By Billy Ray Warren
On March 12, 2018, the entire City of Florence will be invited to a huge birthday party, for on that day Florence (which was founded on March 12, 1818) will be 200 years old. (Don’t boast too loudly to your European friends; they might laugh and tell you that their town is 800 or 1,000 years old. However, the USA as a country is just 242 years old in 2018, so, in that regard, Florence’s 200 years are quite significant.)
At the citywide party on March 12, there will be cake and punch, a proclamation by the Mayor, a downtown parade, items placed in a time capsule, etc. And Trowbridge’s, which is 100 years old in 2018, will sell cones of ice cream on that day for five cents!
From March 12 until November 30, there will be more celebrations, with each month focusing on a separate aspect of Florence’s history. The role of the faith community (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish) in the development of Florence will be celebrated in November with a citywide event at the Shoals Theater.
Guess what! In the midst of all of these celebrations, Magnolia will, in May, 2018, mark its Silver Anniversary. On May 9, 1993, the first worship gathering of the fledgling church (with no name at the time) met in the Magnolia Room at the Holiday Inn in Sheffield. It was from the name of that big room that, later, Magnolia Church of Christ derived its name.
Twenty-five years later, we are a body of believers who love each other (and say so!) who are committed to our faith, who reach out to the community in significant ways, who give credit to the Father for our 25 years of growth, and who look to the future with surety and optimism. All of that is definitely worth celebrating!
by Billy Ray Warren
Once a year, Pacita and Hugh Walker make a detailed report of Magnolia’s efforts toward our “adopted” schools in the Philippines: Special-Needs Student School, Pinamungajan Night National School and LUT-OD National High School.
The Walkers report that, using donated and purchased items, we have sent six boxes each to the first two schools listed above and placed a few items for the third school in some of the boxes. Here’s how the money itself was distributed:
1. To Pinamungajan National High School for sports safety equipment;
2. To Pinamungajan National High School for travel to required events and to feed
students on these trips;
3. To purchase ten (10) scientific calculators to lend to students whose coursework required their use;
4. To build some necessary classroom furniture;
5. To purchase 100 slap bracelets with embedded flash drives so students and teachers may enter the digital world in their coursework; and
6. To build sets of steps for the LUT-OD National High School.
Item #6 probably needs some explanation. You might recall a Sunday morning a couple of months ago when Hugh showed us a series of slides that pictured our adopted schools, along with some of the students and teachers. He pointed out that the LUT-OD National High School is located in a deep ravine. The Department of Education there doesn’t provide money to build steps so the ravine might be navigated more easily (and more safely!). Money from Magnolia has funded the construction of two sets of steps. A third set will be added later.
As you know, Pacita and Hugh visited each of the schools on their recent trip to their home in the Philippines. They weren’t able to visit in the classrooms of the LUT-OD High School because of safety concerns related to the ravine in which the school is located.
We offer sincere thanks to the Walkers for this excellent report and for establishing a longstanding connection between Magnolia and our dear friends in the Philippines!
by Corinne Hayes
Just what is Blankets of Blessings? Recently, the nurses in Palliative Care at ECM hospital told one of our volunteers that as patients face the end of their lives; they take special comfort in having a soft blanket to wrap themselves up. That is all that the Magnolia family needed to hear! Soon we were working together to personalize blankets much like the one above. The blankets are embroidered with a message and an edge is hand crocheted. Our volunteers believe that spending time making the blankets special with a little extra touch of love is well worth it. We find ourselves praying for those who will soon be touched by this small effort and for their families who are facing losing the one they love. Blessings from Magnolia!
by Corinne Hayes
Our thanks go out to the shepherds at Magnolia for encouraging us to dream!
Our first Town Hall Meeting of 2018 may have taken longer than planned but it wasn't on empty stomachs. After filling our bellies, Jimmy Hayes, our minister at Magnolia, started the meeting by sharing comments from a church survey from December of last year. We also listened to great stories of others from our community being reached through ministries like Bundles of Blessings, Blankets of Blessings, Benevolence, Room in the Inn, and our participation in the Community Soup Kitchen. Even though these are not new to Magnolia, each ministry is still fresh in the impact that it is having on lives. Just yesterday, visitors from several community groups came to our Bundles of Blessings to see how they can hook up with us to help young families.
Other ministries shared during our meeting including the Youth Ministry and their desire to participate in helping the community. The Philippines outreach shared about their many past projects and the most recent purchase of USB slap bracelets sent to a night school there. Finally, Euna Hudson shared her dream of starting a program to help students finding themselves lagging behind in school.
And it didn't stop there. Soon ideas were coming from every direction on ways to help those who need answers to discover Jesus for themselves. We are dreaming of new ways to touch people through social media, simulcasts, personal relationships, and so much more. Magnolia, keep dreaming, and we will work together with Him to make His dreams come true!
by Billy Ray Warren
As you know, the Magnolia family sponsors two schools in the Philippines, with one of them being a night school for young people who must work during the day to help support their families. Hugh and Pacita Walker determined that students in the night school needed assistance as their school enters the digital world, so the Walkers did a search on-line and discovered slap bracelets. Now, these are not the ordinary slap bracelets; they have a flash drive embedded in one end! With these, students and teachers will be able to make assignments and complete them electronically. Hugh wrote this message to include with the 100 bracelets which will be shipped soon:
“We send these flash drive bracelets with the hope that they will aid you in your school work. Education is one of the most important things a young person can do. Education is the foundation of your future. We are proud to aid you in this quest for knowledge and hope that in this effort you will also acquire wisdom. Education can be aided by your teachers, but wisdom comes from God. We pray always for your protection and safety.”
Pacita and Hugh asked everyone present on Sunday morning, January 14, to sign the message (which we were happy to do, of course.)
By the way, Hugh says that teachers in the Philippines are expected to purchase many of their own classroom supplies even though their salaries are low. Therefore, when we ship boxes of supplies to the schools, we are assisting both the students and their instructors!
We are grateful to Pacita and Hugh for allowing the Magnolia family to be involved in this wonderful ministry.
For lack of a better term, we’re referring to the pews in the worship center located on the left side nearest where the Christmas tree sat as the Young People’s Section. That just seems to be the spot where our teenagers have always congregated. (We find that very encouraging because we distinctly remember the young people of our teen years con- gregating on the very back rows.) And what we have noted of late is that the number of young people sitting in that section has increased significantly. So, here’s a suggestion: let’s all make a point to let our young people know how pleased we are to see them there and what a joy it is to see the numbers increasing. Remember: a major barometer of the health and vitality of a church is the number of children and young people who are part of it.