Our Gracious Work Christians

Jeff Garrison
Bluemont and Mayberry Presbyterian Churches
Galatians 6:1-10 
May 27, 2022

Sermon recorded at Bluemont Church on Friday, May 27, 2022

At the beginning of worship:

This is Memorial Day weekend. After a week of rain and gray, it appears we’re in a few beautiful days. Enjoy it, but remember, as we will in our prayers today, those who have their lives for our nation. 

Today, think about two things. First, how do we help others with gentleness and humility, especially those who sin and need to get back on the track. Second, in our lives do we sow the necessary seeds to reap an eternal harvest?[1]  

By the way, next Sunday is Pentecost. If you think about it, wear red. It’ll make a statement as we recall those tongues of fire that set the early ablaze. Let us also this week pray for such an outpouring of God’s spirit. 

Before the reading of scripture:

Paul has a problem. We’ve seen this over the past six weeks in his Epistle to the Galatians. Today, I’ll finish our journey through this letter, although I’ll come back in a few weeks and catch a section we skipped. 

Paul needs to help these folks in Galatia get back on track. He refutes the teachings of the false preachers who cause confusion. Again and again, Paul emphasizes grace over the law. But just because you are not saved by the law doesn’t mean you can do what you want.  

Toward the end of the fifth chapter, he warns his readers of the dangerous work of the flesh. Then, as he comes toward his conclusion of this letter, he realizes that some might take what he said and use it as an opportunity to harshly deal with the sins of others. So, Paul offers a few suggestions about how Christians should correct a fellow believer caught in sin. We should consider, from this passage, how we, as a body of believers, are to live graciously and in a way that encourages one another to strive for holiness.  


After the reading of scripture:

There are two themes in this passage: restoring the sinner and humbly doing the work assigned.

The Roman World of the First Century:

Let’s go back into Paul’s world. In a way, the Roman world was an “anything goes” world every bit as much as our own society seems to be heading. While this is the world in which Paul resides, it’s not the world in which he lives. Paul’s not some post-modern, politically correct philosopher who thinks everything is relative and that there are no absolute standards. He doesn’t buy into alternative facts or questions truth. That’s our world; it was, to some extent, the Roman World.[2]However, Paul expects the Christians in Galatia to do its part and encourage their members to live righteously. 

The Danger of Being Overly Zealous

Yet, even here, dangers lurk. Paul understands human nature. He knows there are some who will enjoy pointing out the faults of others. We know such people, don’t we? Those who have the mistaken notion that it makes them look good when another person falls or is humiliated. Such people relish in their own self-righteousness. As Mark Twain quipped, “nothing needs reforming as much as someone else’s bad habit.” It’s this tendency, reforming another’s bad habits while ignoring our own, that Paul tries to nip in the bud.

1. Restoring the Sinner

Paul tells those who have the Spirit of God within them to restore those who have fallen away from the church. You know, our church and our society are not good at restoring the fallen. We’re good at shooting the wounded, but we fail when it comes to reforming people. Two examples: First, look at churches and consider what generally happens after a church fight? Most often, one party and maybe even both leave. The sin of American Protestantism is that we find it easier to go somewhere else than to stick it out and mend fences or lift fallen brethren. The church is to exhibit the Kingdom of God, but do we?    

And if you think church is bad at reforming people, society is even worse. Consider the recidivism rates in our prisons. But Paul isn’t addressing society’s failures here; he’s focusing on the church. The church is to be a community that takes seriously the reformation of individuals. We’re to be a community that instead of shooting the wounded, we restore them to wholeness. 

Of those in the faith who has fallen into temptation

Of course, Paul here is not talking about those who commit great evil.[3] Nor is he referring to those outside the church. Paul acknowledges that we all struggle with temptation, and we all need to be shown grace by other believers, just as God has been gracious with us. So, Paul, here, is not talking about a mass shooter, but someone who has stumbled along the way and needs to be encouraged to come back into the church’s fellowship.[4]  

If we who make up the church are to fulfill our calling to restore those who have fallen away, we’re going to have to be gentle and humble and gracious. It’s a dangerous task as Lesslie Newbigin, a former missionary to India notes. Commenting on human efforts to bring about the kingdom of God, he writes: “The project of bringing heaven down to earth, always results in bringing hell up from below.”[5]

Being a legalist, pointing out the faults of others in a heavy-handed way, don’t cut it. Self-righteous attitudes drive wedges between people, making those in power look good while offending parties are set up for ridicule.  

But more than that, such attitudes also contain the seeds for destruction of the righteous whom succumb to the sin of pride. That’s why Paul tells us in the fourth verse to test our own work on its merits and not to rate ourselves by what our neighbor does and doesn’t do. We’re to hold Jesus as our example, not our neighbors. 

If we want to compare ourselves to another person, we should stand next to our Savior and see how far we fall short of the standard. Standing next to him, we’ll get a crick in our necks looking up. When compared to Jesus, we’re all humbled. But the human preference is for us to pick out some ax murderer or disturbed mass shooter to judge ourselves. It’s easy to be misled into thinking we’re doing a good job because we’ve refrained committed terrible evils.

Jesus’ comments, in the Sermon on the Mount, come to mind. Before we go operating on our brother’s eyes, we should make sure our own eyes are free from obstruction.[6] The only way for us to be clean and free is to accept the forgiveness of the one who washes us in his blood. And we must realize that Jesus doesn’t just clean us up so we can become like the Taliban’s moral police. The gentle way God deals with us serves as our model for dealing with one another.

Bearing One Another’s Burdens

If we’re to seriously take to heart this passage, we should understand this: We who are believers are called to help each other live better and godlier lives. This is a part of our calling as disciples. We bear each other’s burdens. But in fulfilling this task, we must be careful to avoid temptation. 

We’re to be gentle and humble, realizing that even when we’ve dedicated ourselves to righteousness living, the temptation to think more highly of ourselves than we should is present. As Christians, we’re saved by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, not by our own hands. As Christians, we’re to share and show such grace to one another. Only then will we live up to our calling

2. Doing God’s Work

The second theme is pleasantly doing the work God has assigned us and not letting it go to our head or to spend all our time focused on and worried about what others are doing.   

Another Story from Jayber Crow

In my first sermon on Galatians, I told you a story about Jayber and Troy in Wendell Berry’s novel, Jayber Crow. Berry uses his novels, set in Port Williams, Kentucky, to give a glimpse into how a community can exist and function in a way that will be beneficial to everyone. 

