The next meeting of WinGS will be Tuesday, May 16 in the Conference Room. Our speaker will be Haley Henderson. She will do a presentation her recent mission trip and give us a chance to ask questions. Ladies, come out and support Haley!


Supper Meeting- Southbound Sandwich Shop, May 16th, at 6:30 pm. We will have our devotions and a business meeting.   Please come and enjoy the fellowship.


The service of Tenebrae, or “shadows” grew out of a combination night prayer and early morning prayer, with an additional focus on the commemoration of the passion.  The latter was usually read by several deacons and later, in the Middle Ages, was ready by monastic choirs.  The most significant feature of this service is the gradual extinguishing of the lights and candles in the room and on the altar.  The bare altar table and the unvested furnishings emphasize the starkness of the events recalled.  The candles represent the apostles and all followers of Christ, and the larger candle represent Christ.  The dramatic high point occurs with eh complete darkness and the loud noise, or strepitus, at the death of Jesus.


On Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017 we will again decorate a cross for the sanctuary, using flowers brought from our yards, cuttings from blooming trees, or flowers purchased from the grocery store or florist.  Please bring your donated flowers to the church parlor before Sunday School on Easter Sunday.  A small group of volunteers will arrange the flowers on the chicken wire-covered cross.  Thank you in advance for your help with this beautiful way to express Easter joy and renewal.


After the darkness of Holy Week, we would like to brighten up the sanctuary with potted spring plants in the church windowsills on Easter Sunday.  Choose your favorite varieties- hydrangeas, azaleas, tulips, buttercups, orchids, etc. and bring them to the church on Friday or Saturday before Easter.

The flowers will be used for Easter Sunday only, as the blooms don’t usually last for another week.  Feel free to take your plant home after the service on April 16 so that you can enjoy it there.  Thanks for sharing this beauty with us.

CHURCH DIRECTORIES should be available by the first week in April 2017. You can pick them up in the church lobby.

SPRC MEETING – Meeting scheduled for April 24 is rescheduled to May 1st.                                   

GIFTS TO THE CHURCH     1/17/17 – 3/19/17

Memorials For Judy Fisher were given by:

Vernon & Marty Hess; Staff of Red Wing Shoes of Durham; Kyle & Cynthia Walker; Norm & Debbie Strickland; Chester & Eunice Griffin Joel & Priscilla Fulcher

Memorials For Thomas Clayton were given by:

Kyle & Cynthia Walker Chester & Eunice Griffin; Joel & Priscilla Fulcher

Memorial for Blake Martin were given by Priscilla Martin

 Gifts in Honor for:                             Given by:

Wilson Scott                                    Gene James

David Smedberg                             Mitchell & Jane Young


A new session of First Place 4 Health begins Wednesday, April 19.  This is a healthy    lifestyle Bible Study, which helps you focus on all areas of your life’s journey from not only your physical health but your emotional, spiritual, and mental health.  The First Place 4 Health Bible Study series invites you to a new way of doing that goes beyond the outward appearance of ourselves to developing a new way of thinking and doing that is Christ centered.  “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7.  If you would like to join others who seek to put Christ first in all areas of their life, you are only a phone call away.   We meet each Wednesday from 5 to 6:00 pm in the Church Conference Room on the first floor.  This is a 11 week session, ending the last week of June.  The cost is $20.00, which covers the cost of the Bible study book.  The $20.00 will be collected at the first session.  However, you will need to sign up before April 5th so Bible study books can be ordered prior to the first session on April 19th.  To sign up or need more information Call, text, or email Brenda Wilson prior to April 5th.  336-584-0218 Home


Wednesday morning Bible Study will begin 7 weeks on Philippians on Wednesday, February 1st at 10:30 in the Conference Room.  No need for a special book, just bring your Bible.  Contact Vicki Ambrose (980) 307-9321 with any questions.


 Please help your church help you.  If you know of someone who is in the hospital, if you have a personal or family emergency, or if you know of a death in the church family, please call Pastor Jimmy (919/222-2800) or the Church Office (336/226-4457).  If the need arises during the weekend or when the Church Office is closed, please leave a phone message. Your message will be received and this ministry will begin as quickly as possible.

NCC Circles of Abundant Grace Meetings

Across the North Carolina Conference, United Methodists are gathering for “Circles of Abundant Grace.”   The Circles of Abundant Grace are facilitated conversations ​that ​are focused on the future of the United Methodist Church.  These Circles offer the opportunity to learn about “where we are” as a denomination concerning matters of human sexuality.  The Circles are also settings for participants to speak as well as to listen to one another honestly and lovingly.

The Circles offer an opportunity to clarify the decisions of the 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church.  One of the 2016 General Conference’s actions was forming the  “Commission on a Way Forward.”   The Commission on a Way Forward was set up by the Council of Bishops and has begun studying matters of human sexuality and unity in the United Methodist Church.  Conversations are happening in each Annual Conference as a part of the Commission on a Way Forward.  Each Circle of Abundant Grace has been undergirded by prayer across the NC Annual Conference and the denomination.  Most recently Pastor Jimmy and Jerry Fisher attended one such meeting in Durham.

Philippians 2: 1-4.  If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.  Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.  Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.

Annual Contribution Statements 2016

The 2016 contribution statements are completed and available in the parlor for pickup on now.  This statement is a record of your yearly giving.  If you have any questions regarding your statement, please contact Cyndy Jenkins at (336) 534-1036 or by email at


Don’t forget that we have a collection tub in the Parlor for items that the clients from the domestic abuse shelter need. A list of those items has been published in April newsletter and several Sunday bulletins.

