Lyn Frazer shared with me that she recently received a phone call from Lucia Rice Martin, the daughter of Dr. O. E. Rice. Dr. Rice was such an important part in the building of our church from 1934 to 1941. Mrs. Martin is now elderly and lives in California. Lyn said that Mrs. Martin shared of her wonderful memories of Montgomery and the church and was looking for printed material we have on the sanctuary and the windows to give to her grandchildren. Lyn said, “It was a little like hearing from a celebrity!”
I share this with you as a reminder of our need at times to take the “long” view. Dr. Rice’s ministry concluded here 76 years ago, but his legacy continues to shape us here at First United Methodist Church. Each Sunday when we gather in the beautiful “Cathedral in the Pines” we are the benefactors of the vision and the sacrifice of Dr. Rice and those who were part of this congregation that persevered to ensure the completion of our sanctuary building.
More often, we find ourselves mired in the “tyranny of the urgent.” Charles Hummel wrote, “Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important.” I suspect we can all relate when we consider the “busyness” of our everyday lives. But the reality is that we need “balcony” time to gain clarity, to assess things, to take stock, and to give consideration to what God may desire of us in this day and time.
Over these past couple of weeks I have sought the balcony, spending time in prayer, study, and reflection about the mission and ministry of First United Methodist Church of Montgomery. I am looking forward to another great year together as we seek to take the “next best step” in our efforts to be faithful witnesses for Christ. My prayer is that what we do will be of such importance that 76 years from now others will speak of the impact we had in their lives.
I want to express my deepest appreciation to the clergy, staff, and to you, the members of First United Methodist Church of Montgomery for your leadership during these days. I am grateful for the privilege and honor to serve among you and am better prepared to do so because of this time of preparation for the coming year. I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we worship together!
This Sunday we will take part in “Five on the Fifth” with the other churches of the Montgomery area. Please bring five dollars to give to support Mary Ellen’s Hearth to help women and children in need who live in our area. Mary Ellen’s Hearth is the legacy of yet another great servant of Christ who served so faithfully in our congregation, Mrs. Mary Ellen Bullard. Let us honor her memory and help others as we take part in “Five on the Fifth.”
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Jeremy K. Pridgeon