Thursday, April 29, 2010


Final Meeting of North Texas Conference Communications Commission

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Communications Strategy And Tactics Await Annual Conference

Today's meeting of the North Texas Conference (NTC) Communications Commission, at the NTC Ministry Center in Plano, was its last scheduled meeting before Annual Conference at Wichita Falls in early June.

There, at Annual Conference, members from the six districts of NTC will evaluate, discuss and vote on an elaborate Strategic Plan to overhaul and streamline the Conference with a view toward increased effectiveness in ministry. Once the Strategic Plan is passed, many existing NTC organizations, such as the Communications Commission, could undergo substantial change in structure, personnel and day-to-day operations.

A few of these Conference sub groups, those not mandated by the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline (BOD), might even be terminated or transformed beyond recognition. Fortunately for the Communications Commission, the BOD does mandate a Communications Commission or something similar, but even that level of "safety" leaves open possibilities that could spell significant change.

Unfortunately, no one seems to have much input on just what to expect once the Strategic Plan is approved and implementation begins. A military analogy might suggest that the strategy is there, but the tactics have yet to be developed or announced.

At today's Commission meeting, the two people most likely to have input on all this were present, but neither could provide details or put flesh on the bones of the skeleton that most of us view as the Strategic Plan.

The Rev. Dr. Joan LaBarr, NTC Communications Director for the past several years, and a member of the Extended Cabinet, has blazed new trails in communications for NTC, but she retires soon after Annual Conference.

The Rev. Dr. Sheron Patterson has been appointed by the Bishop as Communications Officer under the Strategic Plan reorganization. This seemingly slight change in the title of NTC's highest-level communicator might suggest that other changes, however slight or however significant, might be in the offing.

In any case, both LaBarr and Patterson told members of the Commission that only time will provide the answer to questions about the nature of communications under the Strategic Plan reorganization. However, both seemed upbeat and optimistic.

To commemorate LaBarr's upcoming retirement, and to honor her with a gift for her unique ministry of communications and significant personal interaction with communicators all over the Conference, members of the Commission presented her with a Canon video camera for her post-retirement ministry, which kicks off soon after Annual Conference with an extended mission trip to Southeast Asia.

For many at today's meeting, the atmosphere was bittersweet, in part because an era was ending, and also because of uncertainty about fallout from the Strategic Plan.

As acting chair today, I asked Dr. Patterson to dismiss the Commission meeting with prayer, but first I tried to illuminate the perceived darkness a bit by quoting a recent Facebook admonition by David Stanton, my brother-in-Christ at Tinney Chapel UMC. I told Dr. Patterson that pastors should not have to please everyone all the time, and that if she followed God, we--as NTC communicators--would follow her!

Thank you, David, and thank you, Dr. LaBarr and Dr. Patterson.


Sunday, April 25, 2010


Tinney Chapel UMC Unplugged!

Click on any image, above, to view it in larger format or click the arrow on the video icon, below, to view Kids Time at Tinney Chapel on this day when we had no electricity.

Tinney Chapel UMC Unplugged

On this Sunday, after an early Saturday storm, the electrical power was still off at Tinney Chapel, the quintessential country church, as it was for most of us who live nearby.

But no one considered canceling anything, so when folks showed up at 449 County Road 4620, not every hair was in place. Nor was every beard perfectly groomed. Some of the ladies were not entirely comfortable about their appearance. A few men had to tuck in their shirts or re-comb their hair.

Flashlights and candles illuminated the otherwise dark rest rooms in the Family Life Center, but Sunday School began on schedule, at 9:30 a.m.

The classrooms reflected sufficiently bright sun from windows, and not even the big auditorium in this 8,000-square-foot building was without enough light to conduct fellowship, although there was no hot coffee.

Still, no one complained. It was a lot like going to the "stormhouse," back in the Old Days of the late 1930s and the decade of the 1940s, where there was never any power and the only light came from a kerosene lantern.

