Good Morning! The summer has simply flown, and it is almost time for Decoration. It is truly lovely in Piney Creek, and, hopefully, it still will be in September. Even though it has been extremely hot, we have had enough rain to keep the grass green and lush. The grounds at the church are especially beautiful, and we continue to receive compliments which give us continued momentum.
From the (New) pastor:
As many of you know, we were assigned a new pastor in July of this year, and we asked him for information for this newsletter which he graciously supplied.
Rev. Mike Austin here. I am the new pastor of the Alleghany/Grayson Charge of the United Methodist Church. Wow! I have been here almost 4 weeks and I have been welcomed, loved and made to feel at home. Truly the love of Christ lives in the lives of the people and community of Shiloh UMC, Piney Creek UMC, and Cox’s Chapel UMC.
I would to give you just a bit about me and my family. I was raised the son of a Baptist preacher and a saint of a mother that put up with my father, my brother and I, and two sisters. Mom and dad still live in the home place between Boone and Blowing Rock, NC. After some time of exploring the things of the world, I married a beautiful woman, to whom I have been married for twenty-nine years. She, too, is a saint for putting up with me. She is retired from the NC school system. We were raised by three wonderful children, Jared, Caleb and Hannah. Jared lived eighteen years with Duchene MD. He taught us what was important in life and touched many more lives for Christ than anyone I know and possibly will ever know. Caleb and Hannah taught us that living together as a cohesive family we can survive the hardest of times. We survived the teenage years and Caleb is twenty-one and Hannah is twenty.
When I married Lynda, I also married into the United Methodist Church. There we were shown much love and it soon became my choice of membership. There I was nurtured through the calling that I had always known. In 2003, I entered the Ministry and was given my first appointment at ¼ time in the Greensboro district. In 2004, I was moved to full time in the High Point district where I had two churches. In 2006, I moved to the Waynesville district and served 5 years before coming to Sparta.
It is my belief that the heart of the United Methodist Church is in the rural churches. Methodism began out of small group meetings and I believe that it is where we will bring about a great revival of not only Methodism but in all of Christendom. We, as Christians, must learn tolerance of all peoples and nations and stand together for what is right according to the word of God. We are no one’s Judge, only Servants of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Our Services should be to all people by showing them the love of God. I believe that we should serve the church of our choice with our witness, prayers, gifts, time and talents. We must also begin a new conversation with the world, one that speaks to them where they are and to whom they are and allow the Grace of God to mold them in the way God would have them be.
We appreciate Mike’s contribution to the newsletter and welcome him and his family to the community!
Our ladies had a very successful bake sale on Saturday, July 2. We would like to thank the people who participated by baking and those who purchased the goodies. It seems that when the church has needs, we are blessed by many people in the community coming out to help, and please know that we truly appreciate you. At this time we do plan to have another bake sale next July if not before. (We will advertise it in the newsletter.)
Breakfast: Again we will serve a full country breakfast (donations only) on Saturday, September 10 from 8 until 10 a.m. We are having all of our regular favorites: country ham, tenderloin, biscuits and gravy, hash brown casseroles, etc. Please come enjoy the meal and stay and visit with friends.
Gospel Singing: After decorating the graves of family members and friends, please come to our Gospel Singing from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 at the church. We will have some new singers as well as some returning favorites. There is no admission, but we will take a love offering for the singers.
Church Service: Church service will be at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, September 11. Pastor Mike Austin will conduct the service, and we hope you will join us in the church.
Cemetery Care: We constantly try to improve the cemetery grounds, and the people who mow are very conscientious. One way you can help tremendously is to remember to remove all items you wish to keep off the ground by Monday, September 26 when the graves will be cleaned. Any other items not on a monument will also be removed to save the expense of trimming around numerous things. We want to maintain the natural, peaceful beauty of the cemetery that appeals to so many of you and to your families.
Memorial Wall: Our record keeping is up to date, and by Decoration weekend all plaques will be in place. Please make an effort to go in the church foyer and look at the Memorial and Honorary wall. If you have any questions, please see one of us. Following Decoration, we will update again, order any new plaques, and then include a complete listing in the next newsletter. We will also include a listing of the names on the “Pay off the Debt Plaque” which contains our first contributors who helped to settle the debt for the original renovations.
