Tidbits - June 28, 2018

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


THE LIGHT

  The are many references to light in church teachings and music - “Let there be light,” “This Little Light of Mine,” for instance.
  Then there is the proverbial “light at the end of a tunnel.”
  Emory and Nazareth churches have been in the tunnel since last June, but this coming Sunday, we return to normalcy.
  Our pastor, Paul Cheezem, died July 1, 2017, of injuries received in an automobile accident.
  Methodists know that as “moving weekend,” the weekend pastors move to their new locations.
  Our pastor moved to the greatest location of all, but Emory and Nazareth knew there was no way we would get a full-time pastor for an entire year, under the Methodist way of doing things.
  Methodists don’t have to go out looking for preachers. We have them appointed by the United Methodist Conference.
  Churches of other denominations go through what Emory and Nazareth went through this year. Many have a period of time without a pastor, when their former pastor accepts a call to another church.
  Emory and Nazareth did not have any prior training, so we made it up as we went along.
  The first two months, each church procured their speakers, and special musicians.
  We could do everything, but administer communion.
  We were told we could serve communion if the elements were blessed by an ordained minister. Burton Campbell volunteered to bless our elements at Emory.
  As it turn out, our District Superintendent Dr. Stephen Love attended that first communion service and the one the following month. We were blessed to hear him preach.
  He is one of the best preachers I have ever heard, and he reminds me of the Episcopal Bishop who preached at the Royal Wedding a few weeks ago.
  Before Paul’s death we had lined-up Dr. Love to be our Homecoming speaker.
  After those first two months, we had preachers the rest the way.
  Wayne Horne’s two months were followed by two months from Debra Woodberry. Finally, Jackie Connelly filled the pulpit for the last six months.
  These just weren’t three random preachers.
  Wayne is a Saluda native, who recently retired. Debra, also retired, grew up in Edgefield County and used to come to Teen Town in Saluda during her days at Strom Thurmond High School.
  Her father-in-law, known by all simply as Mr. Woodberry, was a well known golfer at Persimmon Hill.
  Jackie is a graduate of Ridge Spring-Monetta High School, and has a set of great-grandparents buried at Nazareth.
  We were blessed by Wayne, Debra and Jackie, by their messages and by the fact they were “one of us.”. The Lord was definitely with us.
  The “one of us” trend will continue when Ken Freeman assumes his duties as our new pastor Sunday.
  Ken has been in Saluda County the past six years, serving Bethany-Zoar. He only has a few miles to move, but a move is a move, whether it’s a few miles or 1000.
  And now, back to the “light.”
  In 1966, the Methodist Youth Fellowship at Emory began a project to put a steeple on the church.
  To be honest, I don’t remember this, but I was 15 and a member of the MYF. I remember the MYF raising money for our prayer garden ... mainly because there is a plaque on the wall signifying the fact.
  Thomas Shealy reminded me of the steeple project, because the late Frontis Hawkins always blamed the MYF for the steeple that leaked off and one for over 50 years.
  A few months ago, the board voted to replace the steeple, using funds left to the church by ... Frontis Hawkins! How ironic!
  The new steeple was put up last weekend, and features praying hands cutouts on all four sides that glow at night.
  The steeple is guaranteed not to leak, and I know Frontis is smiling about that!
  We now see the light at the end of the tunnel, and a light at the top of the church!
  It has been a year to reflect and remember.

OH, COME ON!

  I wrote several weeks ago about the horrendous Windows 10 update that made my computer unusable on Tuesday,  paper deadline day.
  The following week, Jackie got to work on Tuesday morning and her computer would not turn on. It was determined the power supply had failed. I ran home and got my laptop, and Jackie drove to her house to get emails off her home computer.
  I had already completed four pages, but it took nearly two hours to get the other pages ready to email to the printer.
  It was the end of the week before her computer was repaired.
  The following week, everything worked.  Hallelujah!
  The next week, the internet was out in Saluda for several hours on Tuesday. We could not email our pages to the printer, and I couldn’t run home to do it, because we didn’t have internet there either.
  I put the pages on a thumb drive and drove it to Bruner’s, like I used to do when I’d take the laid out pages in a large box.
  The next week we had no problems on paper printing day, but later in the week mine and Jackie’s email stopped working. This as repaired Friday.
  This Monday morning, Jackie got to work and her computer would not turn on. We had a short power surge over the weekend that cut everything off for a few seconds in our area. Apparently, that knocked out the power supply ... again.
  I ran home and got my laptop and it will be the end of the week before the part comes in.....
  Stay tuned.....

THREE CROSSES

  Robert Ouzts was in the office last week, and he mentioned seeing people stop at the “three crosses” on the Greenwood Highway, near Smith’s old store.
  He remembered I had included something about the crosses several years ago, and he asked me to tell the story again.
  The websites I found years ago are still up.
  Here’s what I found:
  “Have you ever been driving down the highway and wondered about the three crosses you’ve seen along the roadside?
  They were put up by a man named Bernard Coffindaffer, who was born in Craigsville, West Virginia.  At 42 years of age, Mr. Coffindaffer became a Christian and had a vision to “plant crosses”.
  He raised and spent $3,000,000 planting 1,864 trios of crosses in 29 states, Zambia and the Philippines.  West Virginia has 352 sets of crosses, the most of any state.
  The crosses are for everyone, he said.  Not for saints or sinners, but for everyone, just a reminder of Jesus as you drive by. 
  You can’t see it from the highway, but the crosses have three nails in them, symbolic of where a body would be.
  Mr. Coffindaffer died at his home in 1993.  His crosses are now cared for by the people who own the land, or by nearby churches who “adopt” the crosses. 
  Almost anywhere I drive, I pass crosses.  I am inspired that one person could present such a strong reminder to the world in such a simple way.  With just a glance as I whiz by at 70 miles per hour along the Interstate, I receive a gentle message.”
  Another story included:
  “The three crosses symbolize Christ on the Cross flanked by the two thieves that were crucified with Him. Coffindaffer, the colorful businessman turned evangelist, was the subject of a PBS documentary on his life entitled, “Point Man For God,” and was shown on the award-winning series “Different Drummer.” CBS News did a segment on him for “CBS Sunday Morning.’
  So, that is what I found.
  I remember Dwight “Cap” Smith called me when the crosses were put up years ago.
  The contractors were gone by the time I got there, but Cap filled me in and I took pictures.