Monday, June 13, 2011

13 JUN 11: Brady's Bunch

True confession: I grew up attending a United Methodist Church. In fact, an Associate Pastor once suggested I consider becoming a minister. Instead, I drifted away to other denominations - where people actually were encouraged to open Bibles during services, and the pages turned at least twice before the service ended.

So Pentecost Sunday found me at a service outside Columbus, missing the biggest local event of the day - the final sermon by this area's best-known United Methodist Pastor. St. Luke United Methodist posted the title "Famous Last Words." Yet for some odd reason, the message wasn't based in the book of Revelation.

Pastor Hal Brady presented his last message in Columbus, before going into semi-retirement. By that, I mean he'll be recording video messages in Atlanta. He will NOT be driving a semi-trailer with a Bible verse on the side.

Hal Brady was Pastor at St. Luke United Methodist for about as long as I've lived in Columbus. And to his credit, I never heard any negative words or rumors about him during that 14-year span. That probably never would have happened had Brady served at Cascade Hills Church....

St. Luke United Methodist Church made several improvements during Hal Brady's years as Pastor. It opened a Ministry Center on 11th Street which doubles as a fitness center. The second-floor fitness area once was free and open seven days a week. But now it imposes fees and has restricted hours -- as if members decided the building fund didn't need any more money.

(In fact, I was surprised to discover Sunday night the St. Luke home page doesn't mention the Fitness Center at all. At least I don't think that's what "Respite Care" means....)

St. Luke United Methodist Church added a Spanish-language service during Pastor Hal Brady's years. St. Luke School expanded as well. The staff has made sure people notice that, by slowing traffic on 11th Street with caution lights every weekday for hours.

But St. Luke United Methodist Church had to deal with a couple of issues while Hal Brady was Pastor. High-profile member and Aflac executive Dan Amos divorced and remarried. Then Brady and other members became caught in the middle of the Mark Shelnutt trial [17 Nov 09]. You'll notice St. Luke still keeps its "contemporary worship" service separate from the others....

I happened to sit next to Hal Brady in January, during the inauguration of Mayor Teresa Pike Tomlinson [4 Jan]. We watched the ceremony on TV at the Government Center Plaza Level, and the pastor wondered why it wasn't held at a larger location. People crowded into the St. Luke sanctuary pews Sunday probably thought the same thing.

(Brady admitted to me he attended the inauguration only because he received an invitation. I never revealed to him I did NOT have an invitation - but somehow I don't think Brady would have reported me to police.)

If you're like me and missed Hal Brady's final message, St. Luke United Methodist Church probably will show it next Sunday morning on WTVM. You may be surprised to learn St. Luke services also appear Thursday nights on a religious cable channel in Atlanta - which tells me that city truly is turning heathen.

Hal Brady isn't the only high-profile United Methodist pastor leaving Columbus. A farewell ceremony was held over the weekend for South Columbus United Methodist Pastor Denise Walton. She succeeded the late Joseph Roberson, and her departure leaves a major hole there. Does the next pastor have what it takes to be on radio AND run for school board?

Let's see what else happened while I was out of the news loop for the weekend....

+ Mayor Teresa Pike Tomlinson returned home from her trip to Germany. She told WRBL by phone her fellow invited mayors have something in common - all their cities only have once-a-week garbage collection. Maybe she should have called Councilors Gary Allen and Skip Henderson, then passed the phone along.

+ Richland Mayor Adolph McLendon told WRBL if Fort Benning wants to annex a lot of land in Stewart County, the Army should provide a big reimbursement of lost property taxes. At least the Army could donate leftover reservation fencing, so inmates don't escape from the county jail anymore.

+ A Lee County judge denied a request for a gag order in the Harvey Updyke tree poisoning case. Some Auburn fans will consider that good news - because otherwise the Toomer's Oaks Twitter account would become really boring.

+ Auburn University agreed to give football coach Gene Chizik a contract extension, which doubles his salary to $3.5 million. So who plans to go back to Newnan, and see if Chizik donates a tithe to the churches where Cam Newton's father is pastor?

+ The Jack Cook Little League baseball tournament began in Columbus. Aw c'mon! Muscogee County students are only three weeks into summer break, and the baseball season for many of them is already over. But then again, sitting on the couch playing video games might bulk up some of them for football season.

+ Atlanta humbled Houston 4-1 in National League baseball, giving the franchise a winning record - for the life of the franchise, going back to Boston. WXTX reported the team hasn't been above .500 since 1923. Bobby Cox might wind up receiving sainthood, as well as a Hall of Fame plaque.

+ Instant Message to the Dallas Mavericks: Congratulations on winning the N.B.A. championship Sunday night. It was only fitting that an owner named Mark Cuban won the title in Miami.

This year's count of unique visitors is up more than 25 percent from 2010! To advertise to them, make a PayPal donation, offer a story tip or comment about this blog, write me - but be warned: I may post your e-mail and offer a reply.

BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 728 (+ 2, 0.3%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

© 2003-11 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.