Fall is in the air. Folks are beginning new programs, stewardship campaigns are underway, planning for Advent is happening. It is a busy time for churches and for the Designated Conference Minister. During October I attended the Alabama Tennessee (Mississippi/West Florida) Association meeting, the Southern and Southeast Conferences Retired Servants Event at Blowing Rock Conference Center in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, participated in Atlanta Pride activities at Victory for the World UCC in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and spoke at the dedication of the Georgia State Historical Marker Dedication at Rush Memorial Congregational UCC in Atlanta. Please see related articles for all these events in this newsletter.
I also preached at Phoenix Church in Wildersville, Tennessee (Pastor Marsha Brown) on Worldwide Communion Sunday, met with outdoor ministry colleagues in Southern Conference (Bill Bourdon at Blowing Rock Conference Center and Curly Stumb at John’s River Camp), preached at Huntsville (Alabama) United Church and at First Congregational UCC Talladega (Alabama) for their Fall Worship and Fellowship Sunday. I also attended evening worship at Safe Harbor Family UCC in Flowood, Mississippi and met with some church leaders. I was a guest at the 100th Anniversary dinner for Pilgrim Church Chattanooga and attended a house church gathering in Carrollton, Georgia with a group of people interested in a possible United Church of Christ/ Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) partnership church start.
As I write this, I am in Cleveland, Ohio at the national UCC offices meeting with the Collegium and key staff as well as attending an ecumenical new church development meeting. I will also connect with some old friends from my five years working here on the national staff.
Please keep in your prayers: Rev. Susie Smith upon her retirement from Peace Church Clemson, South Carolina; Rev. Larry Calbert, retired from Rush Memorial, who is in rehab after a stroke; Pastor Scott Williamson called as Stated Supply at Cookeville United Church (Tennessee); Fairfield Glade Community Church (Tennessee) who has called Rev. Laurie Hill as their new settled pastor and for Rev. Marvin Morgan who is finishing his interim service to them; Pastor Amber Kirkendoll (Safe Harbor Family Church) and her spouse Jessica who were married in Oklahoma on October 20th; and Pastor Brian Currie who is now lead pastor and Pastor Patricia Shropshire as minister for pastoral care at Holy Trinity Community Church in Nashville.