Retired pastor and longtime contributor shares 64 years of memories
By HERCHEL H. SHEETS
I have been an avid reader of the Advocate since 1949, when I received my first pastoral appointment. As a pastor I enthusiastically promoted subscriptions in the churches I served and encouraged members to read the Advocate. I remember serving for a year in the 1960s on a study and evaluation committee which made recommendations for various changes in the Advocate.
During the 1990s, I served on the Advocate board and for a time was president of the board. In one instance, I was chair of the search committee that selected a new editor.
As a pastor, from time to time I would send news articles to the Advocate. In 1963 I remember the editor asking permission to publish remarks I made at the funeral of Dr. Charles R. Clegg, President of Young Harris College. In the summer of 1963 I spent several weeks in a study program in the Holy Land, and the following year the Advocate published a series of twelve articles I wrote on "Places Christ Hallowed." These articles were published in book form by The Upper Room in 1965, becoming my first published book. I wrote two additional series of articles based on my studies in the Holy Land: "Modern Jews in Their Homeland" and "The Mountains of the Bible." These were published in the Advocate in 1964 and 1965. Then from 1965 to 1967 I wrote a weekly article with the title, "I Read It Somewhere."
Across the years I wrote occasional articles for the Advocate on various subjects. But the big opportunity and challenge came in 1975 when the Rev. Bill Holt, who was the editor at that time, invited me to write a weekly article on the Sunday School Lesson (international Series) each week during the three summer months. I eagerly accepted that invitation without even imagining that I would do that every summer for 37 years - a total of 488 articles. I can't vouch for what this meant to the Advocate's readers, but I know it was a significant experience for me and I will be forever grateful for it.
In retirement I have continued to read the Advocate regularly. It has helped me to stay informed about what is going on in United Methodism, not only in North Georgia but throughout the world. Again and again it has contained articles that have informed, inspired, or challenged me. I am in debt to all who have kept it going for these 170-plus years and have made it what it has been. I give thanks to God for them all.