Picnics, Watermelons, and Fireworks. Those are the things that first come to mind for Bob Wait when he thinks back about the Fourth of July from years gone by. Those probably make a lot of peoples' lists of memories for this week. What about you? What do you remember? Some folks will add trips to the lake, visits to grandmother's house, and family meals together. All of the 50+ in our Carruth family would name our annual family reunion as a beloved Fourth of July tradition. We almost always gather at my Aunt Margaret's cabin in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina for a few days of the very stuff named above: fireworks, food, and family all over the place.
As Bob and I sat talking the other day our conversation jumped from the holiday week to the work that has been happening at Epworth this year. In particular, the renovations in the hallways, the addition of the parking lot in the rear of our property, and now the start of the Children's Wing renovations. He and I are both aware that the faithfulness of generations of people from years gone by has played a part in bringing those projects to life.
It was special to be able to share with Bob about the newest plaque that now hangs in the hallway of Epworth, commemorating the people and legacy of the Hamp Stevens Memorial UMC. Featuring a photo of the church building, a section with history and a great poem given to the church's namesake back in 1909. The plaque hangs above a special Bible, also given to Rev. Stevens back in 1909, that came to Epworth in the joining of the two congregations in 2006.
Columbus has changed since that little church was founded in 1902 out of a tent revival meeting, but it's legacy is remembered in a plaque, a bible, and, most of all, the ongoing witness of the saints who still live out their calling at Epworth by singing in the choir, teaching Sunday School, serving in leadership, contributing to the ministry offering every week, and caring for one another. Sitting with Bob Wait, the prayer I offered was one of thanksgiving for the past and one of expectation for the future. What a delight to serve a God who reigns over our past and our future!
Grace and Peace to you in this week we celebrate freedom and independence - Scott