Letters to the Editor: Senior Services clarifies zoning request



This is in response to the article in the last edition of the Advocate relating to a rezoning request of the Seashore Retirement Community property in Biloxi. You ran a story that appeared in the Sun-Herald without first contacting a representative of Mississippi Methodist Senior Services. We could have added important factual clarification for you.


The rezoning request was made by the purchaser of our property in our name, since the sale has not closed. We expect it to close before the end of the year. The sale is not contingent upon getting the property rezoned.


The purchaser, not Mississippi Methodist Senior Services, as you reported, has long range plans to develop a hotel condominium on the property. 


Prior to announcing the proposed sale of our property, I had several discussions with Bishop Hope Morgan Ward and with then District Superintendent Jerry Beam. I contacted both of them before the public announcement of our sale. I attempted to contact David Cumbest, chair of Seashore Assembly, before our announcement also, but was unable to reach him after several attempts.


Had we been contacted prior to the rezoning hearing about any concerns Cumbest had, likely we would have been able to work them out with him ahead of time. It seems that his main concern was about increased traffic on a private road between our properties. We currently have an easement on that road. We would have been happy to cancel that easement had we known it was an issue.


The Seashore Retirement Community and Mississippi Methodist Senior Services boards of directors have shown great courage, foresight, stewardship and leadership in making the decision to move our presence off the beach and building a new, safer place for coast elders to live. We look forward to the opportunity to continue to fulfill our Mission of “serving older adults in the spirit of Christian love” from our new location on the coast.

Steve McAlilly

President and CEO

Mississippi Methodist Senior Services



It is almost impossible to imagine how Bishop John Shelby Spong could have been invited to speak at Millsaps College. By his own admission, he does not believe in basic Christian tenets that have been taught and believed for 2,000 years. That in itself is appalling! Spong scoffs at these beliefs by declaring in his own words that “the virgin birth is impossible,” that “the view of the cross as a sacrifice must be dismissed” and “the Christology of the ages is bankrupt,” and those are but a few of his heretical utterances.


The First United Methodist Church of Indianola believes in the authority of the Holy Bible. God does not make mistakes, and his word has been taught by our pastors since John Wesley began his Bible societies. We believe that the truth of the Bible does not change with the wind, or with someone who thinks he or she is intellectually enlightened. Our church would ask Spong what Matthew 18:6-7, Mark 9:42 or Luke 17:2 have to say about causing little ones to stumble, or any age for that matter! “Woe to that man causing a little one to stumble....” What does it mean to you?


The First UMC of Indianola believes that to give voice to one who would lead others away from the way, the truth, the life gives that person credibility, which in itself is entirely blasphemous.


In the world in which we live, Jesus Christ must be lifted up to draw all men to him, that the world through him might be saved. Our young people need to know his truth, his strength, his wisdom, his hope, his courage and his integrity in their lives. That is the message God wants to give the world.


Therefore, based on what we know and understand about this event, and with a heavy heart, our church regrets that we must discontinue our apportionment for Millsaps College. We will continue to pray for God’s Will to be accomplished.

Fletcher Duke

Board Chairman

Indianola First United Methodist Church

Editor’s note: Spong’s appearance at Millsaps was sponsored by the D.L. Dykes Jr. Foundation as part of its October seminar “What is Christianity Really About: Guilt and Control or Life and Grace.” No Millsaps funds supported the event.



The recent discussion of religion on TV was long overdue, because it causes one to cringe in dismay to hear some of the views people get of God from their religion, especially from the Old Testament.


In Chapter 31 of Numbers is the account of Moses dividing the loot taken from the Midianites after a battle. All the civilians have been slaughtered by Moses, presumably on orders from God; “men, women and children,” except the virgin girls which Moses told the soldiers to “keep alive for yourselves.” Among the cattle and other loot taken were “16,000 virgins,” who were given to the soldiers and priests as concubines.


When I try to imagine the experience of those young girls after watching their parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, etc., cut to pieces with swords, then forced to “go to bed” with the killers, I wonder, “Did God instigate that?”


People get the idea, often from the pulpit, that God was “cleansing the land in preparation for the coming Messiah” when he directed Moses to commit such acts. When Jesus did come, the spirit he left with the world is very similar to that expressed by a young Moslem girl who said something to the effect that, “Since Jews, Christians and Moslems worship the same God, why can’t we all live together in peace and harmony?”

C. E. Swain




In the Oct.18 issue of the Mississippi United Methodist Advocate, I was stunned to see and read that Anderson United Methodist Church sponsored a religious event that included the Muslim religion. We, as a Christian organization, certainly do not learn from the scripture – and we wonder why we are degenerating?


Unless the laity of our church take control and demand our leadership follow the commands of God, we will never regain our position of usefulness in converting the lost. The greatest tragedy is luring innocent children into believing the Muslim religion is acceptable. When have you heard of the Muslims inviting a Christian to read their Bible and pray at one of their meetings? They are not that foolish.


Remember we must answer to God for our participation in such an act.

The Jewish religion does not accept our Christ.


Francis Scott


Editor’s note: The Children’s Sabbath held at Anderson UMC was sponsored by Congregations for Children, an interfaith organization that supports the well being of children. The United Methodist, Episcopal and Roman Catholic organizations in the state are the primary leaders of Congregations for Children. Representatives from Temple Beth Israel also participated.





I read with interest the letters in the Nov.15 Advocate concerning membership in our United Methodist church. Apparently, whom we invite into fellowship and whom we do not is an issue of some weight, along with considerable discussion about sin being the basis of our invitation. I do not write to particularly take a position on gays and lesbians, other than to simply observe that they, too, are apparently still children of God.


I am eternally grateful that God does not require perfection, and not even full and perfect repentance of my sins, for I have feet of clay. But, I would be very fearful for my eternal soul were I called on to make God’s decision concerning even one of his children not being welcomed into his church. 


I am reminded that years ago our Staff Parish Committee met to discuss applicants for a staff position. There were two “camps”; angers stirred and words flew. In a quiet moment, after long and heated discussion, our minister said, quietly and almost under his breath, “What we need here is a little grace.”


And so I believe we do. For I cannot fathom Christ standing in the door of one of our United Methodist churches this Sunday and turning away anyone. For if he were to turn away anyone, he would have turned away me.

Don Woodall