Tuesday, May 29, 2018

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Members of Louisville's First Methodist Withdraw from UMC - Raising Issues Over Church Property

In March of 2018, church members at First United Methodist
Church of Louisville, Mississippi voted to withdraw the congregation's membership from the United Methodist Church (UMC) denomination. Members based their decision upon a number of issues including the lack of enforcement of the Conference's Discipline on homosexual leadership roles in the UMC and abortion issues that they believed were funded by the UMC.

First United in Louisville is a 180-year-old congregation. In the vote held under the guidelines provided by UMC at that time, members voted 175-6 to begin the process of removing the church from the denomination.

Louisville's church is not the first to vote to separate from UMC recently as a result of these issues. In at least two previous cases, negotiations with UMC led to the congregation attaining ownership of the church property. Methodist church properties, like many other large denominations are held as trusts and are not directly owned by the local church board.

On Wednesday, May 23, a church conference was held in Louisville with UMC leaders including James Swanson, the Bishop of the Mississippi Conference of the UMC. As a result of that meeting, UMC effectively stated that the church property in Louisville would remain as a United Methodist property and appointed a new pastor against the wishes of the existing congregation. Services as a United Methodist Church will be held on Sunday. Long time pastor at First Louisville, Reverend Mike Childs surrendered his credentials at that time.

The following is an excerpt from a statement issued by email by Bishop Swanson concerning the matter:

“After much discernment, prayer and work by our faith community formation team, a meeting was held Wednesday, May 23 at 11:00 a.m. with the leadership of First UMC of Louisville to announce the findings of the completed viability process. First United Methodist Church of Louisville is a county seat church with more than 150 years of history. After exploring the potential viability for ministry, the leadership of the Mississippi Annual Conference deemed that it is vitally important to sustain a strong United Methodist presence in Louisville and Winston County. Therefore, the conference has decided that First UMC of Louisville will continue as a United Methodist church and Rev. Carl Grubbs will serve as interim pastor there effective Thursday, May 24.”

A legal battle concerning the property is expected. Members who withdrew from UMC are expected to hold upcoming Sunday services in the chapel of Porter Funeral Home in Louisville.

As a result of the decision, UMC will assume responsibility for the more than one million dollar debt due to construction and remodeling in recent years and the maintenance and ongoing operation of the facilities.

As a response, Reverend Childs issued the following statement on social media (reprinted with permission):

"There has been much confusion and many questions about what is going on at First United Methodist in Louisville.

Many of you know that, since last August, First United Methodist Church has been seeking to withdraw from the United Methodist Church for reasons of conscience. The congregation carefully completed all the steps that the Bishop gave us. This was accomplished at a significant cost, even though the Conference changed the rules during the process more than once.

In the meantime, First Methodist Church, Inc., of Louisville (not a United Methodist Church) was organized in preparation for withdrawal from the UMC. The congregation has every intention of being a Christ-centered Methodist Congregation, but not a United Methodist Congregation.

A Church Conference was held with a “Membership Affirmation” that gave every person the choice of remaining a member First United Methodist Church or withdrawing their membership from the UMC and transferring their membership to the church of their choice. At the Church Conference, 175 members voted to withdraw their membership from the First United Methodist Church, and transfer their membership to First Methodist Church. Only 6 members voted to remain United Methodist.

This was followed by two months of silence from the Conference officials. Then the bishop asked to meet with the pastor and four of our church officers this past Wednesday. We expected some negotiations concerning a settlement of property issues.

However, the bishop dismissed the pastor. He declared that he accepted the withdrawal and transfer of the 175 members, and that those few remaining now made up the church. He appointed Dr. Carl Grubbs as interim pastor. He gave the present pastor 30 days to vacate the church parsonage.

So, how will those 175 plus members who have withdrawn from the United Methodist Church respond? First, I urge the more than 175 members who have moved their membership to First Methodist Church to respond with faith and love, not bitterness. Let us not make any personal attacks on those who oppose what we are doing, but trust God to lead us. After all, the reason we are withdrawing from the UMC is because we want to be faithful to God’s Word. What does God’s Word say? The Bible says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)

Second, as I told Bishop Swanson and the Conference officials, we will not do anything immoral or illegal, but we will fight for the church property using every legal means available to us, and we expect to be successful. I also informed the bishop that their next payment on the debt of more than a million dollars is June 1.

Third, our attorney is already at work to seek relief through the courts. We hope to be back in possession of our church building very soon. In the meantime, First Methodist Church of Louisville will hold its 11:00 am service this Sunday in the Porter Funeral Home Chapel. It is a holiday weekend, but we hope to have a good turnout and worship service.

We are not discouraged. If God be for us, who can be against us? All that has happened has served to unite our congregation. What our opponents meant for our harm, God has used for our good. There has been a tremendous outpouring of support from the Louisville Community. We thank our fellow Christians in the community who have expressed their love and support.

