Ebenezer's September 2023 Newsletter
- Pastor's Note
- Meetings, Events, etc.
- Something to Pray About
- Council Minutes
- Worship Information
- Special Events and Fundraisers
- Monthly Prayer Focus
- Special Giving
- Hid In My Heart
- Military Prayer List
- Other and Miscellaneous
- John Wesley Said
- Missing Members
- Miscellaneous Saying
On Sunday, August 27, 2023 the Ebenezer United Methodist Church met in a called Church Conference and voted to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church. That was step #10 in the process for disaffiliation. There are 10 more to go. These items will need to be completed quickly in order for the disaffiliation to be completed before the deadline of December 31, 2023.
Here is what remains to be done:
- The District Superintendent sends the Disaffiliation Resolution and vote to the Conference Chancellor (the lawyer for the Western North Carolina Conference.)
- The Chancellor turns the information over to the Conference Trustees who will work with you to prepare a Disaffiliation agreement and an Annual Conference petition. The deadline for this is October 15th.
- The Annual Conference will vote upon the disaffiliation resolutions for all churches who have come forward to do this. This meeting will be held on November 4th via Zoom. I am a delegate along with Kim Ellis (Church delegate) and Irene Austin (District at-large delegate). It will take a couple of days to tabulate the votes.
- Ebenezer will complete the work of sending Archives to the Annual Conference. Cindy Sears has been working on digitizing these records and will make sure that all is transmitted.
- Ebenezer completes any requirements of the Disaffiliation Agreement.
- Ebenezer obtains new state and Federal tax identification numbers.
- Ebenezer applies with the county for new tax exemptions.
- Ebenezer completes a final statistical report for the Conference.
- A Charge Conference will then be held for property transfers. (The deeds will be put in the new name of the church.)
- All banking accounts, insurance, etc.. will have their names changed and the new deeds are filed with the Register of Deeds. All Cross and Flame logos will need to be removed from signage, websites, domain names, stationary, etc.
There will be a flurry of activity for Ebenezer in the next few months as these things are done. There will also be several fundraisers held to help pay for the Disaffiliation Obligations.
As for me, I will remain your Pastor through the end of this calendar year. Then, from January 1, 2024 until June 30, 2024, my family and I will remain in the parsonage until a new appointment is provided for me through the Annual Conference. This is part of the Disaffiliation Agreement.
Please be in prayer during this time of transition and change!
In God’s grace, Pastor Alan
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 email@example.com.
Wesley Class Meeting
Class meets on Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m.
The next Lord's Supper Ministry meal will be delivered on Monday, September 18th. 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, September 19th 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, September 24th at 4:00 p.m. Members of the congregation may also attend and participate, but cannot vote.
Ebenezer Methodist Women
Ebenezer's United Methodist Women will meet on Sunday, September 24th at 6:00 p.m. All women of the church are invited to attend.
Accent verse: "...someone will say, "One person has faith, another has actions." My answer is, "Show me how anyone can have faith without actions. I will show you my faith by my actions."
--James 2:18 GNT
References: John 15:1-8; Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 8, pp. 715-717
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. –John 15:1-2 NIV
This is one of the great "I am" sayings of Jesus as he allegorically refers to himself as the true vine (genuine) and those who believe in him as the branches radiating out from that vine. Yet, these branches don’t just sit on the vine, they are expected and required to bear fruit or they will be removed and discarded by the Vine Dresser (the Father). Even those branches that bear fruit will be “cleansed” or pruned in a way that will cause them to bear more fruit.
This bearing of fruit is not accomplished by the branches, for apart from "[Jesus] you can do nothing" (v. 5b). We become fruit bearers by abiding in Jesus—remaining connected to Jesus and, therefore, receiving nourishment and strength and power through him.
