I wanted to say a big thank you to the Lord for the late Rev. Ron Barham. Also a special thank you to Rev. Ron for all the lives he touched for Christ in the Basic Course of Lay Speaking Ministries. We never called Rev. Ron to see if he could teach at a conference Leadership School at Wood, Camp Lake Stephens, Camp Wesley Pines or Seashore that he ever refused. He was always eager and willing and always said "you know that's one of my loves."
What wonderful experiences he shared with all of the beginners in Lay Speaking Ministries. The students of Rev. Ron's will tell you he barely took a breath to give them a break in class from his wonderful experiences and stories of preaching and teaching. He had more stories to share concerning Bible study, answering the call to ministry, conducting the worship service, volunteers in mission of caring and service, effective speaking and much, much more.
Thanks also to his faithful and loving wife, Carrol Barham, who always was so gracious to serve at Wood Institute when we had classes there for the lay speakers and other activities for all of God's people.
We will surely miss Rev. Ron and his ministry by all the lives he touched throughout his short life. I am sure he is telling the Lord a few of his stories over again in heaven.
Conference director of Lay Speaking Ministries (2004-2008)
Thirty years ago a group of Methodist ministers was gathered for our Monday morning coffee together. As with much of society the issue under discussion was race relations. Some firmly believed that white people should not associate with black people and definitely not marry one because as they interpreted the Bible God said it was a sin. John Moore observed: "The next great issue the church will have to struggle with will be homosexuality." John didn't live to see just how true his "prophesy" was.
Recently the issue of same sex marriage was being discussed on TV and Ruby said to me, "Would you marry another man?" I told her that if I felt about another man as I did about her I would probably want to spend the rest of my life with him. But I find it difficult, even impossible, to imagine that I could ever feel that way about another man because Mother Nature didn't wire me up that way.
This being true, it is practically impossible for me to "walk in the shoes" of those to whom Mother Nature has played this nasty trick, but as a disciple of Jesus (more so than Paul who sometimes leads us astray, as his ideas about women in the church) I will continue seeking to understand rather than condemn.
C. E. Swain