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August 2023 Newsletter


Pastor's Note

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1.27 NIV

I am going to wade into the deep waters called gender. With the current climate about transgender and identity I wanted a deeper understanding of what we are actually talking about. I will share with you what I found out.

There are currently two primary views related to gender identity. The first is biological. From this we understand that at the level of our chromosomes we are born male or female. This comes from our biological parents. Each provides a chromosome the causes us to be born male or female. A female is born with XX chromosomes. A male is born with XY chromosomes.

This sounds pretty straightforward. However there can be some persons born differently. A female can be born with XY chromosomes (this is called Swyer syndrome). A male can be born with XYY chromosomes. Another condition is called Ambiguous Genitalia syndrome. This is when a child is born with both sets of reproductive organs. These are rare syndromes, but they do happen. It takes place when the wiring for our chromosomes is being created.

Also, in our biological understanding of gender two hormones are involved. They are estrogen and testosterone. Both male and female have these hormones. Traditionally, males have more testosterone and females have more estrogen. These hormones vary in each individual. At this time there is a South African Olympic athlete named Caster Semenya. She is a biological female, yet her body produces too much testosterone and is in violation of the rules of her sport. That governing body wants her to take estrogen or testosterone blockers in order for her to participate in her sport.

That is the biological side of gender. The other is cultural which is reflected in the dictionary definition. It states that gender is “the male or female sex, especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones, or one of a range of other identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male or female.” By this definition gender is a cultural creation and not a biological one. People can choose their identity.

These two definitions are in conflict with each other. I haven’t even brought up sexual orientation at all which is a whole other can of worms in our culture. I do agree that culture does set certain gender expectations. What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman? We have a lot of derogatory words for boys who are too “girly.” We have a lot of expressions for girls who are too “tom boyish.”

What I am attempting to express is that the Bible tells us that each of us is created in the image of God. Even a child born with a “syndrome” is a reflection of the Creator. Also, the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ died for us all. I do not have all of the answers when it comes to gender issues in our culture. What I do know is that while we can disagree on these things the person with whom we disagree is still a creation of God and reflects the image of the Creator. I may not understand why someone believes what they believe. I can believe Christ died for them as Christ died for me.

In God’s grace, Pastor Alan

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Meetings, Events

Prayer Group Meeting

Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m., we meet to pray over concerns of our members and friends. You may call the office or pastor, or email us with prayer concerns at NOTE: Group will not meet August 8 & 15.

Wesley Class Meeting

Class meets on Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. Note: Class will not meet on August 8 & 15.

Food Ministry

The next Lord's Supper Ministry meal will be delivered on Monday, August 21. Please contact Ricky Baker if you would like to help with the cooking, etc. Delivery people need to arrive by 4:30 p.m.

Senior Citizens Gathering

Our Senior Citizens next monthly meeting will be on Tuesday, August 22 at 11:00 a.m. A free meal will be served. Bring a dessert to share if you can.

Church Council Meeting

The Council will meet on Sunday, August 27 at 4:00 p.m. Members of the congregation may also attend and participate, but cannot vote.

United Methodist Women

Ebenezer's United Methodist Women will meet on Sunday, August 27 at 6:00 p.m. All women of the church are invited to attend.

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Something to Pray About

References: Judges 7:1-8; Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 2, pp. 737-739.

The Lord said to Gideon, "The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, 'My own hand has delivered me.'" –Judges 7:2 NIV

Gideon gathered an army of 32,000 to fight the Midianites who were wreaking havoc in Israel; yet, God said, "That’s too many!" The LORD then instructs Gideon to do some tests to winnow down the group of warriors to only 300 men!

Since 2016, it seems that God has been whittling down the congregation at Ebenezer Church. Many of us have been greatly concerned about the decline in our membership numbers and attendance numbers and contributions. Have we stopped to wonder why God may be cutting us down to move us into greater service and glory for him?

Gideon’s army went from a big force of 32,000 warriors down to 300. This remaining number of warriors were the bravest and most alert of the 32,000 men. God wanted them to understand that their coming victory over the enemies of Israel was because of the power and strategies that God provided them. Their victory would be in God’s hands, not in their hands or by their cleverness.

When things are going well, when we have plenty of money coming in, when we have many hands to do the work that needs to be done, we humans can become cocky and assume that our successes are because of ourselves and our own efforts and cleverness, instead of because of God’s mercies and blessings.

Ebenezer Methodist Church is facing a mountain of difficulty in our desire and determination to stand true to God’s Word and long-standing Christian doctrine, and not give into the mandates of an evil culture. Yes, I said evil. Satan is the father of lies. He comes to kill and destroy. Look around: abortion = killing; easy divorce, easy/free love, the welfare state, same-sex marriage = destruction of the family; transgenderism (transvestites) = deceitfulness; pretending to be something they are not and can never truly be.

We will stand. We will survive. Not because of our own efforts or power, but because of the power God gives our efforts to succeed. In his will, he provides to us all that we need to remain true to him for his glory.

By the way, Gideon and his 300 men win the battle with the “sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” (7:20b).