Today so many people, including some calling themselves Christians, have imagined that they have evolved to greater wisdom, and accumulated enough knowledge to resolve all the problems on earth through "a little social and political and economic pressure (I.B. p. 716)." But instead of creating a fairer, brighter future for all our efforts to do it in our own power and without Jesus (God) and following his guidance, we have created more disorder and chaos. Millions have died trying out socialism and communism and now, people have fallen for lies and deceptions that are completely insane—even to the point of believing that men can become women and vice versa, and that marriage can be a union of two men or two women, therefore destroying the basic unit of all civilizations—the family.
A culture that ignores God and his laws will fail once the number of unbelievers and those who ignore God reaches a critical point. Are we closing in on that point of no return?
In our own individual lives have we become so detached from Jesus that we are withering on the vine, not bearing fruit, dying along with our culture and society?
Life is rushed and bustled; and in the jostle of competing interests always twitching at our sleeve and attracting our attention, spiritual things can easily get overlooked and lost. Seasons of devotion are shortened or crowded out. God’s Word is not seriously or regularly studied…Get close to Jesus Christ! And he will do the rest for you. But the branch cannot bear fruit of itself (I.B., p. 717).
Christ wants us to bear fruit. Knowing our weakness and tendency to selfishness, self-centeredness, and sinfulness, he still wants us to bear fruit for his kingdom! We are the hands and feet of Christ. God calls people to do his work on earth even though he could do a much better and quicker job of it by himself. Yet, he has made us in his image, and he has given us dominion on this earth and in this time to "bear fruit" by leading people into his kingdom with the gospel message about Jesus his Son, and to bring more good into the world wherever we are and whatever we are doing, and to fight evil and shine the light of God’s love and grace into the world.
Every man is a priest, even involuntarily, his conduct is an unspoken sermon, which is forever preaching to others; but there are priests of Baal, of Moloch, and of all the false gods. Such is the high importance of example (Amiel’s Journal)…Every life is a profession of faith , and exercises an inevitable and silent propaganda (I. B. p. 717)...
What message does your life convey into the world? As believers, Christians, our lives should convey the message of hope, love, and joy found only in Christ Jesus; but to be able to do that well and consistently, we must abide in Jesus and bear fruit by his power, not our own, by his wisdom, not our own, in his truth, not our own version of truth. He has given us his written word, and filled us with his personal Spirit, but neither will save us if we refuse to read and to listen and to pray for his guidance and help.
- 4th--Heather Stone
- 7th--Rosanna Bachman
- 11th--Will McRary
- 11th--Daniel Simmons
- 16th--Chris Haas
- 17th--Tasha Haas
- 18th--Aubree McCrary
- 18th--Kenny Silver
- 19th--Billy Wayne Campbell
- 21st--Flaxen Brookshire-Reid
- 25th--Debbie Gaylord
- 30th--Hayden Boone
- 30th--Russ Knepp
- 3rd--Paul and Linda Moretz
- 10th--Chuck and Tammy Adams
- 13th--Kevin and Teresa Simmons
- 25th--Paul and Annette Burson
- 26th--Wayne and Kim Ellis
Called Church Council Meetings
Attendees: Irene Austin, Rosanna Bachman, Ricky Baker, Ted Daniel, Kim Ellis, Barbara Ferguson, Pastor Alan Gaylord, Emily Haas, Roy Hamby, Bleaka Hollar, JoAnn Knepp, Kim Knepp, John McCrary, Judy McCrary, Marsha McRary, Cindy Sears, Becky Silver, Kenny Silver.
Marsha McRary presented the open dates offered by the D. S. for our Charge Conference to vote on disaffiliation from the UMC. We chose August 27th at 4:30 p.m.
Chairperson, Marsha McRary, called the meeting to order and proposed that if the vote to disaffiliate from the UMC passes on August 27th, that immediately after that session, we vote on whether or not to affiliate with the Global Methodist Church. After some discussion and clarification, Rosanna Bachman made a motion to do so, second by Becky Silver. Motion passed.
Irene Austin next brought forth a problem she had discovered wherein last week’s deposit was over $2,000 off. It was decided that she would contact the bank first, and then consider the police if the problem was not resolved. This does not appear to be a problem on our side.
(NOTE: The bank problem was that their check-reading system was down last week. That problem has been resolved satisfactorily. C. Sears.)
