Those are the words I would use to describe Bishop King's message to Epworth on Sunday. As we celebrated the 52 years service to the families of our church and our community, his word went beyond the typical 'Well done church' message that would have easily and comfortably applied. He said keep moving. My favorite illustration was that of a parent standing over a child who has stumbled and fallen. We would never say, "It's Okay, you can stay there. No need to get up, just stay there." No! We would tell them to get up and keep moving, because life is about moving forward and staying active. His words were prophetic, as he spoke to our future and our present.
I thought his message was timely, too. It is matches what our very own leadership has been talking and praying about for some time. We have continued to maintain and improve our buildings and grounds, but that is only one step. We knew another important step was to make our place in the community known. Our people voted for that very thing in February, and after careful movement forward we have agreed on the purchase of the Manchester property with a tentative timeline of March 2013 as the date we might close. This is exciting for our church, to be able to bring to reality the plans that were started over 30 years ago, but it is not the end of our journey. We must keep moving. So we are asking the question, What is next? Where is God leading us, and how can we answer God's call to serve and reach the beautiful people of God around us? This was exactly the message Bishop King preached to us.
----------It was certainly a high day in the life of our church. Along with Bishop King, we were joined in worship by Rev. Dr. Buddy Cooper, our Columbus District Superintendent, and Teresa Tomlinson, the Mayor Columbus and one of our esteemed former pastors, Rev. Dick Reese. Each of these four, and truly every person in attendance, experienced a great morning of hospitality. From greeters up front, prayers in worship, photo albums on display, tables and chairs moved all over, and amazing amounts of great food...it was a day that our Epworth family shined brightly. Lots of people deserve credit, but Michele Thurman's role as Homecoming Chairperson needs a special word of appreciation. She recruited great help and never wavered...even when the power stayed off for 30+ minutes before our first early service. She is to be commended - drop her a note or speak to her in church.