Dr. Tim Trent, Pensacola District Superintendent, sent the following message to his district on Monday, February 22, 2016:
As I write this, I am in Montgomery for the "Bishop's Day Apart." These are wonderful learning experiences for the clergy of our Conference to remove ourselves from our normal work schedules, come together to be in fellowship and prayer, and be instructed by a great speaker. It is a day-long event but very worthwhile.
Yesterday, Linda and I worshiped with the Century United Methodist Church congregation. What a wonderful experience! Their pastor, Rev. Janet Lee, led us in a wonderful service of remembering, praise, and thanksgiving. There was a beautiful solo, singing without music, "Amazing Grace." Everyone sang softly along. Then Janet read what some of their youth had written about the destruction of their old sanctuary. Tears flowed freely from us all!
I spoke briefly of the importance of our Connectional system, reminding them they are not in this alone. Many of our churches received special offerings for Century. All, I'm sure, joined in prayer. I heard a quote last week on NPR that I thought explained our Connection (the quote had nothing to do with the United Methodist Church): "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
Right after the storm we were there. We are there now. We will be with them until they rebuild. We will "go far" because we are a Connectional Church and we go together. When one hurts, we all hurt. When one rejoices, we all rejoice.
Century will have to rebuild their church. I ask each of our churches to be in prayer for not only the Century United Methodist Church, but the Century community. There are those who have lost their homes (many uninsured) and automobiles. I am working closely with Amelia Fletcher, our Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, and we will be sending work teams in soon. I will keep you posted.
I hope you would also take up a special love offering for the Century Church. They are insured but if you've experienced something like this you know it is rarely ever enough. You can send your offering to the Conference or to the District.