Posts Tagged Gowan

Christian Leaders

Tom Guerry and Mitch Carnell at French Huguenot Church

Mitch, Carol and Dr. Martin Marty at FBC

“Remember your leaders Carol Carnellwho spoke God’s word to you. Imitate their faith as you consider the way their lives turned out.” (Hebrews 13: 7 (CEB)

When I was eleven years old our pastor gathered a group of us preteens together every Saturday morning for two or three weeks to talk to us about making our public profession of faith. I have always had many questions. Most adults did not want to deal with them. Preacher Gowan was different. “Mitch,” he said. “God created all of you. That includes your brain. God did not expect you to turn off your brain when you come to church.” I did not realize it at the time for I was much too young, but what a gift he gave me.  He was giving me permission to grow as a Christian. He was encouraging me to eat solid food.

Sixty-five years later Dr. Cynthia Campbell, President of the Presbyterian Seminary in Chicago, expressed the same though a bit more eloquently. “There is no place you can go that God isn’t already there. There is no question you can ask that God hasn’t already answered.” Her message was urging us to grow in our faith. I am blessed by the Christian leaders God has brought into my life to show me the way, to encourage me, to comfort me, to challenge me.

Prayer:

Thank you God for the saints you bring into my life to guide me and to strengthen my walk with you. May I be that encouraging to others. Amen.

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Thankful Thursday – Northside Baptist Church – Woodruff, SC

Northside Baptist ChurchOn this Thankful Thursday, I am grateful for the people at Northside Baptist Church in Woodruff, South Carolina. My earliest memories are of the church and the wonderful people and pastors who nurtured me there. My first real work experience was helping/hindering Mr. Stacey Hughes as he carried out his custodial duties. I lined up the chairs and stacked the books in the large downstairs social hall. I mostly remember creating a make believe train out of the chairs. I really wanted to stoke the big furnace, but Mr. Hughes would not allow me anywhere close to it. Our next door neighbor, Mr. Andy McGill, was Sunday school superintendant. Mrs. Elma, his wife, was leader of the RAs and taught the ladies’ Sunday school class. The Rev. Roy Gowan was our minister and friend. I owe more to him than I could ever repay.\

I was introduced to public speaking in the now defunct Baptist Training Union. These wonderful people encouraged me and every other young person in every way possible. We had a Christmas tree in the sanctuary. Santa Claus came and everyone got a present. No one confused Jesus and Santa. Elizabeth McGill played the electric organ and I loved the bells. The congregation enjoyed singing the old hymns and I  still remember most of them. We had Vacation Bible School and church picnics. Rev. Guy Stoner came as pastor and he had a pony for his young girls. My sister and I kept the pony when they went to Canada on vacations. Rev. J.L. McCluney came later as our pastor and he was a giant of a man and a heart as big as his body. He visited me at Mars Hill College.

There is much more that I need to write about this wonderful church. I received such a strong foundation there that has allowed me to continue to grow and develop my ever expanding personal theology. I still get goose bumps when I hear, “Just As I am.” It is as true for me today as it was in that childhood church so many years ago. On this Thankful Thursday I am grateful for the wonderful people who were the church when I was growing up.

Thankful Thursday is a day set aside to recognize the contributions of someone to our lives and to let her or him know of our gratitude. Develop and attitude of gratitude. Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter. You will be glad that you did.

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