Even the sanctuary itself was always without power during that era of my own childhood at Tinney Chapel, when all the revivals, always held at night, were illuminated either by kerosene lanterns or Aladdin gasoline lamps, strategically positioned throughout the room, with some hanging on nails provided by the original builders of this church in 1900.

It was a combination of excitement and nostalgia on this day, with some even remembering that the only power we really need is that provided by the Holy Spirit, which rained down tongues of fire at Pentecost during the First Century on what is now considered the birthday of the Christian Church.

Georgia Goggans used Pastor Sue's tiny booklight during her sermon at Kids Time, during which she made repeated references to this day's lack of electricity. If you choose to click the arrow to view the video of Georgia's presentation, the dark background will be quite obvious, and her booklight will be very noticeable. But you can still see her face and those of her eager young listeners, with Georgia's strong voice always clear and audible, even under the most difficult circumstances.

As the Worship service ended, the sun had risen higher in the sky, and the congregation decided to stay for the previously scheduled Fourth Sunday Luncheon, and that event also progressed without a hitch as well.

The same could be said for the Trustee meeting called by Bob Deitering, and the DNA Committee meeting, called by Jenna Nelson and Pastor Sue. Members of the DNA Committee brainstormed for another two hours following lunch, adjourning at mid-afternoon, with all members feeling especially empowered in their calling.

It was a day when the electricity was off, but The Power was clearly ON!


Thursday, April 22, 2010


Ladies Spring Fling & Fashion Show @ Tinney Chapel

Photos by Angela Wylie.

Click on any image, above, to view it in larger format, or click on the arrow, below, to view the Spring Fling video of the ladies fashion show.

Spring Fling For The Ladies @ Tinney Chapel

Normally, Spring Fling is an annual event at Tinney Chapel UMC, but is reserved strictly for the Ladies Group and their friends.

This year, a few Tinney Chapel men were invited--to be table waiters for the ladies dinner.

After the meal, Nan Williams, who facilitated the event, served as the emcee, commenting on the appropriateness of Proverbs 31, which describes a kind of ideal woman. In addition, Nan sang the song, You Are So Beautiful, and urged all the ladies to revel in their femininity.

Perhaps the highlight of the evening was a fashion style show, with Tinney Chapel ladies serving as their own models.

This was definitely the Tinney Chapel version of Ladies Night Out.

Here's To The Ladies: You Are So Beautiful!

Photo by Angela Wylie. Click on image to view in larger format.

You Are So Beautiful

Nan Williams, photo above, not only facilitated the recent Spring Fling and Fashion Style Show at Tinney Chapel UMC.

She also used her incredible voice to sing a most appropriate song, You Are So Beautiful, as a tribute to the ladies of Tinney Chapel.

Click on the arrow, below, to activate the video which is presented here via Windows Media Player, available on most Windows-based computers.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


A Man To Ride The River With

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Photos by David Stanton, Johnny Cates and Clint Perkins.

A Man To Ride The River With

That is the title of a presentation that Joe Dan Boyd presented at the Aggie Muster this year, April 21, 2010, at the Golden Community Center in Wood County, Texas. It's an old cowboy maxim applied to a chosen few: Those you are sure you can trust with your life.

It's the story of Forrest W. Cooper, Jr., Joe Dan's Texas A&M Classmate and close friend, who died in a tragic plane crash during 1981, an event which impacted Joe Dan's life in unexpected ways. He was not emotionally able to write about the event until 1997, and the resulting essay won national critical acclaim, eventually convincing Joe Dan to take the story on the road, especially as a speaker at Aggie Musters, held annually on San Jacinto Day.

Joe Dan, who is also a Certified Lay Speaker in the United Methodist Church, has made the same presentation in a few churches as well.

In this presentation, he focuses on the life lessons he learned from Cooper, lessons in humility, loyalty, friendship and especially on the context of living a life that matters, however long or short it might be. Joe Dan also recommends the Harold Kusher book, Living A Life That Matters.

Cooper, a quintessential cowboy type, was heavily influenced by Carl T. Sprague, an Aggie of a previous generation, who was also America's first professional singing cowboy, and who first popularized the old Western ballad, When The Work Is All Done This Fall. Thus, Boyd sings that song during his presentation.

