The Good News!
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February 2021 Newsletter
“Finding Valentine’s Day”
“What kind of Valentine’s Day can we have this year?”, some newlyweds were asking, “Everything is closed!” It is true that this particular year there may be no “deals” on the internet, no lavish chocolates, no going out for candlelight dinners, or planning for a romantic getaway. It may seem as if Valentine’s Day is canceled. The Pandemic may cause us monetary distress and fear of mixing in with others publicly – – we may feel we are sheltered-in-place.
When we study relationships for counseling purposes, we discover an interesting reality. Many couples report their happiest moments and times were when they were beginning life together and had few monetary resources.
“When we had nothing,” some report, “we were left with each other and our dreams. There were no decisions to make, nothing to purchase, and we were just enjoying a simple life. I wonder, what happened to those glorious days?”
Saint Valentine was martyred in Rome. Before he died, the story goes, he wrote a jailer’s blind daughter. The daughter had paid him a visit, filled with kindness, which touched Valentine as he waited for his execution. He wrote her a note in which he explained the hope his faith brought him. He then signed the note, your Valentine.
At the very moment of his execution, the young girl’s blindness was cured; she had perfect sight. What a romantic story! We may accept the story as literally true, a story of healing. We may also consider the story figuratively true – – the daughter, upon Valentine’s death, ‘saw clearly’ what true faith means.
Romance is a feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life, when we are lifted to a greater reality – – we are left only with our beloved! Our ‘beloved’ may be someone else, a wonderful movie, a great book, nostalgic music, old familiar pictures, a lonely walk through the woods, a stroll by the seashore, a revelation – – things which often cost nothing.
This year, many people are feeling normality has been canceled! What are we to do with ourselves? Why not fall in love?
Rev. John Hughes
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Where did those pictures come from in Fellowship Hall of Jesus and Mary? It is an interesting story.
Recent newcomers to the church may not realize that for over a half of a century they hung just to the right of the doors as one enters the sanctuary. With the recent refurbishing of Fellowship Hall, they were moved to the western wall of Fellowship Hall over what used to be the stage.
The individual who was responsible for them was an intelligence specialist for the United States Army. He eventually achieved the rank of Chief Warrant Officer #4. His name? Perley Robert Wiggin. He was the 14th child of fifteen of Amber and Mark Wiggin of the Side Track, West Side Road here in Conway. The family was comprised of twelve boys and three girls. My dad was the 13th and I am Perley’s namesake – thus Brian P. Wiggin. (Now you all know).
Perley was a much beloved uncle and was the favorite of many of his nieces and nephews. He had extraordinary intelligence from an early age. He was the valedictorian of Kennett High School in 1947 and winner of the prestigious Kennett Cup. He enlisted in the Army on May 11, 1948 as a Private. His training camp was at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He came up through the ranks becoming a major sergeant
in 1953; a warrant officer #1 in 1955; and a chief warrant officer in July 1967. He received many awards including three Battle Stars; Bronze Star and Oak Leaf Cluster, Legion of Merit, and the Commendation Medal.
His work as an intelligence officer was dangerous. The family was always fearful that he would be captured or killed by the enemies of the time. it was thus that my folks desired to carry on his name through me. Perley served in The Philippines, Korea, Japan, Lebanon (where he became friends with the Labnon family who had remained behind instead of moving to Conway), the Dominican Republic, Switzerland, Afghanistan, and Vietnam. Perley could not always identify his location in letters home to his folks. However. His mail was read before being sent to the States. However, Perley knew his folks were worried about his stay in Vietnam during the war. He cleverly asked them, “What was the first name of my French teacher at Kennett, Mrs. Pennett? I have forgotten and it’s been driving me crazy.” Of course, everyone knew as it was such an unusual name – “Wanda.” They figured out that was a clue to where he was located in Vietnam. My Uncle Mark found a map and found the village – even though it was a sound alike. They all were quite relieved to know of Perley’s whereabouts.
The watercolor paintings of the Virgin Mary and Jesus were obtained by my uncle while he was stationed in The Philippines during the early 1950’s. He saw them and thought of how nice they would look in his church back home. He purchased them and had them sent to us. There originally was a third painting of the crucifixion. The Filipinos were predominantly Catholic and the painting certainly reflected that culture. Reverend Wilcox, with my Uncle’s permission, gave the painting to St. Charles
Church next door. Where it is now is unknown to me.