One of the problems with Troy, in his novel, is impatience. As one of the younger farmers in town, he’s impressed with power and machinery. Debt doesn’t bother him. He considers a part of doing business. Nor is he particularly concerned about the land. He doesn’t even consider himself a farmer, he wants to be thought of as an Ag-businessman. 

Troy receives a gift. His wife, an only child, is heir to one of the larger farms in the township. When her parents retire Troy takes over and immediately begins to do things that worries his wife and his in-laws. He rips out the hedgerows between fields so he can grow more crops. He leverages the land to buy more land. He can’t do all the farming with his old equipment, so borrows heavily for larger tractors and implements. He’s always running, trying to keep up with his expanded operation. Always behind, he no longer enjoys the cycle of the seasons, the periods of hard work and the times of rest. The farm, which would have given him and his wife a good life, becomes a burden. He depletes the land and then loses it all to the bank. By focusing on his need to be important, by constantly wanting more, he squanders the gift.[7]

We’ve all been given gifts. Do we sow them only for ourselves?  If so, we’ll join Troy and countless others in squandering what we’ve been given. But if we use our gifts in a way that will bring honor and glory to our Creator, to sow them in the Spirit, others will benefit and in the long run, we’ll find dividends stored up eternally for us. 

The good of working hard

Remember, work is not a bad thing. Work is good. Our labor connects us to God and to others. It’s through what we do in our world, our daily tasks, we live out our Christian faith. 

Paul assumes the Galatians are working and therefore in danger of weariness. I’m sure if they were not doing anything and in no danger of becoming weary, Paul’s letter would have reflected different concerns. But here, he’s concerned about them wearing themselves out. How might we take measures to avoid allowing our work to lead us into weariness? For if work becomes drudgery, it’ll become something that we despise.


This Epistle to the Galatians is about grace, and grace should lead to gratitude. We’re not here to work to earn our salvation, we’re to receive it as a gift and then use it to live making this world a better place. Accept what Jesus has done for us and then let him live in you so that your life might bear fruit. Amen. 

[1] Adapted from Ronald Y. K. Fung, The Epistle to the Galatians (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988), 284

[2] This was certainly true of the Greek city of Corinth, which was the “Vegas” of the day, where things you did in Corinth should stay here. 

[3] Consider how Paul addresses such evil within the church of Corinth. See 1 Corinthians 5:1-3. 

[4] This sermon is to be preached after a terrible mass shooting resulting in the deaths of 19 students and 2 teachers, along with many injuries, at an elementary school in Uvalde, TX. 

[5] From Lesslie Newbigin, Foolishness to the Greeks, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), 117;  as quoted by Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing about Grace? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 234.

[6] Matthew 7:3-5.

[7] Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow (Washington DC: Counterpoint, 2000)

The beginning of a beautiful day…

Rebuilding in Kentucky

Photo by KREM, from the internet

On the evening of December 10th, a storm system produced terrible tornadoes in mid-America. The storm began in Arkansas and moved northeast into Missouri and Kentucky. By Sunday morning, when the clouds cleared and the sun rose, a destructive path, at places a mile wide and over 250 miles long, remained. 89 people dead and nearly 700 injured. 74 of these deaths occurred in Kentucky, 13 in Dawson Springs where nearly 60% of the structures in the town were beyond repair. Just east of the town, the tornado swept an empty coal train, including its engines, off the tracks. It is unusual for a storm to strike so late in the year and to remain on the ground for so long. This storm will go down in history. 

A few days after the storm, Libby Wilcox asked about us doing a mission trip to help those who had lost so much.

Looking south, were homes used to stand

On Sunday, May 15th, after worship, a group of us from Bluemont and Mayberry, two of the rock churches along the Blue Ridge Parkway, headed to Kentucky to volunteer to work. The heavy clean-up was over. Now, where there used to be homes, one can only see the outline of foundations. Those participating in the work group included Libby, Fred and Ann Tanner, Shep Nance, Danny Miller, and me. In addition, we collected towels and sheets to give given to families who had lost everything. Before we left that Sunday, someone gave Libby money to buy our lunches on the drive to Kentucky.  People are generous.

We traveled to Madisonville, where we stayed at First Presbyterian Church while volunteering to help rebuild in Dawson Springs. Before the pandemic, First Presbyterian hosted the “Great Banquet,” a three-day spirituality retreat similar to Cursillo or Walk to Emmaus. With COVID, they suspended the retreats. After the storm that struck just south of Madisonville, they decided to utilize their retreat space for outside groups working to help rebuild. The church was a wonderful host, with not only bunk rooms, but shower rooms and a full-sized kitchen. Not only did they feed us on Wednesday night, but they also had an ice cream chest which was open and available when we came back from the worksites. 

Fred and Danny wiring in basement

Having been on several such trips, I have learned that each one is different. One must be flexible. Our first day was spent at a home which was on the north edge of Dawson Springs. While the home wasn’t destroyed, it required major renovation. Just south of this house, destruction was total. Looking across the valley, where there had once been homes, it was now empty except for a few rebuilding projects. 

On Monday, we rewired a basement (which had been partly destroyed by the storm and required metal posts every few feet long the foundation, that held the house to the ground). Several of us rewired while others helped clean up upstairs behind a Methodist team that was working at the site. 

Our remaining four days were spent working on a new home a mile north of Dawson Springs. This house replaced one that was totally destroyed. It was for an older woman, and her new home was built next to her daughter’s house. An Amish group framed and roofed two “tiny houses.” Placed together, making a “T”, one section consisted of the kitchen and living area, the other section the bedrooms and a bathroom.  We completed the wiring (we were officially working under an electrical contractor, who was responsible and would do the final connections to the panel box). In addition to running wires, we installed insulation and put in blocking so that the next group could commence installing drywall. 

With the home owner (left to right: Danny, Libby, Homeowner, Shep, Me, Ann, Fred)

While we made our lunch each day. On Tuesday, we even celebrated Ann’s birthday with chocolate cake and ice cream. Then, starting Thursday, the chef from Operation Blessings, treated us to lunch. This group related to the 700 Club in Virginia Beach, supplied the supplies for the house we worked on. Interestingly, Nechama, a Jewish group, donated their tool trailer. We couldn’t believe the amount of food the Operation Blessings chef provided(Spaghetti and meatball or meatball sandwiches and cookies on Thursday. Barbecue chicken, macaroni salad and brownies on Friday). With the church’s ice cream, this was probably the first mission trip ever where, despite the heat and sweat, we gained weight. 

