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What my pastor means to me

In the pulpit

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POSTED: October 26, 2009 9:59 a.m.
Pastors spend many hours encouraging and supporting members of their congregations. During the week — and especially on Sundays — they help people cope with a myriad of issues and problems.
Often, ministers never hear parishioners say, “Thank you.” Their prayers, words of encouragement, love and support are sometimes taken for granted. However, during this clergy appreciation month, churchgoers all over are expressing love and support for their pastors.
George Varnedoe has been a member of St. Peter’s African Methodist Episcopalian Church in Midway since he was christened as a baby in the 1920s, and he hase has seen many pastors come and go. Currently, Debbie Neil is the pastor at St. Peter’s AME.
“She is a very good pastor and preacher, and is doing a wonderful job. She is very good in explaining the Bible. Her sermons and points are very well understood,” Varnedoe said. “Pastor Neil has the theological training to make her more competent. She is very learned and a competent administrator. She feels confident in what she is doing. My pastor is very inspirational and is a good communicator.  She is doing a wonderful job at St. Peters.”
Maude Thompson has been a member of Fleming Baptist Church for six years, where Major Dykes is pastor. For the past three years, Thompson has served as the church clerk. Her husband, J. C. Thompson, is a deacon and the brotherhood coordinator.
“When we were looking for a church, we wanted to find one where the word is preached. Fleming Baptist is a good church. My pastor preaches the word of God. He knows the word and does not vary from it. It is very comforting to have someone who stays with God’s word,” Thompson said. “I appreciate my pastor. He represents our church well, and everyone in the community knows him. He is God-sent and cares about his parishioners. His wife is also a wonderful woman, and we love them. It is important to encourage our pastor.”
George and Jo Davis say they’re happy to be members of Good Shepherd Missionary Baptist Church of Allenhurst where Dr. C.L. Anderson is the founder and pastor.
“I first met Pastor Anderson on Dec. 26, 2001. I can remember that date because it was the day my granddaughter was buried, and Pastor Anderson presided over the funeral. At that time, neither my family nor I belonged to a church here in Hinesville. The next time I ran into him was at a Dr. Martin Luther King Day celebration at the Coastal Manor Nursing Home in 2002, where he was the speaker,” George Davis said.
“Later that year, my wife started attending Good Shepherd and joined the church. I still wasn’t convinced I should attend or join a church. I occasionally came to service, but I was not ready to join. I enjoyed the singing and the people, but it was not for me. Eventually, I started coming to Good Shepherd more and more.”
It wasn’t much longer, however, before services at Good Shepherd became a fixture in Davis’ life.
“It seemed every sermon that Pastor Anderson preached, he was talking to me, so I started to enjoy attending service,” he said. “When I wasn’t there the next time I showed up, sister Helen Anderson (the pastor’s wife) would always tell me she missed me. That made me feel important. Before we moved into our new church, Pastor Anderson told me he wanted me to be the audio man. Well, I had a purpose now, and I was not going to let him down.” Davis said.
Jo Davis shares her husband’s love and respect for Anderson and his wife. “Pastor and the first lady mean the world to me. When you see them in church or out of church, they are always the same. They are like a pair of shoes — you can’t wear one without the other,” she said. “When I look at them, I see the love they have for God, for each other, for Good Shepherd and for people. They truly care, and you can go to them if you have a problem or just want to talk. They will make time and will listen.”
Davis takes care to lavish praise and support on her church’s leaders not just during pastor appreciation month, but whenever she thinks about it.
  “They are true soldiers for the Lord, and I thank God every day for them and the Good Shepherd family. They make me want to learn more about God. It’s not the church, it’s the leaders in the church. They have instilled in me to attend Sunday school and Bible study,” she said. “I have been taught that you have to have a personal relationship with God, now I have one. The pastor and first lady not only teach the word, they live by the word.  

Anderson is the author of “Lack of Knowledge” and “Dare to Soar.”
 

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