Joe Dan has made this presentation at Aggie Muster events in several other locations throughout Texas and is already booked to do it again in 2011.

Meanwhile, a picture of Cooper, made just before his fateful last flight, rests over the computer screen of Joe Dan's writing desk where his eyes and his imagination focus for inspiration. Cooper is still a man Joe Dan depends on when things get tough.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Come & Dine is message preached by Lay Speaker Joe Dan Boyd

Click on any image above to view it in larger format or click on arrow under copy below to view video of Tinney Chapel choir singing a Jesus medley.
Photos above are by Angela Wylie and Joe Dan Boyd.

Come and Dine

Lay Speaker Joe Dan Boyd sang the old (1907) song, Come And Dine, which is based on today's primary Scripture, John 21:12a, which relates Jesus calling out to the Disciples to come and dine on the fish and bread the Master has cooked up on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

It is our first Biblical confirmation that Jesus was a good cook.

That the Disciples follow His command, bring their fishing boat to shore and interact with the Resurrected Christ, is the backdrop for this final chapter of the Gospel of John.

Joe Dan also suggested that our congregation consider improving on his Come-and-Dine apron design, which is also based on this Scripture (see photo above).

Finally, Joe Dan passed out handouts with his Top Ten life lessons from today's sermon:

1. We all have an apostolic (one who is sent) mission.
2. It is always difficult to get the whole family together.
3. Walk the walk before talking the talk.
4. When all else fails, go fishing.
5. Things always look better in the morning.
6. We don't always recognize Jesus when we see Him.
7. If at first you don't succeed, cast your net again.
8. It is OK to jump overboard and come to Christ.
9. The love of Christ draws us through fire and water.
10. We know that John's testimony is true.

To view and hear the Tinney Chapel choir perform a medley of Jesus songs, accompanied by Molly Mathis on piano, click the arrow below:


Tuesday, April 06, 2010


Tinney Chapel's green ash tree leafs out!

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Remembering Josh "Pup" Cherry's Dash To Life: 1984-2005 after five years!

LIFE: 1984-2005

Poetry by Joshua Eric "Pup" Cherry
Born September 16, 1984
Present With The Lord April 4, 2005

There are many times that one may doubt
But take the good with the bad and don't pout.

Always look ahead to what is to come
And try to do good which is a good rule of thumb.

The times may grow dark and look never-ending,
But just look towards the light and know your time is pending.

There is so much good that is never seen
That it is the norm to be unclean.

One day everything will come to an end
I just hope you tell your next of kin.

One day, happiness will be forever
Me, you and God will all be together.

---Poetry by Josh Cherry, read at his funeral service by Ben Hogue, best friend, rodeo buddy and bearer of his pall today

Beaty Funeral Home was packed today: April 11, 2005. "Such a gathering of family and friends I have never seen," observed Tommy Boyd, Josh's grandfather, as he gazed outward from the chapel pulpit, gathered his emotions and steeled his nerves to prepare for what must have seemed the impossible task of paying personal tribute to a 20-year-old grandson who had charmed his heart and captured his admiration many times over.

Singers of songs, mournful and magnificent, sprinkled and seasoned today's service, more a celebration than a requiem of the brief candle that was Josh's life, well-lived, well-recorded and well-remembered: Forever and Ever Amen and Knocking on Heaven's Door, by Lanham Olive and his exquisite guitar; I Can Only Imagine by Autumn Hinkle.

Cowboy Poetry. A Real Cowboy: an original poem, written and delivered for the occasion by Helen McLain, Josh's great-aunt.

Cowboy Photos and Paraphernalia punctuated Beaty chapel: "You can understand what Josh loved just by looking around this room," said Brother Richard "Nub" Brown, pointing toward a host of western-oriented floral motifs, a large tooled-leather Christian cross, several bronzed cowboy boots, custom-made leather chaps inscribed "Pup" and decorated with Christian crosses, a hand-tooled saddle inscribed with a champion bull rider award from 2003 resting atop a plain, leather-trimmed pine-and-cedar coffin, appropriate for a young cowboy's last ride to the richly rural Smyrna cemetery, east of Winnsboro, Texas.

