Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Glade Sun

April 16, 2014

ABACUS COLUMN: Cumberland County saves the world!

CROSSVILLE — It seems like only a week ago (it was), that I wrote about Tonya Hinch moving to a potential world changing position in Washington D.C. with the Aspen Institute. Then, on Saturday evening, April 5, at the Dimpled Globe Awards (DGA) I met two accomplished young women leaving Cumberland County to plow new furrows in the world’s garden. They were Celia Denny of Stone Memorial High School and Tana McDonald of Cumberland County High School. After outstanding high school careers, these two young women were moving on to further studies. With them would be their personal commitment to faith, family, and community. Their message really began to sink in the next morning when our friend Lanita Monroe, Associate Pastor of Fairfield Glade United Methodist Church and long time member of the DGA Committee, announced in church she would be leaving Cumberland County for a new assignment as pastor of a congregation.

Once-upon-a-time, I interviewed Lanita’s friend, Rev. Max Mayo for a planned article, as they, as well as myself and my wife, were relatively new residents of Cumberland County. What prompted my request for the interview was my personal opinion that Rev. Mayo was the best preacher I had ever heard. When I once mentioned this to Rev. Jerry Mayo, father of Max and a prominent newly retired Methodist pastor, he replied, “That may be so, but then you’ve never heard me preach have you?” I then knew where Max obtained his humor and competitive spirit.

Since my Mom enrolled me in a Methodist Church toddler care at age three, I had heard quite a few talented Methodist or Presbyterian pastors by the time I was in my mid-60s. Max was really good. I heard that he was also a very capable administrator. During the interview, I was surprised at Rev. Mayo’s candor and insightful critique of both Lanita and himself. During a brief interlude after the interview I told Rev. Mayo how much I enjoyed our conversation; nevertheless, I had decided not to write the article. My guess is we were mutually relieved about that conclusion. However, one of the many nice things Rev. Mayo had to say about Rev. Lanita Monroe was that she was more spiritual than he was. As time has changed and refined both Rev. Max Mayo and Rev. Lanita Monroe, my personal opinion is that Max has grown more spiritual and Lanita has made enormous strides in her preaching and administrative ability while never losing her spirituality.  

There go two more former Cumberland County residents into the world to make world-changing contributions. If you are a retiree like me, I settled here with no plans to leave alive. Fortunately, even we have opportunity to make world-changing contributions. We can start small by making a difference to our families, our friends, our neighbors, and our community. World changing always starts small; it may be a friendly hello, an act of kindness or a helping hand. In Cumberland County TN, U.S.A. there are literally thousands of people making a positive difference in other people’s lives. Multiply this by the hundreds of thousands of communities in this country and throughout the world with the same enviable residents. Do we begin to wonder how the evening news has to work so hard to find really deplorable people and deeds as news? I believe this world will always have its flaws and problems, yet we as individuals can make a positive difference. If you need help to get started in the right direction, consider this very wise saying: "It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived."

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Glade Sun
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