Looking back ...

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

A very long time ago when I was a not-so-young but new reporter for the “other” paper, Cal would challenge me each year to come up with a “Year in Review” story, hitting the highs, lows and main news stories of the past year. (Yes, Cal was my boss even back then.)

I have never done a “Year in Review” for our religion events but I thought it would be interesting. So, here we go with something new ... “Looking Back.” Remember, I’m only hitting the highs and lows as I see them and many events may be omitted.

January: Along with announcements about new church programs starting in the new year, the first issue of last year, Jan. 3, brought a bit of a shocker — the first announcement that Dan Brigham, longtime vicar of St. Andrew’s in-the-Pines Episcopal Church, was retiring. More details later revealed that a new church had spun off of St. Andrew’s and was forming from its congregation. This group became All Saints Anglican Church, a new congregation which currently is thriving in Peachtree City.

Also in January, Brent Ritter was hired as the new youth minister at Providence United Methodist and St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Coweta announced it was ready to dedicate its new facility.

Many of you may not know it but St. Mary’s was “birthed” by Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Peachtree City not too many years ago. They purchased a “farm” right next door to Cokes Chapel United Methodist just across the line in Coweta County and, for years, met in the only structure that existed on the property (besides a house), an old tin barn. The story of their fund raising is inspiring and they now have a mighty structure in which to worship and have educational classes. It really is beautiful. All, and I mean all, of the publicity you have read about St. Mary’s has been faithfully submitted by Marie Mulvenna. She truly is a blessing, both to her church and to us.

February: The next month, we ran another inspiring story - one on Harp’s Crossing and their new magnificent structure which was up and operating completely debt free. It was truly a month for giving thanks.

In February we readied for Lent with luncheons, Lenten services, retreats and, something unusual offered by The Catholic Church of St. Gabriel, a Labyrinth Walk. Also in February, we announced that Grace Evangelical Church would host an internationally known Christian music minister, Godfrey Birtell, and Holy Trinity held its annual health fair.

March: In March, an old friend returned for at least one Sunday. Dr. Ike Reighard, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville many years ago, returned and preached for Dogwood Church’s 20th anniversary. Congregation B’Nai Israel hosted an art auction and three new leaders were installed at the LDS Church in Jonesboro, Gerald Ballington, George R. Parker, and Brian Clark.

April: In April as we all readied for another Easter, the Rev. Thomas L. Myers was officially welcomed as the new senior pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church and the Rev. Rita Henault took over as rector of the Episcopal Church of the Nativity.

May: In May, Fayette Presbyterian celebrated its 50th anniversary, The Rock Baptist Church held a benefit concert, and Flat Creek Baptist hosted international missionary Sherri Dodd at a “tea” party. Also in May, our longtime religion columnist John Hatcher resigned. We were sorry to see him go but decided to take a little different route and go with four columnists instead of one. Over the next few weeks, “auditions” were held and we eventually selected David Chancey, pastor of McDonough Road Baptist, Sally Oakes, pastor of Bethany United Methodist, Dayne Massey, pastor of Gracepointe Church, and Paul Massey, pastor of Church of the Holy Cross Charismatic Episcopal Church. I am delighted with the diversity, both in points of view and writing styles, they provide in their columns.

Late in May, the Rev. Gary Edward Franklin was installed as the new pastor at Grace Evangelical Church, and the Rev. David Jones and his wife, Pat, were honored for their service to Christ the King Charismatic Episcopal Church.

June: In June, the Rev. Fred Heard returned to Ebenezer United Methodist Church as guest speaker for its homecoming. Tyrone’s own Jim Ellison, pastor of Providence United Methodist for many years, was named senior pastor at Atlanta First United Methodist Church, Susan Leigh Baker was selected as the new youth minister for St. Mary Magdalene Catholic’s religious education program, and Fr. Karl Duggan was named pastor of St. Gabriel Catholic Church.

Fr. James P. Adams, former pastor at St. Gabriel, was assigned as chaplain of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School, Fr. John Walsh was granted a 10-month sabbatical, and Fr. Alvarado Avendano, parochial vicar at Holy Trinity was moved to Church of the Good Shepherd in Cumming.

Also in June, the Rev. Warren Huddleston was selected to replace Jim Ellison at Providence and everybody started gearing up for summer Vacation Bible School.

July: In July, 23 persons were confirmed at Peachtree City’s new All Saints Anglican Church and the church found a semi-permanent home on Kelly Drive. Square Foot Ministry performed much service throughout the summer, working in conjunction with several churches in the area.

August: In August, announcements of fall craft festivals and revivals began to appear and Fayette Community Church welcomed Tom Jacobs as its new youth minister.

September: In September, ReGen Fellowship, a new church, started in Tyrone, All Saints Anglican announced its first pastor, the Rev. Michael Fry, and held its first Sunday school classes, and St. Christopher Hellenic Orthodox Church held its homecoming. Covenant Presbyterian celebrated 30 years and The Olivet Church celebrated its 16th anniversary.

October: In October, four area Catholic churches, St. Gabriel, St. Matthew, Holy Trinity and St. Mary Magdalene, announced plans to jointly co-sponsor a Casino Night fund raiser at Falcon Field in Peachtree City, Heritage Christian held a grand opening for its new worship and children’s ministry center, and ReGen Church’s band won “Best Band in Show” at Tyrone’s Founder’s Day parade. Square Foot Ministry planned one of its biggest projects with the transporting of some 300 volunteers to Pass Christian, Miss. for Katrina rebuilding. Edgefield Baptist in Fayetteville hosted a breast cancer walk and the Rev. Calvin Smith left Abundant Life Church in Tyrone to pursue evangelizing interests.

November: In November, Citizen columnist and longtime Fayette resident Sallie Satterthwaite was honored in Atlanta by the Islamic Speaker’s Bureau, Dogwood Church held a ground-breaking for a new administrative building, and David Epps was installed as a bishop in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. Announcements for Christmas events began to pop up, the first being Heritage Christian’s Dickens Village, and Fayette Christian’s Walk Through Bethlehem.

December: In December, a new church in Peachtree City was announced, Triumph Leadership Center, meeting at the Wyndham-Peachtree in Peachtree City and our pages were filled with announcements of wonderful upcoming Christmas programs, Christmas services and New Year’s activities.

Looking back is fun, but looking ahead is better. I have really enjoyed writing about your church events and activities, especially when I had an opportunity to correspond with you via email. Here’s to reporting on more terrific events at churches in the year ahead.

Happy New year!

login to post comments | Judy Fowler Kilgore's blog