Minutes recorded by Cindy Sears.
Church Conference 1
Attendees: Rev. Alan Gaylord, D. S. Rev. Lori Beth Huffman, and 59 full members and a few non-voting guests and affiliates.
District Superintendent Rev. Lori Beth Huffman called the meeting to order and gave the opening prayer.
She explained the purpose of our meeting. Ebenezer UMC’s leadership brings before our membership a proposal to disaffiliate from the Western North Carolina Conference (United Methodist Church).
Members were checked in and given ballots, and a sheet with the estimated costs of disaffiliation.
Church Council Chairperson, Marsha McRary, then read the ballot which explained why we felt it necessary and good to disaffiliate from the Western North Carolina Conference, and hence, the United Methodist Church.
Rev. Huffman then went over the sheet with the breakdown of the costs associated with leaving the WNCC. She explained the four components of (1) two years of apportionments (based on current amount per year of $16,131 minus payments made this year), (2) Unfunded pension liabilities ($40, 597), (3) grants to be repaid ($0), and 6-months clergy salary of $37,584 (to finish out Pastor Alan’s appointment for the fiscal year).
Rev. Huffman opened the floor to questions. Heather Stone asked a question about housing for the pastor during that 6-month period. We will be obligated to continue to provide housing (the parsonage) for him until July 2024, even if we bring in another pastor before that time. Tasha Haas asked about pension liabilities. This amount is calculated by the Westpath insurance company and is based on a fair-share percentage to help pay for the pensions of our and other churches’ former pastors. Roy Hamby asked, and it was verified by Huffman that the clergy amount was just the salary amount, no household expenses or expenditures included. Cindy Sears asked that she verify that the apportionments amount would be decreased by the amount that we have paid on them this year. Rev. Huffman asked that we cease all payments now, so that there will be a clear cut-off by November 4th (the special conference date). Tasha Haas asked if Rev. Huffman believed that there would be an off-ramp (disaffiliation procedure) for churches provided by the General Conference in 2024. She said that she could not guarantee it or what the costs might be at that time.
Rev. Huffman then explained that the final vote by the WNCC would be made during the virtual special conference session of November 4th. Anna Boone asked if there was any chance that the WNCC would refuse to accept our disaffiliation request. She said that was highly unlikely. The November 4th report will be delayed by 2-3 days, because it is being done virtually instead of in person.
She then explained that we need a 2/3rd’s majority of “yes” votes of those members present to pass the disaffiliation motion at our church. She emphasized that a “yes" vote was for disaffiliation, and a “no" vote was for remaining a United Methodist Church in the Western North Carolina Conference. “Abstain” votes will not count towards the 2/3rds majority.
Tammy Adams called for a vote. Our members voted, and Tammy Adams and Kim Ellis collected the votes, and counted them in the presence of the attendees. There was a total of 59 votes. There were 54 “yes” votes, and 5 “no" votes, and 0 “abstain” votes. Motion to disaffiliate passed.
The District Superintendent will meet with our leadership (Board of Trustees), and begin the process of making necessary changes, and finishing the process of disaffiliation.
Rev. Huffman left handouts for those members who do not wish to leave the United Methodist Church. She explained that they can move their church membership to the WNC Conference to hold until they choose another church to join.
The meeting was adjourned.
Church Conference #2
Attendees: Rev. Alan Gaylord, 59 full members of Ebenezer, plus a few non-members (non-voting).
Chairperson of the Church Council, Marsha McRary, called the meeting to order. She explained that our church council had voted to recommend that we apply for membership in the new Global Methodist Church. She then read the following:
“I move that Ebenezer Church become a member congregation of the Global Methodist Church, that it affirms and endorses the doctrinal standards (Part One), Social Witness (Part Two), and church governance of the Global Methodist Church as set forth in its Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline, and agrees to be accountable to such standards, witness, and governance. Our leadership and trustees are authorized to take all actions necessary to implement this motion.”
Motion second by Rex Teague.
This motion needs to be adopted by a simple majority at a congregational meeting.
