Reflection - September 18, 2017

By Darren McClellan

published 9/18/2017
Dear Friends,
I greet you today with great thanksgiving for the many signs of faithfulness shown by the churches here in the Baypines District.  Glory to God in the highest!

As I travel across the district and read the various reports that have come my way, I rejoice in the compassion and commitment shown to those devastated by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  Together, you have collected flood buckets, gathered supplies, and donated thousands of dollars to the United Methodist Committee on Relief.  As our Conference Disaster Response Team Coordinator, Amelia Fletcher, has said, “…response efforts have been robust and appropriate” (italics mine). In the midst of crisis, how marvelous that we were able to be both!  Thank you for your generous love and support to those in need.

I am also grateful to share the news that an UMCOR emergency grant has been written to help AWFUMC in empowering our local churches to serve the needs of evacuees and other recovery efforts.  As a result, Rev. Rob Haynes from Morgan's Chapel UMC will be serving to coordinate the Conference efforts in response and recovery to Harvey and Irma, while Amelia Fletcher will remain in a supporting and advisory role as well as continue to train and serve as recovery specialist for our Conference. We are proud of Amelia and Rob’s leadership in this continuing endeavor and their representation from the Baypines District.

Yesterday was my first day of charge conferences for this year and it was a good start.  My thanks to Mexia, Coley Chapel, Peterman, Hartwood, Wallace, and Guy’s Chapel UMC for their preparation and hospitality.  It was a privilege to share fellowship with each of these, and to celebrate all that God is doing in and through these congregations.  I met two new members at Hartwood UMC.  When I asked if they were new to the area, they said, “No, we just finally decided to join.”  It does happen, friends!  Other highlights included a 20% growth in membership for another church (10 new members!) and 100% apportionments paid for most, with one doing so for the first time.  Add to that a delicious luncheon and a late afternoon piece of red velvet cake; it was a great day to be the Baypines DS!   

This week I am consulting with various church leaders to assist in issues relating to local church budgets, clergy compensation, etc.  On Thursday evening I will be celebrating 20 years of ministry at Jubilee Shores UMC.  On Sunday I will be preaching at Flomaton UMC for their Homecoming service, followed by charge conferences at Flomaton and later Sparta Hill UMC near Evergreen.   Later that day, I have been invited by Pastor Michael Brasher at East Brewton UMC to hold a question and answer session regarding current events, views, and perspectives within our United Methodist denomination.  I come with no agenda of my own, but gladly receive the request to speak as district superintendent to the interests and inquiries of our Baypines churches.  I appreciate East Brewton UMC for hosting and welcoming all to this discussion at 4:30pm on Sunday, September 24.

Rumor has it that there will be cake
Grace to You,