Written and Shared by Bill Fulton
As many of you have done, I’ve taken some of this stay-at-home time to clean out and organize. In going thru old papers and documents, I’ve come across quite a few items that I’d completely forgotten about (often followed by the thought, “and just why did I hang on to this thing in the first place?“). Here I present Exhibit A, the cover of GMPC’s bulletin from the January 5, 1997 service.
In January of ’97 our family was in the parking lot of a Winston-Salem restaurant, where we crossed paths with sportscaster Dick (“Dickie V.”) Vitale, who was in town for a televised basketball game later that night. The boys asked me to get his autograph, so I grabbed the only piece of paper that was handy in my vehicle, which was the prior week’s church bulletin. Mr. Vitale graciously signed it, and included his, “Awesome Baby!” signature tag-line.
But what really interested me in this (re)find of an old keepsake was what the inside of the bulletin revealed.
That particular Sunday was installation and ordination of church officers, and Rev. Bill Hawkins’ sermon title “Destined for Great Things” was presumably aimed at what his expectations were for the church under new and returning leadership. Bill by no means went out on a limb with that prediction; in fact, given what the slate of elders and deacons was that year, you could practically say that in a Presbyterian way, greatness was, “predestined.” Without listing all 36 deacons and elders, from the back of the bulletin here are those from the classes of ’97-’99 who have now entered the Church Triumphant: Monte Bristow, Ed Purcell, Don Wilson, Jimmy Johnston, Cynthia Wallace, Bud Matthis, Ruth Newton, John Ashford, Carl Peay, and Doc Fields. As Dick Vitale would say, “that’s some PTP’ers!” (Google as-needed).
No question we were blessed with an excellent staff and strong leadership in 1997, but to me it just reinforces how fortunate we are as congregation during this unprecedented time in our (at least recent) history with our current staff and slate of officers. Under their direction and leadership, and with the support of countless others from our congregation whose contributions are both known and unknown, our membership is being served, “the flock tended”, and our community at-large is being uplifted. As Dickie V. would say, you’re “awesome baby!”