Chef fixing us spaghetti and meatball sandwiches
our part is done!

After five days of work, we cleaned up and a group of us went out to Greens Steakhouse in Madisonville. This was a delightful restaurant in an old part of town. We sat upstairs in a balcony, overlooking a piano, where a local musician supplied background music. On Saturday morning, we headed back to the Blue Ridge. The work in Kentucky will take years! It was good to see so many different groups including Habitat for Humanity, Mennonites, Amish, Methodists, Baptist, Jewish involved in rebuilding.  

What does it mean to be a Christian?

Jeff Garrison
Bluemont and Mayberry Presbyterian Churches
Galatians 5:1-15, 22-23
May 22, 2022

Thoughts at the beginning of worship:

Sermon recorded on Friday, May 13, 2020 at Mayberry Church. This was before heading to Kentucky for a mission trip.

What does it mean to be a Christian? This week I came across a meme that I thought was insightful and a bit challenging. 

Geocide is biblical.
Loving your enemy is biblical.
Only one is Christ-like. 

Slavery is biblical.
Chainbreaking is biblical.
Only one is Christ-like. 

Patriarchy is biblical.
Counter-cultural elevation of women is biblical.
Only one is Christ-like.

Retributive violence is biblical.
Grace-filled restoration is biblical.
Only one is Christ-like.

Segregation is biblical.
Unity is biblical. 
But only one is Christ-like.

Christ transforms, not the Bible. Be wary of those who know one but not the other.[1]

Yes, there are a lot of things, some horrific, you can support from the Bible, but we’re called to first and foremost to follow Christ. What does that mean? What does it mean to be a Christian? I hope you wrestle some with this question this morning as we look at how it was debated in the first century.

Before the reading of scripture:

As I pointed out at the beginning of worship, what it means to be a Christian has been debated over the years. Some things we’ve gotten over, such as arguing over circumcision. But that was the big theological debate in the first century. Paul talks about it a lot in his letter to the Galatians, but we also find it discussed in Romans and Acts. 

While we may not concern ourselves with circumcision anymore, the topic of what it means to be Christian continues to be debated.

Tying this debate together, J. B. Lightfoot, a 19th Century Anglican theologian, says this:

Circumcision is the seal of the law.  He who willingly and deliberately undergoes circumcision (I should note, for a religious reason), enters upon a compact to fulfill the law… He cannot plead the grace of Christ; for he has entered on another mode of justification.[2]

As Christians, our seal into the faith is baptism. It’s a seal showing that we depend on what Christ has done for us for our salvation, and nothing else. Grace alone, as the Reformers proclaimed.

Today, Paul finishes up the middle part of the book, where he continues making the case for justification by faith. Then, he shifts in verses 12, and speaks of the implications of our faith.  How should we live our lives since our salvation is secure by grace? 

Read Galatians 5:2-15, 22-23

After the reading of Scripture:

Last week, I told you about reading Kidnapped by, Robert Lewis Stevenson. In staying with the Scottish theme, let’s talk about the Scottish Reformer, John Knox.   

The Reformed Reformation: 

Knox’s idea of church reform, like the Swiss Reformers, went beyond what Martin Luther in Germany and Thomas Crammer and other English reformers wanted. I’ve heard these two views of church reformed described as how one cleans out their dresser drawers.[3]

Luther’s method and, in a similar manner but with different issues, the English, are similar. They open their drawers and straighten things up. They place their dark socks in one drawer, the light ones in a separate one, and fold up t-shirts and place them in the middle drawer. On the floor would be a small pile of stuff destined for Goodwill. Get the picture? We end up with neat drawers; nothing too disturbed. 

Those from the Reformed tradition, such as Zwingli, Calvin and Knox, were more radical. They pulled the drawers out of the dresser, dumped their contents on the bed, and then only put back into the drawers that which they could find a reason in scripture for keeping. Instead of tidying up, they do a spring cleaning. An immense pile of stuff for Goodwill grows on the floor. 

Knox and the English Prayer Book

Knox, after his first exile, lived in England and served within the Church of England. There, he kept getting in trouble for his refusal for using the Prayer Book. It wasn’t that he had a problem with praying (he wrote his own prayers), but he felt that having to be bound to this book was an imposition not warranted by scripture. It trapped people into a false sense of security that they placed in a book that wasn’t the Bible.[4]

In case you’ve wondered why we Presbyterians don’t have prayer books we’re required to use in worship, this is it. Some might call it Scot’s stubbornness, but’s it’s an issue of freedom.  Knox cherished his freedom, just as Paul insisted the Galatians live in the freedom they have in Jesus Christ and not find something else to which they could enslave themselves.

Paul’s emphatic on circumcision:

The Message translation captures the spirit in which Paul wrote this section of the letter. “I am emphatic about this!” he says as he goes on about the reason to avoid submitting themselves to circumcision or other systems of rules that squash their freedom. It’s beyond Paul ability to understand why they would want to live under such a system when Christ offers grace so freely.  Maybe Paul is naive. This is a human problem. Think about it. We tend to be willing to give up our freedom willingly. We’d much rather have security and prosperity, even if it means being enslaved.

Dostoevsky and freedom: 

There is a section in the center of Dostoevsky’s humongous work, The Brothers Kamarvoz. The chapter’s entitled, “The Grand Inquisitor.” Russian novels are so long, so if you don’t read it all, you can at least be provided with an insight into his thoughts. 

In this section, one of the brothers wrote a short story about Jesus returning to earth. He comes back to Seville, Spain during the height of the inquisition. Immediately, people flock to Jesus, but when the inquisitor gives them a dirty look, they flee just like Peter and the disciples fled when they arrested Jesus 

Jesus, in the story, is taken into a dark cell. Under the cover of night, the inquisitor enters and questions Jesus. In a fashion like Pilate’s interrogation, Jesus remains silent as the inquisitor asks questions and makes bold statements. “Why did you come back?  The people are happy. They don’t want freedom. We give them what they need, we give them bread, and they are content.”[5]

Think about it. Do we really want freedom?

