Flipping through old newspapers gives us a perspective on life in years past, and looking at papers from the more recent past gives some of us a chance to remember our experiences and reactions to events that we may actually recall. These snippets come from the South Carolina Methodist Advocate of April 2, 1964, fifty years ago this spring. The issue contained a lengthy article about efforts at the upcoming General Conference to dismantle the segregated Central Jurisdiction, explaining in some detail for the laity how the denomination was structured and what ending the Central Jurisdiction might mean. Also in that issue, Rhett Jackson of Trenholm Road Church provided the weekly Bible Study. And, the cover featured pictures from the Junior High boys basketball tournament, won by St. Paul, Greenville.
Editor McKay Brabham started off the issue with this condemnation of the mixture of spring holidays and Easter:
“The annual migration of thousands of college and high-school students to the sun-spots and beer spouts of our nation is an act of blasphemy which need not be perpetuated. Days given in holiday for the remembrance of the Savior’s death and resurrection should be observed as holy days.
“Educational authorities can help in this. A change in the date of the spring holidays, if these are a requirement of our times, would at least remove the association with Christ’s sufferings of what is often reported to move from innocent idyll to bacchanalian orgy. Let it be said, however, that the reported recreational activities of considerable numbers of adults holds out little hope for the large measure of concern required to set the example of sobriety which would bring about a general improvement in youthful behavior.”
The Rev. Melvin K. Medlock provided some thoughts about clergy visiting their earlier appointments:
“In 1931, when some of us came into the Conference on trial, we heard our bishop say to a class being received into full connection, ‘Go where you are sent, and stay away from where you have been.’ Some of us were bold enough to ask the older ministers, who related stories of some clergy who had done their successors harm by going back to meddle.
“Now, a confession: I went back to assist in too many weddings in one church I left. It looked like all the girls in the church decided to get married just prior to my leaving.
“But I do not think it is good to break with friends just because one is leaving a pastorate. Among my closest friends are my predecessors who have returned occasionally to see some of their friends, to assist in weddings, etc.”
Rev. Medlock offered examples of the kindnesses that each of his predecessors had shown him in each of his appointments – either by preparing the way for him, by speaking good words about his ministry, or supporting his work.
“These predecessors have proved to me that a man with a good spirit can do great good by “going back” occasionally. As for the man with a jealous, vindictive spirit – do we have that kind? So far it has not been my lot to follow one of them.”
And that’s some of what was in the news for South Carolina Methodists fifty years ago