Perley and his wife Beverly, returned to Conway in the late 1960’s for a dozen years or so. He worked for Gordon Burke and was the first assistant manager at Shaws. Their one daughter, Patricia, went to school here. Patricia was their tenth attempt to have a child and they were SO happy. My uncle was always so pleased to have me as his namesake and would carry me around as a baby when he was home and announce to everyone, “This is Brian P. – Brian Perley” – with a huge grin on his face. Both
Perley and Bev became active members of the church again and Aunt Beverly was Ruth Henderson’s right hand in organizing the Bloodmobile which was always held in our Fellowship Hall. Perley died of cancer on June 19, 2001 surrounded by his beloved wife, child, and grandchildren.
LOVE-THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY
February is here! As I was thinking about writing this article, the first thing to pop into my head was LOVE ! Then, I was singing “What the world needs now is Love, Sweet Love; No, not just for some, but for everyone” and that is certainly the truth!
Valentine’s Day was the next thought to follow. I reminisced over the years of Valentine’s Days past, even back to the handmade doily adorned valentines that we labored over for our mothers and classmates and the comparison to the store bought ones used today.
This brought me to the greatest LOVE ever known: God’s Love for mankind!
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. God sent Jesus to us as a teacher and our Savior. He taught us that the second greatest commandment was to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’. Mark 12:31a He daily exhibited to the world what that love looked like.
Paul, following Jesus’ teachings, wrote it down for us in his letter to the Corinthians. Other than the Christmas and Easter scriptures, 1 Corinthians 13 is probably one the most familiar in the Bible. We’ve heard it at most weddings we’ve attended and have read it many times,we recognize it’s truth and have seen its example in Christ’s life. Even so, I must admit the difficulty I have in obediently following it. Let’s read it again . . . how God loves…
1 Corinthians 13:1-13:
(Love) And now I will show you the most excellent way.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a
resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains,
but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my
body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self -seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where
there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now
we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Let’s keep striving to love God’s way!
Diaconate: Louise Saxby, Mitzi Fitch, Holly Necochea, Judy Workman, Dawn Vitters, Suzanne Rancourt, Nancy Divine,
From the Trustees
It seems like just yesterday, we passed from 2020 to 2021—yet, here we are in February already! The Trustees have presented a budget for 2021 recognizing that there is still a shortfall between income and expenses. Efforts are continuing to apply for the second round of the Payroll Protection Program Grant. If we are successful, the extra funds will help us offset some expenses. We appreciate the generosity from
those who have made pledges and donations to support the work of our church.
As progress is made with the vaccine to begin controlling the COVID virus, we look forward to being able to re-open our building. For now, we will monitor what is happening in our valley and continue to make decisions focused on the safety and well-being of our congregants and community members. We appreciate that everyone who has business at the church will continue to follow our guidelines to keep everyone safe and healthy.
As always, we are grateful for the work and donations of members, friends and many volunteers who continue to support our food pantry, dinner bell and church take-out suppers. With this support, our community is served and our church realizes much needed income to support basic functions and our missions.
Work also continues to finalize plans to restructure and renovate our church building, so we can meet current and future needs and missions. There is a great deal of background investigation and planning with architects, engineers and our project manager that is required to assure we have looked at all options for updating our building. A Capital Campaign Steering Committee continues to meet with these groups and when plans are completed, we will share those with the congregation and work on the next stage for funding the project.
Our “Brown Church” has the good fortune to have members and friends who continue to connect each Sunday for inspiring messages and music. Thank you to all who make those connections possible! The faces and voices we see and hear on Sunday keep our faith strong, strengthen our hope that we can gather in person someday soon and help us believe that all things are possible with God’s guidance.
Co-Chairs: Anne Getchell, Nancy Divine
Duddie Andrews, John Edgerton, Nancy Irving, Kim Murdoch, Paul Weld
Ex-officio member Carl Vitters – Church Treasurer
January Worship Schedule/Lectionary
Sunday, February 7th ~ Communion
Psalm 147:1-11, 20
Scripture: Isaiah 40:21-31
Sermon: “The Strength to Endure”
Sunday, February 14th ~ Transfiguration Sunday
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Sermon: “Shhh! . . . Don’t Tell!”
Wednesday, February 17th ~ Ash Wednesday
Scripture: Joel 2: 1-2, 12-17
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Meditation: “The Power to Worship”
Sunday, February 21st ~ 1st Sunday of Lent
Scripture: 1 Peter 3:18-22
Sermon: “Living through Suffering”
Sunday, Febuary 28th ~ 2nd Sunday of Lent
Scripture: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Sermon: “God’s Grace Works for Really Old People!”