Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Summer Solstice!

I’m writing this on June 21st, the summer solstice, that astronomical phenomenon that signals the start of summer and the longest day of the year. Summer is a time when many of us are traveling, going on vacation, seeing family and friends, and that’s a good thing! I can’t wait to get to the beach and spend time with my extended family. Of course, traveling means that we’re not here with each other, so here are a few ways to stay connected to God and one another this summer.

1. Go Undercover. While you’re traveling this summer spy on another congregation. What are they doing right that we could put into practice here at McEachern? Make notes, take pictures and video with your cell phone, and bring a bulletin back. Remember, it’s not plagiarism, it’s research!

2. Take a Good Book with you. Actually, take the Good Book with you. If you take a laptop or an IPhone you can take an electronic copy with you. Bookmark or print this link for a Bible reading plan that will get you not only through the summer, but the year as well.

3. Stay in touch with your friends. Your friends at McEachern, that is. Sign up on our website to receive the newsletter and midweek letter electronically. Bookmark our website ( so you can check on what’s happening back home and listen to the sermons that are preached while you are away.

4. Be here when you’re here. I’ll be honest; sometimes I need a vacation from my vacation! But when you’re in town resist the urge to roll back over and get a few extra winks. You’ll be glad you came to worship!

I hope you have safe and happy travels. May our vacations reconnect us to friends and family and the God who created the universe. Stay in touch!

Annual Conference 2010

Last week 20 pastors and laity from McEachern attended the North Georgia Annual Conference in Athens, GA. Each year 2,500 delegates from 960 churches gather to do the work of the conference. We debate resolutions, hear reports from our extended ministries, commission and ordain men and women for the ministry, remember the clergy and their spouses who have died since our last session, and conduct the work of North Georgia Methodists, including passing the budget and receiving our appointments for the coming year. There are several items of interest that I would like to pass on to you from this year’s gathering.

Over the last two years our denomination has been seeking to raise $25 million to fund a pension program for clergy outside the United States. Many of our retired pastors in the Central Conferences live in abject poverty. It was announced that we have already crossed the $20 million threshold; praise God! This year our conference collected $121,600 for the Central Conference Pension Initiative.

Our mission project at annual conference this year was to assemble food kits for Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief organization that coordinates the distribution of food and other life-saving aid around the world. An anonymous donor contributed $50,000 so we could partner with this organization. During conference we assembled 200,230 meals! I hope we will make this project part of our fall missions conference and our spring Great Day of Service.

Several exciting things happened on Friday, the final day of the conference. First, McEachern was one of seven congregations recognized as a Church of Excellence in Outreach. Thank you for your tireless efforts locally and globally that brought this recognition. Secondly, Chris Higgins was presented to the conference as the incoming President of the North Georgia Conference Youth. Chris served as vice-president last year and was elected by his peers the weekend before conference. Finally, all of our appointed pastors were appointed to serve another year at McEachern. Cindy Blocksidge and Donna Goff were appointed to their tenth year; Hur and Lucy Morales and I were appointed to our fourth year, and Charlie Marus was appointed for his second year. We are all grateful to be returning to such an exciting congregation.