There are great days ahead for First Methodist Church. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Thursday, May 24, 2018

4-H Makes Learning Fun For Mom and Daughter

Her father’s family has been active in the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H Youth Development Program for two generations. And she has attended 4-H events since she was a toddler.
Now, the 11-year-old is showing her own livestock and participating in various 4-H activities through the Extension Service in Tippah County.“Lauren is a third-generation 4-H’er,” explained her mother, Leigh Bryant. “Her granddad and her daddy were both 4-H’ers.”At 8 years old, Lauren Bryant began showing dairy cows. She also shows chickens and participates in poultry judging, shooting sports, and 4-H Project Achievement Day.

Town & Country Garden Club Beautify Library

Frances Ball (right) of Town & Country Garden club, along with Aaron Hathorn (left), planted beautiful Sunpatients at the Winston County Library last Thursday. “I love to plant things and see them grow,” said Frances. “One of our garden club’s missions is to beautify the City of Louisville!”

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Additional Charges Filed in Lawnmower Theft Case

Raymanuel Seales
The suspect in a lawnmower theft in Winston County is now facing additional charges in other thefts across Winston and Leake Counties. Raymanuel Seales of Neshoba County was taken into custody on Monday and charged with grand larceny concerning the theft of a zero turn mower from the Noxapater Attendance Center last week.

Winston County Sheriff Jason Pugh indicated today that Seales now faces three additional charges of grand larceny in Winston County and up to six charges in neighboring Leake County. A possible accomplice from Neshoba County was also taken into custody today. Full details have not been released at this time

Sealesd was arraigned in Winston County earlier today on the first count and other indictments are pending. Pugh noted that at this time no stolen property has been recovered but efforts are ongoing to locate the large number of items taken over the last several weeks.

Winston County Sheriff Jason Pugh asks that the public assist with any information they may have concerning Seales. If you have purchased any equipment or know of anyone that has possibly made a purchase from Seales in the last three months, please contact the Winston County Sheriff's Department at 662-773-5881 or their local law enforcement.

9 ECCC Softball Players Earn All-Region, All-State Honors

Kayla Beckham
Nine East Central Community College Lady Warrior sophomore softball players earned either National Junior College Athletic Association All-Region 23 or Mississippi Association for Community and Junior Colleges All-State for their play on the field in spring 2018.

Shortstop Kayla Beckham out of Neshoba Central, third baseman Madalyn McMahon out of Neshoba Central, and pitcher Kaitlyn Oswalt out of Heritage Academy in Columbus were all named NJCAA All-Region 23.

Beckham hit .327 on the season and tied for the team lead with 39 RBI. She also hit five home runs. McMahon hit .376 with 39 RBI for the Lady Warriors. She led the team with eight home runs and 29 stolen bases. Oswalt posted an 18-10 record in the circle in 2018, including 118 strikeouts and a 3.41 ERA.

Earning MACJC First Team All-State honors were right fielder Mackenzie Johnson out of Nanih Waiya, pitcher Mackenzie Rousseau of Vanderbilt Catholic in Houma, La., and second baseman Eva Scott of Burleson Centennial in Burleson, Texas.
Mackenzie Johnson
Johnson led East Central with a .445 batting average in 2018. She drove in 30 runs and had an on-base percentage of .526. Johnson was errorless in the field. Rousseau was 16-3 in the circle with a 2.82 ERA. Scott hit .342 with 34 RBI and was second on the team with 14 doubles.

Catcher Cassie Obman out of Caledonia, catcher Tagen Remmel out of Clinton, and left fielder Shelby Walters of Northwest Rankin were all named MACJC Second Team All-State.

Obman hit .281 with 31 RBI and four homers. Remmel hit .367 with 19 RBI and four home runs. Walters hit .376 and lead 32 RBI and five home runs. She led the team with 67 hits and 16 doubles.

ECCC head softball coach Kristin Chaney also announced team honors following the season.

Madalyn McMahon
Beckham earned the Most Valuable Player Award for the second straight season, Remmel received the Most Valuable Defense Award, and Johnson received the Most Valuable Offense Award. Oswalt received the Most Valuable Pitcher Award for the second straight season and McMahon received the Base Running Award, also for the second straight season. Walters received the Lady Warrior Award and sophomore first baseman Ali Gartman out of Loyd Star was named Most Improved.

East Central finished the 2018 season with a 36-14 record. The Lady Warriors advanced to both the MACJC State and NJCAA Region 23 tournaments.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Fraud Prevention Program Held at Library

The Winston County Library recently hosted Ivory Craig of AARP Mississippi for a program on Fraud Prevention. She spoke on Debt Collection, Identity Theft, Imposter Scams, Fraud Prevention and Resources. “This was a wonderful program and very educational”, said librarian Beth Edwards. “We will have her back this fall or early winter to do another program on long-term care.”

Thank You From WinstonWebNews

We just wanted to take this opportunity to thank the folks in Winston County, the surrounding area and all who now live outside the area with Winston County ties. Earlier this year, we crossed the threshold of 5 million page views since we began this journey. We are now approaching 6 million visitors to our web pages.

What began as a simple idea to provide a common place to view obituaries and local events has turned into much more. The support from our sponsors, the public, our schools, the City of Louisville and our county officials has been integral in our success. We hope to continue to serve our communities and thank you for your support.