ARP News Update

Better Late Than Never

By Rev. Bill Everett, pastor of New Albany (MS) ARP
She was only three years old when it happened. For well over three-quarters of a century she would know a world of darkness…a world most of us, thankfully, will never experience and can only barely imagine.

The old country doctor said it was some type of eye infection, the seriousness of which is now unknown. What is known is that whatever he did to treat her condition resulted in the loss of her sight.

But Mrs. Cass (the name by which she would later be known) of Olin, NC, was of hearty pioneer stock.  Blind or not, she pressed on with life, refusing to let her handicap deny her the joy of living.  Eventually she married and gave birth to seven children.  Though she couldn’t look into their faces, a pain only a mother can really appreciate, she most certainly could look into their hearts.  She knew them by the sound of their voices and loved them as dearly as any mother can.

Except for her loss of sight, Mrs. Cass was so healthy, she never saw a doctor until age 85, and even then it was at the insistence of her family.  After examining her eyes and learning she had been blind for some 82 years, the doctor informed her that he thought he could help her regain her sight!

Following outpatient surgery that removed “scales” that had formed on her eyes, the doctor’s words of hope became reality.  For the first time since she was three, Mrs. Cass left a world of shadows and darkness and re-entered a world most of us take for granted. Indeed, as one of her grandsons noted, his grandmother now wakes up in a new world everyday.

Mrs. Cass is no longer with us, but her experience leaves behind some things worth our consideration.

For one thing, you can bet she never took her regained sight for granted.  We live in a world filled with colors and images which should never cease to inspire feelings of awe and astonishment over what our Creator has done.  Yet the extraordinary has a way of becoming ordinary when we lose our focus.

And even more so when it comes to appreciating the spiritual sight with which our gracious Father has blessed us.  Through “eyes” of faith, we behold our precious Savior and see and understand the truth that a world blinded in sin still doesn’t get.  But have we “left our first love?” Has the joy of knowing Jesus Christ lost its luster?

How wonderful that at age 85 Mrs. Cass regained her sight!  But think of what she missed.  By then her husband and two of her children lay buried in graves.  She never even got to see them.

Is your faith resting in Christ alone?  Or is that a step you’ve yet to take?  It’s true, “Tis better to come to Christ late in life than never to come at all.” But like Mrs. Cass, think of what you would miss!

Gift of Persimmons Resulted in New Organ
ROCK HILL SC – In 1911, American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie gave a donation to help pay for an organ for First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Rock Hill, after a church elder sent Carnegie a box of persimmons to remind him of his childhood in Scotland.

Previous requests for a donation had gone unanswered.

“I am using this wild, uncultivated, God-grown fruit, in the name of my Master, hoping that by it I may get your consideration of the needs of our church for a pipe organ,” W.W. Boyce wrote.

At 4 p.m. Oct. 14, a concert by Rock Hill native J. Marty Cope will celebrate the recent renovation and restoration of the church organ.  Some of the original 101-year-old pipes are now in voice again after being silenced when much of the organ was replaced about 50 years ago.

Cope recently completed a master’s degree as a member of the inaugural class of the Master of Music Studies at Cambridge University and is choir director and associate organist at Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas, TX.

Unity ARP Church Celebrates Jubilee Birthday
The Unity Women’s Ministries, under the direction of Fran Melton, Missions and Outreach chairman, sponsored the annual Jubilee Birthday celebration on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. The funds raised during this celebration help support ARP missionaries Judi Buis and Nannette Howard.

Missionaries Erik and Laurie Meberg, currently on furlough, spoke to the congregation during the Sunday School hour about their previous ministry in Turkey.

Members of the UWM decorated individual tables, each with a different party theme, ranging from a child’s birthday to the traditional black and white “Over the Hill” theme.  Phil and Robin Cox prepared the barbecue meal.  Desserts were made by UWM ladies.

The morning worship service further emphasized the importance of missions: Rev. Charles Hammond delivered his sermon, “Supporting the Troops,” based on Romans 10:5-17.  He compared the way in which we support and send our military troops to the battle lines, to sending our missionaries to foreign fields.