Kitchen Table Conversations

Terry Walton


I Was Thinking…

I was reared in a United Methodist Local Pastor’s home.  My youngest memory is of dad serving the six churches on the Forsyth Circuit.  Dad was appointed next to the Pomona/Mt.Zion Charge in Griffin.  During my formative years of life and faith it was the people of the small church that nurtured my heart and soul.

In a Pastor’s home there are ‘kitchen table conversations’ about the church.  From mom’s critique of dad’s sermons to that cantankerous church member that just doesn’t get it.  Around the kitchen table we shared in my dad’s joys of ministry and his frustrations of ministry…the agony and ecstasy of it all.

I can still remember my dad rehearsing his sermons in our basement while we were about our Saturday’s cleaning house upstairs.  It was a mumbling sound but we could tell by voice inflection it was the sermon being fine-tuned and made ready for the coming Sunday morning. 

I remember when the United Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical-United Brethren Church in 1968 and the anxious spirit of the church.  There was a fear about what this would mean for our small rural churches.  What if people arrived at our doors on Sunday morning that made us uncomfortable?  What were we to do?  I remember the Civil Rights movement of the sixties and fear as to what that would mean.  And what if ‘they’ showed up at our door on a Sunday morning?  What were we to do?  And I vividly remember as a ten year old kid being proud of my dad when he said “Anyone who comes with the intention of worship is welcome in our church”.  That was a very bold statement back then.

Throughout the years our adult children have been privy to conversations around our kitchen table.  They have seen me with joy and with frustration as I have stood in the place of my father as a United Methodist minister.  They have seen me process cantankerous members who have been in every church we’ve served.  They have heard my mumblings through walls as I’ve rehearsed sermons in an attempt to make them as God would have them on a given Sunday morning.

They are with me these days in a similar place sensing the anxiety of the United Methodist Church as she goes through another uncertain time.  What if ‘they’ show up at our door on a Sunday morning?  What are we to do?  And they stand with me as I echo my dad’s words of the sixties “Anyone who comes with the intention of worship is welcome in our church.”  I sense it is still a bold statement.  Let me go on record to say…so be it and Amen!

Always Thinking…


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