Backward People

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. —Frederick Buechner

During our Backward People meetings we have worked around this quote from Frederick Buechner.  We have asked ourselves:  “What are we passionate about?”  “What do we love to do?”  “How might these gifts be used in ministry for God’s Kingdom?”  In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul says that we all have gifts, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.  To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Cor. 12:4-7, NRSV)  So, if we discover our giftedness (deep gladness, what we are passionate about) and how we can live into these in ministry for the Kingdom, then we will discover our call, what God desires for us to do.

This year we are inviting everyone in Davis Street UMC to ponder what God might be calling us to in this time and in this place.  To that end we are planning three events for the near future. 

On January 22, (which will have occurred by the time your read this) we are planning a celebration of the ministry of Davis Street.  Often, when we think of our church, we focus on what we lack, what we are not doing.  So on this Sunday we will lift up all of the wonderful ministry that is occurring in our life together.

On January 29, our SPRC is going to distribute a survey on Pastoral Time Use Priorities, so that we can think collectively about how we feel we need to resource pastoral leadership in ways that will move us toward the vision we have of our church and its’ ministries. 

On February 5, we will all have an opportunity to complete a survey in which we will be invited to reflect upon our passions, our dreams, and where we personally would like to invest our time and talents in places where our deep gladness and the world’s deep huger meet.

Volunteers Needed

To prepare the monthly newsletter for mailing.  Training will be provided. Please let the church office know if you would like to volunteer or have questions.


A huge ‘Thank You’ to everyone who provided altar flowers in 2016.

The new Flower Chart is posted in the church at the ramp entrance.  The Sundays for Communion and Advent have been noted on the chart since the altar table will be in use.  Flowers can be given for these special Sundays with a designation for placement elsewhere in the church, perhaps on the podium stand in the Sanctuary or in the Church Parlor. You are encouraged to select all other Sundays to place floral arrangements to the Glory of God, in honor or memory of your loved ones and friends, or to commemorate special events.  To ensure a clear view of the Cross, floral arrangements should not exceed 20 inches.  Please list your name and message on the chart or contact the Church Office with specific request.  Your name and message will be included with the bulletin for the Sunday that you selected.  Floral arrangements can be removed after the Worship Service and taken to a relative or friend.  You are encouraged to return floral vases to the Church Kitchen for future use. On Monday, the flowers that are left will be arranged into bouquets and delivered to homebound or nursing home members by the Altar Guild, which is coordinated by Jerri Rivenbark.  You are encouraged to call Jerri at 538-0268 or the church office before Monday to let her know if you plan to remove your arrangement or leave them for delivery to shut-ins.


A Member Information Update form is available on the small table in the Church Parlor for your convenience to provide any changes to your address, phone number, and email address.  If you prefer, just call the Church Office.  We always want to keep track of you.


The Greeter Captain assigns volunteers to a particular Sunday so that there are friendly faces to greet each person in the name of Christ who enters the Church, whether it is a visitor or a regular member.  This is often an entry point ministry for new members, and emphasizes our commitment to hospitality.  This service is a service that one needs to experience to understand the warmth and friendliness of the people at Davis Street UMC.  Please contact Polly Webb at (336) 380-0393 to volunteer or to rotate off the Greeters List for a time.


Thanks to God’s faithfulness and your generosity, the last payment was made on 11/29/16 for our building loan which retired our church debt.


Your monetary contributions and loose change collected each Sunday are donated to Allied Churches of Alamance County (ACAC) to help them assist the needy in Alamance County.  Their services include: Shelter, Meals & Emergency Food, Emergency Assistance, and Job & Education-Related Services.  As the only center for persons who are at-risk and who are homeless in our region, ACAC also provides immediate, crisis intervention services.


One project that our WinGS (Women In God’s Service) group elected to support this year is the Little Free Library program and establishing one here at Davis Street UMC.  The Little Free Library is a sturdy box, mounted on a post with a see-through door and on the inside a bookshelf to place books.  This box will be erected in the Church yard and will be available to the community at large, as well as our church community.  The idea is that people can come, and take a book to read, and return the book when finished.  They can also leave a book that they enjoyed reading for someone else to read.   It is free, so everyone can enjoy the love of reading.  There will be adult books as well as children’s books.  WinGS will serve as stewards for the upkeep of the Library by placing books in the box, culling the books, and keeping the library tidy. Picture6

The idea of the Little Free Library began in 2009 when Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin built a model of a one room schoolhouse, as a tribute to his mother, who was a teacher and loved to read.  He filled the schoolhouse model with books and placed it on a post in his front yard with a sign that read “FREE BOOKS”.  His neighbors and friends loved the idea and by 2010, he and a friend began making little boxes for others to give away their books.  Through word-of-mouth, their website and a loyal group of volunteers, requests grew and more Little Free Libraries were built and each Little Free Library was given an official charter number.  By 2011, the Little Free Library had gained national attention and by the end of the year there were nearly 400 Little Free Libraries across the US.  In May 2012, the Little Free Library was officially established as a Wisconsin nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors. Today there are over 36,000 Little Free Libraries.

