By Iris Holloway, Member of the Senatobia District Communications Team
The crowd gathered at Trinity United Methodist Church in Marks on Sunday April 6. The church was filled with over 300 area residents, friends and clergy. It was a time of singing and praising the Lord for the blessings he has given this congregation. The celebration of this congregation could not have been more jubilant.
The joyous sounds in the room were magnificent with a choir lead by Tashunda Vaughn and musical instruments of keyboard and drums. Vaughn declared, "This is the day which the Lord has made. We give praise for liquid sunshine." Although it was raining it did not deter the multitude. What were they celebrating? It was the celebration of Trinity United Methodist mortgage burning. One could feel the Holy Spirit as acolytes Makyla Jackson and Janyia Brunt proceeded down the aisle to light the candles.
Brother Donnie Love gave thanks to Bishop James Swanson Sr. for joining the celebration and began by proclaiming "We are here to praise the Lord. We are here to give the Lord the honor and respect he deserves...With God all things are possible."
It had been eight years since this group took out a $ 250,000 loan to refurbish a building known as the John Deere Building located at 1937 Charlie Pride Highway in Marks. Today they celebrated by "burning the mortgage." Yes they set fire in a charcoal grill and let it burn. It was an overwhelming event. In early 2014, Pastors Eddie and Emma Ward announced a plan before the congregation that consisted of a three-month sacrificial giving effort. The congregation met the challenge, and together as a church they raised the necessary monies to pay down the principle and paid off the mortgage.
Just an important as the mortgage burning is the coming together of three small churches to form one congregation. Three small churches-Henry Chapel in Birdie, Wesley Chapel in Birdie and Pilgrims Rest in Squirrel Lake-peacefully joined together to form one body. This was no small undertaking, but was described by Love as a creation of spectacular teamwork. All wanted it to work, to form one larger body for the purpose of worshipping the Lord. Love described the John Deere location as "a building that housed farm implements to bring in crops." He continued by saying the location still brings in the crops, but the crops are for the Lord.
Bishop Swanson gave an uplifting message. "Church should be a joyous place to go. One should walk out better than when they came in," said Swanson.
He encouraged Trinity to "write their story," "record their story." Find a way to make it a confessional piece. Stay anchored. Have something to hold onto when the rain comes. "The most important thing is to take God's word and make it the substance of your life," declared Swanson.
The service ended with an invocation to lay down your burdens and give them to the Lord. Many came forward. It was a spectacular day in the name of the Lord. Bishop Swanson ended his message on a light note. He shared an adage from his mother. "When you hear thunder, that's our Lord moving around the furniture in Heaven making room for more angels." How about that message?
Photo right: It was an occasion for praise during the Trinity UMC mortgage burning service.