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God’s New Angel

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on October 15, 2013
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On Sunday, God decided it was time for Bill Gardner to become his newest angel. Bill’s 96 years of life were spent in the service of others – the military, the church, his community, and especially his family. I am blessed to have been a part of his family since my dad made the wise decision to marry Suzy, Bill’s daughter.

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For fifty years, Bill Gardner sang in the church choir. I’m certain those years of practice have prepared him well to sing God’s praises in heaven. If God has committees, Bill is probably already serving on one (or two or three). His obituary inspires me to spend more time serving others, and I want to share it here to hopefully encourage others to do the same.

Rest in peace, Papa Bill. Enjoy some of the books in God’s library. Share ideas with military heroes of the past. Kiss your wife again. And most of all, give my daddy a hug from me.

William A. Gardner, 96, of 102 Holloway Court, widower of Katherine “Kitty” McNeill Gardner, died Sunday, October 13, 2013 at Hospice House.

Born in Hartsville, he was a son of the late Sidney Kelly and Loucelle Gwin Gardner. He was a graduate of Hartsville High School and received his B.S. degree in Agronomy from Clemson University in 1941. Bill served in the US Army during World War II, retiring in November 1947 with the rank of Major after being wounded in action 1944.

Bill was president of Supreme Propane Gas Co., Inc. (1947-1979) and president of Alexandria, Inc. (1969-1996). He served as president of the SC LP Gas Association (1955-56), Chairman of the Board (1971-79) and became a Life Member in 1979. He also served as the State Director of the National LP Gas Association in 1957.

Bill served the Ninety Six community in numerous ways, including being a member and past president of the Ninety Six Lions Club and was named their “Man of the Year” in 1961. He was also a member and past commander of the American Legion Post 103 and served as president of the Ninety Six Chamber of Commerce in 1959, was named their Man of the Year in 1979, received Commendation in 1980 and served as chairman of the Historic Heritage Commission 1980-81. He was a member of the Ninety Six Town Council from 1955-58 and served as Mayor of Ninety Six in 1959-60. He served as a commissioner with the Ninety Six Commission of Public Works from 1990-93, served on the Greenwood County Planning & Zoning Commission from 1974-80, served as chairman of the Self Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees, chairman of the Greenwood County Council on Aging, chairman of the Greenwood County Easter Seals Society, served on the United Way of Greenwood County and on the Greenwood County Beautification Commission. He served on the Elmwood Cemetery Association Board from 1982-2003.

As a member of St. Paul United Methodist Church, he served on and chaired the Administrative Board, chaired the Building Committee, sang in the choir for 50 years, taught the Jeffcoat Men’s Sunday School Class, was church treasurer and a delegate to the SC Annual Conference. He also served the SC United Methodist Conference as Greenwood District Lay Leader, chaired the Greenwood District Council on Ministries, served on the SC Annual Conference Nominating Committee, the SC Annual Conference Council on Ministries and served as chair of the Greenwood District Superintendency.

Bill was awarded The Order of the Palmetto in September 1996 and his Bronze Star in August of 2007.

Surviving are his daughters, Katherine “Kit” Gardner Adkins and her husband, Thomas Terry Adkins, Jr., of Greenwood and Susan “Suzy” Gardner Farrar of Ninety Six; a grandson, Thomas “Tom” Terry Adkins, III of Spartanburg and a granddaughter, Willa Katherine “Willa Kate” Farrar of Ninety Six.

He was preceded in death by his wife and a son-in-law, James Gerald “Jerry” Farrar.

Pallbearers will be Bobby Wells, Richard Shealy, Paul Johnson, Paul Walker, Butch Attaway and David Henderson.

Honorary escort will be members of the Jeffcoat Men’s Sunday School Class.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Paul United Methodist Church, PO Box 66, Ninety Six, SC 29666.


Some Amazing Teens…

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on May 23, 2013
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This blog is a shout out to the teens in my youth group. They are amazing! They continually impress me with their hearts to serve and their love of Jesus. Whether to pray together, play together, or serve others, they choose to spend their free time week after week in positive ways.

MBC Youth…you ROCK!!

Last weekend, they fed the homeless in Richmond.




They pray unashamedly and publicly.




Competition gets fierce!




Helping others makes them happy.







Worship is an important part of their lives.



I love all of you! Thanks for allowing me to be a part of the best youth group around. Anyone who believes teens are lazy, uncaring, and/or disconnected needs to come spend a few hours with you.

The Evils of Fundraising?

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on March 13, 2013
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My students at school began a fundraiser today. The money earned from the event will greatly benefit the students and our school. With tight budgets and cuts from government funding, we need all the help we can get to provide resources and other supplies.

At my church, many members frown upon fundraising. The church by-laws state that fundraising cannot take place for the daily operation of the church, but some people also disagree with using it for other purposes such as youth group retreats and mission camps.

When I try to view the situation from their perspective, I have trouble formulating valid reasons why fundraising is evil. Do they think it will deduct from the amount someone might tithe to the church? Is the money earned through fundraising somehow tainted? Or does it give Christians a bad reputation to solicit money? I’m not sure their reasons and I tend to shy away from confrontation, so I most likely won’t ask outright. (Yes, I’m a wimp.)

On the flip side, I can come up with reasons why the youth should fundraise for their activities. As a teacher and a youth leader, I see many teens floundering in their lives, searching for a purpose. Here are three ways I believe fundraising can help these teens:

1) Responsibility – In today’s society, many teens exist in a vacation-like gap between childhood and adulthood. For some, no one has ever told them they can make a difference in the world. They don’t feel responsible for a lot of what happens in their lives.