Our Little Free Library is on display in the parlor.  It is a rustic book shed.  It is hand hewn from rough-cut pine and recycled barn wood by skilled Amish craftsmen in Wisconsin.  It has a second shelf which allows for books of all shapes and sizes to fit comfortably inside.  The sturdy construction of this rustic beauty will keep the books dry for years to come.  Through the efforts of Priscilla Fulcher, we were able to obtain our book shed through a grant from Alamance County Public Libraries.  We have a Boy Scout who will erect our post and mount the book shed as part of his Eagle Scout Project.  We plan to place the book shed near the ramp entrance of the Church.

Once our book shed is erected, we will receive an official sign and charter number to be attached to the book shed that will read “Little Free Library.” The location of our Library will be placed on the Little Free Library World Map with WinGS listed as stewards.  It is our goal to have the Library in place by warm weather, to be used and enjoyed by everyone.

The WinGS Project Committee


Where?  At Davis Street, that’s where!  In your day-to-day conversations with your friends, co-worker and family, share with them the many wonderful things taking place at Davis Street.

Two items to highlight is our support of Allied Churches of Alamance County and United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).  Your support of these organizations last year totaled $1,089.06, which was awesome!   Most are familiar with Allied Church but maybe not as much as UMCOR.

UMCOR provides humanitarian relief when war or natural disaster disrupts life to such an extent that communities aren’t able to recover on their own. UMCOR’s project – Imagine No Malaria is an important effort to eliminate this 100% preventable disease.


As we look toward the New Year and cooler weather, we think about the possibility of inclement weather. Just in case there is a need for DSUMC services to be delayed or closed, those announcements will be made on the following television stations.  WFMF TV / News 2 FOX 8 / WGHP


We want to maintain correct information on all DS members.  Please call the church office and let us know if you change your mailing address or if you are not receiving your church newsletter.  Do you have corrections or additions for the anniversary or birthday lists?  Do you have a new cell phone number or have you removed your old landline?  Do you have a new email address or is there an old address that we should remove?  Thanks for your update!


VisitorDavis Street UMC has been blessed with several visitors during the past months. We extend warm hospitality and a welcome hand of fellowship to each person who enters our doors.  Regular Davis Street Worship attenders are reminded to invite others, especially those who have missed several Sundays.  Persons who are interested in learning more about joining the DSUMC fellowship are encouraged to contact Pastor Jimmy Weaver or call the Church.


WinGS (Women in God’s Service) has a new ministry called “PIE AND A PRAYER.  It is a way to nurture our congregation.  Persons who are recuperating from surgery or hospitalization, awaiting serious test results, or are homebound may receive a delicious homemade chicken pie along with our prayers and best wishes.  If you know of anyone in our congregation who fits our guidelines and would benefit from some cheer, please contact Polly Webb (228-7126) or Diana Hanford (221-0855).

Prayer Shawl Ministry – This group knits prayer shawls, which are then placed on the Church altar and blessed before they are hand delivered to individuals within and outside the Church who are experiencing difficult times, such as a death, illness, or loneliness.  Members are encouraged to contact Diana Hanford at 336/221-0865 if you know of someone that would benefit from receiving one of these


The newly formed women’s group (WinGS – Women in God’s Service) has begun a new ministry at Davis Street which is a way to nurture our congregation.  Persons who are recuperating from surgery or hospitalization, awaiting serious test results, or are homebound may receive a delicious homemade chicken pie along with our prayers and best wishes.

If you know of anyone in our congregation who fits our guidelines and would benefit from some cheer, please contact Polly Webb (228-7126) or Diana Hanford (221-0855).


1) Would you be interested in serving as a volunteer to prepare memorial letters to persons who make memorial contributions to Davis Street? If you are interested, please call Arlene Domenico at the Church Office (336) 226-4467 for more details.

2) The Audio-Visual Team is looking for volunteers. We need several people who are willing to assist in the A/V booth on Sundays and periodically for weddings and funerals. There is no experience required; we will have training for anyone interested. Anyone that is interested please see Jerry Fisher or Ryan Bailey. We look forward to working with you!


“In the four years that I have worked at Alamance Community College, our program at Davis Street United Methodist Church has grown exponentially. Thanks to the generosity of the church, now we have students broken into four groups to maximize their learning. Providing daycare and tutors, Elon University students have nurtured our ESL students and their children. With college students home for the summer, our mothers took initiative and created a self-managed program, each taking one day out of every five or six classes to provide daycare during the summer months.

We have witnessed a tremendous gain in enrollment and our students have made significant improvements in their English, which in turn has provided them with better wages, improved community integration and increased confidence. We have the generosity of the members, Pastors and Trustees to thank for each of the hundreds of success stories that have occurred.

Learning how to precisely pronounce words so their co-workers can clearly understand them has caused a multitude of my students to feel real great pride. Others with undiagnosed learning disabilities have gained confidence with each point gained on their assessment tests. I have introduced basic computer skills to our newest class, the Night Class for Beginners. It has been as exciting for me to see their faces smiling in amazement, as it was for them to actually see the World Wide Web on a full screen!

