Recently, Douglas Fairbanks, senior pastor of First-Centenary United Methodist Church, announced that the church is in its 40th year of television ministry. Immediately, a strong memory flashed into my mind of how it all began.
One Wednesday morning, my husband, then senior pastor of the church, came in from the weekly Men's Breakfast Bible Study. He told me that a man visiting our church had suggested that our Sunday morning worship service be televised.
"What did you say to him?" I asked.
"Well, I told him there was no possibility of that happening until the debt on the new sanctuary building was paid off," he replied.
But the next Wednesday morning, Ralph came in with a very sizable check from the visitor. "That man really means business," said my husband, "so I guess we are going to be on television."
Since the money was available, the church board quickly approved the project.
Normally, you would call in a consultant to begin such a ministry, but Ralph discovered three men in the church who were savvy in the field of electronics. A. Cave Richardson, Jr., John Germann and Mike Payne (with lots of help from their wives) were not only competent but also excited about the possibility. On the Sunday we began broadcasting, the congregation was like a child with a new toy. We all sat up straight and smiled a lot.
Through the years, other people have participated as camera people or editors to reduce a one-hour service into a 30-minute time slot. Among them are Cheryl Powell, Sally Richardson, Martha and Bill Eaves. Bill Matthews and Chris Schobert.
Yet 40 years later, those same three men who started it all are still active in the ministry. So today I salute them and all others who serve behind the scenes with little recognition. Our nation, our schools, our churches couldn't run as efficiently without this army of volunteers.
The generous donor, Frank Harrison, Jr., is no longer living, but his presence is felt every Sunday at 10:45 a.m. when the cameras begin to roll.
Contact Nell Mohney at firstname.lastname@example.org.