About seven or eight years ago I volunteered to do a retiree newsletter. I really enjoy this type of work. I was on the Board of Communication when it was a joint board with Alabama/West Florida and continued through the transition to a North Alabama only board, from the Advocate newspaper to the Voice magazine, and ultimately to the web based Voice. I think it is great to have the means of “getting the word out in a timely manner.”
I know that everyone does not have access to a computer, and I know that there are those who advocate a paper newsletter mailed to you on occasion, but I also know “first hand” that there can be no newsletter without news of interest to those who receive it.
That has been the problem since my early days on the Board of Communication. Getting news for a newspaper, magazine or web based newsletter is worse that pulling teeth. I have asked on numerous occasions that people send me something that is news worthy and of interest to those of us who are retired, but still want to be informed and connected to the happenings of the Conference and the retired community. Frankly, I have had little success. One exception to that statement is Betty Gunn, who has kept me informed of the happenings of the First Tuesday Lunch Bunch. I want to give a special “thank you” to Betty, but, as all of you know, the information from one group does not make a newsletter.
It is good that we have begun having an active pastor come each month to share his or her passion for ministry. In January we had Wade Griffin from Liberty Crossings talk to us about blogging. In February we had Vicki Cater from Steele talk to us about her “ministry outside the office.” In March we had Sam Williamson talk to us about his ever changing responsibilities at Vestavia. His greatest passion is the local mission work of The Carpenter’s Hands. This month we had Jim Savage talk to us about the continuing work and growth at Riverchase UMC .
These are exciting talks and help us to remember the better times of our own ministry, but, as exciting as this gathering is, the information about it does not make a newsletter. I need real news that helps us stay connected to one another and to the Conference in general. I need your help and the help of the Bishop and Cabinet so that I can receive the news and pass it on to you.
If you are serious about wanting a newsletter, you must act. You may send the news to me at email@example.com or by snail mail at 1670 Big Mountain Drive, Birmingham, AL 35235. Please help me keep the retirees informed and connected!
In February Vicki Cater of Steele UMC spoke to us. She told us her greatest passion for ministry was what she called “Ministry outside the office.” She spends a lot of time out in the community and , because of that, she believes she is well received by most of the population of Steele. She referred to the fact that the Nazarene church had a female pastor a number of years ago who “softened up the people” for a woman pastor. She believes that is one reason she has been well received; however, it took a lot of work outside the office for people to fully accept her as the pastor of the Methodist Church.
In March Sam Williamson spoke of his duties at Canterbury as the senior associate. He spoke of his passion as he recommended clergy for different compassion ministries. He feels that it is necessary to match the clergy to those to whom they minister. He also spoke of his dedication to the ministry to which he is most associated; the ministry of The Carpenter’s Hands. This is a ministry to the community of Birmingham and surrounding areas that reaches out to people whose homes need repairs but are not able to afford to hire the work done. Canterbury helps to fund this work and a large group of members participate in the restoration.
In April Jim Savage of Riverchase UMC spoke of the work of Riverchase. He says that on any given day/night there are so many groups meeting at the church that he cannot keep up with them. Each group provides some means of connecting with the community. He is particularly proud of the Hispanic and the Korean congregations that are part of their church family.
The First Tuesday Lunch Bunch is a group of retired Clergy and spouses who meet on the first Tuesday of each month at 1:00 pm at Chris’ Bar-B-Que on Acton road just off I-459 across from AAA. All retired clergy and spouses are encouraged to join us. For more information contact Betty Gunn (205-940-9392 or Joree Vance (205-824-8184) for more information or to inform them that you are coming so that you may be added to the count.