Reflection - September 7, 2017

By Darren McClellan

published 9/7/2017
Dear Friends,
At the conclusion of the morning worship service last Sunday, my 11 year old son, John, looked at me and let out a quick gasp. 
“I have money in my wallet!” he exclaimed.
“I could have given it to help with the hurricane, but I forgot.”
“Good news, son.  You still can.  Wait for the benediction.”
Dr. Ed Glaize’s concluding remarks called us to remain open to the God of Jonah, who would likely call us to do the unthinkable.  Once sent forth to serve, the congregation began milling toward the exit door.  John, however, swam against the tide and proceeded to empty the modest contents of his Velcro wallet onto the communion rail.  Here you go, Nineveh.  No hesitation here at the Lord’s table.  Needless to say, I was a proud papa.
How grateful I am to all of our churches within the Baypines District who are responding in faith and generosity to the overwhelming needs of our neighbors in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.  Many have friends, relatives, or even former churches in Texas and Louisiana and our hearts remain with those who remained displaced in some form or fashion.  Our Bishop David Graves has offered his directive in response to this crisis and we give thanks for Susan Hunt (AWF Director of Missions and Advocacy), Amelia Fletcher (AWF Disaster Team Response Coordinator) and many others who help to lead our connection at this time.  Please check the conference webpage for the latest updates in this recovery effort (
As we respond to what has already been, let us also be prepared for what could be.  At present, we are closely monitoring the threat of Hurricane Irma as she moves were way toward Florida and a potential turn to the Gulf Coast.  It is often difficult to know how to pray over such events, as we would not wish natural disaster upon others any more than we would wish to endure it ourselves.  We believe in the one who order the wind and the waves; nevertheless, we should also be vigilant as a matter of safety and of service, come what may.  So by all means, make sure your lamps have plenty of oil!
Here in the Baypines District we are blessed with two additional response coordinators, Mr. Don Rose of Spanish Fort UMC and Dr. Jason Thrower of FUMC Andalusia, who help receive and disperse necessary information at the local level.  Should you or your church have need, feel free to reach out to any of these personnel resources (including the district superintendent!).
In the event of further storm conditions, I would also encourage all to err on the side of caution regarding any and all regularly planned church activities.      
In moments such as these, when the church of Jesus Christ is faced with genuine need and potential crisis, we are often surprised to discover that we are able to give more of ourselves than we had originally imagined. 
Well, hear the good news! 
You still can.
Grace to You,