Living by our own ideas, we’re cut off from Christ: 

As Paul points out in verse four, “when we attempt to live by our own religious plans and projects, we are cut off from Christ.” And then he reemphasizes, to quote the New Revised Standard translation, “The only thing that counts is faith working through love.” Faith is where it is at, and we express our faith with love.   Another way of translating the end of verse 6 is “faith active in love.” Paul is not making faith and love perquisites of grace. By faith we are saved, but our faith is lived out through loving one another.[6]

Galatians doing well until agitators showed up

In verses 7 through 12, Paul returns to his overall theme, pointing out how the Galatians were doing so well until these agitators came along and created confusion. They have sown their yeast of discontent and, as Paul reminds them, it only takes a bit of yeast to cause the dough to rise. Where is discontent sown in our world today? What do we require of others that’s not implicitly required by Jesus?

At the end of this next section, Paul shows a very human side of himself. He’s frustrated. He’s had it up to here. We can see this in verse 12, when he makes a crude remark, sarcastically suggesting that they turn their imzels (the knife used for circumcision) on themselves.  


Then, in verse 13, Paul moves back to the discussion of freedom.  It’s important to note that for Paul, freedom does not mean that we can do what we want. Nor can we do whatever won’t harm someone else, as we like to think. While Paul wants the Galatians to enjoy their freedom, he wants them to understand that true freedom has limits. They are free to become servants to Jesus and to one another. We are free to love, as in working for the well-being of others.   

The gift of Christ: grace

In this middle section of this letter, Paul is concerned that we realize the gift we’ve been given is Jesus Christ. It’s a gift; it’s grace; it’s not something we must earn. This gift results in an incredible freedom from the law, but it doesn’t mean that we can do whatever we want. Paul’s desire is for the Galatians to love one another and, as he speaks of later in the chapter, to cultivate the fruits of the Spirit.

Virtues verses Rules:

Paul Woodruff, a philosopher, wrote a wonderful book titled Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue.  Woodruff makes the case that it helps for us to base our ethics (or how we live) on virtues and not rules. His reasoning is that rules are hard to separate from the culture in which they rise.[7]   

Although this isn’t Paul’s argument here, I think it applies. Many of the old rules that came from Israel’s desert wanderings and her life in the Promised Land would be difficult to justify in other parts of the world. What’s important, the essence of the matter, is that we accept by faith what Jesus has done and then, with a gracious heart, bear a harvest of fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, and faithfulness. When we are assured of our salvation in Christ, such fruits should come more naturally. 

Evaluate our lives by the fruit we bear:

Think of it this way. If you want to evaluate how you’re doing in following Jesus, don’t beat yourself with the law and how you fall short. Instead, evaluate your life by the fruits of the spirit. Even Jesus calls for us to show fruit in our lives.[8] Do you love others? Celebrate joy? Live peacefully as possible? Show patience, kindness, generosity, and faithfulness. Examine yourself. Does your life display fruit?  Amen. 

[1] Attributed to Jordan Harrell. The point of this meme is to show that just because one can find where people did something in the Bible, doesn’t make it right. What would Jesus have us do?

[2]J. B. Lightfoot as quoted by Ronald Y. K. Fund in The Epistle to the Galatians (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), 223.

[3] This illustration was used by Jack Rogers in a video on the Essential Tenets of the Presbyterian Church USA.  

[4] Jane Dawson, John Knox (2015), 72-75, 92-96.  

[5] This is my paraphrase from memory of what the Inquisitor asked Jesus in The Brothers Karamazov. 

[6] See Fung, 221 & 230.

[7] Paul Woodruff, Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue (New York: Oxford, 2001), 159. 

[8] See Matthew 7:15-20, 12:33, 13:22, 21:43. See also Luke 13:6-9 and John 15:1-17. 

The crew on a mission trip in Dawson Springs, KY (we worked on a new home for the woman in the center).

Where is Home?

Billy BeasleyHome (Abbeyville, SC: Moonshine Press, 2022), 234 pages. 

Reading Billy’s book on Cape Lookout

Things just don’t seem to go Trent Mullins way. Never able to please his father, he has stopped trying. Two different women have broken his heart (and one of them twice). Depression has set in. To break out of the depression, without pills, Trent finishes up his business in Wrightsville Beach and leaves everyone behind, including his high school age son, and heads to Brunswick, Georgia. Most people don’t even know where he’s at, except Jackson, one of his friends. In Brunswick, he manages a small marina and lives in a small, isolated house out by the water. His landlords are a black couple who run a restaurant in Dylan Town. Then the call comes. Trent learns his father is dying. He heads back to Wilmington where he’s forced to face and make peace with his past. But where is Trent’s home? Where is our home? 

Billy Beasley weaves a good story. Like his other stories, this one is set mostly around Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, a place where I lived from age 9 to 24. The other setting, along the Georgia Coast, is a place I lived for six and a half years. And even though Dylan Town isn’t a real place, there are similar towns along the Georgia coastal plain. All one must do to find them is to gets off Interstate 95 and travel the backwoods roads lined with live oaks draped in Spanish moss.  

This is Beasley’s fourth book and I’ve read them all. This is also the third book I reviewed in this blog. The others I’ve reviewed here include The Girl in the River and The Preacher’s LetterIn addition to exploring family themes, like his other books, this one also explores friendships across racial lines. Without being preachy, Beasley also interjects his faith into the story. My only criticism of the book is that Beasley spends a little too much time telling us what is going on in Trent’s mind. Showing instead of telling us what he’s thinking would have strengthened parts of the book. 

Two weeks ago, when I was in Wilmington for Williston’s 9th Grade Center 50th Anniversary project, I was also able to attend Beasley’s book release party at Noni Bacca winery the next afternoon. I was glad to go as I caught with another friend from high school that I haven’t seen since graduation. I have known Billy since the fourth grade and generally, when I’m in town, we’ll meet up for coffee or a beer.  


Billy signing a copy of his book for Wayne, another classmate of ours from Williston and Hoggard days

Adopted by God: Entitled to an Inheritance

Jeff Garrison
Bluemont and Mayberry Presbyterian Churches
Galatians 4

May 15, 2022

Sermon taped at Mayberry Church on Friday, May 13, 2022

At the beginning of worship:

Do we have faith? 

There was farming community experiencing a severe drought. Day after day, month after month, the sky held no clouds. Pastures dried up; crops wilted. Without enough water and feed, ranchers sold off their herds. Things looked bad. They called for a township meeting. After much discussion, they decided prayer was all they could do. They called a prayer meeting the next evening on the town square. A preacher agreed to lead the service. 

