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The Michael L. White Family
Newsletter for 2007
By Rev. Michael L. White
The 2007 New Year's Day celebration was another quiet one for the White House, er the Michael White House, that is. It was so quiet, in fact, that I can't even remember what we did. :-) Of course, some might interpret that another way, but let me assure you that that was not the case.
I thought 2006 was one of the best years ever, but 2007 has been one of the best ever for me, too. Despite a couple of seeming setbacks, which I'll explain momentarily, it has turned out to be quite satisfying.
The first seeming setback happened in March, about two weeks before Easter, when I received the news that I would be moving in June to another pastorate, Rosinton United Methodist Church (UMC), even though neither I nor the Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) at Tanner Williams UMC had asked for a change of pastoral appointment. This is the only time in my ministry that this has ever happened to me. It turns out that neither did the Rosinton UMC SPRC nor their pastor ask for a change, nor did the SPRC and pastor of the church where the Rosinton pastor was appointed ask for a change, but we were all caught up in the shuffle that happens in this annual, topsy-turvy world of UMC pastoral appointment-making.
Although I had been appointed to Tanner Williams UMC for only 18 months, God determined -- through the United Methodist appointive system -- that I would be better suited to serve the wonderful people of Rosinton UMC. While I was disappointed to leave an appointment after such a short tenure (especially when I saw how much I was truly loved and supported by the vast majority there), once I got acquainted with the Rosinton congregation, I realized why God had moved me, and I thank Him for using even sometimes vile and corrupt church politics to accomplish His Perfect Will for me. At Rosinton UMC, I am now serving what I believe to be the best-matched congregation I have ever served! What Satan intended for victory over right and goodness, God turned into a glorious victory over Satanic influences. HALLELUJAH!
The past six months, since arriving at Rosinton UMC, have been pure pleasure. We've kept our home in West Mobile, so we bounce between there and the parsonage in the Rosinton community. The two provide for us a very nice change of pace with every return.
One of the great joys I had during this past six months was accompanying the Rosinton UMC and Foley UMC youth who combined to go on a mission trip to the Casa Bethel Orphanage in Matamoros, Mexico. You can view a stirring slideshow
of some of our many photos on YouTube.com. We painted the Casa Bethel Orphanage inside and out and made some wonderful memories in the process. We also conducted a joint youth Sunday at each church on July 29th. We plan to return with other area churches in the Bay Pines District
in the summer of 2008 and help them with something else, like teaching Vacation Bible School. It promises to be great fun! Many thanks go to Tim Coman, our former youth pastor, for planning, coordinating, and leading this most eventful and life-changing trip and follow-up youth Sunday. Effective December 2007, Tim has moved on to bigger ministry opportunities in Bay Town, TX, near his hometown of Houston.
Just before we moved to Rosinton in mid-June, I finally received verbal notice in late-May that I was selected for promotion to the rank of Major in the Alabama Army National Guard by The Department of the Army Promotion Board which convened in February 2007, but I didn't get to pin it on or get paid for it until late-August. Nevertheless, it was well worth the wait. In fact, I've been waiting for this so long that I don't actually know how to feel now. The word "anti-climactic" comes to mind, however. :-)
Celebrating all the Christian holy days again this past year was once more very special for me. I conducted an Ash Wednesday Service in March, taught a Lenten Bible Study based on the lectionary readings for each week during Lent, conducted a Good Friday Tenebrae Service, an Easter Sunrise Service, and, of course, the annual Easter Sunday Service. The children also had a wonderful time at the annual Easter Egg Hunt. It was much better attended this year, because we held it on Holy Saturday morning, instead of during Sunday School on Palm Sunday. Children from all around the Tanner Williams area came for the fun.
Although we comemmorated several of the other holidays, such as Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Independence Day, the next Christian holy day service we observed was Thanksgiving, and for the first time in a few years, Rosinton joined other churches in the area at Loxley United Methodist Church for the annual Community Thanksgiving Service at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 18th. Unfortunately, however, I was unable to attend, because I was still at home recovering from the second seeming setback of the year, a heart attack I suffered on Tuesday, October 30th.
That event came out of nowhere and blind-sided us all. Although I had had chest pains for years, I had been assured by the Army doctors who last examined me in 2004 and 2005 that my heart was okay. They had conducted every test available, except the only sure-fire one: a heart catheterization. Because I also suffered from acid reflux, I assumed the pains were related to that. Nevertheless, since the 100% blocked artery was on the back side of my heart, it was very difficult to detect. The good news, though, is that the doctor doesn't think I suffered much damage to my heart, 5-15% at most. He put in a stint and prescribed blood thinners to prevent clotting. He also prescribed blood pressure medicine, even though I didn't have high blood pressure, in order to lessen the work on the heart. However, it kept my blood pressure abnormally low, which left me lethargic and dizzy all the time, including during one of my favorite occasions: Thanksgiving Day dinner. After suffering those symptoms for a month, I finally went to my primary care physician, who agreed that the blood pressure medicine was the culprit. My heart doctor concurred, and I was allowed to stop taking it. That was about four weeks ago, and what a difference it has made! I was able to resume my normal pastoral duties within the week, and I haven't looked back since.
The final two special services of this year were the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service and the New Year's Eve Wesleyan Covenant Renewal Service. As usual, they were deeply touching occasions to celebrate our love for and faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Leading and participating in all these holy day services always
gives me great joy and pleasure. This year was even more joyful than usual, however, because both my parents and my parents-in-law came to attend the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service and spent the night with us. This made Christmas all the more special, since we were also able to share lunch together on Christmas Day. Ellen made quite a spread, too. Both our Moms contributed a couple of dishes as well. We also enjoyed exchanging gifts, of course. As usual, I shopped for Ellen, and she shopped for everyone else, although I did take Josh to do his shopping for Ellen.
Speaking of Ellen and Josh, they are both doing well. Ellen whiles away her days doing housework, working crossword and suduko puzzles, browsing the Internet, and watching tv. Josh reads books and magazines, browses the Internet, and watches tv and DVDs. He gets an occasional change of scenery once or twice during the year when he goes to spend a few weeks with both sets of grandparents in Dothan, Alabama.
As for me, I spend my days working in the church office from 9:00 a.m. until noon every Monday through Thursday, giving a devotional message to the local Home of Grace (a private Christian facility for women recovering from addictions) every Tuesday morning at 8:15, making pastoral visits as needed, and publishing Christian books through my still-new publishing business, Parson Place Press
. It will be two years old in April 2008!
Although I've published two titles in 2007, I'm not making much money yet, barely enough to cover my expenses, if that. Maybe if I can increase my distribution into the brick-and-mortar bookstores in every city (my goal for 2008), I'll start making more money. In the meantime, I have at least five titles in line for publication in 2008, Lord willing. You can browse them all online as they are published in the Parson Place Press Bookstore
. If you subscribe to the Parson Place Email List
, you'll stay up-to-date on all the latest news. I discontinued the monthly Parson Place Newsletter
with the May 2007, issue, however, because practically no one (actually 10% or less of its subscribers) was reading it. After five years of continuous production, it was a bittersweet moment, but as it turns out, I use that time now to work on other more important things.
Well, that wraps up another year in the life of the White Family. I hope your year in 2007 has been at least as happy as ours, and I wish you all a very Blessed New Year in 2008. Until this time again next year, if the Lord tarries (and I don't think He will tarry much longer), I close with my usual favorite Christmas quote by Dickins' Tiny Tim: "God bless us everyone!"