My name is Robert Payne. I am a student at Young Harris College interning at Andrews United Methodist Church. My job over this past weeks with the internship has been to teach a lesson to the kids under 5th grade and on Communion Sundays lead the congregation through the liturgy. However, the Methodist church has become quite a learning experience for me, personally. I grew up in a Baptist church. The Methodist church, despite similar theologies, has a completely different worship style. I cannot remember a time when my church celebrated a particular tradition, i.e., All Saints’ Sunday. This was a new concept for me.
The purpose of All Saints’ Sunday is to remember and recognize those who have died in the church and of the loved ones for those who are members of the church. It serves to give the members of the church comfort and also shows that lives in the church are not easily forgotten.
My role in the service, just as every Sunday, was to lead the liturgy—which I would be totally lost in doing without the help the pastor. All Saints’ Day started about the same as a Communion Sunday. We said the Prayer in unison, sang a hymn pertaining to the message, and gave the offering and blessed it for the use of Christ. We, then, however moved to a table in the front that had seven big candles representing the people in the church who had died that year.
One by one, the families came up lighting the big candles for each of their loved ones. I thought it was beautiful the way the people got to acknowledge someone’s presence that had once been in there lives. After that, several smaller candles where lined across the altar rail. Again, the people came lighting the smaller candles for the people who had touched there lives in ways that were unknown to me. “In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us” was repeated multiples times during the lighting of the big candles and after everybody lit their smaller candles. This day was incredibly important because I had recently lost a spiritual brother. The service reminded me not only about him but also reminded me that I would also see him, again, one day. All Saints’ Day does a great job of reminding us what these people did for us, personally.
Andrews United Methodist has become another home to me. The members of the church all seem to help out each other and me, too. The love for each other’s well-being shows the compassion in the community. The children all have respectful and curious hearts. I feel as though I am learning how to juggle multiple things at one time and do them well. I have been so honored to have this opportunity and hope I can do a great job with it. I can see great relationships coming out this internship.