News from the Pastor
November 29, 2020
We Did It!
Particularly at Thanksgiving, I try to ponder the profound blessings that God has bestowed upon us as a community of faith. This past Sunday, I was overwhelmed with a sense of holy pride in our congregation. As I beheld our Hines Terrace Parking lot serving as one of Macon’s largest outdoor restaurants, and 125 people happily eating, talking, and fellowshipping on a gloriously perfect late November Sunday, one triumphant phrase came to mind, “We did it!”
Months ago I envisioned Vineville Baptist enjoying an outdoor version of its annual Thanksgiving Sunday celebration meal in a socially-distanced, medically safe manner. I ran this vision past our medical advisory team, incorporating lessons of safe food-service gleaned from our camping trip this summer. Once the medical advisory team gave me approval to proceed, I took the idea to Leigh Halverson, Angela Blizzard, and, of course, Melissa. I am full of good ideas. But this good idea only came to fruition because of Leigh’s, Angela’s and Melissa’s organizational genius, aided and abetted by Kathy Kendrick, a top-notch organizer and tireless recruiter. Yes, we had to reinvent our Vineville Baptist Thanksgiving celebration, just as we have been reinventing church traditions and practices all year. But Leigh, Angela, Melissa and Kathy proved up to the challenge. That last Sunday went so smoothly is a testament to their talent and investment of time.
Even so, the event couldn’t have happened without a host of volunteers stepping forward to help with setting-up, making desserts, serving the food, and taking-down. My heartfelt thanks go to all who helped make Sunday such an amazing celebration. When I say, “We did it!” I mean that “WE did it.” Sunday’s success was a tribute to the contributions of a willing church community.
That same phrase, “We did it!” came to mind Monday night as we served the homeless and working poor at the Macon Inn. Again, the success of this evening can only be attributed to the generosity of so many of you. To those who provided food for the occasion, I can relay to you the sentiments that we who served heard countless times: “Thank you and your church for doing this for us. It means so much.” As I looked at hungry people piling their plates implausibly high (and sometimes coming back for more!), as I looked at our group of faithful servers and beheld the tables full of food, again, all I could think of was, “We did it!”
I thought of that phrase yet again as I proofed this year’s Advent Devotional. This year’s devotional booklet was especially challenging, not only because of the difficulties imposed by COVID-19, but because we needed 27 entries to cover all of the days in Advent this year. We met the challenge! Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry or art work. And thanks especially to Jody Thornton and Melissa Kremer for putting the booklet in its final form. We did it!
There is yet another opportunity for a “We did it!” moment. Next Sunday is our Hanging of the Green service. Because many of our older adults who usually participate in the sanctuary decorating process will not be able to take part this year, we are asking children, youth and college kids to take an active role. We plan to have a short “walk-through” session next Saturday at 10 am, in the sanctuary. Anyone of any age is invited. If you would like to participate in the Hanging of the Green but cannot make the walk-through, let me know, and I will give you an assignment.
Don’t forget to submit an order for a poinsettia in memory or in honor of someone. The cost is $20 per poinsettia and the deadline is tomorrow, Monday, November 30!
Finally, I want to reiterate the gratitude I expressed in my pastoral prayer last Sunday. I thank God whose Holy Spirit has given us an amazingly cooperative spirit throughout this stressful pandemic. The church leadership at every level has worked with only one goal in mind, to do what has best equipped Vineville Baptist to move forward amidst circumstances of adversity and turmoil. You have been well served this year by the leadership of Todd Smith, church council chair; Kathy Kendrick, deacon chair; Peggy Hindsman, who succeeded Kathy as deacon chair; Len Hindsman, properties chair; Charles Schaible, personnel chair; Gene Welch, audio-visual chair; and Bob Willingham, finance chair. I thank God for them all. I am especially grateful to Jim Jones and Claire Whitaker, who have served as the past and present missions chairs this year, respectively, and whose Christ-like compassion have helped our church be the hands and feet of Christ in a time of so much need.
A word from your pastor,
Dr. Richard Kremer