I love this job more than any I have ever had. Both of my classes feel like families, which is great because I live 600 miles away from my own family. I have loving, smart and dedicated students who have each had their own success stories. One student came in as a beginner. She was one of the rare few who come to me having a college degree from her native country. To keep her privacy, I will call her Rosa. Recognized for her dedication, Rosa was quickly promoted to my afternoon intermediate and advanced class. At this time, she had received 40 points out of a possible 78. Within a month, Rosa gained twenty points on her next test and had acquired a job in an English-only work environment. Her test scores soared, and she would often come in with a list of things she had heard but did not understand. These real life examples benefited the entire class tremendously. As her English improved, our friendship grew tremendously too! Thanks to DSUMC, I am blessed to have “Rosa” and her family in my life! On her next test, she had a perfect score, and was immediately given a reading test where she scored the highest the test coordinator had ever seen! This motivated “Rosa” to start the GED course on campus, which she successfully completed this year. She now has two jobs, both in English-only speaking environments, an example of our focus on workforce integration that we strongly embrace.

Our Interim Coordinator, Julie Spomer, and instructors Barbara Melton, Monica Bueno, and I would like to thank DSUMC for this amazing program. Our students are drawn to going to the church, where they know they have loving teachers, a safe place for their children in the afternoon, and have been blessed with the church’s generously giving us rooms to allow for our students to learn as much as possible.

Thank you Pastor Jimmy, Brenda, Vivian, the Board of Trustees and the members of DSUMC for graciously hosting Alamance Community College ESL instructors and my second and third families –the afternoon and evening classes.”  Sincerely,   Jennifer Luehrs Collins


Please join our Prayer Ministry on Wednesdays @ 6pm.

NEED PRAYER?  Our prayer room is available for you.


On the first Sunday of each month, we will collect non-perishable food items as a service to our community.   Thank you for your continued giving!

Are You Looking for an Opportunity to Give Back to Your Community?

Alamance County Meals on Wheels could be your answer. Persons who would like more information or would like to volunteer can call Ruth Long at (336) 228-8815 at the Burlington Meals on Wheels site. They are located at 411 West Fifth Street. Volunteers commit to give their services approximately two hours every four weeks. Two hours per month is a small amount of time, yet it helps so many persons who are dependent on those meals.

Meals on Wheels offers training and instructions for the volunteers to deliver meals to specific clients/persons. Volunteers can elect to serve as a pair or work by themselves. Scheduled routes are located across Alamance County and include Burlington, Graham, Mebane, Gibsonville, Haw River, and Elon. Nancy Loy is to be commended for her service to Meals on Wheels, as she has served for several years in the general area of DSUMC, and has sometimes been assisted by other DS members.

This powerful 13 week program centered on healthy living has started! Meetings are held each Wednesday, 5-6pm.
for more information, contact Brenda Wilson 269-1992 ( or Judy Henderson 213-3267 (


May Pastor’s News

Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

May Pastor’s News

People who study such things say that if you will practice something for thirty days it will become a habit.  Habits are practices, rhythms, ways of ordering our lives and our conduct.  We also locate ourselves within larger rhythms; sunrise and sunset, seasons of the year, holidays, etc.  One of the things we try to do in the church is practice a liturgical rhythm, by following the seasons of the Christian year.  This is an attempt to ground our lives within the life and ministry of Jesus. This practice often produces surprising results. In the March 2017 issue of Guideposts magazine, there was an article by Lynda Hacker.  In this article she related how caregiving had taken over her, and her husband’s, lives, “Caregiving has a way of sneaking up on you,” she said.  It started with their son, “a great kid who fell in with a bad crowd and eventually spiraled into heroin use.  We went through every nightmare you’ve ever heard about addiction.”  Then her mother needed help.  When her mother died, they moved in with her father to take care of him, all the while holding down full time jobs.  “At first we barely noticed how all of these changes — which we took on gladly — consumed our lives.” Her son finally became sick of being an addict and entered a long-term residential treatment center.  A month later her Dad died.  She awoke one morning, in her brother’s childhood bedroom (“When Mom died suddenly of a stroke, it seemed logical to move in with Dad.”), surrounded by Hardy Boy books, toy cars, board games, and soldiers.  Looking at her husband, she said, “We’d become caregiving machines that were no longer needed.  Our own house, a few miles away, was a mess. . . The magnitude of the task before us seemed insurmountable.  It wasn’t just Mom and Dad’s affairs to put in order.  It was our lives we had to rebuild.  Our marriage.  Even our house!  We gazed at each other, wondering where to begin.”  Then she said, “In our bewilderment we turned to God.” As I read, I settled down into that article the way you wrap yourself in a blanket on the couch on a cold winter’s day.  She was writing, but they could just as well have been my words.  They were my words.  She had just given voice to them.  A deep, guttural, voice that spoke of the last seven years of mine and Deborah’s life. The short story is that in August of 2015, when Brian and his wife separated, we moved in with him, beginning five years of increasingly demanding caregiving. In November of 2015, he developed a massive infection which lead to his death on December 18.  Then there was the funeral, establishing the estate, cleaning out his house, turning toward our house, the upstairs of which was wall to wall with boxes and furniture, the downstairs stripped to the studs due to water damage.  Where to even begin?  One foot in front of the other, and faith. On Tuesday of this week, after the resolution of a seven month battle with UNC hospitals over a claim against Brian’s estate, I made the final accounting to the clerk of court and closed the estate.  It is done.  Finished. ...