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Celebrations - August


  • 6th--Tyler Baker
  • 10th--Alan Gaylord
  • 11th--Becky Silver
  • 11th--Ariel Carlisle
  • 13th--Trey Hefner
  • 18th--Kinley Starbuck
  • 23rd--Braylen Helton
  • 23rd--Monte Hollar
  • 24th--Candace Collins
  • 24th--Casey Collins
  • 24th--Cooper Behmer


  • 4th--Lyle and Angie Miller
  • 18th--Ricky and Shawn Baker
  • 25th--Brian and Kim Knepp


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Council Minutes

Attendees: Rev. Alan Gaylord, Irene Austin, Rosanna Bachman, Kim Ellis, Barbara Ferguson, Emily Haas, Bleaka Hollar, John McCrary, Judy McCrary, Marsha McRary, Linda Moretz, Cindy Sears, Becky Silver, Kenny Silver, Ted and Gerry Daniel, and Jeff Yount (Guest).

Marsha McRary opened the meeting with a reading from Psalm 92:12-15, “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, ‘The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.’” We are in a mess now as we prepare to disaffiliate from the UMC, yet God remains with us. He is making a way for us. At the end of it all, we will give glory to God. When we stand in righteousness with our God, He stands with us, and blesses us with the strength to continue to stand. Marsha gave the opening prayer.

Reading of the minutes of the June meeting: motion to accept as written by Rosanna; seconded by Irene. Passed unanimously.

New Business

Marsha recognized our special guest, Jeff Yount, who brought forth a proposal to conduct a large barbecue fundraising event. He (his business) will prepare the food and help conduct the fundraiser. All profits above the cost of food, plates, etc. will go to Ebenezer. He estimates that we could raise over $8,000. There was more discussion of how the event would work, his need for volunteers from our church to help with preparing the plates, delivering the plates, and getting up orders. Prices were discussed and set at $13 per plate, $40 for a whole butt, $13 for 1 lb. bag of chopped barbecue. This would be a three-day event, Thursday evening through Saturday at lunchtime. We will need about 15 people to help on Friday morning (beginning at 8:30 a.m.) (at his business location), and on Saturday at Ebenezer. His people will help with promotion, also.

Motion was made by Kim Ellis to proceed with the fundraiser; seconded by Rosanna. Passed unanimously. Date set for September 21-23. Jeff suggested that our people could help now by buying 20 lb. bags of charcoal if they find some on sale. Let him know if you hear of any pork butts on sale for .99 per lb. Other items we could pre-buy are Showboat beans, or large jars of mayonnaise. You can donate these items, or he will reimburse you for them. The Council thanked Jeff for his willingness to do this fundraiser.

Finance Report by Irene Austin

We now have a positive balance in our General Fund, but we still need money to keep coming in. She said that she had not made a payment to apportionments, yet, because she was waiting to find out the cost of repair to the air conditioner fan for the sanctuary. She will now make a payment.

Ted Daniel asked if people who missed church on one Sunday made up for their giving for that missed Sunday when they returned the next week. Cindy, who enters the contributions, said she knows of some people who appear to do so, but not everyone and she doesn’t know about those people who do not fill out an envelope. He also asked if there was any evidence that the people who watch our services online give to Ebenezer. She said that we get a few contributions in the mail, but not many; certainly not 20-30, which is the number of people who view online normally on a Sunday.

There was general discussion that we are a community of believers, therefore people need to be in church IF possible. And giving is a part of what we do as members of Ebenezer and as believers. We need regular contributions to keep the lights on, and to be able to post our services online. We need money to continue our various other ministries, too. God does not call us to be “lone rangers,” but to be in community where we can support one another and worship God together. Irene Austin made a proposition that we can disaffiliate without having to take out a loan, she will cut off her ponytail.

Motion to accept Finance Report by Kim Ellis, seconded by Becky Silver. Motion passed.

Trustees Report (given by Marsha)

The air conditioner fan has been repaired with a cost of $1300. Ricky is still working on the Insurance paperwork we need to satisfy some of the disaffiliation paperwork. It appears that we have turned in all the other information requested by the District Superintendent. Rev. Gaylord reported that the air conditioning problem in the parsonage is an electrical problem that he hopes will be resolved soon. (The air is currently working.)

Pastor’s Report

Pastor Alan announced that he now has a count of 169 members. Kim Ellis says that she has 170. (We will attempt to find the discrepancy.) We have received the following responses to the latest audit responses: Jason and Angela Vetter, requested removal; Greg Petrea, requested removal; Dawn Yount, requested removal. Trey and Kelly Hefner joined by profession of faith on July 23rd; and Hayden Boone was baptized and added to the Preparatory List on July 16th.

The next Youth event is a pool party on July 26th at the Haas’.

Pastor Alan asked about collecting school supplies. We currently collect for the Teacher’s Closet (for Gateway and Dudley Shoals Schools). SCCM is asking that each church provide two backpacks or loose school supplies. The list of requested items will be on the website page.

