PHA: Take Time To Honor Mentors Who Light the Way

6281164-e1398183944472I’ve been thinking a lot about the loss of loved ones. This year at Northaven we’ve experienced the deaths of several key leaders. First, there was Charles Delphenis, who was known for welcoming visitors for years and years. There was Mike Pybas, who was “Mr. Volunteer” at several Dallas nonprofits. Bill Warrick, our head usher for 35 years, who never missed a Sunday, died suddenly. And, finally, there was the Rev. Bill McElvaney, our emeritus pastor and my friend and mentor.

That’s a lot of losses in our congregation. And they’ve moved us all into a season of both mourning their passing and giving thanks for their gifts

For the past several months I’ve been reflecting on the important lessons that each of these men taught me. But even more than what I’ve learned from them, I’ve been reflecting on the whole idea of mentors and teachers. No matter who we are, no matter how much we grow or how old we become, we need them.

On the first Sunday of November, many churches celebrate All Saints Sunday. For some, it’s a time to look back at the genuine saints of the Christian tradition. For others, it’s a time to celebrate, give thanks and remember the saints of our personal lives.

None of us are “self-made.” That phrase is perhaps the most unrealistic description of a human being ever penned. Rather, all of us are dependent upon parents, teachers, coaches, clergy, neighbors and others. We begin life as babies — little more than helpless loaves of bread — and we would never make it into adulthood without the constant guidance, help and support of others.

(This is my October worship column for Preston Hollow Advocate. Read the rest here).


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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of The Woods United Methodist Church in Grand Prairie, Texas. For seventeen years, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas, Texas. Eric is an avid blogger and published author. Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy.

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