The next evening, everyone gathered. The preacher climbed up on the bandstand. In silence, he looked around, surveying the crowd. Finally, he spoke. “Do you know why we’re here?” 

“To pray for rain,” someone shouted from the back.  

“Then why do I not see any umbrellas?”[1]

As disciples of Jesus, our hope is grounded in the faith we have in Jesus Christ. Do we trust him? Or do we think like some of those in Galatia, whom Paul is addressing in this letter we’re going through, that more is required? 

Before reading the Scriptures: 

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he talks a lot about faith (faith in Jesus Christ, not necessarily in rain clouds). 

As I noted in my first sermon from this letter, it was written in response to a group of people who came behind Paul, teaching that Paul had it all wrong. According to these “false-evangelists,” the people of Galatia need to observe Jewish law. Many had mostly come out of a pagan background. In addition to accepting Jesus and being baptized, they are now told they must observe 600 and some regulations. Paul is furious. Why put additional burdens on people?  

Much of the center portion of the letter focuses on our relationship to Abraham. Paul, in writing about Abraham, goes to the heart of what makes one Jewish. But according to Paul, it was Abraham’s faith that made him right with God, not his obedience to the law. Remember, from last week’s sermon, Paul noted that the law came over four centuries after Abraham’s death.[2]

Paul continues to reflect on this connection to Abraham in the fourth chapter. Abraham was to obtain an inheritance, a large family, numbering more than the stars in the heavens or the grains of sand on the beach.[3]

The Jewish thought was that if you are an heir of Abraham, you were heirs of the promise. Paul doesn’t deny that. Instead, he suggests that the connection to Abraham is by faith, not by birth, and that those who have faith like Abraham, will inherit a wonderful promise. 

Read Galatians 4:1-20

After reading the scripture


Have you read Kidnapped by Robert Lewis Stevenson? For some reason, I’d not read this as a child and only got around to it five years ago. I’d always thought it was about some kidnapping pirates. I certainly didn’t realize how much Scottish history is told in the novel. The book’s setting is just a few years after the Jacobite rebellion in the 1740s.  

David Balfour is the protagonist in Kidnapped. He’s a young man of seventeen, whose parents have died. David is told to take a letter to his uncle, at the House of the Shaws. He doesn’t know what’s in the letter as it’s sealed, except that it deals with his inheritance and will secure his future. His uncle is not exactly excited about receiving it. Under the guise of visiting an attorney to settle the inheritance, the young David is knocked senseless and ends up in chains on a ship bound for America where he will be sold into indentured servanthood. The uncle did this because, David’s father, as the first born, had rights to the family estate and those rights extended to David. 

It appears David’s future will be bleak. He’ll be essentially a slave. But the ship strikes a reef off the Isle of Mull and David along with Alan Beck Stuart, a former leader in the Jacobite Rebellion, make their way back across Scotland. The pair have many misadventures along the way in this rough period of Scottish history.

The hope of an inheritance

David placed his hope in an inheritance. It was what kept him alive through his many trials. If he could obtain his inheritance, it would secure his future. In our world, as can be seen in the Kidnapped, inheritances can be a two-edged sword. 

Often inheritances become sources of conflict. Someone feels they win, and another feels slighted. Jealously prevails. “I should have gotten the house; I should have received the land; I should have been given the china…” Families split up and siblings never talk to one another. Yet, on the positive side, an inheritance might provide a chance to do something different with our lives, or the ability to live secure and settled.

Our inheritance from God

Paul uses inheritance as a way describe the blessings bestowed on those who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ, through faith. We are like adoptive children. When a child is adopted, something my wife and I know a bit about with an adopted son, they are as entitled to an inheritance as a naturally born child. With our inheritance from God, there is plenty to go around. No one will be shorted; everyone of faith will enjoy the blessings offered by God. And there will be no jealously, for we all will live in awe, in the presence of God.

The law as our trustee

Paul begins this chapter reminding us that a child who has an inheritance is, in a way, like a slave. He or she is controlled by a trustee until the child is an adult. When the trustee is evil, as was David Balfour’s uncle, then things go wrong. 

But that’s not the case with us. The trustee that Paul speaks of is the law. This is just another metaphor Paul uses, such as the law being a disciplinarian or a teacher which he used in the third chapter.[4] The law was to keep us on track until the coming of Jesus. Through Jesus, we are adopted by God; we become a part of God’s family. 

As I pointed out, an adoptive child is entitled to an inheritance. So, God adopts us and places Jesus’ spirit into our hearts. We are no longer slaves to the law. We can now call God, Daddy, for we’re a part of God’s family in the world and destined for glory.  

Going back to their old ways

In the eighth verse, Paul refers to the previous condition of those in Galatia, their lives before they came to the good news of Jesus.  They were enslaved to other spirits, gods that held no power. 

There is a debate as to what Paul is referring to here.[5] It appears some, listening to these false teachers, decide that instead of adding on the burden of the law, they’ll go back to their pagan ways. Such ways may have had something to do with astrology. Or, maybe Paul is still referring to the Jewish laws and the Jewish calendar with its prescribed fasts and feasts. Neither of these—astrology or observing a religious calendar—had the power to free the people from their burden to sin and to offer them an inheritance of life everlasting.

Paul, at the end of our reading, makes a personal plea for the people of Galatia to reconsider. He speaks how he’s afraid he’d wasted his time on them. He begs them to become like him. Paul often uses himself as an example of what it means to have faith in Jesus Christ. Then Paul provides us a brief insight into his personal life. We learn suffered from physical ailment of some form when he was with the Galatians. Was this the thorn-in-his-flesh he speaks of in Second Corinthians?[6]

Whatever, Paul’s thankful that despite his problems, the Galatians listened and responded faithfully to his message. But now they turn their backs on him; he grieves.  

Probably every preacher has felt this pain. When someone who had believed and seemed so full of faith, turns their backs on the gospel, we take it personally. 

Grace must be accepted

It grieves Paul. Yet, Paul realizes it’s beyond his abilities to get them to change course. God offers grace freely offered but it must be accepted on faith. If they want to continue down the path to their old ways, Paul can do nothing to change their mind. Even Jesus had this problem and let those go of those who wanted to leave him.[7] Paul, like those in Galatia and us who live two millenniums later, must live by faith, trusting in our inheritance. Only Paul’s way, the way of faith, leads to life. Embrace faith, it’s where joy abides.