Homecoming for 2023: October 8th, 10:30 a.m. with pot-luck lunch afterwards. The following names of former pastors were given to Pastor Alan to ask to speak at Homecoming: Mitch Wilson, Frank Gordon, Gary Camp. He will let us know who agrees to come. Trunk ‘R Treat is set for Saturday, October 28th, 5-7 p.m.

Our apportionments set for 2024: $15, 856. (This will be part of our cost of disaffiliation.)

Personal information: Pastor Alan will be on vacation August 7-15. Community Day will be held on August 19th. Irene reported that we have a petting zoo, the reptile display, and water slide, and a fire department truck will also be there. Caldwell County schools begin on August 28th.

Old Business

The retirement of the Bibles will be done late in the year when it cools off some, and Monte Hollar can finish building the box. The Town Hall went well and was well attended.

New Business

Linda Moretz mentioned that a commode in the girl’s restroom is not working. Monte said that it will need to be replaced, but it has been worked on several times and continues to have problems.

On Community Day we will need cookies to give out to our guests.

Kim Ellis mentioned a proposal to have a time of prayer before the day of voting on disaffiliation. A date and time will be set once we have the date for the vote.

Kim Ellis then told us about the Golf Tournament that will be held on September 30th at the Granada Golf Course. She asked for someone to volunteer to oversee finding hole sponsors (#100 per hole). Rosanna Bachman volunteered. Begin talking up this now. We will need door prizes. If you know of a business that might be willing to donate items, please ask them and let us know of any positive responses. The cost to enter the tournament will be $65-70 per person. The shot-gun start is at 1:00 p.m.

Pastor Alan reminded us that we will have to notify our members 10 days prior to the charge conference vote, and the reason for the conference (to vote on disaffiliation). Members must be present to vote.

Irene Austin told us that an elderly person wanted to thank our church for continuing our ministries during all this turmoil and working on leaving the UMC. Judy McCrary gave the closing prayer. Minutes recorded by Cindy Sears.

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Worship Information

Three of the sermons are based on the Charles Wesley hymns listed.

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Events and Fundraisers

Community Fun Day

Fun, Food, Fellowship on Saturday, August 19, 10 AM to 1 PM

Everything is FREE, and open to the public! We will have a waterslide, petting zoo, and reptile zoo. Grace Chapel Fire Department will birng their fire truck to show off.

Food includes hot dogs, fruit popsicles, and cookies with beverages. There will be music and other suprise activities, too.

NOTE: Children who want to play on the water slide need to wear appropriate swimming attire and bring a towel. All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

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Monthly Prayer Focus

Our church is getting close to taking the vote on whether or not to leave the United Methodist Church organization. Please pray for us as we stand for God's Word, and continue our ministries to our community.

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Special Giving

We gratefully acknowledge the following special gifts:

  • In memory of Margie Spencer Austin
    by Joan Pennell (from June).
  • In memory of Spencer, Stafford, Campbell, Hardy, and Grandparents Day
    by Delores and Gary Paul Campbell.
  • In memory of Addie Sears
    by Ebenezer's Women's Group.
  • in memory of James (Bill) Campbell by Billy Wayne Campbell.
  • In honor of the Sonlighters Class
    by Delores and Gary Paul Campbell.
  • In honor of Our Cooks, Helpers, and Drivers for the Food Ministry
    by Delores and Gary Paul Campbell
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Hid In My Heart

How do I hide God’s word in my heart? Memorize it!

I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD; do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.

--Psalm 119:30-32 NIV

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Military Prayer List

Please pray for the men and women who protect our freedoms.

  • Ricky Garland
  • Shane McRary
  • Jamie Mullinax
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Other and Miscellaneous

John Wesley Said:

I want the whole Christ for my Savior, the whole Bible for my book, the whole Church for my fellowship, and the whole world for my mission field.

Ministry Opportunity

We are now collecting school supplies for SCCM's annual give-away to help parents and their children. You can find the full lists of items by age groups on our website. Here is a non-graded list: scissors, pencils, glue, glue sticks, crayons, colored pencils, highlighters, notebooks and paper, dividers with tabs, spiral notebooks, tissues, wipes, calculators, folders with pockets, erasers, black, blue and red pens, ear buds.

Deadline date for delivering these items is August 11th.

Thank you for your support. NOTE: We received a thank you note from SCCM for 87 lbs. of food donated on July 11th. Keep up the good work, Ebenezer members.

Volunteer Opportunity

South Caldwell Christian Ministry needs some volunteers to drive the box truck on Tuesdays from about 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to pick up food store donations from our local grocery stores. They also need someone to takeover the mobile food pantry every 3rd Saturday from 10-10:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church, Rhodhiss. Call Matt McPherson at 828-396-4000 for information or to volunteer.

Missing Members

If you know of a way for us to contact the people listed below, please contact Cindy in the church office or Pastor Alan.

  • Beverly Laws
  • Ricky Lyda
  • Amber McCrary
  • Joshua Yount
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Contact Information: 828-396-2214;; 4948 Burns Rd, Granite Falls, NC 28630