November 4, 2010

Dear Centenary Family,

Since the Giants won the World Series this week, I feel a baseball metaphor coming on.

There is a difference between being born on third base versus thinking we hit a triple.  Privilege has a way of creating amnesia in our lives.  Many of us were born on third base.  We elevate ourselves as if we are self-made and totally responsible for being where we are when nothing could be further from the truth.  We had the advantage of a stable home, or a good education, or travel, or wise friends who encouraged us, or a good spouse, or enough money to make us comfortable.  You get the idea.  We were born on third base.

Ok? so I admit it.  I was born on third base.  I am blessed by many who helped form me.  But you know what?  I have no interest in crossing home.  When you cross home you are back in the dugout. Hear me out?   This is what I am interested in:  I want to turn around to shout encouragement and lend a hand to those who are trying to get to first, or maybe second.  I know that is not in the baseball rules, but who cares.  It is boring to cross home and sit in the dugout.  It is far more interesting to step back and offer to others some of the advantages I started with so that, just maybe, they might make it to third.  Then we can stand on the base together.  Or maybe together we turn around and go back and encourage several people.

This baseball metaphor is coming totally apart at the seams.  But can you hear my heart?  The world is filled with people who are doing their best to make it.  I want to offer whatever resources, support, and encouragement I have to help them make it. 

At Centenary we are pretty intentional about this.  There are LOTS of ASSETS in our faith community? not just from people who are standing on third, but from people who are struggling to make it to first or second.  So, let?s build our community around ABCD ? Asset Based Community Development.  Everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) has something to bring to the table.  Stacey Harwell, Rogers Willoughby, Talisa Hanson, and I met for a couple of hours this week with Mike Green and Caitlyn Childs.  Mike and Caitlyn will be helping us build the Centenary ministry around ABCD ? Asset Based Community Development.  Remember that acronym.

To that end, there are two dates I want you to put on your calendar:

1)      Wednesday, November 17, 7 pm, at the Centenary Fellowship Hall.  We are meeting with representatives from two other congregations (historically African American congregations) to discuss the story of Waddie Welcome.  Waddie was born July 4, 1914 in Savannah with a severe developmental disability and was placed in a nursing home.  Waddie?s deep desire for freedom drew many friends into his life in ways that not only liberated him from institutionalization but also brought people together in Beloved Community.  Waddie Welcome became a very visible public figure in Savannah.  I want to think about this in terms of the Centenary DNA.  I ask that you block it on your calendar.  Come hear the story? and come simply to be together in Beloved Community.  We are hosting this discussion and I want us to have a BIG crowd as we begin the discussion and as we host our friends.

2)      Saturday, January 29, 2011 ? We are hosting a workshop about ABCD- Asset Based Community Development.  Mike Green from Denver and Caitlyn Childs from Atlanta will be with us that day.  How do we empower people to offer their assets?  For example, we have a woman at Centenary who is very interested in microloans.  I have talking about this for several years.  She is ready to move from discussion to action.  She is right.  Now, how, out of Centenary DNA, do we empower her and others to launch this microloan ministry for the city of Macon?  ABCD will give a framework for moving from vision to reality, using the assets we have (people and resources).  So, for a whole bunch of you ? I want you to block Saturday, January 29, for a church-wide discussion of how we step forward on a variety of fronts.


Don?t forget to FALL BACK on Saturday night.  This is the BEST time change in terms of sleep.  AND for preachers, it means you have received one extra hour of sleep, thus it is less likely you will sleep during the sermon! 


The fall planting of our Community Garden will take place this Saturday.  You are welcome to join Harry Eskew and Mark Vanderhoek get the fall garden going between 9 and 11 a.m.  They already have plants and soil lined up.  Bring your tools. 


Talking about the World Series ? Buster Posey is the catcher for the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.  Buster had a remarkable rookie season.  Just so you know ? Buster is from Leesburg, Georgia (just north of Albany).  He was in Jerry Elder?s youth group at Leesburg United Methodist Church and Jerry played trumpet at Buster?s wedding a couple of years ago.  The recessional at the wedding was ?Take Me Out to the Ballgame.?  Jerry played it on the trumpet.  Ask him about it.


On Sunday, we will continue our ?It?s Kinda Like?? series on the parables of Jesus.  I will be preaching on ?The Ragtag Banquet?.  All of this is related to All Saints Day.  5 or 6 laity from Centenary have helped me with this sermon.  I hope you will be present?  and don?t forget that you can come an hour late and still be on time if you don?t remember to set your clocks correctly on Saturday night.


Grace and peace,

Tim Bagwell

Love God.  Love Others.  Love Yourself.  Serve.