November 16, 2019
Amy D. Yarnall, the senior pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church in Dover, recently addressed the Dover Colonial Rotary Club. The theme of her presentation was that of the common good. She explained the meaning of this term, as well as how her church puts it into practice.
Common good is a principle whereby one reaches out of oneself and moves in the direction of one’s neighbors, as well as towards the community in general. “It is out of a sense of belief that it is of benefit for all of us,” she noted. Linked to that was the idea of a separation of church and state, which, in her opinion, was enacted as a safeguard for the church. “In England, the state had a ruinous influence on the church. It wasn’t bad for the state. It was bad for the church,” she said. Pastor Yarnall pointed out that “we all have a moral obligation to establish a common good – and for all of us to work together.”
As a historical aspect, the presenter told us that in the early days of the Colonies, a preacher would come to town, head for the market square, and begin to preach. This was followed by an invitation for the people to join a church. One of these practices was conducted by the Revered Freeborn Garretson when he came to Dover. As it turned out, his reception was initially not too well received as people began to throw vegetables at him until Vincent Loockerman, a prominent merchant in the area, told the people to stop and to listen to the preacher as the latter had an important message to deliver. This scenario eventually resulted in Loockeman donating the land at the corner of Water and Queen Street, where the first Methodist church was built in 1782. The present location at the corner of State and Loockerman Streets came on September 23, 1850.
Pastor Yarnall told us that as Christians, we have to establish a vertical relationship with God and a horizontal one with neighbors. Along that line, her goal is for her church to “spread a spirit of happiness,” which will, in essence, become the core of how to live one’s life well. One of her quotes that hit home for those present and which is, in essence, is also part of the spirit behind Rotary’s “Service Above Self” motto, is that “we find the most happiness in helping others.” Rotary International adheres to the common good philosophy.
Dover’s Wesley United Methodist Church’s reaching out to the community programs include such areas as that of the clothes closet (with some $25,000-$30,000 raised annually towards that segment of the church’s outreach), the monthly community meal (held of the 2nd Saturday of each month from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm), the housing assistance program (of which the church is one of the founding members), and involvement with Code-Purple (the church is an emergency cold shelter site for homeless women and children when the thermometer dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit). On November 24, 2019, Wesley United Methodist Church will be hosting “The Table”, which according to its website, is “an innovative, inspiring, and inclusive Way to Worship” (www.wesleyumc-dover.com/infobox/the-table/). This will be from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. She cordially invited all of those present to attend.
For additional information regarding Rotary International and the Dover Colonial Rotary Club, which meets each Friday morning at Maple Dale Country Club, please contact Mark Pugh at 302-632-9833