Helen Keller on faith

Dark as my path may seem to others,” Helen Keller wrote, “I carry a magic light in my heart. Faith, the spiritual strong searchlight, illumines the way. Although sinister doubts lurk in the shadows, I walk unafraid toward the Enchanted Wood where the foliage is always green; where joy abides; where nightingales nest and sing, and where life and death are one in the presence of the Lord.[8] Amen. 

Before sunrise this morning. Photo taken from our home office.

[1] I adapted this story from The Christian Leader’s Golden Treasury (New York: Gross & Dunlap, 1955), 178.

[2] Galatians 3:17. For last week’s sermon go to: https://fromarockyhillside.com/2022/05/law-and-grace/

[3] Genesis 15:5, 22:17.

[4] See my courage of disciplinarians in the third chapter.  https://fromarockyhillside.com/2022/05/law-and-grace/

[5]Ronald Y. K. Fund,   The Epistle to the Galatians (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), 192-193.

[6] 2 Corinthians 12:7

[7] John 6:66-67. 

[8] Helen Keller, Christian Leader’s Golden Treasury,  177, 

A Solo Paddle to Cape Lookout

I rolled over a few minutes before 5:30 AM and glanced at the sky. The stars are beginning to disappear, but bright above the eastern horizon were Jupiter and Venus, separating from their conjunction a few days earlier.  Although I wasn’t planning on it, I dozed off and woke at 6 AM. Not wanting to miss the sunrise, I jumped up, quickly dressed, and trotted across the island to the ocean side. I’d missed a sunset the evening before as cumulonimbus clouds covered the horizon. After dark, these clouds produced a spectacular lightning show on the horizon. Thankfully, the storms stayed well inland.  
As I crossed the dunes, the sun appeared. It was a beautiful start to a lovely day.
Paddling Over
I had paddled over to Cape Lookout from Harker’s Island the day before. I started paddling approximately two hours after high tide, assuming I would ride the falling tide out through Barden’s Inlet. I wasn’t counting on 18 mile-an-hour winds out of the Southwest. The wind in my face made for a tough paddle. As the wind was against the tide, it created a chop on the water. The paddle across took two hours, twice as long as I thought it would take to make the 4.5 miles paddle. My plan had been to camp on the beach side, but the wind was high enough that I found a nice place a few hundred yards south of the lighthouse. After walking around the lighthouse grounds, I fixed dinner at sat watching the night fall as several sailboats along with a Coast Guard cutter and a trawler moored for the night in the safety of Lookout Blight. As the skies darken, I could see lightning in the clouds to the west, but the sky above was clear and full of stars. Shortly after dark, crawled into my bivy tent. I was tired and ready for rest. Sleep came quickly. I woke up a couple of times, looking up at the summer stars as Scopious and Sagittarius climbed higher in the southern sky. 
Lighthouse and assistant tenders home
After my early morning walk out to the beach to catch the sunrise, I came back to my camp and fixed breakfast (oatmeal and perked coffee). I enjoyed a pot of coffee, as I began to read Billy Beasley’s newest book, Home. 
After packing up my gear and pulling my kayak beyond the dunes so it was not too noticeable, I set off on a hike. While I have been to Lookout many times, including camping in the woods north of the Lighthouse, I have never explored the island. Those late fall trips, which were always with others, main purpose was to fish. This time, I wanted to walk around the cape.
snake beside the water
Stuffing a water bottle and some food into a pack, I headed south along the inlet side of the island. Along the way I saw pieces of old ships that had floundered in these waters. I passed a number of old fishing shacks as I made my way to the village that once contained a Life Saving Station (where those in attendance would take surf boats out to save the crew of ships floundering in the offshore shoals). Later, the Coast Guard maintained a station here, and during the Second World War, the army stationed troops here and built machine gun bunkers as well as maintained artillery capable of firing upon enemy submarines offshore. They even had a landing strip and kept planes that were used to spot submarines in the shallow water

flowers among the dunes
part of a hull of a wrecked ship
Old Life Saving and Coast Guard buildings
I walked through the wooded areas which are covered with pines. I found the trees odd for a maritime forest, as they generally consist of more hardwoods like live oaks. But a historical interpretation sign indicated that the pines were planted between the 1940s and 70s.  My first stop was at the jetty, a rock wall jutting out into the ocean to control erosion and to keep the inlet from closing in. I stopped for lunch, and then took off my shoes as I planned to walk back in the sand along the water.
From there, I headed toward the cape. Along the way, I picked up several old balloons to properly dispose. I wish people realized the danger of letting helium balloons go as they often end up in the ocean where large fish see them as jelly fish. Thinking they are getting a snack; they eat the balloon and die.
At the cape, there were a many people who had backed up their trucks and were fishing. These trucks would have been hauled over on a ferry to the north end of the island and then driven south to the cape. I only saw one fish caught, a small shark. I continued walking north, along the ocean, toward the distant light house. 
the lighthouse from the cape
Horse on Morgan Island

After walking probably 8 or 9 miles, I got in my kayak and paddled over the Shackleford Banks, a barrier island that runs east to west. I hoped to see some of the wild horses on the island as I paddled around it. The tide had just started coming in and the waters were very shallow. I final found several horses on Morgan Island, but to the reach them involved walking my kayak in inches of water, as I was on the shallow side of these islands behind Shackleford.  I arrived back at Harker’s Island at 7:30 PM. I quickly loaded my gear into the car and stowed the boat on the roof rack. By 8 PM, I was off to find something to eat on the mainland. Later, as I tired, I stopped at a hotel in Kinston, breaking up the drive back to the mountains. 

Law and Grace

Jeff Garrison
Mayberry and Bluemont Presbyterian Churches

Galatians 3:19-29
May 8, 2022

Sermon recorded on May 6 at Bluemont Church. See the text for what I preached on the 8th, as I made a number of changes to the sermon

At the beginning of worship:

Mothers will do whatever they can to protect their children. Sadly, sometimes this gets them into trouble, as it was with this one poor grandmother in New York City, whose daughter was sick. This was back in the Great Depression. 

Her husband had abandoned her and her children, so they all moved in with the grandmother. But she didn’t have enough food. The kids were starving. So, this grandmother went out and stole bread for the kids to eat. She was caught and ended up in night court in one of New York’s poorer wards. To her surprise, she found the Mayor LaGuardia behind the bench. 