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April Pastor’s News

Posted by on Mar 30, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

April Pastor’s News

When I was about five or six years old, my grandfather opened a country store at a crossroads near our house, Weaver’s Four Way.  About four miles up that road his brother-in-law, my Uncle Dewey, also operated a little country store.  As a small boy, I had never been inside Uncle Dewey’s store, only passed it by while traveling down the road.  One day my Dad needed to talk to Uncle Dewey about something, so he went to Uncle Dewey’s store to see him, taking me along.  Once inside, I began to wander around, looking at the store.  Then I begin to compare and contrast Uncle Dewey’s store with my grandfathers, and of course, I spoke out loud, “This isn’t like Granddaddy’s store, he has a better selection of (whatever).”  Very quickly my Dad gave me “that look,” rapidly followed by, “Don’t say things like that.”  Between the look and the verbal admonishment, I got the message! I shut up. Small children have no filters.  Whatever they think they tend to say.  That’s part of their charm; sometimes.  However, we quickly learn (are taught) that filters are a good idea.  For example, I may think that you are wearing the ugliest jacket in the entire universe, but it probably isn’t going to be helpful to our relationship for me to say that.  Filters are a necessary part of living in relationship. So when does “a filter” become being dishonest?  Another thing we learn as small children is how to put a “spin” on things.  “I didn’t do that, I think it was the dog.”  “Yes I was there, but Billy threw the rock that hit the windshield.”  (Notice that I did not say I wasn’t throwing rocks, just like Billy; it’s just that mine did not hit the windshield, therefore I am not culpable.) Surprisingly, perhaps the hardest thing is to be honest with ourselves.  I know that may sound strange — why would I lie to myself? — but it is true.  Our brains are great at rationalizing the things we really want to do.  “After the day I’ve had, I deserve a quart of Rocky Road!”  “I know, but everybody does it.  Do you really put down everything on your taxes?” — I think you get my point. One of the things about the season of Lent is that it is a time to be honest with ourselves.  It is not a time for self-flagellation, but it is a time to admit that sometimes we come up short.  A time to look honestly in the mirror and say, “Yes, I acted out of pride, or selfishness, or envy, or (fill in your own blank.)”  The purpose of this honesty is to open ourselves up to God’s grace (the resurrection of Easter, life out of death, etc.).  The only thing that God can’t forgive or heal is the thing which we refuse to admit is true. It is sort of like an athlete, when the coach says, “Johnny, you have a problem here, try it this way.”  If Johnny says, “Okay coach,” and works on it, he becomes a better player, the “problem” disappears.  If, on the other hand, he says, “I don’t a have a problem, I just have a stupid coach,” nothing much changes. I don’t think...

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March Pastor’s News

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

March Pastor’s News

Sitting in my study at church, there was a knock on my door. ‘Hello,” I said, “Come in.”  They didn’t hear me.  I walked to the door and opened it.  “Hello,” I said again.  “Hello,” replied the lady standing at my door.  “You look cute today,” she said behind a smile (in fairness, her eyes were somewhat aged!).  “Thank you,” I said, “How are you?” Thus began a brief conversation.  She was doing okay, had come by the church to do something, and thought she would knock on my door and say hello.  We chatted, and towards the end of our conversation she said, “I still think of my child that died.”  My response was, “Yes, I still think of my son as well.”  We talked a little more, and then she said good-bye. I went back to my chair and sat down.  “Yes,” I thought, “Brian is always with me.”  It is strange.  In some ways he is gone, never to be there again; and yet, in others, he is always “right there.”  He is there in my memories, of how he came, often, to help me with so many projects:  building a deck, he and I installing our Heatilator fireplace, running the vent pipe up through the roof, installing the wood stove downstairs and running that vent pipe up through the chase behind the fireplace.  Then, going to the local meat market and buying two humongous T-bone steaks and cooking them on the grill that night.  Or adding the handicapped master suite to his house, when he could still stand briefly.  He would raise his electric wheel chair up, until he could just put his feet on the ground and straighten his legs, then he would look through the transit, to shoot the height of the footings, calculating the math in his head as I held the measuring stick and drove down metal stakes to the correct height for the concrete pour.  At the end of the day, Brian said, “Daddy, we should have gone into the building business together.” “Yeah Brian, that would have been fun.” It takes time to prepare for death.  And it doesn’t matter whether death comes over the course of years, as it did with Brian; or whether it jumps up in a Sunday morning telephone call, that said our twenty-three year old granddaughter Crystal, had been killed instantly, two hours before, in an automobile accident on her way home from work.  It still takes time. On March 1st, here at Davis Street, we will begin the season of Lent with our Ash Wednesday service.  During the service, a cross from Palm Sunday’s ashes will be smudge-fingered upon our foreheads, with the words:  “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.  Repent, and believe the gospel.”  It is a time to remember our own mortality.  A season to walk with Jesus, for forty days and nights, toward his death upon a tree.  But it is also a time to peek behind the dark curtain of Good Friday and Holy Saturday, and to know, that “Sunday’s coming!” Lent is a gift of the church, a liturgical season in which we are given the opportunity to prepare for death.  It is a time to focus on the death of Jesus, but also to...

