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Double Rings, JH, Kit. Sunday, Jan 10 @ 6:30 PM

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75th Anniversary of CGS!

Celebrating 75 Years of Christian Ministry and Mission

 

Through the Years . . . 

Our United Methodist Men

 

 Without Joe D’Amore’s persistence, the United Methodist Men’s fellowship group might never have been launched. After talking with Phil Wood, the pastor at that time, and with several men who supported Joe’s enthusiasm, all men of the entire church were invited to a barbecue at the parsonage on July 10, 2004. Sixty attended. A survey was conducted to learn of the men’s interests and how to organize the new United Methodist Men. It received its charter from the General Council of United Methodist Men. Joe was its founding president, followed by Richard Vethamani and Craig Lucas in ensuing early years.

 

Joe and Richard, both active in the UMM, have shared some of their memories. Topics of greatest interest to the men were expressed as their relationship to their wife, their spiritual life, and work, home, and ministry. The men wanted monthly meetings, short mission trips and annual retreats. Sometimes they had speakers, sometimes not. Steve Wilson often led the worship service. Their fellowship at these times was enhanced by sharing a meal. The culinary talents of John Garton, Dave Cooper, and Jim McIntire stood out in this ministry, as they did an outstanding job organizing meals. With teamwork, the group worked out the logistics: carpooling, brochures, agenda, schedule and the many other details needed for their meetings and retreats to run smoothly.

 

Wrightwood was the site of their first retreat in mid-November, 2005. Cornish Rogers was the speaker, and about 30 men attended. Mildly roughing it, they were housed dormitory-style, and meals were provided by camp staff. Along with studying and discussions, the men played games and got to know each other through rich conversations. They loved to sing under Larry Callaham’s leadership.

 

At later retreats, the group stayed in a smaller house, famously called the Huddle Hut, at Wrightwood. They enjoyed playing board games, doing skits, huddling around a campfire with hot chocolate, and singing to the accompaniment of Mark Renfrew and Pedro Galindo on guitar. But the mountain’s elevation and insecure footing around the campground led the group to seek out a different retreat location.

 

Mary and Joseph Retreat Center in Rancho Palos Verdes attracted 16 UMMers in May, 2014. Later they went Aldersgate in Pacific Palisades, where CGS women had held many retreats. Like the women, they had high praise for the delicious meals served at Aldersgate, as well as its fine accommodations. The customary format at retreats was to break into small groups to talk about a topic, then gather together and share their observations and opinions. Harry Heflin and Steve Wilson conducted many bible studies.

 

With time, dwindling participation led the UMM closer to home with weekend retreats in Jordan Hall. The men met on Friday evening, went home overnight, and returned Saturday for a daylong retreat. This didn’t have quite the allure of a getaway retreat, but at least retained the UMM spirit and camaraderie.

 

Richard remembers the many ways the UMM served together organizing the annual Easter Breakfast, serving meals at Union Station, and preparing all-church barbecues for the Fourth of July and for Homecoming Sunday (now Welcome Sunday.)

 

With the pandemic, meetings are now held virtually on Thursday mornings with Larry Callaham, Craig Lucas and Mike Johnson serving as leaders. Richard says enthusiasm for the original mission for the UMM is still strong: to support spiritual growth among men, helping men to mature as disciples as they encourage spiritual formation in others.


 

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400 W. Duarte Rd Arcadia, CA 91007      [email protected]      (626) 447-2181
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