The Meridian Star
It has been a tradition of the community clubs of Lauderdale county to show their appreciation to the program's sponsors by having a Sponsors Night at each club, generally during the summer months.
Each sponsor, as well as each of the clubs, receive an invitation to attend. It is the highlight of the year for members and this year was no different. Tables laden with fried chicken, fresh vegetables, and calorie-free desserts greeted the guests as they arrived.
In attendance were: James Rainey, tax assessor; William and Rachel Jones, Farm Bureau and Northeast Lauderdale CDC; Drucille Fisher and Peggy Little, Long Creek CDC; Ronnie and Pat Norris, Russell CDC; Tom and Ann Maynor, Meridian First State Bank; Jimmy Kemp, Sanders Gas; Beverly Issacs and Bob Huff, Community Bank; Carolyn Smith, State Games of Mississippi; Phil and Linda Lee, Northeast Community Club; Michele Thames, East Mississippi Business Development Corporation (EMBDC); Lauderdale County Supervisor Josh Todd; Rona Gingell, Michelle Chaney, and Sandy More, Regions Bank; Sheriff Billy and Diann Sollie; Donna Jill Johnson, circuit clerk; Ann Watts, sponsor; Wallace and Janet Heggie, sponsors; and Charlie and Sharon Busler; sponsors.
Entertainment was provided by Laynie Laird, 11, who attends West Lauderdale Middle School. Laynie has taken piano lessons for two years and has been singing for six months. Laynie performed "Only a Mountain," "I Have A Dream" and "Tomorrow."
Brother Wallace Terry's devotional reading was a story from "Seeds From The Psalms" titled "Glorious Things." It told the story of John Newton, a man who once was a slave trader. After becoming a Christian, he became a powerful preacher, a leader in the fight against slavery and a famous hymn writer.
One of his hymns began with "Glorious things of thee are spoken... He, whose word cannot be broken."
This reminds us of the faithfulness of God, a centerpiece of the Psalms, Terry said. Repeatedly, we hear the echo of God's faithfulness giving strength, hope and encouragement to the children of Israel. They often abandoned God, sometimes paying a dear price for doing so. However, He was there each time they called on Him and immediately answered their cry.
"Well supply thy sons and daughters, and all fear of want remove." There was never a time in their history that God did not take care of their needs. Whenever they looked to Him for forgiveness and repented of their sinful ways, His mercy met them at their point of need and His blessings followed. He met their needs, removed their fear and granted them the desires of their heart, Terry said.
"Grace which, like the Lord, the Giver, never fails from age to age." If there ever was t ime in the history of our nation that we need to be reminded that God's grace would never fail, it is now. Everywhere we look, we see a need for His love, mercy, grace, salvation, and our nation's salvation. It is not His glory that has vanished. it is our unwillingness to share His grace with others.
Terry closed his devotional presentation with prayer and blessing.
Before guests were dismissed and the Pledge of Allegiance recited, Cathy Clearman read the Pledge of Allegiance as told by actor/comedian Red Skelton in January 1969:
"When was a small boy in Vincennes, Ind., I heard, I think, one of the most outstanding speeches I ever heard in my life. I think it compares with the 'Sermon on the Mount,' Lincoln's ''Gettysburg Address,' and Socrates' 'Speech to the Students.'
"We had just finished reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and he called us all together, and he says, 'Uh, boys and girls, I have been listening to you recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester, and it seems that it has become monotonous to you. Or, could it be, you do not understand the meaning of each word? If I may, I would like to recite the pledge, and give you a definition for each word:'
"'I...me; an individual; a committee of one.'"
"'Pledge...dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self pity.'"
"'Allegiance...My love and my devotion.'"
"'To the Flag...Our standard. "Old Glory"; a symbol of courage. And wherever she waves, there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts "Freedom is everybody's job.'"
"''of the United...That means that we have all come together.'"
"'States...Individual communities that have united into forty-eight great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided by imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common cause, and that's love of country, of America.'"
"'And to the Republic...A republic: a sovereign state in which power is invested into the representatives chosen by the people to govern. And the government is the people; and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.'"
"'For which it stands.'"
"'One Nation...Meaning so blessed by God.'"
"'Indivisible...Incapable of being divided.'"
"'With Liberty...Which is Freedom. The right of power for one to live his own life without fears, threats, or any sort of retaliation.
"'And Justice...The principle and qualities of dealing fairly with others.'"
"'For All...for all. That means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.'"
After members and guest stood to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, Clearman read the final paragraph:
"'Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: Under God Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer, and that be eliminated from our schools, too?"
• Submitted by Cathy Clearman, secretary.