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February Pastor’s News

Posted by on Jan 28, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

February Pastor’s News

“Nonetheless, those who were in distress won’t be exhausted.  At an earlier time, God cursed the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but later he glorified the way of the sea, the far Jordan, and the Galilee of the nation.  The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.  On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:1-4 CEB) One of the things about winter, darkness creeps in.  Starting, oh, in July, the sun begins to slowly slip away.  Days grow shorter and shorter.  At first, it is imperceivable, the bright burning orb of the sky shows up just a little later, leaves just a minute earlier.  Then, I don’t know, late October, early November, the darkness continues creeping in; like fog that whispers, spreading, spreading its’ tentacles, crowding light out of its’ way.  The nights grow long, like an unkempt beard, and the light just seems to be content in absence, disappearing without so much as a word of protest.  Yes I know, by now the winter solstice has come and gone, December’s granted reprieve, but the darkness fights so hard; sweating over every lost moment, and like a good magician, creating the illusion that it is refusing to give an inch. As I sit here this morning though, there is a protest going on.  I can’t see outside my window, but I know that there is water there, and across that water there is a power plant, constantly humming, pulling electricity from steam and coal, and sending it scurrying through the corridors of electric line.  Above my head, again, heat causes filament to glow, and a light shines out of the darkness.  Oh, it’s reach is limited, but its glow is fine and warm. There are other kinds of darkness, in this black cave of winter’s night the “distress” of heart and mind and soul sometimes weasels in.  Perhaps, as Isaiah said of the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali, we are cursed, by the very voice of God.  Or at least sometimes, in the dark of spirit, it seems that way. It is a cold place to sit, this dark night.  We seem condemned, like Sisyphus, to roll the same boulder, staining and pushing up the hill, only to have it come crushing back down.  Just when we thought we were there: physical therapy, bone wearing treatments, the plague of life devoid of hope; like a smug, self-righteous monitor in a teacher absent classroom, there is no end to the list of names that we might take. Isaiah, however, calls a different tune.  The tempo of his rosined bow begins to quicken.  What is that there?  Like the pop of a match, when phosphorus and potassium chlorate explode into flame, there is light in the darkness.  The cupped hands of God nurture the infant flame: “Look now, and see that I am with you.” The very essence of love and life —- which was, and is, and shall remain. Sometimes love is hard to see; even when it is there, even when it is strong, it can be shrouded in invisibility.  So too, it seems, can grace.  But it is there, ever present.  God is there, in this long, long night.  Isaiah speaks to the shadow play of his own time, but...

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January Pastor’s News

Posted by on Jan 1, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

What do you do after the baby is born? Pregnancy is a long time of waiting.   Carrying the life of another within you changes all types of things.  You grow uncomfortable, can’t find your feet, swell and hurt and perhaps crave all sorts of weird things.  Finally, (and not a moment too soon!) the time is at hand and the long-awaited child is born.  Then everything changes!  New born babies require around the clock feedings, constant changes in wardrobe, and attention.  A solid night’s sleep becomes a thing of the past and every routine in your life is up for grabs, now the whole world revolves around this new little person in your world.  This intrusion can be the source of great joy and awe, as well as weariness and frustration.  It can be truly said, after the child is born, nothing is the same. Advent in the church is a time of waiting, waiting for the birth of a child: the baby Jesus, son of Abraham, son of David, son of God.  It is a time when we light candles; three purple, one pink, and then finally white, the Christ Candle on Christmas.  When this child is born, nothing in the whole world is the same.  In the beautiful beginning of his gospel, John tells us that the Word became flesh “and moved into the neighborhood” (The Message).  This Word was first, at the beginning, and everything that was created was created through this Word:  “What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by.  The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out” (The Message).  The dancing, flickering flames of the Advent Wreath symbolize this light that casts out darkness, fire more powerful than sin or death.  Light that changes everything. John says that: The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person entering Life he brings into Light. He was in the world, the world was there through him, and yet the world didn’t even notice. He came to his own people, but they didn’t want him. But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. (The Message) As we celebrate this season of Christmas, and live into the journey of the Epiphany, may we see this light shining among us, shining within us, this light that chases the shadows of darkness into retreat.  This light that beckons us to come, to believe that this child Jesus is who he says he is, the harbinger of Life. After this baby is born within us, nothing is every the same. –Pastor Jimmy JANUARY WEEKLY SCRIPTURE READINGS January 1 Isaiah 60:1-6 Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14 Ephesians 3:1-12 Matthew 2:1-12 January 8 Isaiah 42:1-9 Psalm 29 Acts 10:34-43 Matthew 3:13-17 January 15 Isaiah 49:1-7 Psalm 40:1-11 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 John 1:29-42 January 22 Isaiah 9:1-4 Psalm 27:1, 4-9 1 Corinthians 1:10-18 Matthew 4:12-23 January 29 Micah 6:1-8 Psalm 15 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 Matthew...

