MY GREAT UNCLE CLAUDE on my mother’s side of the family was a developmentally delayed adult. Back in the 1950-60s, when I was a child, we called him mentally retarded. Had he lived today, things would be much different. In those days people often made fun of him and he was on the receiving end of many cruel pranks. To my shame, I remember joining in on some of this.
My mother, however, did not see him in this light. To her, Claude was a valued, respected family member, and my siblings and I were reprimanded if we failed to treat him this way. Our home and table were always open to him. I can even remember my parents bathing him because there were no bathroom in the home where he lived with another uncle.
My mother’s love for Uncle Claude was never more apparent than at Christmas. On Christmas morning, he always arrived at our home about the time we were going to the tree to see what Santa had brought us. There was always a gift for him, and he joined in the laughter as everyone opened their gifts. He stayed all day, playing with the toys we children received and enjoying the meals served by my mother. At day’s end, my father always gave him a ride home.
Every Christmas I think of my Uncle Claude. I also give thanks for my mother who taught me about the value of all people through her love for him.
-- Rev. Michael Hubble, Abingdon District superintendent
THE WESLEY MEDICAL CLINIC'S doors opened April 17 with a volunteer staff. The clinic is an outreach ministry of Pleasant View UMC, providing free medical care one day a week to the uninsured of our community. “Community” is defined by whoever comes through the doors with a medical need and no health insurance. Clinic funding has come through various sources. One of the clinic’s regular volunteers, Chris Yates, uses her creative talents to design and hand-produce nativity pins which she sells as a fund raiser for the clinic. So far she has raised more than $1,000 -- enough to pay for the fuel oil needed to heat the clinic building this winter.
-- Rev. Barbara Farmer, Pleasant View UMC