MY MOST sincere sympathy to members of Nashville’s First Assembly of God. Walking around the church grounds in Friday’s arctic gale, trying to stay out of the firemen’s way, I talked to their children’s minister, George Gibbs. “It’s sad, but it’s just a building,” he agreed to my expression of sympathy.
True, no one was hurt. But I believe most people have a reverence for all houses of worship.
Don’t you whisper when you talk in church?
I was present at that same west Nashville spot in about 1980 for First Assembly’s groundbreaking celebration for that very building, so I feel a special connection.
I remember being out under the trees on that undeveloped peninsula of land that day. And the excited faces around me.
The pastor called upon one of the members to start the event with a prayer. The man he called upon was the late, great Deward Sharp, truly one of our community’s finest citizens ever.
I had not been around my neighbors who attended First Assembly when they worshipped. So it jolted me when Mr. Sharp began his prayer, and the whole congregation enthusiastically caught the spirit and joined in. Do not misunderstand; it was a wonderful experience.
My longtime radio buddy Brent Pinkerton is a deacon at First Assembly, and he mentioned the outpouring of support, sympathy and offers from individuals and other churches, including offers of interim space for worship.
“Nashville is the blueprint for how a community can come together,” Brent said.
It occurs to me that in our town Sunday, two considerably-different Christian congregations shared the experience of worshipping in sites that were not their familiar places to gather.
First Assembly met in the Carter Day Center, and the Dodson Street Church of Christ met in the Green Room of the Nashville City Park.
The circumstances are different — First Assembly had lost its church to disastrous fire, and Dodson Street was tearing down its own building to make way for a new one.
One was a tragic surprise; one was joyful anticipation. One has a mostly Anglo membership; one is traditionally African-American. One has a piano; one likes church music a cappella.
Both congregations make you feel very welcome when you visit.
Now, recall recent times when a disaster struck other churches. One was a non-fire when the roof caved in at First United Methodist Church. Remember their great old building on Main Street?
Sometime since then, Free Christian Zion Church of Christ burned.
Gary Funderburk, who is a member of our Tuesday night printing crew and is a (mostly) retired Nashville VFD member, says he was wearing a new suit when the sanctuary of Ridgeway Baptist Church burned. He was on the roof when it began caving in, and he slid to safety on the seat of his new suit britches.
IMAGINE MY JOY! No, your imagination couldn’t possibly be that fertile. But try, anyway.
One blessed day last week a woman pulled a J-Turn right in front of the ‘Leader’ office. We witnessed.
It was also conveniently right in front of a Nashville police officer who could not ignore this outrageous offense.
The officer flashed his blue lights and may (or may not) have given the driver a ticket. We witnessed. I can hardly wait for the day when, as our town’s duly deputized Downtown J-Turn Enforcement Czar I will be able to (at gunpoint and splendidly attired in a camo uniform which is appropriate for weather conditions) give a ticket good for one appearance in District Court.
I know that you, also, breathlessly await the day. We hope to arrange for full press coverage.
PRINTER’S DEVIL. Tuesday, the Texarkana Gazette stilled its well-used printing press, and began hauling its printed issues from Little Rock daily. I can’t imagine the effort this will entail.
The Gazette has moved up its printing deadlines. The pages will also be the narrow width of the pages of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette which is where the Texarkana newspaper will be printed. Apparently Texarkana’s old press is just wore out and the company cannot afford to replace it. The last printing presses in SW Arkansas are at Mena and Nashville.
THINGS I LEARNED from opening email: The very first bomb dropped by the Allies on Berlin in World War II killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo.
WORD GAMES. The twins: Pure and Simple. What you see is what you get.
HE SAID: “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.” John Wayne, actor
SHE SAID: “I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” Audrey Hepburn, actress
SWEET DREAMS, Baby