Flo Johnston Faith in Focus
July 24, 2014
The 50th Anniversary Quilt is all finished and hanging in a prominent place in the vestibule at Trinity Presbyterian Church.
A work of art created by seven women in the congregation, the quilt includes 20 squares designed and sewn by each individual to document the life of this congregation over the past half century.
Frances Frye doesn’t lay claim to anything other than being a member of the quilting team, but it was she who went through the minutes of the Session, the elected body that oversees the spiritual life in a Presbyterian church, listing those important events and dates to be stitched into the quilt.
Those who worked on the project since last January represent untold hours in a labor of love. They include Kay Alexander, Linda Hamilton, Shannon Hamilton, Judy Stebbins, Patsy Smith and Janie Pinkston-Sutton. Lily Pittman was adviser for the project.
On Sunday, the congregation at 13000 Blue’s Farm Road will mark its 50th year as a Presbyterian presence in South Laurinburg.
With a flair for the dramatic, the church has invited Dr. Rodger Decker to speak at the 11 a.m. service for old times sake. It was he who spoke on that first Sunday in 1964 when a fledgling group of 40 colonizers from Laurinburg Presbyterian held the first worship service and again on its 25th anniversary Sunday in 1989.
Now retired, Dr. Decker, who just marked his 88th birthday, is a former dean of students and psychology professor at St. Andrews. He said this week that he will not be “preaching” on Sunday, because he is not a preacher.
“I will be speaking about challenges, giving time to the history of the church, where it is today and offer suggestions about the future,” he said.
As to the personality of this congregation where he was a charter member, he said, “The congregation is very dedicated and seeks to do God’s work. It has come from nothing to be a thriving church. We have been blessed with some capable leaders and have reached the point where one of our pastors played the guitar, but no drums or saxophones,” he said.
Clergy participating in the service will be the Rev. Becky Kahnt, the present pastor, and two previous ones, the Rev. Dr. Allen McSween and the Rev. Dr. Thomas Dendy.
A covered dish lunch will be served after the service.
On Saturday, a real anniversary blowout is planned with all kinds of fun on the grounds including old time games like jacks, checkers, horseshoes, sack races, tug of war, corn hole and field games.
But the event expected to get the most attention is the Pie in the Face contest that will pit Pastor Becky Kahnt against Pastor Deck Guess from Old Laurel Hill Presbyterian. This has something to do with collecting money in a jar, so show up with some spare change and you may get to see your favorite preacher with lemon cream oozing down his or her face.
During growing season, Montpelier Presbyterian in Wagram is sponsoring a Saturday Farmer’s Market from 9 a.m. to noon on the front lawn of the church.
Now in its second year, the market was the brainchild of members Kenzie and Will Miller.
The idea was to promote fresh vegetables and community, giving local farmers a place to sell their crops. There is no charge for a spot to sell and the farmer keeps all the proceeds from sales. Only locally grown produce is accepted.
On a recent Saturday, the market had the usual squash, zucchini, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, blueberries, okra, cucumbers as well as several varieties of cookies.
An 89-year-old woman was selling squash muffins and an 8-year-old girl was selling her Mug Pies, fruit pies baked in coffee mugs she bought at the Habitat store.
Pastor Jim Smith said the market is small, but has other redeeming features.
“From a business standpoint, some might consider it a failure. We have been unable to consistently attract farmers with large volumes of produce. However, from a church mission perspective the market has been an overwhelming success,” he said.
“Members of the community hang around and chat. Last week there was a corn hole game set up and several folks enjoyed challenging each other. The market has turned out to be an ecumenical gathering with members of several local churches consistently participating.
“People of various ethnicities come by to check out the goods. They stay and chat. People driving by on busy 421 blow the horns and wave. What excellent publicity for a small rural church!”
Montpelier Church is located on Main Street near the middle of town.
A service designed around music and Scripture will be featured in Sunday worship at 11 a.m. at Faith Presbyterian, 2220 Elm Ave.
A committee from the congregation with the help of Charlene Jones, retired musician from First Presbyterian in Fayetteville, who has been Faith’s musician for the summer, planned the service that will include familiar hymns as well as the voices of all ages in the congregation.
Scripture readings will be read by selected congregation members who will stand and read passages pertaining to music from both the Old and New Testaments.
Marion McGirt Davis, a soloist, will sing, as will teens from a group Charlene has worked with over the past weeks. Teens will also sing during the time with children, a regular feature of Sunday worship at the church.
All are welcome to attend this event. The church is located at 2220 Elm Ave.
Charlene Jones is moving and will be at the church only one more Sunday. The church is now looking for another musician.
Send items about church activities, projects, fund-raisers, special occasions, anniversaries, lecture series, special sermons, visiting preachers or musicians, choral programs, anything you think would be of general interest to readers of the Laurinburg Exchange. If your church calls a new minister or choir director or has a unique idea about how to reach out to the community and recruit new members, tell me about it. And if the choir director runs off with the organist, send up a smoke signal and I’ll be right there. If you have something you want to tell me about and it takes more than a few minutes, let me know and I’ll invite you to lunch and we can talk all afternoon.
If you have questions about how to do any of this, call me at 910-361-4135 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Some of you already know that I respond to email if appropriate and I return phone calls.
You can also send me a note at 2200 Elm Ave., Apt. 114, Laurinburg NC 28352.