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DECEMBER 1, 2022
5:30pm | Parish Hall

Come enjoy an evening of fun and fellowship as we kick off the holiday season.

Bring your favorite table decorations to share with your friends.

For dinner, we will have ham, hash brown casserole, salad, green beans, and dessert with the men of the church serving dinner. Afterward, we will be entertained by our guest speaker, Cathy Lee Phillips, who is a Newnan native and published author.

Doors open at 5:30pm with dinner at 6:00pm in the Parish Hall. Tickets are $25 per person or $200 for a table of 8. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact Aileen Burnett at 770-253-7400 x 206 or   

God: Yesterday, Tomorrow, and Forever

by Cathy Lee Phillips

Smell deeply! If you are around my age, you probably remember the heavenly odor of
gallons of buttered popcorn floating from the front door of Kessler’s each Saturday morning.
Crowds gathered each week just for that divine smell that flowed from the store each time
someone opened the door. Smelly deeply again. Does the flavor tickle your nose and make you
stomach growl? If you didn’t list in Newnan during the 60s and 70s, you missed a treat. My
Mama bought my first training bra at Kessler’s. It had a little pink rose front and center. Hosiery
was sold in two pieces and rested into a thin, delicate box. Toys lived on the top floor and
fabrics every color in the rainbow were packed in the basement. Did you Mama or Grandmama
make you a dress from those fabrics. That was Yesterday. And it was good.

Today tells a different story. Goldens serves delicious turkey and dressing in the
cafeteria line. There is no popcorn, but an abundance of fried okra when I visit. Kessler’s is no
more. I don’t think most of us remember the last time were sniffed the buttered popcorn. It
just sort of drifted away. While we’ve probably all enjoyed a meal at Goldens, if we knew
Kessler’s miss it. Different stores and restaurant reside around the Court Square now that
downtown has come alive again. There are great places to meet family and make new friends
as you traverse the area that was once a small town. Today the roads stretch for miles past
schools, doctor’s offices, stores and stores and stores, plus countless subdivisions. We have
traffic jams! This is Today. And it is good, too.

When I came to town in 1965, I never imagined the Newnan of 2022. Things are meant
to stay the same. Are you the same person you were in 1965? And will you be the same person
next year? The changes that have come in our town since the 60s are mind-boggling! A
devastating tornado forever changed the landscape, homes, even Newnan High School.
Countless family members have changed their address to heaven and wait for a great reunion
with us there. Bullets and fists have flown in anger even as new babies were born in a new
hospital. School buses still run but the faces in the seats have changed. We have cried and
laughed and grown and learned. We have changed. And we have prayed in the midst of a
million changes.

I am so comforted to have God walking beside me – through the scent of buttered
popcorn and fried okra. While the wind blew and tore apart part of our city. As hundreds of
new homes and businesses took their places. Even as crime has come and bullets have
shattered our innocence.

Hear me. I don’t know how I could have faced just the changes in my life without God
standing with me. Living in a dysfunctional family. Learning lessons from life on a farm. Madras
School. Newnan High School. LaGrange College. Scarritt Graduate School. Marriage to my love,
Rev. Dr. Jerry Phillips, his need for a heart transplant and then his death after only 7 years of
marriage. How do you learn to be a widow at 35? I was broken and I tried to start over amid
unbelievable grief. I began writing. Then speaking. Loneliness and bitter tears. Then a Genetic
Immune Deficiency called Hypogammaglobulinemia. How do you learn to live with a life-
changing (and a life-threatening) auto-immune disease? A dramatic loss of financial security.
Wandering as I tried to find my life again. I felt so helpless and alone.

Until I remember FOREVER. God has promised that He will never change and will walk
with me FOREVER. The God that created heaven and earth and each one of us will never leave
me. He has not caused evil things to happen. The world became evil when Adam and Eve made
a horrible mistake. And God never left them either.

As we prepare to be together, think of the millions of things God has seen you through.
Really think about it and be amazed at the God of all has loved us yesterday and today. And no
matter how much we wonder, God will continue to love us FOREVER.

We will gather to celebrate His entrance into our world and that fact that He will walk
with us and LOVE US FOREVER. Now, that’s a reason to celebrate and hold onto this promise --

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have
tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (Mark 16:33)

I’ll see you on December 1,
Cathy Lee Phillips

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