Monday, December 8, 2008

A Great Time Of Fellowship

On Sunday evening the congregation of Westmoreland Baptist Church enjoyed our annual Christmas Dinner. The weather was pretty rough here on Saturday and the fact that some of the side streets and suburban roadways were still a little icy probably kept sine folks from being able to attend. However, more than 175 of our folks made it out for this time of good food and fellowship.

The "Mixed Blessings" class, taught by Terry Perdue (pictured here) were the sponsors and hosts for this year's Christmas Dinner. And what a great job they did! The class members braved the snowy weather on Saturday morning to set up the gym and decorate for the dinner. Not only did they have the inclement weather to fight, there were also furnace issues which presented a challenge during the morning hours. This group was not going to let circumstances steal their joy, so they persevered, and the result was a beautifully decorated gym.

We are blessed with a number of wonderful Sunday morning Bible Study groups, with excellent teachers, and "Mixed Blessings" is only one of them. Terry's class is a great group of workers and a tightly knit spiritual family. I thank God that I see that same type of oneness in a number of the other adult classes. Al Dienes' "Kings Children" class members are always faithful, and they have many outings and projects that unite them in Christian service and in love. The "Pairs and Spares" class is a relatively new Sunday morning group, but they have already made a tremendous impact by initiating and administering the "Garments of Grace" clothing collection and distribution. The young adult members of that class are also found actively involved in other ministries of our church, including AWANA, Student Ministry, Children's Choir, and Upward Sports.

I jokingly call the "Thirty Something" class, just the "Something" class, since some of the members are no longer in their 30's. But this group is solid. It has long been a class with a close camaraderie and one which has produced many leaders for our church. Steve and Cathy Howerton and Scott Bell share teaching duties among the "Somethings".

The "Timothy Class" is made up of a group of Senior men who are and have been stalwarts in this church. They are faithful men who have served as a great example to our younger men in their serving and giving to the work of the Lord. One interesting fact about the "Timothy" class is that there is no particular teacher. The members of the class take turns in teaching the lessons on a rotating basis. Elsie Singleton teaches the "Friendship" class, another faithful group of ladies who can always be counted on. Rachel Lackey's "J.O.Y." class, while small in number, has a tight fellowship of ladies who are always in their spot, and involved in other ministries of the church. June Ashworth's combined "Dorcas/Naomi" class is a group of older ladies who faithfully gather for Bible study every Sunday morning. Leona Calhoun is senior among that group. Mrs. Calhoun will be 100 years old in 2009, yet is in Bible Study and morning worship nearly every Sunday!

I could go on and on about our youth classes, where Josh Spurgeon, Mindi Bell and Rick Dean lead those great young people in Bible Study and fellowship. And it would take another column to note and to thank our faithful Children's and pre-school teachers for the great job each of them do to lay a spiritual foundation in the lives of those children.

I thank God that He has called me to serve this wonderful congregation. Things are changing here at Westmoreland Baptist. One generation passes on and a new generation steps up to take it's place. Methods may change, but the never changing message endures. I am praying that as the new year quickly approaches, we will all be focused on keeping the main thing the main thing. Magnifying God, Making Disciples, and Ministering to People. That's what it's about.

Last night's Christmas Dinner was another special time when people from all of the church family can come together to enjoy the blessing of God, and the blessing of being part of The Body of Christ. The "Mixed Blessings" class did a lot of the hard work. Terry Perdue read a portion of the First Chapter of John's Gospel, reminding us that Matthew and Luke give the details of the birth of Christ, but John simply tells us of the reason for His coming! Carla Bell and members of the adult choir led us in singing several beautiful Christmas Carols, and the people of the church made the dinner possible by bringing the food. We had a great time together.
The members of Westmoreland Baptist join me in wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

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