Having returned to my study after running errands, I noticed immediately an article that a visitor had placed on my chair. It was an article from the Post & Courier, the daily newspaper out of Charleston, about a good friend, the Rev. Dr. Danny Massie, who recently retired as Senior Pastor of the First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, a sister church of the Charleston Atlantic Presbytery.
Danny and I first met in 1997. I was six years into my ministry at Sea Island and he was just beginning at First Scots. We have remained good friends since our first meeting. We have both served as Moderator’s of the presbytery and served on committees together. The article tells the story about his childhood growing up in Mississippi. Danny’s mother was plagued with depression and his father suffered from alcoholism. The local Presbyterian Church sheltered both Danny and his brother, and the church became his family. Then came the call to parish ministry. Through the years, I have always appreciated and respected Danny’s wisdom, graciousness, and good sense of humor.
Several years ago, conducting work of the presbytery, I had the opportunity of visiting a Session Council meeting at First Scots. As I walked into the meeting, I anticipated a group of elders that most people would associate with a downtown Charleston church. I was surprised. The folks who represented the governing body of this historical congregation came from a twenty mile radius, male and female, white collar and blue collar, Northerner and Southerner. There was conversation and laughter around the table, a thoughtful devotion and opening prayer, a genuine spirit of friendship and respect for one another. I came away from that meeting impressed.
This Sunday at the 10:30 am worship service, we as a congregation will share together in a liturgy to ordain and install new church officers, elders and deacons, who have been elected to serve this community of faith with energy, intelligence, imagination and love. This is an exciting time in the life of the Sea Island Presbyterian Church. Thankful for the faithful service of those who are now rotating off the Session Council and the Board of Deacons, may they know that their work has benefited the cause of Jesus Christ and the gospel. As new leaders assume roles of service, may we support them with our prayers and friendship, and if a visitor shows up one evening for a meeting may the visitor sense God’s peace around the table, a gracious commitment to the love and justice of Jesus Christ, and mutual respect within the ranks of our leadership and fellowship.
Peace and Grace,
Pastor Steve +