A Cowboy "Pup." "I gave Josh that nickname several years ago, when some of us riders were staying at a motel during a rodeo in Shawnee, Oklahoma," recalled best friend Ben Hogue. At that time, Ben says Josh had a decidedly baby face, big hands, big feet and a playful penchant for threatening to "whup" somebody: "But I could see that Josh was just like a young pup that growls a lot, but isn't about to hurt anybody, so I started calling him 'Pup,' and the name stuck."

A Cowboy's Code: Brother Brown, the youth minister from Josh's church, said that he knew what Josh Cherry was all about--- "He was about honesty. He was about being good to all. He was about giving. He was about being tender-hearted. He was about being loyal." Brother Brown called death a comma, rather than a period, in the story of Josh's life: "This is not goodbye; it's see you later. " He paraphrased the Promises of Jesus: "Let not your heart be troubled; I've got you covered; all will be OK, and we can lean on that. Jesus said that He would go to prepare a place for us, and that He would come back for us. That's our Promise. That's our Hope. That's our assurance. That's our guarantee. And what a day that will be!"

At the graveside ceremony today, Brother Brown read a poem: How Do You Measure The Dash? This poem celebrates the importance of that relatively tiny, but distinctive line that we call a "dash," usually inscribed between a person's date of birth and date of departure from this life. An entire life story is symbolized by that tiny dash, but only those who love that person can know the meaning of it.

A Brief Account of the "Dash" in Josh's Life:

On Monday, April 4, 2005, Joshua Eric Cherry, was called home to be with the Lord as he was traveling one of life's many highways. He was born on September 16, 1984, to Mr. Eddie Herbert Cherry and Mrs. Robin Boyd Cherry in Mt. Pleasant, Texas.

Josh was a member of Pine Street Baptist Church.

He was a 2003 graduate of Winnsboro High School, where he was active in many areas, including FFA, baseball, basketball and football. Josh worked hard and played hard all his life. Some of his accomplishments include numerous awards as a champion bareback and bull rider while being a member of the Lone Star High School Rodeo Association, Four States High School Rodeo Association, United Professional Rodeo Association, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Wills Point Rodeo Team and the Northeast Texas Community College Rodeo Team.

He was employed by Cavendar Dozar and Excavating, as a heavy equipment operator, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Those who did not know Josh missed a blessing. His passion for life was infectious to all.

This world is an emptier place without him, but you can bet he is entertaining angels with his laughter and stories in heaven.

A Conversation With Josh

Written and delivered today by Tommy Eugene Boyd, Josh's maternal grandfather

As I try to write these words, I feel your love for me
You are so easy to love, it feels so wondrously
I feel your love for the whole family
It feels as if you are singing these words to me

It is in Heaven that you have gone
You walked with Jesus across the Jordan
And in Him there is no loss

Everything I have gained, and none of it is loss
The tears, as they flow from your eyes, is only Love from me
I will Love you always, and the tears will flow eternally

I am here in Heaven where Love has no end
It is a perfect Love where there is no doubt
It feels so wonderful that it makes you want to shout

I can see all my family, they are so precious to me
I know that someday we will all be together in Eternity
I am the one God chose to come home with Him

It should be no other way, He has the perfect plan
It is in Him that all Love is shown
And it is in Him that I have grown

I know you are hurting, and you feel torn apart
It will get easier, and you will have a mended heart
That scar that is left is the one you paid for me
That is the Love that flows eternally

Do you hear the chimes as they softly ring
That is me telling you I am free

I am not bound by the things of the earth
I am home in Heaven where there is new birth

My Lord loves me so, it is with Him that I want to go
All things here in Heaven are new

I have this perfect body in a robe of white
It is so wonderful to see it gleam in the Light

That Light comes from Jesus and goes from East to West
It goes from North to South, and covers all the rest

It is never-ending, and it shines for me
I follow it to my Savior, it always shows the way

It is not as if He is ever gone, He is always here with me
It is a wonderful place, this Eternity
It is forever, and I will always be

Waiting here for you and all the family
There is no hurry to come here, My Lord will call you home
He knows your time of arrival, and will be waiting here for you

I will be here waiting for you, too
There are so many friends here, the numbers I cannot count
We are all family here, this don't ever doubt

Just remember I Love, and our Savior Loves, you, too
We will all be waiting here just for you.

