Gammon has been honored in having Ed and Anne Wimberly represent us at the Colloquy Sponsored by General Board of Higher Education and Ministry along with the Association of United Methodist Theological Schools. The theme for the gathering was “MISSIO DEI AND THE UNITED STATES: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness.
Their theological presentation was entitled, “MISSIO DEI IN AN AGE OF YOUTH DISCONNECTION FROM CHURCH: A VISION FOR ECCLESIAL RESPONSE”. They insisted that the church’s fulfillment of God’s mission in the world is critical in this era of youth disconnection from organized religion. Further, they feel that teens must be recipients of the Missio Dei and be nurtured in ways that they become actors in this mission.
Dr. Anne Wimberly chaired one of the five (5) groups which heard and discussed the papers presented by faculty members from our thirteen (13) United Methodist Seminaries. She handled her assignment with great proficiency, filled with grace and dignity. She made Gammon very proud.
Dr. Edward Wimberly was the preacher at the closing Worship Service on Wednesday. It needs to be noted that they are the only United Methodist Professors at the Interdenominational Theological Center. Only United Methodists were invited to participate, as we seek to “Find A Way Forward”. In other words, they were all we had. This has to change.
There must be a concerted effort to secure more United Methodist Professors at I. T. C.
I was pleased to be an Observer at the “Gathering”, as a Member of AUMTS.
TO ALL GAMMONITES AND FRIENDS
THE COUNTDOWN IS ON. WE ARE JUST THREE (3) WEEKS AWAY FROM OUR 134th FOUNDER’S DAY. IT IS GOING TO BE A CELEBRATION LIKE NEVER BEFORE. HOSPITALITY WILL BE AMAZING, THE FELLOWSHIP WILL BE GREAT AND THE THINGS LEARNED WILL BE PHENOMENAL.
WE NEED YOU TO MAKE THE CELEBRATION COMPLETE. GET READY AND GET REGISTERED. THEN, ENCOURAGE SOMEONE ELSE TO JOIN IN THE FUN.
ALL ROADS LEAD TO ATLANTA ON DECEMBER 5th. GAMMON NEEDS AND WANTS YOU. PLEASE COME.
It is so amazing to experience the goodness of God in the life of Gammon Theological Seminary. We are consistently being blessed at every turn. Lives of people are touched when they hear our Gammon story.
On All Saints’ Sunday eleven (11) members of our extended family worshipped at the White Oak United Methodist Church in Chattanooga, TN, a cross racial congregation pastored by Amy Nutt, one of our students. The Conference was getting ready to close the doors on this dying congregation. But, the grace of God moved into the hearts of the Cabinet members and they appointed Amy Nutt as Pastor. And the Spirit of God is now in that place. The people are coming from far and near, representing every age level. The Youth have outgrown their space and has now been assigned to larger quarters. Somebody ought to shout Hallelujah!!!
Just so you will know there are more blessings coming our way. Chaplain Tabitha Rankin, a Gammon alumni, extended to me the invitation to be the Chapel preacher during Homecoming Week at Wiley College. This was an honor that I was too happy to accept. Wait, that’s not all. Six (6) of our Gammon students, who are graduates of Wiley College, shared with me in the richness of the celebration. Now, there is still more - four (4) of their senior students have made a commitment to matriculate at Gammon. This is another hallelujah moment.
Some have said that “When praises go up, blessings come down”. I am still trying to keep up with the magnificent way that God keeps on blessing Gammon. This means that we are always responding to what God has already done. I was given the names of two (2) pastors from the Mississippi Conference by Bishop Swanson indicating their desire to attend Gammon. Those leads have been followed up on and they will become Gammon students in 2018. Can I get another hallelujah?
Would you believe me if I said that the blessings from God are still flowing into the life of Gammon. I have been moved to ask a few friends of mine to join with me in being Sponsors of our 2017 Founder’s Day. They are saying yes to my invitation. It is my prayer that the next Dean will be a forward thinker and lead us further into the twenty first century.
It is my hope that every person who came through the corridors of Gammon will make a special effort to participate with us this year, December 5&6. We need your support. Please be assured that the best is still, “yet to come”.
The work of a President-Dean, even on an Interim basis, is very stimulating. Your life is embraced by the lives of many others across the nation. Last week, I was privileged to attend the 49th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Jurisdictional BMCR. It was held in Atlanta and attracted people from Virginia on the north, Florida on the south, and Mississippi on the west. The attendees were clergy and laity, working together in the interest of all.
The high points for me were: The Report of the Chairperson, the Reverend Dr Byron Thomas, a gifted preacher who is pastor of the Ben Hill United Methodist Church. He made the theme, “White Racism” , come alive in very graphic ways. Then, there was a panel of three (3) bishops addressing the same topic. Bishop Sue, of North Georgia, was awesome in bringing her entire Extended Cabinet to the session. In all of my years, this was a first. The bishops were faithful in staying on point. The Paine College Concert Choir provided music for the Friday Luncheon and President Jerry Hardee was most eloquent as our speaker.
I was pleased to meet students who are future Gammon students. Presence and interpersonal relationships are pivotal to recruitment. It is my hope to receive an invitation to visit the campus and students at Paine College.
