What Do You Do?

God loves you. God loves you even if you don’t love God back. God loves you when you don’t think you deserve God’s love. God loves you regardless of what you do or don’t do. So what do you do in the face of this divine love that is the most powerful force in the universe? Surrender to it. Thank God for it. Revel in it. And experience how it gives you exactly what you need at exactly the time you need it in exactly the way you need it.  

Obituary for Albert William Martin Jr.

Albert William (Bill) Martin, Jr. passed away peacefully in Waverly, OH on January 9, 2019. He was born in Nashville, TN on June 6, 1930, to Albert William Martin, Sr. of Pea Ridge, AR and Sallie Hairston Martin of Conway, AR. Bill grew up in Arkansas and moved to Dallas, TX, where he graduated as valedictorian from Highland Park High School in 1948. He graduated from Southern Methodist University (1951) and Union Theological Seminary (1954). He completed an MA (1961) and Ph.D. (1971) at Vanderbilt University. While at Vanderbilt, Bill and his wife, Bea, participated in the Nashville sit-in movement and helped to organize student protests.

In the early 1950s, Bill was ordained a deacon in the Methodist Church and later became an elder. He was admitted in the North Arkansas Conference of the Methodist Church in the mid-1950s, and served as pastor or youth minister for numerous churches from 1951- 54, including the Jerico Springs Circuit of the Southwest Missouri Conference of the Methodist Church, the Scurry Circuit of the Texas Conference of the Methodist Church, First Methodist Church in New Rochelle, NY, and First Methodist Church in Jonesboro, AR. He was pastor of the Methodist Church in Green Forest, AR from 1954-56; Denton’s Chapel Methodist Church in Whites Creek, TN from 1961-64; and associate pastor at Centenary United Methodist Church in Memphis, TN from 1970-71. He was pastor of Santa Cruz United Methodist Church in Española, NM from 1978-81.

During his teaching career, Bill worked for the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church, which later became the Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. He held numerous positions at Methodist or United Methodist-related schools from 1956-81, including Robinson School of San Juan, Puerto Rico; the Navajo Methodist Mission School of Farmington, NM; and McCurdy School of Española, NM. Bill taught at seminaries including the Centro Evangélico Unido in Mexico City from 1965-69, and the Seminario Evangélico de Puerto Rico in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, 1971- 77. He taught classes for pastors at Perkins School of Theology, SMU, and at their extension center at Hendrix College in Conway, AR. Bill was a professor at Oklahoma City University (OCU) from 1981-98, where he served one year as Acting Dean of the Wimberly School of Religion and was named Professor Emeritus upon his retirement.

Bill’s publications include his book, A Diary of Devotion: A Month with John and Charles Wesley, and multiple articles in journals such as Methodist History, New Mexico Historical Review, The Chronicles of Oklahoma, Quarterly Review, Studia Liturgica, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, The Craighead County Historical Quarterly, Flashback and Tennessee Historical Quarterly. He wrote occasional guest columns for the United Methodist News Service, the Arkansas United Methodist, and the United Methodist Reporter. One of Bill’s articles published in The Chronicles of Oklahoma received the Muriel H. Wright Award for the “outstanding article” in 2000.

Bill was one of the founders and early chairpersons of Amnesty International Chapter 238 in Oklahoma City and served as President of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. He and his wife, Bea, received a lifetime service award from the Coalition.

Both were arrested numerous times and jailed on one occasion following demonstrations against the death penalty in Oklahoma.

Bill actively supported the Reconciling Ministries Network and the Methodist Federation for Social Action, both unofficial United Methodist organizations. This support included participation in committees at Epworth United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City and St. John’s United Methodist Church in Lubbock, TX that petitioned the General Conference of the denomination to become more fully open in its acceptance of LGBTQ persons. As a citizen, he supported Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and numerous other organizations.

Bill and Bea moved to Waverly, OH in 2013 and became members of Broad Street United Methodist Church in Columbus and Orchard Hill United Church of Christ in Chillicothe. As a resident of Bristol Village, Bill was active in the Faith & Values group and the Religious Liberal Fellowship.

Bill is preceded in death by his two sisters, Mattie Sue Emerson and Betty Jane Anderson. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Annie Beatrice (Bea) Martin née Williamson of Philadelphia, MS, and their three children, Sara Lee (Sally) Delgado (husband, José Delgado) of Athens, OH; Andrew William Martin (wife Christina Ashby-Martin) of Lubbock, TX; and Anthony Lloyd Martin of Ashland, OR. Bill is also survived by his two grandchildren, Alejandro Delgado (wife Lauren Delgado) of Cincinnati, OH; and Alma Ann (Annie) Martin, of Pittsburgh, PA.

A memorial service to celebrate Bill’s life will be held Saturday, January 19 at 1:30 pm in the assisted living activity room of Traditions at Bristol Village in Waverly, OH, with Rev. Terry D. Williams officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Amnesty International, Bread for the World, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Reconciling Ministries Network (UMC), the Pike County Outreach Council in Waverly, or a local food bank. Bill’s remains will be buried in the cemetery of Pea Ridge, AR where his parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and many other relatives are buried.

Are You Ready

When life gets crazy, you probably long for it “to get back to normal”. But God doesn’t want your life to be normal. Ever. Indeed, God longs for it to be a grand adventure, a journey towards becoming the person God has created you to be and an eternal reality.  And here’s the amazing grace about what God wants for you. God’s already given you everything you need for it to happen. What is more, God’s going to keep giving it to you. The question is, are you ready to embrace it?

United Methodists urged to join in Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is urging all United Methodists to join in the global Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which starts on January 18 and runs until January 25.

Organized by the World Council of Churches, this year’s Week of Prayer is under the theme “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue …” and is inspired by Deuteronomy 16:18-20.

During the week, congregations and parishes all over the world exchange preachers or arrange special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services.

Traditionally, the week of prayer is celebrated between January 18-25, between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul. In the southern hemisphere, where January may be vacation time, churches often find other days to celebrate it, for example around Pentecost, which is also a symbolic date for unity.

The resources for the week have been prepared by members of different churches in Indonesia. Read more about the resources here.

Download 2019 materials in English, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese here.

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Your Deep Dark Secret

You have a deep dark secret you try to hide from everyone, including yourself. You don’t feel like you measure up. You’re not worthy. You’re just not good enough and never will be. Carrying this burden is hard enough on its own. But it’s especially painful when you feel like you’re on your own. God gets it. And it breaks God’s heart. That’s why God is doubling down so you will know just how cherished you are, how much God is in love with you and how nothing can ever change that.