A vote was taken by a show of hands of those members present. Motion passed unanimously.
Marsha said that she and the Trustees would begin the process of applying for membership in the GMC.
Marsha told us that this time had been an emotional time, and not an easy decision to make, but she knows why it had to be done. She thanked everyone for their help. “Now we go forward.” We will remain Ebenezer Methodist Church, a hard-working, loving church, as we have always been. We will love all who come in our door, and teach them about Christ and his love for us all.
The meeting was adjourned.
Minutes recorded by Cindy Sears, Administrative Assistant, Ebenezer UMC, Granite Falls, NC
|Matthew 16:21-28 (Communion Sunday)
Other Dates to Know
October 8th--Homecoming. Our guest speaker will be former Ebenezer pastor, Rev. Frank Gordon;
October 28th--Trunk R Treat
November 4th--Country Store Fundraiser; WNCC vote on our request for disaffiliation.
Friday & Saturday, September 22-23
Fri. 11 AM—7 PM and Sat. 11 AM—Sold Out
Adult plate $10
We deliver 10+ orders to local businesses for lunch on Friday. Please order by Sept. 18.
Plates include BBQ, sauce, slaw, baked beans, roll.
Take-out or dine-in. Dine-in plates include dessert and beverage. Call ahead for large take-out orders.
Also on sale:
Whole cooked Boston Butts
$10 per lb.
Order by Sept. 18.
For Orders Call: (828) 896-7368 or (828) 499-0886
All proceeds go towards the costs of our disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church.
We thank you for your support and prayers.
Granada Farms Country Club
Saturday, September 30
Shot-gun start at 1:00 PM
4-Man Captain’s Choice
$60 per person
Lunch 11:00-12:45 p.m.
Optional: $5 Mulligan (1 per person); $5 Skirts (1 per person). Closest to pin hole #7/pay at hole.
Businesses and individuals can sponsor a hole for $100. Signs will be provided to honor our sponsors.
Contact Kim at (828) 499-0886 to register or pick up a form at:
Ebenezer UMC, 4948 Burns Rd, Granite Falls, NC
We thank you for your support!
Please continue to pray for our disaffiliation process, and for the fundraisers we will be doing to raise money to pay for the fees and other costs. Thank you.
We gratefully acknowledge the following special gifts in July:
- In memory and honor of Our Church Family by Delores and Gary Paul Campbell.
- In memory of Max and Lowell Spencer, and Bobby Campbell by Delores and Gary Paul Campbell.
- In honor of All Who Come to Homecoming by Delores and Gary Paul Campbell.
- In honor of Ted and Gerry Daniel by Billy Wayne Campbell.
- In honor of All Saints Day, Nov. 1 by Billy Wayne Campbell.
- In honor of Our Praise Band by Billy Wayne Campbell.
- In honor of Monte Hollar’s Birthday by Alice Hill.
- In honor of All Who Believe God created a man and woman to be a married couple by Delores and Gary Paul Campbell.
How do I hide God’s word in my heart? Memorize it!
My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and compete, lacking nothing. —James 1:2-4 GNT
Please pray for the men and women who protect our freedoms.
- Ricky Garland
- Shane McRary
- Jamie Mullinax
John Wesley Said:
Making an open stand against all the ungodliness and unrighteousness which overspreads our land as a flood is one of the noblest ways of confessing Christ in the face of His enemies.
As of August 27th, we have voted to leave the UMC (WNCC). The disaffiliation process involves a great deal of work and will cost us a fee of over $110,000 to the WNCC, along with more for other associated costs.
But, we ought not to be fearful or discouraged. As God and Jesus both said over and over again throughout the Bible, "Do not be afraid." We know that our decision is correct because we have chosen to remain true to God’s Word and his revelation in the natural world he created.
So, here is a bit of an encouraging word for the tasks ahead of us. And let us all remain in prayer and supplication to our bountiful, merciful, all powerful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
It Couldn't Be Done
Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it!
Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.
—Edgar Albert Guest
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
Poverty of purpose is worse than poverty of purse.