Laity Award

Bobbie Denny’s tribute to Central’s 2019 Laity Award Winners Louise & Dick Woods

I have the privilege today to announce the Laity Service Award for Central, 2019. This is an annual award that churches in our conference give as a way of recognizing servants in their congregations. Almost always the persons named are a bit embarrassed because servants don’t serve for recognition. They serve because it’s what Jesus did and called us to do. Maybe that’s just the reason we do recognize them. We are saying, if you want an example of what being a servant means, here is one to watch!

This year Central’s service award goes to two people, and I’ll tell you why before I tell you who. There is something in children called “parallel play.”  That means that two children love each other, love being together, but they don’t necessarily love doing what the other loves doing. So if you watch them, they are in the same place, having a good time together, but each one is playing with something different. Maybe one has legos and is building things, and one has a playhouse and is manipulating little people and talking to and for them as they live in that little house.  Parallel play, together in spirit and yet different in activities.

Well I ask you then to see parallel service, for that’s what our service award people exhibit. They are together in their love for God, for God’s church, and for God’s world. But they serve in different ways.  She seeks to speak out for justice, attending public events, sharing knowledge, calling our attention to ways we can be involved in helping people, especially people whose voices aren’t being heard, whose lives are not being helped.  He is serving behind the scenes on the practical needs that must be helped. He’s putting his skills to work to make improvements and to save the church literally thousands of dollars by doing work that, if contracted out, would take away money that could be used for outreach.
They use their own money and time, energies and expertise to serve God and God’s people.

They pick up folks without transportation, drive to appointments and church activities, to schools-often being the substitute parent–by helping with fundraising and job and scholarship applications. They do the things they used to do for their own children, but now instead of relaxing having done their parenting jobs, they plunge into it all over again.

They have worked to make our Children of the World Learning Center a reality. Both serve on the Board of Directors. They serve beyond Central. She knows everyone in Mecklenburg County, having been to every single school during the years of being on the School Board. He’s active on the Board of Directors of the Wesley Foundation, helping repurpose church buildings for better stewardship of resources.

AND as they do these things, they don’t criticize, they don’t gossip, they don’t belittle or berate. They just serve. They are just good, good people with tender hearts and tenacity to be faithful to Jesus’ command to feed and tend His sheep.

Dick and Louise Woods, come up and let us give you some applause!

We will honor this couple next week at our forth fellowship gathering right after church. It will be low key, for that’s what they seem to want. But it will be heartfelt. These are my friends, my examples of Jesus.  In October the Metro district will honor them and others from churches in our district. You’ll hear about this event soon.