Inspiration shared privately with the Extended Cabinet
From: Dale and Sue Dietz
Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 10:24 AM
I wrote this after reading the lead article in the Call. I’m a grey hair and proud of it, but know that change and growth are just too important for not only my health but that of the church:
We are experiencing the breath of God at First in Bristol. Our change is slow and not without disagreements, but we are changing! Our pastor, Joe-d DowlingSoka, has been the visionary in developing a new worship service with much input and help from the laity. The service is called The River. To truly experience this service you must “step in” and see for yourself. It is a service of contemplative music, prayer and communion every week. Now, as somber as that may sound the community of care and concern being developed is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced in any church. My spiritual life has changed drastically to a point that long silent prayer is now not a time of supplication and mind wandering but of praise and worship during most services.
Another gift from God has been our Haitian family. They have been with us for many years and we’ve watched them be a blessing not only to our church but to the community. When the earthquake hit they opened a way for our congregation to become personally involved with several children on an ongoing basis. We now have worked together to raise funds to continue this work. Working together and not just “giving” has helped us get to know many others in the church whom we might not see even on Sunday.
Through weekly contributions of pocket change we have been able to give surprisingly large amounts to various mission projects in our community and the world. Seeing how a little from each of us can combine to make a real statement has been a lesson in the Body of Christ working together.
Yes there are still a lot of us grey hairs, and yes we need many more young families, but God willing that also will come as we pull together and praise our God in a new way.
From: Annette Spence
Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 1:09 PM
Subject: FW: kingsport times news
Bishop, Ron, David, Carol:
I will find a way to share this with more people in a professional, “editorial” way. But I had to share this with you informally. It almost makes me cry.
When David Graves shared with me all the good things happening in Kingsport District, I particularly got excited about the four smaller churches working together to provide VBS during spring break. It seemed like such a simple, obvious, but brilliant idea! So I ran up there and did a story on it, and sent press releases to the local media. Late on the night before I visited Holly Springs UMC, Pastor Grover Starnes called to say that only 13 children were attending the VBS week instead of the planned-for 40 children. He was wondering if it was still worthy of a story. I still thought it was a cool idea and had a great time visiting with the kids and the people from the churches.
Later, I heard that the Kingsport Times News did, indeed, do a story that very same week. Today, Grover sent this email. It will blow you away.
This is what it’s all about, and it makes me want to leap tall buildings just to help these people share their love the way Jesus did.
From: Grover Starnes Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 12:53 PM
Subject: RE: kingsport times news
We had a good story about the VBS. It paralleled your story in the Call. Also, the week you came ( I may have told you this) our church sign was featured on the Today show in Kathie Lee and Hoda segment. Yesterday, I was preparing the cross for Holy Week services and the photographer from the times news showed up and took several pictures and he said they were to used during Holy Week. One last thing I would like to share is what happened one day during VBS. One day after feeding the kids breakfast aroud 9:30 a hispanic couple showed up with a young child asking for food and help with gas, later that day around 1 a single lady showed up looking for lodging, and finally as i was leaving for the day around 4 two ladies were waiting out side with car trouble. Have you ever heard of the story about the man talking to God and God promising him a visit the next day only to have people show up 3 times that needed help and he thought he missed Gods visit. Well on many occasions I had asked God to use us to make him visible to the kids at VBS. On that day we were serving the kids God came to us 3 times. Each time we were able to help!! makes you think don't it. I don't know about the others but I had never seen any of these people before. With, all this publicity maybe we can attract a few more on Sunday morning. Thanks for your help.