Today's sermon, delivered by our Senior Pastor Bill Etheridge, at the Arbor came from John 15:1-"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. My official title at the Arbor service at First United Methodist is Arbor decorator. I put together the altars for the service every week. It has been an amazing, and to begin with expensive, process. When I first started doing this about 5 years ago...I bought what I needed. I had no clue that there was an account for such as this. I looked at it as my ministry....so I never asked for money back. I love getting the sermon topics during the week...and then praying over what the altar will look like on Sunday. Many times I have one idea...and change my mind when I get to the Arbor to put the altar together...other times the altar comes into my head...and stays there. I have scavenged through thrift stores, junk stores, antique stores...looking for just the right element to make it come to life. It wasn't until this year...that someone actually realized...I put the things together...and that they are never the same. Do I photograph them...keep a file on them? Nope! I just do them(my friend Billy took the picture I have attached today.) It was kind of funny. I have never wanted to take pictures of my altars...but this week I was singing Shackles...and had this post idea. Putting the altars together is my alone time with God. You see, I go to the Arbor...usually late in the afternoon on Saturday....don't even turn on the lights...except for the one in the storage room...and the altar comes to life. It is amazing sometimes and definitely humbling. Do I do this? Heck No! This is a God Thing...it is time that God and I spend alone. I am not a interior decorator...but somehow (it's God)...there in the darkness of the Arbor (again...it is God)....an altar comes to be...under my non-artsy hands...when I step back...it never fails (and I don't know why it surprises me...after all it is a God thing)...there it is. The altar...just as I envisioned it. God is amazing...and no matter what your talents are....or aren't....He can use you. BTW...for those of you who read my sermon earlier in the week...it went over well. Hummmmm....is there another calling there? Who knows...we will just have to listen for the whisper and see! Happy Sunday and God Bless You All Real Good!
I am a woman who wears many hats and loves them all. I am a singer - I sing with the group Still Magnolias. I was part of the original First United Methodist Church Arbor Praise Team until we moved. After 24+ years of teaching English 11 and Spanish I - II at Benjamin Russell High School I decided to take a job closer to home. I now teach Spanish I & 2 at Randolph Co. High School and Wadley. I thought I was getting close to retirement and looking forward to it, but decided to move my cheese and try something different. I am a preacher's wife and a preacher myself. My husband Frank is the pastor at Rock Mills United Methodist Church and I am the pastor at Midway (Wedowee). It has made our conversations interesting, to say the least.