Thursday, May 18, 2006
It’s not official yet, so don’t tell anyone, but the pastor-parish committee at Free Springs United Methodist Church met our new pastor Monday night.
Our little church is just that — a small, rural church — with a really big heart and soul. And like most small (and many big) churches, we’ve had our share of ups and downs.
Last year was particularly difficult, as our “new” pastor who started mid-June, abruptly left in mid-September.
We were extremely fortunate that a former pastor was willing to step in and fill the pulpit part-time, until we found another preacher.
Rev. Pat Elmore has retired several times — once as a professor at Ole Miss and several times from the ministry. She graciously came back to us “one more time” and has been a pillar of strength to our congregation. She says she really is retiring for good this time though!
We’ve been somewhat apprehensive about a new pastor and we were all nervous Monday night.
Being Methodists, we naturally had a meal prepared. Kenney Hardin, who before heart surgery and retirement, ran a pit barbecue restaurant, smoked chicken and we had macaroni and cheese, green beans, delicious buttery yeast bread and a coconut cake!
Some of our members had met our new pastor already — they’d been standing on a street corner — selling cookies and cupcakes at a bake sale — when he drove by looking for our church to get a “sneak” peek.
Fortunately, we all really liked our new pastor. Even more fortunately, he seemed like he really liked us!
Like most pastors at small churches, Bro. Troy Barton has a “real” job. He works for an elevator and escalator company (I confess to having forgotten the name, it’s not Otis though).
Our church is two-story — two really steep stories. Our outside ramp on the side of the building gets pretty high by the time it reaches the sanctuary.
My first thought on seeing “escalator” on the side of Bro. Troy’s truck was “Oh boy! An escalator” (OK, I knew it wasn’t even close to feasible, but still — you can fantasize whatever you want!)
After dinner, the covenant meeting and pleasant conversation in our fellowship hall, several of us went upstairs to show our new pastor the sanctuary (and the still-leaking Katrina-damaged roof/ceiling).
I casually mentioned that an escalator would be a huge asset to the church and after laughing out loud, he asked if I wanted to know what an escalator actually cost.
Are you sitting down? A general estimate for an escalator is (drum roll here).... $100,000.
I think we need two!
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