Monday, September 23, 2013

Dock's First Sunday

Dock Hollingsworth’s first Sunday as senior pastor of Second-Ponce de Leon was a special day. I had worked for fifteen years with Dock’s dad Neil, who has retired back to Greenwood SC. When I arrived I went over to speak to Neil, who was sitting with three rows of relatives. Neil insisted I sit with him, so his daughter Paula had to put up with me. Paula said she and her sister Hillary were there to make sure their brother didn’t get the big head.

As usual, the ministers walked up to the front as the service was about to start. As they arrived the entire congregation stood and applauded Dock. Dock’s eyes teared up, and he was visibly affected and speechless. A special moment. As we were clapping I told Paula that the congregation did this every week for their REGULAR pastor. Both she and Neil cracked up.

Dock’s sermon was about getting back to fundamentals: loving each other. He likened the church with a new pastor to a baseball team starting off spring training with the fundamentals: “This is a baseball” as Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda put it. Dock told the story of how unlike his nine previous interim pastorships, the people of Second-Ponce had captured his heart. He shared many stories of personal interactions, including of how Frank Gudger had taken him to play golf so Dock would feel better about his own golf game.

After the service a luncheon was held in the Family Life Center. The gym floor was packed, and latecomers had to eat in the racquetball courts. I ate with Reid and Edie Whitaker, at a table with Ernie Garrison and his wife. I reminded Ernie that we had played softball together over thirty years ago. His wife asked about Ceil. Since I had worked with Dock’s father, the entire table was interested in my stories of the Hollingsworth family.

Bill Dukes served as master of ceremonies and asked Dock a series of questions that SPdL members had asked in advance. How he got his name, favorite food/restaurant/movie, how he met Melissa, etc. There was much fun and laughter. Dock also introduced all the many family members that were present. I was glad this didn’t happen during the service, when I was sitting with the family.

For the second time this month I was able to speak with many old friends. Dolly and Ben Craig, Debbie Light Painter, Sara Maddox, Jeff Bunch, David and Ivy Anderson, David Hall, Drew Kelly, Jerome, Ricky Richardson, Milton Jarrell. I spoke for a long time to Ron Watts, the stood in line with Bob and Patti Lamb. Bob reminded me that we were in a pre-wedding small group with them, Thad & Darlene Warren, and Mike & Shirley Ayers. Skip and Peggy Whisenbaker had led the group. Both Neil and Jerry Head told me the story of when Dock and Debra Head had gotten their driver’s license they met at a stop sign. They both stopped, then both went. Crash!

Reid told me that Dock and Melissa will spend a few nights each week in SPdL’s nearby parsonage, and that Dock was already working out in the FLC. They still have their house in Braselton, but that is 45 miles away. Dock spent the past few weeks visiting nearby churches in Buckhead, getting to know his new neighbors.

Friday night we watched the ABC sitcom “Last Man Standing”. Tim Allen works at a Bass Pro Shop type place. His wife is played by Nancy Travis. We usually don’t watch, but Duck Dynasty’s Willie and Si Robertson made an appearance. The Robertson’s were there to buy hunting gear, but the discussion turned to scripture. Bible verses were quoted and Jesus was mentioned. There was also some Tea Party talk. As the show was ending Willie and Si sat down at the dinner table with Tim and his family, and Willie said a prayer.

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