The teens in our youth group love, and I mean love, going to retreats and mission camps. These activities are beneficial to the teens and to so many other people as well, but they are expensive. For many, Mom or Dad writes the check and the teen merely has to show up and enjoy the trip. If teens play a larger part in earning money for these trips, it would be a lesson in responsibility and accountability, and I believe the trip would mean even more to them if they had to earn their way.

2) The Cost of Service – Teens in our youth group have many opportunities to serve others, but some do not yet understand the cost of serving. They might believe giving up time from friends or other activities is all it costs. However, gas is used getting to most places of service, and many teens fail to consider this. If we eat a meal out during a service project, usually Mom or Dad slips them some money to pay for it ahead of time. It would be beneficial for teens to realize the cost of service is more than just time. Raising money to help pay for some of the additional costs would help the teens realize their future life of service will come at a cost, but they will also know the blessings outweigh that cost.

3) Expanding the Kingdom – The more money our youth group earns the more lives we can touch. Going to retreat weekends helps recharge the teens. Mission camps allow them to see how people live in other parts of the country. They spend camp time serving others in a variety of ways. The cost of the camp, out-of-state transportation, meals, and travel supplies can be overwhelming for some families. The more money we raise, the more people we can take along to help serve others. The more people we serve, the more who learn about the love of Jesus.

I pray that church members support our efforts to raise money through both donations and fundraising. The money will touch the lives of our youth as well as all the people they serve. And I thank God for the opportunities available to serve. May He open our eyes to see them all.

How Do You Show Appreciation?

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on February 13, 2013
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Valentine’s Day is tomorrow (in case you missed the memo). I’ve never been one to get too hung up on gifts for Valentine’s Day. I think it’s wonderful to know I’m loved and appreciated, but it seems slightly forced when I receive a gift on the day when society, card stores, and flower shops say I should. Thankfully, Mark and I usually go out to eat and focus more on giving gifts to the kids.

Everyone likes to be appreciated. It’s nice to get praise from someone you respect or admire, and it’s awesome to hear “thank you” for something you’ve done. It’s the old “atta boy” pick-me-up we all treasure. Appreciation for our loved ones, for other people, for our jobs, or for our world can be shown in a variety of ways.

Appreciation is a small gesture of kindness.

Appreciation is a thank you for simply being you.

Appreciation is doing a task even when “it’s not my job.”

Appreciation is a note of encouragement when facing a tough challenge or everyday stress.

Appreciation is a gift for no reason at all.

Appreciation is a touch on the arm when no words will do.

Appreciation is seeing the sunrise and thinking, “Good job, God!”

Appreciation is taking advantage of an opportunity.

Appreciation is serving with a smile.


Appreciation is NOT receiving a gift that has been requested or demanded.

Change is Good…Right?

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on August 31, 2012
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Do you like change? Some people require it. Their life isn’t complete without shifts and obstacles. Others prefer a routine that remains steady and sure with few surprises to create bumps in the road.

There are numerous changes in my life right now. I’m trying to embrace each one because they’re all good.

Well, at least I’m trying to convince myself they are good, but some changes are difficult to swallow without a little sugar added.

School starts on Tuesday. Every class has its own personality, its own reputation. I try to ignore most of what I hear because in the past, more often than not, what I hear doesn’t equate to the reality in my classroom. Kids mature, and my relationship with them is never exactly the same as the relationship they shared with previous teachers.

Autumn started driving this week. Yes, she’s been driving for quite a while, but this week she took off alone. My stomach knots each time she’s behind the wheel until she sends me a text saying she’s arrived at her destination safely.

My 8th grade team has one less member this year. Our only male teacher was moved to the high school, and the change will dramatically alter our team dynamic. He kept the rest of us smiling and prevented the female emotional response from overwhelming situations too often.

Mathews Baptist finally found a new pastor after more than 1-1/2 years with an interim. Tag Kilgore has challenged, inspired, taught, and even entertained our congregation for months, and he will be truly missed. We excitedly welcome a new pastor and his family to our church family, and we anticipate a powerful future with them.

Magic, our cat of 13 years, died two weeks ago. If I walk through the house in the middle of the night, I still see her lurking in the shadows. When I enter the laundry room, I instinctively look in the corner to see if her water bowl needs to be filled.

Autumn has a new job at Chick-fil-a. I’m very proud of her, but I miss her when she’s not around. Usually everywhere she goes, I’m there too. Youth group, camp, shopping, wherever. She’s my sidekick, and now there’s a void when she’s gone.

Two of my five positions at church end this weekend. Roles I’ve held for three years will cease without any adjustment period. The abruptness almost seems harsh.

Change is good? I realize some of my “changes” above don’t seem so, but I have to seek the goodness in each one. Autumn is growing up, whether I like it or not. Magic had been sick. Tag’s desire isn’t to be our permanent pastor. The high school students will thrive under the instruction of my colleague who has been moved. I will have more time at church to devote to the youth group. Yes, good can be found in each change if I look carefully enough.

Change is good. When life doesn’t change, I get too comfortable and start to slip into bad habits. Change challenges me, creates opportunities to stretch my faith, and keeps me alert. I’m ready. Bring it on!

What changes are you facing right now? Are they churning up excitement or fear in your heart? Please share in a comment.

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