Shall we gather…


From left Rick Haught, Randy Mitchell, Tom McQuain, Robin McQuain Lori Wilson and Rich Shaffer. 

Have you ever been involved in a small group study of the Bible where you look forward to each meeting and truly hate to miss a single meeting?  I am involved in such a small group in the Little Kanawha District.  

This group was started by Rev. Damon Rhodes and Rev Mona Jackson in the fall of 2010 shortly after they each were given new appointments in Parkersburg.  They had been involved in a Lectionary Study Group when they had also jointly served in the Buckhannon area.  After they settled in their new appointments they each realized they missed the comradery of their colleagues, so they started a Lectionary study in Parkersburg.  It has continued over the last 9 years.  New people have joined as others have moved on to other ministries.  

We currently meet at the Corner Café in downtown Parkersburg with five to twelve people each week.  We gather on Wednesday mornings for a time of fellowship and breaking bread together as we enjoy breakfast.  The group is comprised of Elders, Local Pastors, Assigned Supplies, Lay Pastors and Certified Lay Servants.  Everyone contributes to the sometimes noisy and animated discussions about the Lectionary Scriptures for the upcoming Sunday worship service.  

At times the cafe is full of folks and other times those witnessing our conversation are sparse.  I really appreciate the effort and preparation by Pastors Tom and Robin McQuain as they facilitate the meeting and provide copies of the scriptures, opening prayer and benediction.  I love hearing insights and interpretations of scripture that had not been revealed to me before.  

For me, I plan to make this discussion a priority.  There is no distinction made between laity and clergy.  We are all respected and opinions are valued.  Others sitting close by are hearing the Gospel and Old Testament, maybe for the first time.  We enjoy supporting our local café with our business and tips.  We also engage with the servers and ask about their prayer concerns.  Our server keeps the coffee cups filled to wake us up.  Maybe that is why we are at times noisy.  Too much caffeine?   Or a whole lot of Spirit?

Rich Shaffer
Lay Leader
West Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church