This picture is from a postcard of our church – the card is postmarked 1943. I found this card on eBay one day while playing around, and I fell in love with it instantly, just like I fell in love with our church when we moved here eight years ago.
The deed for the property to our church dates prior to the Civil War. The current sanctuary was completed in 1889 and has dark gothic style beams that stretch possibly forty feet to their peak; they are adorned with curls and knobs, all probably hand-crafted. A row of stained glass windows run down the south wall and on beautiful Sunday mornings, the sun shines in just a bit – not too much, and it’s wonderful to see. I love to sit there during service and wonder about all of the people who have worshipped there before me, about the beautiful brides who have nervously walked down the aisle or about the tearful families that have sent their loved ones home.
Since we are Methodist, part of the ebb and flow of church life is a new pastor every few years. Bro. Jim had been with our church nine years; a long time for a Methodist pastor, and the entire time that we have been members. But it was time for Jim to move on, so now we have New Guy – and New Guy is not a Pastor. He’s a PREACHER. And New Guy grew up a different flavor than Methodist and you can hear it in his tone, cadence and pitch. New Guy wants to PREACH to you from the pulpit, and PREACH from the steps, and PREACH from the other side, and back to the pulpit to PREACH some more! WITH NO SHOES ON (Gold Toe socks only, thank you very much).
So, quite frankly, I’m ebbing right now. This New Guy - he and Jim are like comparing apples and oranges, oil and water, loud and soft. I know that I shouldn’t be basing my church and spiritual life on one person, it’s not New Guy’s job, I have ownership too, but this transition has really put me in a funk!
I want the quiet back, the thought provoking sermon, the stillness, the gentleness, the kindness. I felt that Jim was truly a pastor, or shepherd to his “flock”, he was there guiding us with a kind word and a gentle touch and a word of prayer. And Jim was my friend.
Right now I feel like New Guy just wants to PREACH, that he doesn’t really want to know me or the others in his “flock”. I’m hoping in time that I will get to know New Guy too and possibly come to like him, but for now…I'm still playing hooky on Sunday morning, wondering when I'll get back in the flow of things.