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Such beauty

Such beauty
Church members left uplifting and encouraging chalk messages for their pastors outside Advent UMC, SImpsonville.

By Jessica Brodie

I’m astounded by the beauty of God’s glory shining across every single page of this month’s newspaper. Take a look and tell me if you don’t agree!

On every page, you’ll find examples of regular men and women—and sometimes children!—doing something extraordinary for the Lord, living beyond themselves to spread the Good News or to help others in His name.

And all this is happening when many of us are stuck at home, quarantined for the most part because of the coronavirus.

In our front-page article, “So Many Creative Ideas,” we have example after example of churches doing everything they can possibly think of to reach out virtually to their community.

We also see how, in spite of the worst band of tornadoes to hit our state in 36 years, the pandemic was an unexpected blessing. Because many people were out of work or had unexpected free time, they were able to volunteer in droves to help the hardest hit areas of the state—Orangeburg County, Seneca and Clemson, and the Hampton-Walterboro area, in one week finishing up the early response phase of the storm so crews can shift into long-term disaster recovery.

Another exciting thing I’m practically gushing over this month: our brand-new book from the Advocate Press. This one, by United Methodist pastor Tony Rowell, is a collection of 79 faith-based essays he has written over the years. It’s called “What Would Granny Say? And Other Somewhat Embellished Memories” and is a 276-page testament to faith, family and the beauty found in nature and simplicity. I know you will love it! If you don’t know him, “Pastor Tony” is a phenomenal storyteller and longtime missioner with a heart for God and God’s people. His photographs of both nature and people are peppered throughout the book, along with a healthy dose of his granny’s wisdom. (Learn more about the book on Page 3.)

I close with wise words from someone else who is on my heart this month. In the Page 1 article on the direct-billing holiday, Valerie Brooks-Madden, chair of the Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits, offered a quote from Theodore Roosevelt on why her board chose to help churches by giving them a three-month “vacation” from paying their pension/insurance direct billing—a bill they will not have to pay back.

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing and the worst thing is nothing,” Brooks-Madden said, citing the 26th president’s famous words. “I thought this was right thing to do and the right time to do it, and people deserve some good news,” Brooks-Madden said. “I trust God and I believe in God, and we’re going to get through this.”

Amen. We’ll get through this indeed.

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