LaGuardia, a former mayor of New York City, was quite a character. Today, we remember him whenever we fly to or through New York’s LaGuardia airport which is named after this man. He served as mayor of the city during the depths of the Depression through the turmoil of the war years. A small man, only 5’ 2”, LaGuardia was a hands-on mayor. He went with the police on raids of illegal nightclubs, took entire orphanages to ball games, and read the Sunday funnies to children on the radio during a newspaper strike. And then there was this episode.

On this cold night in January 1935, the mayor showed up in night court. He gave the judge the night off and took the bench. That’s when the defendant who had stolen bread was brought forth. He asked her about her alleged crime, and she told her story. The grocer refused to drop charges, saying she needed to be punished to teach others a lesson. LaGuardia found himself in a pickle. 

After some silence, he spoke to the woman. “I’ve got to punish you,” he said. “The law makes no exception, ten dollars or ten days in jail.” As he was pronouncing the sentence, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a ten-dollar bill. He leaned over the bench to hand it to the woman. “Here’s the ten-dollar fine which I now remit. 

Furthermore,” he said, “I’m going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so her grandchildren can eat. Bailiff, collect the fines and then give them to the woman.”

The next day, New York newspapers reported that $47.50 was collected and given to a bewildered old lady who had stolen bread to feed her grandchildren. Fifty cents came from the red-faced grocer, the rest from petty criminals, people with traffic violations, and police officers. And for the privilege of giving, they gave the mayor a standing ovation.[1]

The law was upheld and the woman experienced grace. This morning, I want us to consider the interplay between law and grace.  

Before reading the Scriptures:

Throughout Galatians, which we’re working through, Paul pounds home the message of grace. Although the law is important, as LaGuardia demonstrated in my story at the beginning of worship, and as we read earlier from Deuteronomy,[2] it’s inferior to grace, to God’s promises in Jesus Christ. As LaGuardia paid the woman’s debt, Jesus has paid ours.

Read Galatians 3:19-29.

After reading the Scripture:

At the beginning of the classic movie, The Sound of Music, the Von Trapp family consists of a host of children and a widower father, a strict disciplinarian. These kids were bright, energetic, and devious. They drove off all governesses hired by the father. Upon the scene comes Sister Maria, played by Julie Andrews. She’s to be the governess over these unruly kids. She has her work cut out. 

Upon introducing Maria to the kids, the oldest, Liesel, a girl of 16, announces she no longer needs a governess. Maria accepts her statement and says, “Well, then, I guess we’ll just be good friends.” Later in the movie, when she finds herself in a tight spot with her father, and is saved by Maria’s intervention, she admits that she could use a governess. And, as the movie progresses, they also become good friends. Eventually Maria and Captain Von Trapp marry. Maria becomes their step-mother. 

Liesel may not have needed a governess or a babysitter anymore, but she does find Maria’s presence useful as she struggles with becoming a young woman in a world torn apart with the rise of Nazism.[3] The same could be said with our use of the law. It’s useful like a governess, although not what’s ultimately important.

The law as a babysitter

“So, what is the purpose of the law,” Paul essentially asks in verse 19. The law is a babysitter! In this opening verse, Paul remarks how the law helps lead people until the coming of Christ. The law checks transgressions, keeping us from getting too far off track. 

Paul later returns to this theme, in verse 24 and 25, using the analogy of the Greek tutors who were hired by wealthy families as disciplinarians to teach their children.[4] The law keeps us straight and focused, like Maria kept the kids in line, but it doesn’t have the power to give us life, or salvation. 

As God promised all along, the day is coming when God, out of his gracefulness, will open a way for us to mature into a relationship with himself. The day comes when the law is be written in our hearts.[5]Certainly, the law is “not a firsthand encounter with God.” But, with Christ, we have been brought into a direct relationship with God. When we have Christ in our hearts, the law is no longer primary.

Grace always comes before law

An interesting thing we should realize about the law is that it was given to the Hebrew people at Sinai, after their deliverance from bondage in Egypt. Earlier in this chapter, in verse 17, Paul notes that the law came 430 years after the promise was made to Abraham. Throughout Scripture, grace always precedes law! God loves us before we even have a chance to love God!  

The Law and the 2nd Helvetic Confession 

The Second Helvetic Confession, in our Book of Confessions, gives us the reason for the law. It’s not given so we can be justified by keeping it. Rather:

from what it teaches we may know [our] weakness, sin and condemnation, and, despairing of our strength, might be converted to Christ in faith. For the apostle openly declares: “The law brings wrath,” and, “Through the law comes knowledge of sin” and, “If a law had been given which could justify or make alive, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture (that is, the law) has concluded all under sin, that the promise which was of the faith of Jesus might be given to those who believe . . . Therefore, the law was our schoolmaster unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith”.[6]

The law as schoolmaster, or as babysitter or governess, has a purpose. The law helps us mature, but it does not bring us into salvation. We are justified by faith in Jesus Christ. 

Three uses of the law

Historically, John Calvin outlined three uses of the law. 

  • It brings us to where we can see our own sinfulness and our need of a Savior. 
  • It helps us to live more righteously as we strive to please our Savior. 
  • And finally, for those outside of grace, the fear of the law serves to check their wickedness.[7]

The law can be useful, but it can never save us, as Paul drives home in these verses.

Now let me explore the third use of the law. The first two uses of the law outlined by Calvin are positive. It helps us be a better person, both by drawing us to Christ and by helping us strive for holiness. But the third use sounds rather harsh. And it is, but it is also necessary. 

On littering

Considering littering. It may seem like a minor thing, but it’s something when I see, raises my blood pressure. It also illustrates the point I want to make about the law. 

If we all appreciated the beauty of the land, and respected the property of others, we’d not need a law against littering. Unfortunately, there are those who refuse to do this, and therefore, we have a law that threatens the guilty. But if everyone could “write it in their hearts” to appreciate beauty and respect property, we’d not need such law. 

Purpose of Galatians 

Now, if you remember, Paul’s purpose for writing this letter is that a group of preachers have come behind Paul and taught these Gentiles that to be Christians, they need to do more.[8] Essentially, they need to become Jewish to be Christian. In other words, they need to be bound to the law. Paul is dead set against such teachings, and he reminds the Gentiles the benefits we have in Christ. If we live following Christ, we don’t have to fear the law.