Gammon is moving forward and I am honored to be a part of the team. Pray that we will remain faithful while on the journey of excellence in education and service. “A mind is a terrible thing to waste, and a great thing to invest in.”
I am consistently impressed with the sensitivity of the National Urban League in articulating the plight of the poor and disenfranchised. There has always been a need for someone to speak on behalf of the masses who are unable to speak for themselves. Due to their absence from the arenas, where decisions are made, they have neither voice nor vote. So, there has to be another John, who declared, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord.” (John 1:23). Perhaps, the Urban League is the voice of the masses. It is an organization worthy of our prayers and support.
Maybe, you have heard the statement, “God moves in mysterious ways, many wonders to perform.” My life is a testimony to the reality of this popular declaration. Recently, I had the opportunity to meet a man who answers to the name Walter. It is the name that I have answered to for a mighty long time. Our first born son answers to the same name as well. Yet, here is a different man with the same name, Walter, and it has been revealed that our philosophy on life is almost identical.
There is more to be told. Watch for the continuation of the story regarding this “Move of God” in the world today.
I can remember the phrase, “and the recollection slowly fades away.” Yet, there are some things that are important to keep stored in our memory banks, because we stand today on the history of years gone by. We navigate through life on the wisdom received, from parents and grandparents, in kindergarten and throughout our academic careers, as well as a result of our life’s many and varied experiences.
It was about twenty (20) years ago that my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through surgery and six (6) weeks of daily radiation treatments. We celebrated the news that the cancer was in remission. Our faith was consistently exercised throughout this ordeal. However, cancer was not through with us, just like Satan, and sixteen (16) years later, a new cancer appeared in the other breast. This time, we went through two (2) surgeries and radiation with another report of, “in remission”. So, again, we celebrate and are grateful. Through it all, we are convinced that God would not put more on us than we can bear. Now, I learned that in Church.
If there has ever been a time when we needed to hold on to our faith, it is right now. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pray for those who are living with the disease, and may God empower someone to make a way for the discovery of a lasting cure.
The events and experiences within the context of American history declare, with a loud voice, the need for a prophetic voice to cry out in the midst of our wandering through this wilderness. We suffer from the lack of sufficient servant leaders with compassion for the masses who are incapable of helping themselves.
It must be said that standing out of respect for the American flag, nor during the singing of the National Anthem deserve the combative demonstrations we experience on a weekly basis. We would be better served if there was regular adherence to the Word of God in Philippians 2:10 (KJV) that says, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” In other words, we ought to be faithful in getting down on both knees in prayer rather than take one knee in protest. Prayer will trump protest every day.
We must feel the pain and agony of our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria brought havoc to this American Island. Whenever a family member suffers, the pain is felt by the total body. Puerto Rico is not just an Island out in the middle of a big ocean, it is a member of our body crying for help. Loving parents are always faithful in responding to the cries of their child. May we never falter in the execution of our moral obligation to the family. Charity begins at home, and then it spreads abroad.
Together, all things are possible.
We are living in turbulent times and the need for an effective witness on the part of the Christian Church in collaboration with other faith communities is greater now than ever before. The words spoken by the leaders from North Korea and the United States resemble two juveniles trying to prove who can destroy the other the greatest number of times. War benefits the rich and is a demonic force in the lives of the masses. It is the poor and the marginalized who suffer the most.
I am pleased that the Dean's Council at the I. T. C. is committed to taking our witness and ministry off the campus and into the Vine City Community. We seek to become doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves. It is a joy to be in a collegiate community with persons willing to risk leaving the comfort of the campus to venture into the unknown. We go with full confidence that God will make our way plain and that victory will be achieved.
Now, I must offer a word about the popularity of the nonsense over the sacredness of the flag. Is it a sign of disrespect to sit or kneel during the presentation of the flag and the singing of the National Anthem? The President of the United States has actually succeeded in taking the spotlight off his failure to pass promised legislation and turned his attention to the action of a professional football player. His rhetoric is causing a growing demonstration of resentment. As a Christian, the ultimate allegiance is not to the flag, but to Jesus Christ.
Finally, the Faith Community needs to be in prayer for President Donald Trump that God will deliver him from his self-centered ways to the end that America will truly be a Great Nation.
It is so encouraging to see the growth and development of young seminarians unfolding right before your very eyes. You are led to declare, what a mighty God we serve. Our students at Gammon Theological Seminary have a hunger for academic excellence, a spirit of collegiality, and a strong desire to be creatively and effectively involved in the ministry of the local church.
These are the men and women who have answered the Call of God for the ministry of word and sacrament. I am more encouraged by what I see in the lives of our current students and believe that the future of the church is bright. My prayer is that God will deliver them from any form of selfishness to the end that Jesus Christ will be glorified.
I am grateful for the opportunity to visit in congregations where our students are serving. My travels include a trip to Chattanooga, Montgomery, Marshall, TX (Wiley College), Augusta, GA (Paine College) and throughout North Georgia. We exist at Gammon for the benefit of the students. Without them there would be no reason for our doors to be open.
It is a great joy to be surrounded by students who hunger and thirst for the Living Word.
I seek the prayers and support from all persons of good will. Remember, together all things are possible. Amen.