Memorial donations have been very helpful to us in the past year. (Please know that these also count on the Memorial Wall.) We are very grateful when families choose the church and/or cemetery as a recipient of these after the death of a loved one. (We send a thank you from the church or cemetery and notify you the family when we receive memorial donations.)
As we mentioned in an earlier newsletter, we will be glad to include any brief comments about your loved ones in our newsletters. Please send or email them to one of us.
We sincerely hope to see you at all of the events on Decoration weekend as well as at our regular services any time you are able to join us. Don’t feel like you are a visitor; you are part of our family.
Thank you for the support, the prayers, the help, the kind words, and the love you have shown to Piney Creek Methodist Church and Cemetery. You, our friends and family, are who makes it special for everyone!
Decoration Weekend, 2008
For difficult economic times, everyone was certainly generous to the church and cemetery, and we are very, very grateful! The attendance was good, and the flowers were beautiful. In addition, it gives us pleasure to have the grounds looking good when you come to Homecoming. We realize that for some of you this is the one time of the year you return to Piney Creek, and we want you to always feel welcomed and appreciated.
The attendance at the annual Saturday morning breakfast was the largest ever. We love seeing people reconnect and visit in the church Fellowship Hall while enjoying our country breakfast. Thank you for your kind donations.
(There will be another country breakfast in March. We will let you know the date but keep us in mind.)
The Centennial of Piney Creek United Methodist Church
As mentioned in the last newsletter, our church was established at its present location in 1910, but the church itself was actually founded in 1909 and later moved to the site on Pugh Road. So it has been decided to celebrate its one hundred year anniversary in 2009, in conjunction with the Sesquicentennial of Alleghany County. We are thinking of coordinating this event with Decoration weekend. What do you think???
Preliminary plans are being made for the celebration at this time, and we would love to have input and ideas from you. One thing we would definitely like to have is copies of pictures of the old church, pictures of the Founding members, pictures of previous Decorations especially with dinner on the ground, etc. etc. We would also like to receive any written anecdotes about church events in the past hundred years or about how the church has been a part of your life. The winter months will be a good time to work on this, and we would like to receive your information and ideas by March 31, 2009. Let’s all work together to make this a special celebration.
We had a tree trimming supper on Sunday, November 30. We met at four o’clock, decorated the tree with Crismon ornaments made by our women of the church, and had a fellowship meal afterwards. Our Crismon ornaments are religious symbols and are handmade and beaded in gold and white. They are astonishingly beautiful and continue to give us pleasure.
It was a wonderful evening and gives us much comfort to celebrate the season in this way. Our party for the children will be on Friday, December 17 at 7 p.m.
Christmas Eve Service
This would be a wonderful time for all of you to come and see the church and enjoy fellowship with us. Our service will held at 10 p.m. as always, but this year we are adding a new feature. The gathering for the service will begin at 9:30 with carol singing. You may come at any time from 9:30-10:00 and request your favorite Christmas hymns.
If you have never been to this service, please consider coming. It really adds a special touch to Christmas!
Financial Status of the Church
We have completed the last phase of the work on the church with the sanctuary ceiling being repaired and with the addition of insulation, a new roof and gutters. However, we have a loan balance in excess of thirty-five thousand dollars. We will continue to have fundraisers, but any additional donations would be greatly appreciated.
Please remember that we have a memorial wall in the church vestibule for the purpose of honoring our loved ones.
We continue to have church service at 8:45 followed by Sunday School. One change is that we will now have service on fifth Sundays also.
Piney Creek Methodist Church’s Anniversary
In 2010 our church will be ONE HUNDRED YEARS old. As we begin to make plans, we would like to hear ideas from you. Also, if you have pictures or anything of historical significance to the church, please share with us. We are interested in creating a keepsake for all of you.
Commercial size guttering has been added to the church. This should help alleviate the problem with leaves and drainage. We continue to work on paying off the loan for the new roof, the insulation, and the gutters.
Please come inside the church and look at all of the recent improvements. We still have needs, but we are making steady progress.