Walker Chapel United Methodist Church

From Our Pastor


June 2017

First, I want to extend a fond farewell to George and Dottie Salvatierra. I know all of us at Walker Chapel will miss them greatly. They have contributed so much to the ministry and mission of our church that we hate to see them go, but, of course, we understand how they would want to be nearer to their children and grandchildren. So we wish them godspeed on their move to Charlottesville and look forward to seeing them again, we hope, very soon when they return to visit.
I also extend my heartfelt congratulations to all our graduates and wish them godspeed as they now enter into a new and exciting phase of their lives. Although you may not be always aware of it, many of us at Walker Chapel think of you often and keep you in our prayers. 

Thirdly and finally, several of you have been kind to inquire about my trip to Ireland this past month. As you know, I was privileged to spend ten days on the Emerald Isle, all of them in the Republic of Ireland. A three-day extension to Northern Ireland was possible, but Ruth and I had reasons why we needed to return home. Even so, we wound up returning home a day later than expected because—well, let's just say our pilot told us it was the fault of air traffic control. Actually, I think it was probably the storm system that was making its way slowly up the east coast, but pity the poor air traffic controller who had to decide which flights could proceed and which could not! 

How was Ireland? Beautiful, of course. I can well understand why the thousands upon thousands of persons who were forced to emigrate from that country during the time of the Great Famine were moved to tears as they saw those shores disappear over the horizon never again to be seen.

What did I learn? Far more than I've been able to process in the brief time I've been home. But here a few quick takeaways:
  • Christianity came to Ireland in 430/31 AD when Pope Celestine sent Palladius, a bishop of Britain, to minister among the people there.
  • Palladius and St. Patrick may have been one in the same person. But, then again, maybe not. :-)
  • Somebody should have taken Oliver Cromwell's matches away from him during the conquest of Ireland (1649-1653).
  • John Wesley reportedly visited Ireland a total of twenty-one times and started many Methodist societies there as well as helped secure others.
  • Methodists still make up some 3% of Christians in the Republic. There would be more, only many of the Irish who emigrated to the United States also were Methodists. And with that in mind, I was asked to bring you personal greetings from two of the Methodist churches I visited in Ireland—the Embury & Heck Memorial Methodist Church in Ballingrane and the Killarney Methodist Church.
  • United Methodists in the United States today owe a great debt of gratitude to the Methodists of Ireland, lay and clergy alike, for bringing their faith to these shores.
  • And, no, neither Ruth nor I kissed the Blarney Stone. We saw others kiss it, but we politely declined to do so ourselves. 
Glad to be home. I am, as always,

Yours in Christ, 

Embury & Heck Memorial Methodist Church

Killarney Methodist Church