. However, I will be preparing a survey that I will send via email to see what your preference will be. We will send that survey on paper to those for whom we do not have an email; address. That survey should be coming out after November 16. Please watch for it and respond. We will take into consideration not only the desires of the congregation but also the availability of the choir and our musicians. We will announce the decision with the publication of the December calendar.

Notes and Conclusion
After the Food Box that we were servicing at Rossville Elementary was knocked down, we relocated the box to the edge of our side parking lot. As folks become accustomed to the new location, we may start asking folks to help supplement by targeting specific items each week to help support the ministry, Of course, you can always give and mark your check for “food box.”

The annual community “Trick or Treat on McFarland” event was, once again, a huge success. Thank you to all of the folks who represented McFarland UMC in this community outreach.

Thinking of community outreach, I would propose that instead of doing the Shoebox ministry collection for Christmas that we concentrate on providing items and/or funding for children in the Walker County foster care system. The local foster care children need our support. Please consider how we can help.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to and worked with our Free Store. We are having a positive impact on the community around us. As is our tradition, we will not have a Free Store in November, but we will have a major event for Christmas on Saturday, December 2 from 9:00 am to 11:30 am. Be looking for more information and opportunities to volunteer as we get closer to the event.

Just a quick reminder that the Celebration of Life for Ryland Donald will be held at the church on Friday, November 10. Visitation will begin at 2:00 pm and then the service will be at 3:00.

Thank you for allowing me to be your pastor. I am blessed to be among you.
Pastor Wayne