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December Pastor’s News

Posted by on Dec 1, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

December Pastor’s News

In her book, When the Heart Waits, author Sue Monk Kidd writes of a time when she was at the Kanuga Episcopal Center.  One day she threw her easel and sketch pad in the car and drove there.  Then she says: “I’d spent a lot of my life wearing masks to fit the occasion, being everything to everybody even if that meant being someone other than myself.  Now, after long months of passionate waiting and labor pains, it seemed that I was birthing more of my True Self.  The real thing. At Kanuga I walked to the edge of the thirty-acre lake surrounded by mountain laurel.  I set up my easel, pulled out my charcoal pencils, and looked about for a scene to sketch.  There were so many —- the sun nesting on the mountains like a small red bird, ducks floating on the lake, trees the color of pumpkins. I began to draw, but none of those lovely scenes around me.  I drew something inside me instead.  I sketched a mother cradling a newborn baby against her breast.  I drew until the remaining light had nearly seeped away.  Then I stared at the picture.  In an instant of recognition I knew that God was the mother in the picture and I was the child.  Yet I also felt that I was the mother and God was the child. Gazing at the sketch on my easel, I felt the realness of the tine new creature inside me.  That moment liberated a freedom not only to say who I was and what I believed but to actually be this person God and I had birthed and would go on birthing.” (p. 197) When you read this we will be in the season of Advent, a time of waiting. Waiting for what?  For birth.  During this season we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus, in a lowly manger/stable on a night long, long, ago.  It was a birth that changed the world, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Advent, however, isn’t just about what God did once a long time ago.  It is about what God is doing right now, this day, in this time.  As we journey through Advent, we wait.  We wait for what God is birthing within us, right now, in this place and in this time. What God is always birthing within us is, as Sue Monk Kidd has written, our true self.  We all have masks, identities, that we need to lay aside, peel back. Birthing is not a “one and done” process, it is different at different times in our lives.  The birthing within a teenager in the cafeteria, a person reaching middle age, someone retiring —- and the list goes on and on —- these all look different, yet they accomplish the same thing; being transformed more fully into the person we were created to be: in a different time, and place. So this Advent/Christmas season, as we wait and ponder the image of the Madonna with child, may we see in that ourselves.  May we see God as mother, ourselves as child and discover what new birth, what new gift, what new calling, God has in mind for us right now, this day. Here’s wishing you a pregnant Advent and...

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November Pastor’s News

Posted by on Oct 31, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

November finds a crispness in the air, a crunch, like a bite into a fresh fall apple, and perhaps a curl of smoke and the wafting aroma of fire put to wood.  It is a time for cupboards to fill with autumn’s harvest, time for the kiss of frost to do its work, caressing soft greens into crackling browns.  The year is winding down, the last pages of 2016 are being ripped from the calendar, or gently folded over into months that have pasted their expiration date.  Stores stock up with Christmas and the onslaught of “sale” thunders roughshod through the air.  November itself though, is a time of richness, like a seven-layer-chocolate-cake, in the life of the church. November opens its doors with the celebration of All Saints Day; a time of joy, and tears.  It is the moment when we stop in our tracks, silence the chatter of frantic activity, and slowly cast our mind over the albums of memories past.  Our eyes sweep over pages and pages of loved ones, those who have “run the good race” and gone on to their table reservation at the heavenly banquet.  We remember: old times, laughter, tears, journeys together, last days here; and while wearing the pale of sorry, we smile into the heavens, seeing old souls dressed in new bodies and feasting at the heavenly banquet, as angelic choruses sing “Will the Circle be Unbroken” as background music for the feast —- at the table where there is a place setting with our names too, and an empty waiting chair. As the days spin out, November sets the plate for the secular holiday (holy day?) of Thanksgiving.  Kitchens fill with smells that would salivate the mouths even King Solomon’s court, as feasts are prepared.  Holiday traditions, like turkey or ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, enough pies and cakes to sink the Titanic, which are borne by tables who can barely stand from the shear weight of the feast. Loved ones gather, prayers are said.  There is thankfulness for yet another harvest and another year.  There is gratitude for each person who has come home on this day, and moments of silence for those whose tickets no longer bring them here. Then November adorns itself with crown and scepter, as trumpets resound with a seven-fold “Long Live the King.”  The Christian year roars out with the fanfare of Christ the King Sunday; and squinting eyes peer down the long road of time, straining, looking, for the one who was, and is, and is to come.  As the “Hosannas” echo and fade off into the distance of time itself, November quietly changes gowns, donning the rich velvet of purple, or perhaps royal blue, as a new year slips in: Advent, and the crinkled pages of old prophets find voice again: “And a virgin shall bear a child . . . ”  Eyes look up and prepare for a light to shine in the darkness.  Hearts skip a beat as they anticipate the guest who is to come.  Hands reach forward, to receive, and then give, the gift of love. November:  it is the Alpha and Omega, the end and the beginning, the first and the last, a long road home. Pastor Jimmy NOVEMBER WEEKLY SCRIPTURE READINGS November 6 (All...

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October Pastor’s News

Posted by on Sep 25, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

October Pastor’s News

Life is strange — water bubbling up out of the ground, snowflakes falling from the sky, fire ripping through a forest, the sweet hilarity of a baby’s laugh, the cry of excruciating pain, warmth of love/chill of hate — marvelously, wonderfully, strange. At the least it is an interesting ride, at the most (perhaps) it is an exhilarating adventure. One of the features of Facebook, is that it will bring “memories” (things you posted) from five years ago up on your Facebook page. A few days ago it reminded me that five years ago, that day, Brian had entered UNC Hospital, had his trach and feeding tube inserted, and was in ICU. The post said that he had had a better night. I remember that. “Sleeping” in a hospital lounge chair, trying to take care of my boy, who could neither move nor speak to let his caregivers know of his needs. Yesterday a “memory” came up that said, “Yesterday I was riding down the road and Brian called me from his cell phone. They had a voice valve in his ventilator line. Something he will have to learn to use, a few minutes today, more tomorrow, etc. etc. Good to hear his voice again.” The voice valve never worked out. From that point on communication was lip reading or Brian making his computer speak for him. Katherine said of that post, “I wish I had a recording from when they had it attached. If I had known that would really be the last time I heard him talk, I would have savored it more.” In his devotional this morning, Richard Rohr said: Instead of God being the Eternal Threatener, we have God as the Ultimate Participant — in everything — both the good and the painful. Instead of an Omnipotent Monarch, we see Trinity as the actual and wondrous shape of Divine Reality, which replicates itself in us (see Gen. 1:26) and in “all the array” of creation (see Gen. 2:1). Instead of God watching life happen from afar and judging it . . . How about God being inherent in life itself? How about God being the Life Force of everything? Instead of God being an Object like any other object . . . How about God being the Life Energy between each and every object (which we would usually call Love or Spirit)?   When I think about this, that would mean the Holy Spirit, the Life Force of everything was in that ICU — filling me, Brian, the room, everything — during those days, and all others.   As it was then, it still is now; that Spirit of Love continues to connect us, as one seamless tapestry, on earth and in heaven. God is not a spectator, or coach, who stands upon the sidelines of life, watching the game: No, God is in the game, God is the game — Life itself. As one saint has said, “Every time my chest rises and falls, it is God breathing into me once again the breath of life.” Hmmm . . . Pastor Jimmy OCTOBER WEEKLY SCRIPTURE READINGS October 2 Lamentations 1:1-6 Psalm 137 2 Timothy 1:1-14 Luke 17:5-10 October 9 Jeremiah 29:1,4-7 Psalm 66: 1-12 2 timothy 2:8-15 Luke 17:11-19 October 16 Jeremiah 31:27-34 Psalm 119:97-104...