Paul’s final point: Equality in Christ

We’re now at Paul’s final point in this chapter, where he demonstrates our equality in Jesus Christ. The old demarcations of society—gender, legal status, and nationality—are swept away.

We now have unity and freedom in Christ. No one is better than another or has a higher status. Paul attacks this idea that Jewish Christians who keep the law are higher up in the pecking order. That’s not the case. Likewise, whether you are Greek or Roman or Jewish doesn’t matter. 

In a patriarchal society, Paul destroys the distinctions based on one’s gender. In a society where slavery underpins the economy, Paul destroys the distinctions between master and slave. Because we don’t earn our salvation, but accept it as a gracious gift, Paul wants us to realize there is no hierarchy within the church. None of us are any better than another. 


We have differences, but at our core, we are all sinners. The difference between us and the world is that we’re sinners redeemed in Christ Jesus. Others need to be redeemed, and our work is to share the message and to offer to the world a new vision of hope. We are no longer to be shackled by a list of dos and don’ts. Instead, we are to let Christ rule in our hearts as we strive to love as he loves us. 

Never look down on another. That’s the kind of advice my mother would have given me. And, as we learn from Paul, let Christ shine from your hearts. Then you won’t have to worry about the burden of the law. Doesn’t that sound good? It is, it’s good news. Amen.

Off Cape Lookout. The lighthouse, like the law, keeps us on course.

[1] Story from the KERGYMA Program, Galatians and James: Faith and Work, which quoted it from William J. Bausch, A World of Stories, (Mystic, CT: Twenty-Third Publications, 1988), 233.  

[2] Deuteronomy 27:15-26.

[3] This idea came from Scott Hoezee.  See http://cep.calvinseminary.edu/sermon-starters/proper-7c/?type=lectionary_epistle

[4] See Galatians 3:23-25 in The Message translation where Eugene Peterson, the translator, compares the law to “Greek tutors hired by wealthy families. 

[5] Jeremiah 31:33.  See also Romans 2:15. 

[6] Presbyterian Church USA, Book of Confessions, 5.083.  

[7] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion II, 7 & 8.  See also Francois Wendel, Calvin: Origins and Development of His Religious Thought translated by Philip Mairet, (1963, Durham, NC: The Labyrinth Press, 1987), 196-201.

[8] Galatians 1:6-7.  See my first sermon on Galatians: https://fromarockyhillside.com/2022/04/5673/

Williston, 50 Years Later

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been away the past week. During this time, I did several things I’ll write about, the first being a project I’ve been associated with for the past few years. The next day, I attended a friend’s book reveal, and then spent a few days paddling out to and camping on Cape Lookout. I’ll write about the other two things later.

Between the 7th and 8th Grade

Excitement filled the air as the 1970-71 school year ended. I had just finished the 8th Grade at Roland Grice Junior High. In an art class, I had drawn with color pencils a large portrait of Yogi Bear and had friends to sign it. Next year, we’d rule as 9th graders. But things were changing in ways we did not realize. While we had no way of knowing at the time, this was our last day at Roland Grice.

During our summer break, a court decision forced the complete integration of schools. Those students at Roland Grice who lived north of Oleander Drive would attend D. C. Virgo, which had been the former African American Junior High, which was one of the county’s two “9th Grade Centers.” Those of us who lived south of Oleander would attend Williston, the former black high school. Interestingly, D. C. Virgo was the principal at Williston that made it celebrated school during the time of segregation. In 1968, after the opening of Hoggard High School, Williston was converted to a Junior High. Now, it would be the county’s other 9th Grade Center.  The goal was to have all schools to reflect the county’s racial make-up which, in 1971, was roughly 70% white and 30% African American. 

9th Grade

It was late in the summer that we learned of the changes. That September, I took the bus to Roland Grice and from there transferred to another bus for the ride to Williston. This was a scary time. Since 1968 and the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., Wilmington had its share of riots and racial unrest. New private schools such as Cape Fear Academy and Wilmington Christian Academy popped up in response to the forced integration. However, most of us continued in public school.

The 1971-72 school year would be one of the most memorable years in my life, not because of what I learned in the classroom, but what I learned about life and people. We were a part of great experiment, which while it contained personal disappointments, was necessary for the well-being our society. Sadly, I didn’t get to finish out my year at Roland Grice, but greater good is that the unequal segregated system of schools needed to be undone. Those of us who attended Williston, at least those willing to open our eyes, saw first-hand how unfair the old system had been.   

50th Anniversary Project

One of the panels with quotes from the 4 of us (from left: Cliff, Sadie, me, Wayne)

At a class reunion a few years ago, I found myself discussing our year at Williston with several students. As we were coming up on our 50th anniversary, it seemed that we should do something. As the first students to experience busing, at least for historical purposes, we should preserve some our memories and perhaps even take another step or two toward healing the racial divisions that have divided this country for too long.

Cliff, a classmate who was also the son of the school superintendent for the county in 1971-72, be talking. We reached out and talk to others, creating a group of students from across the racial spectrum. We started a Facebook page, which revealed how our experience, 50 years later, still contains extremes. There were those who thought the year was wonderful. One black woman recalled it was the first time in school she was given a new textbook. Before, her schools issued “hand-me-down” books from schools that was most white. And then there are the few who hated everything about Williston and still carry a grudge.

We searched for a way to memorialize our year at Williston. Thanks to another of our classmates, LuAnn, who had graduated with a master’s degree in public history from University of North Carolina at Wilmington, we were connected to this department. Three graduate students of the program began to collect oral histories and created a series of interpretive panels about the experience of integration in Wilmington. 

Last Friday, the UNCW students presented their work. The panels will be displayed at Williston, which today is a middle school. The oral histories will be available for future scholars through the UNCW library. At the presentation, I learned that busing was no longer being done in New Hanover County and that at present, Williston’s student population consists of 80% minority. I wondered if our sacrifices were in vain.

Presentation at UNCW (students: Conner, Jack, Heather.
Faculty: Dr. Jennifer LeZotte. & Dr. Tara White)

The students titled their project, “Not Done Yet: School Integration in Wilmington, NC, 1968-Beyond.” Click on the link to learn more.  

I am thankful for this project. Not only does it add to the historical body of material available on integration in America, it also allowed me to catch up with old friends and to make some new ones.

My Other Williston Writings:

Williston’s 1971 “Snowfall”

Ms. Gooden

Mark Brown