----Poetic prose by Tommy Eugene Boyd

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Monday, April 05, 2010


Mary Louise Middleton is 98 Today!

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Mary Louise Middleton, center, in photo with Mollie & David Stanton, is 98 today!

Sunday, April 04, 2010


Easter, From Sunrise To Noon, @ Tinney Chapel

The congregational group photo above came from the camera of Angela Wylie.
Click on any image above to view it in larger format or click arrow below to view video of congregational song, Christ The Lord Is Risen Today.

Easter At Tinney Chapel: 2010

At least one first: An outdoor Sunrise Easter Service happened this year, followed by a hearty country breakfast at The Quintessential Country Church. Good weather favored us, and a good crowd participated. Pastor Sue Gross' sermon topic was Does The Resurrection Make A Difference? The congregation also sang, Morning Has Broken.

After breakfast, fellowship and announcements, members of the congregation decorated the previously drab, darkly draped Lenten Cross of Christ with flowers to symbolize the New Life of the Resurrection.

At our regular 11 a.m. morning service, Pastor Sue tweaked her sermon topic to Why I Believe In The Resurrection. Lay Leader Ronny Ellison used the Church's stained glass windows to explain the power of symbolism.

Pastor Sue also served Holy Communion at the late service, assisted by Cheryl Ann Newton, and welcomed four new members to Tinney Chapel: Johnnie Unger, Nan Williams, Ivan Barnes and Joe Matthews.

Cheryl Ann suggested reviving an old tradition at Tinney Chapel, photographing the entire congregation immediately after Easter morning service. Both Joe Dan Boyd and Angela Wylie had cameras handy, and two guests--Tommy and Janice Brewer--volunteered to use those cameras so that both Joe Dan and Angela could be in the picture. The one you see above is from Angela's camera and processed slightly by Joe Dan.

The video captured one of the congregational songs at the late service.

Christ Is Risen. Amen.

Friday, April 02, 2010


Good Friday Communion Worship @ Tinney Chapel

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Good Friday, Great Friday, Holy Friday, Black Friday

These are some of the designations for this high, holy day in the Christian calendar. Choose the one that speaks most eloquently to you.

Today’s Communion Worship Service is based on the Taize’ Community, an ecumenical Christian monastic order in Taize’, Saone-et-Loire, Burgundy, France, where our Pastor (Rev. Sue Gross) has worshiped in person.

Today, our church is draped in darkness during Scripture readings, congregational song, silent meditation and time spent in personal connection with the Cross of Christ. The songs are prayers for the heart to sing. Brother Roger of the Taize' Community says that when we sing, we pray twice. Amen to that!

Christ Himself bore our sins in His Body on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.

Grant that we, who glory in this death for our salvation, may also glory in His call to take up our cross and follow Him; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen again.

Today, Scriptures were read by Lay Readers Cheryl Ann Newton and Joe Dan Boyd:

Psalm 134:1-3
Isaiah 40:25-31
Luke 22:7-20
Luke 22:31-45
Luke 23:18-43

Special songs, interspersed with meditation, for this service:

Bless The Lord
Wait For The Lord
Eat This Bread
Stay With Me)
Jesus, Remember Me

After the draped cross was unwrapped and resting on the floor, the congregation moved as a group to meditate over the Cross of Christ, some actually touching the Cross, then after meditation, all rose and left in silence.

None will forget to remember this Holy Friday Communion Service.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


"Judas" @ Tinney Chapel begs congregation to let him explain

Click on any image above to view it in larger format or click the arrow below for video of Pastor Sue Gross as "Judas" on Maundy Thursday.

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