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September Pastor’s News

Posted by on Sep 1, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

September Pastor’s News

Muscadine, by Jimmy Weaver Muscadine. Grapes, a treat, at the end of a morning full of rows. Sweetness, wrapped in thick skin. A bite that pierces; juice, that squirts into your mouth, across the tongue, caressing the palette, sliding down the throat, devoured by bodies warmed by Autumn’s sun, and wet, from fall crisp morning’s dew soaked grass. And seeds, to spit upon the ground; perhaps, that other vines may grow.   Such is life: Planting, harvesting, fruit of vine. I heard an ancient story. It said that I am branch, attached to vine. There is fruit to my labors; some bitter, some sweet, often wrapped in tough skin needing piercing. Sharp bites sometimes release the nectar from within.   Sometimes I am tough, not in the sense of being strong, but in the sense of being stubborn, difficult for truth to pierce. Pruning, cutting, hoeing, watering, fruit of a gardener —- unseen? —- omnipresent.   Oh, the fruit is not mine? So —- He is vine, I am branch. How odd. Not what I thought. I am branch, conduit for life’s sweet wine press juice.   A chalice —- sweetness, wrapped in thick skin. A bite that pierces; juice, that squirts into your mouth, again. (Just some thoughts for an autumn day. Peace, Pastor Jimmy)  SEPTEMBER WEEKLY SCRIPTURE READINGS September 4 Jeremiah 18:1-11 Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 (UMH 854) Philemon 1-21 Luke 14:25-33 September 11 Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28 Psalm 14 (UMH 746) 1 Timothy 1:12-17 Luke 15:1-10 September 18 Jeremiah 8:18-9:1 Psalm 79:1-9 or Psalm 4 (UMH 741) 1 Timothy 2:1-7 Luke 16:1-13 September 25 Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15 Psalm 91:1-6,14-16 (UMH 810) 1 Timothy 6:6-19 Luke 16:19-31       .                                                                      ...

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August Pastor’s News

Posted by on Aug 2, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

August Pastor’s News

King Backward (a children’s story, don’t have the author’s name) Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a King.  He was no ordinary king.  He was different from other kings because He did everything backwards from the way other kings did them.  From the very day he was born, you could tell that this king was going to be different.  Most kings are usually born in a palace, but this king was born in a stable surrounded by donkeys, sheep and cows.  It wasn’t a very big beginning for a king.  In fact, very few people even knew that a king had been born.  Only a handful of shepherds and three wise men got the word that a king had been born. As the infant king grew into a man, he continued to be different from other kings.  While most kings spent all of their time trying to become rich with silver, gold, and jewels, this king owned nothing at all.  And while most kings surrounded themselves with servants, He chose to be a servant.  He could often be found helping others. As time went on, people became very unhappy with their King because He just didn’t act the way that they thought a king should act.  Instead of riding into town on a big white horse the way other kings usually did, their king rode into town on the back of a donkey.  How embarrassing that was for His people. Was that any way for a king to act? And the people He chose to be his friends!  Why His closest friends were a bunch of smelly fishermen.  He could often be seen visiting with the poor or eating with people that a king just should not be seen with. Finally the people decided that they had put up with this King long enough.  If He couldn’t act the way a king should act, then they didn’t want Him to be their king any more.  They made a plan to have Him arrested and thrown into prison.  Their plan worked.  When the day came for his trial, the King stood before the people.  Instead of shouting “Hail to the King, Long live the King!” they shouted, “Crucify Him!  He is not our king!  Crucify Him!.”  So they crucified the King.  They nailed Him to a cross; they put a crown made of thorns on his head; they poked Him with sharp sticks and made fun of Him. What a way for a king to die!  After He was crucified, they took His body and put it in a borrowed tomb. Well, that isn’t the end of the story.  Remember, this King was different!  So instead of this being the end of a very sad story, it is the beginning of a very happy story.  You see, the King rose from the grave to live forever and now he is King forever.  Oh, there are still some people who call Him “King Backward,” but those who know Him don’t call Him that….. they call him King Jesus! During the month of August, I’m going to issue an invitation to form a group of “Backward People” here at Davis Street.  I dream that we would gather to: provide leadership without answers; look, not at what’s wrong or broken at...

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