In 1863, amid a war tearing America apart, President Abraham Lincoln gave us a new national holiday when he proclaimed the last Thursday in November, Thanksgiving Day. The very first thanksgiving feast was recorded in history by Edward Winslow. It was a feast which lasted 3 days and included 90 Native Americans and 63 Pilgrims. The occasion? The very first harvest in the New World! (Wikipedia)
We celebrated ours on Friday this year at the parsonage. We invited all of Kathy’s side of the family for brisket and lots of good things to go with it. (I’m writing this on the Saturday before, so I hope we pull it off!) My side is indeed welcome, but they travel to in-laws this year. It was good. Everybody got along. Even the dogs and the cats offered their thanks!
Some people call it coincidence. Others call it luck. Carl Jung, noted Psychologist of the last century, coined the term “synchronicity.” Webster defines synchronicity, “the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (such as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality.” However, each Sunday we proclaim, “I believe in the Holy Spirit!” For years now I look for the Holy Spirit at work in any of the aforementioned circumstances.
It’s been a great month for the Ocilla/Irwinville Charge. Both churches seem to thrive as the Holy Spirit moves in us. A few weeks ago Irwinville decided to address a few issues with the facilities, to offer help to the South Central District seminary students and people in the Irwinville community who struggle to make ends meet. This past Sunday Ocilla received an increase in commitments through our Consecration Sunday efforts, with commitments reaching nearly $175,000, a $5000 increase over last year!
By Guest Writer Hillary Heitzman
“You are only as good as your grades.” “You can’t pay attention.” “You’re not smart enough. Good enough. Strong enough. Enough.” This can be the daily rhetoric for some kids. This might be their normal. This is the start of a sad story. We need heroes that can change that. That will be brave and bold enough to say, “No! You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are smart. You are good. You are enough. You ARE important.” But, wait. I witnessed just this kind of declaration at an unlikely place this past week. I watched people file into a building, pledge dollar after dollar of support. I watched kids who felt important, special even, line up to help these people. My heart overflowed with joy. Here’s the beautiful thing:
It happened here. In this church. YOU are the hero of this story.
Thank you isn’t enough. I could say thank you for the money, donations, time, showing up. I could say thank you for the fish supper. But, it’s simply not enough. Because it was more than all those things. It was more than a “simple” bake sale. Ocilla United Methodist Church, the United Methodist Men, and YOU showed a group of kids LOVE. You took a stand on Monday night against that negative rhetoric. Those kids will never be the same for witnessing your care, concern, and sharing. And for that, I am eternally grateful. See, I was one of those kids not too long ago. (Well, let’s be honest, it’s been a while.) I remember adults who were not in my immediate family pouring into me: teaching me in Sunday school, being my mentor through Confirmation, giving me keepsakes, telling me they were happy to see me, and letting me serve in my church. I know that what this congregation and visitors did on Monday night was more than show up. You showed out. You showed the love of Christ. Thank you for giving, sharing, praying, showing up, and being used by God. Thank you for allowing God to move in our church and impact our youth in a way that is changing lives daily. Thank you for being the heroes of our story and helping us share the gospel with our youngest generations. The bake sale is a legacy. It’s not something that people outside of our church understand. I heard one visitor mutter incredulously, “Did that cake just go for two HUNDRED something dollars?!?!?!” I whispered back, “It seems unusual, but this is tradition. I promise, these people are opening their wallets for more than just cake.”
I am excited to watch even more stories unfold as we, together, continue to show love and be heroes in our church and community.
That’s right! On October 16 we get to eat some fish and spend some money! The Dix Family continues their unselfish service as Raye and Charlie Harper supply and cook our fish this year. The United Methodist Men work hard every year planning, organizing and supplying the rest of the food and the service.
But that’s only part of the tale. You bring the cakes and other goodies we sell to raise money for our flourishing Children’s and Youth program.
Thanks to Hillary Heitzman, her husband Mike, Mike Green, and a slew of generous volunteers each Wednesday night, we have a large crew and a large time! You’ll see many of these kids attending Sunday School and Sunday worship. They come to receive Spiritual food and the other kind too. Some of them will be there helping us as we enjoy the company, the fish, and have some fun!
We eat at 6:00. The fish fry is free. The auction will start about 6:30 and continue until you buy it all!
We welcome you to bring a friend for the event, just make sure you fill them in about our purpose. I wouldn’t want them to leave their wallets at home!