For the first time in my lifetime (and I’m getting kinda old) there is a different monarch on the throne of Great Britain than Queen Elizabeth II. I watched with fascination all of the events and pageantry surrounding the Queen’s death and burial last September. And I will watch as much of the Coronation of Charles III next week as I am able.
I can’t really explain my fascination with the British monarchy, especially with the House of Windsor, the current royal family line. I’ve seen every episode of The Crown, and watched many movies and documentaries, and even read a couple of books about the Royal Family.
I’ve had the privilege of visiting London once, where we took in the royal tourist sites such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abby, the Tower of London, and Windsor Castle. Of course, we also visited John Wesley’s Chapel and home in London, and the New Room in Bristol.
In addition to John and Charles Wesley, and their mother Susannah, whom do I consider to be my Methodist royalty? As a life-long Methodist, and son of an itinerant Methodist pastor, my faith in God was formed in numerous Methodist and United Methodist churches all over central and south Texas. As an infant, I was baptized by a Methodist bishop. I went to Sunday school and VBS, confirmation and youth fellowship in Methodist churches in Portland, Corpus Christi, Elgin and Austin. Those children and youth leaders are the royal family that nurtured me.
I started singing in church choirs at age 9, and I still do. The hymns and anthems, pianists and choir directors and praise worship leaders all formed me in the Christian faith.
Among my Methodist royalty are several pastors. Of course, my Dad, Jerry Jay Smith, and pastors Karon Cook, Gordon Talk, Bill Henderson and Fred Kandler had great impacts on me. Christian educator Gloria Thomas taught me a great deal about functioning on a church staff, and about loving people just as they are.
At Perkins seminary, Professors John Holbert, Zan Holmes, Billy Abraham, Joette Bassler and Danna Fewell stand out. As do District Superintendents Prenza Woods, Robert Hall, Bobby Kay Jones and Robert Lopez, and bishops Ernest Dixon and Robert Schnase.
Also among my Methodist Royal Family are countless laity and church members who give so generously of their prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. Thanks for your participation and leadership in so many Bible studies, Walks to Emmaus, VBSs, potlucks, mission events, rehearsals, worship services, committee meetings and classes; not to mention baptisms, weddings and funerals.
I wonder, who are Methodist Royalty for you? Who formed you in the Christian faith? Who invited you into the faith and fellowship and service of the church? Who is in your great cloud of witnesses? Your priesthood of believers?
Blessings and Peace,