Rev. Phil Jones will be our guest minister on Sunday, November 21. He will be preaching from Luke 17:11-19 and his sermon title is Where’s the One? If you are a member of our chancel choir, you may have met Rev. Jones this summer when he was down at Camp Caroline and came to practice some music with us. We look forward to seeing him again and having him in the pulpit, so be sure to come Sunday and give him a warm welcome!


Rev. Roger Bennett did a wonderful service titled “Gifted” on Sunday, November 14. It was the kickoff of our stewardship campaign which lasts until the last Sunday of this month. Roger preached on the scripture Hebrews 10:19-25. His message was strong and delivered with both humor and energy. We also honored our veterans with beautiful flowers provided by Glenn and Tricia Johnston, and Roger read the name of each veteran and the branch of military served. Our musicians provided lovely, lovely music for our prelude and an especially beautiful piece titled Bless this House for our special music. If you were unable to attend, please be sure to check out Desktop Worship, which will be posted on the blog this Thursday.


We welcomed our first guest minister on November 7. Rev. Caitie Smith was authorized as an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ in November 2015. She currently serves as the Executive Administrator to the Regional Minister in North Carolina. She holds her Master of Divinity degree from Wake Forest University: School of Divinity and is currently pursuing her Master of Social Work at UNC-Wilmington. Caitie is married to Rev. James ‘Jimmy’ Gawne, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) ordained minister who serves as an active duty Naval Chaplain.  Caitie enjoys spending time with friends over coffee or a homemade meal, hearing live music, and going to yoga classes. We were very honored that Rev. Smith agreed to join us! Read more about Rev. Smith and get an update on our pastor search process in November’s Beacon.






The following Guideposts commentary was published on December 1, 2014, by Pablo Diaz. I wanted to share a portion of his message as it is still current in 2021.

“It is so easy to miss out on the spiritual blessings of Thanksgiving Day. We can get caught up with Christmas shopping especially with television advertisements airing sooner than ever. Some of us will even find ourselves on Thanksgiving Day in stores seeking great bargains for gifts.”

Although Christmas is probably the most favorite time of the year, I am grateful that at Thanksgiving we can pause and thank God for our blessings.

In Psalm 103:2, Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.

“Imagine if each of us took time to think and write in our journal, tablet or smart phone about the things we are grateful for. If every day we jotted down something which we are thankful for, our world would be a happier place. The practice of thanksgiving produces joy and satisfaction. A thankful heart is a joyful heart. Happy are those who are thankful.”

“What people, opportunities, challenges or changes are you most thankful for? Make a list. Practice thanksgiving and have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!”

from my friend Susan Hardison Bissette


I wrote down one thing for which I am truly thankful: that I am a Christian! You see, after the fire when we were meeting at Camp Caroline, I was not a Christian. Yet I had been going to Bethany since 2000 and taking part in the life of the church for my family’s sake. Prior to that I had only been in a church perhaps a dozen times since 1977 because I thought religion was illogical.

I’ll admit, the people at Bethany began to change that. As I talked with some who had deep faith, I saw something they had in common: confidence. They were confident that  their God exists; that He loves them; that He is faithful; and that He is with them always. Belief in God inspires confidence, I learned. And I realized that I wanted that. I began seriously participating in Sunday School and reading the Bible and realized that I had gotten something wrong in my life for too long a time.

About that time, I was asked to be an elder—me, a non-Christian! But after deep introspection, I knew that I loved Bethany’s people, God, His Son and that I was going to become a Christian. So I became an elder and then a Christian.

I have tried to fulfill my responsibilities as an elder, as a member of Bethany and as a Christian. I am far from perfect, but I am confident in the Father and in the Son! That is a lot to be thankful for. My life has been far richer since I accepted Jesus. That can be your experience too. Practice thanksgiving!


I do not know how it happened. I was in a daily habit. Everyday at the same time, I pulled out my phone and began my Bible Quest reading. I really have been enjoying reading through my Bible with this program. It has been very enjoyable and easy to follow. Plus, I love the BibleProject videos. They are really great and having the emails with the scripture and videos available for me right on my phone has been awesome. But then my son was home with Covid, and my entire schedule was thrown off, and I got behind, really behind. Even long after Parker was well and back in school, I could not get back into the habit of daily Bible reading. What once had seemed so easy, now seemed impossible. I would never catch up with the group. Finally I decided to just start back with the most current Bible reading. Yes, I have missed several weeks, but I can read that later. Right now the important thing is just to get back in that habit of pulling out my phone as soon as the hubby leaves for work and open the email with the weekly reading schedule and read.  If you, like me, have slipped and are behind, no worries. Just start back. Start back either where you were, or where the group is. Just start back. God is good. – Melissa Watson