Pastor’s Message -Upcoming Opportunities for Youth and Children

Revive is sponsoring a Youth Fishing Trip on Sunday, August 20th at the Dill’s pond on Churchill Road from 4-7 p.m. We will meet at the Youth House at 3:30 and take the van. You may bring your own fishing pole if you have one, but there will also be some extras available. Bring your friends and enjoy an afternoon of fishing, fellowship, and a hotdog supper with homemade desserts. Hope to see you there!


Promotion Sunday is quickly approaching us. We will gather in the Sanctuary on August 6th at 10:00am to be promoted to our “new” Sunday School classes for the fall semester. Rachel and I are also excited to promote a new and exciting curriculum for our K3- 3rd grade friends! Sunday School will be formatted differently for this. Beginning August 13, we will meet in the Fellowship Hall at 9:45 and begin our morning with praise and worship! There will be a time for music, games, video lessons, and large group discussion. Then we will split into our smaller groups by age to dive into the word a little more and wrap it up with an activity. 4th-6th graders are welcome to join the large group for music if they are interested in doing so! We want our children to be excited to come learn about Jesus each week! There are also opportunities to teach all grades for the months of November and December. The curriculum is easily laid out for each age and the individual teachers will only be responsible for leading the last 20 minutes of the Sunday School hour. This is a wonderful opportunity to spend with our children teaching them how to build their foundation to continue growing their relationships with God. In the midst of our chaos, let us bring the children strength and stability from the people their eyes are looking to for guidance. Please join me in this very fulfilling ministry!

Jessi Sugg

Pastor’s message 7.24.23

The “O-bark-tuary”

This is an abbreviated version of the canine obituary I wrote for my dog, Isaac. To read or listen to the longer version of Isaac’s “o-bark-tuary,” visit my website,

 Dog-tor Isaac Duckworth, 12+ canine years/80+human years, peacefully entered eternity on June 30, 2023. While his exact birth date is unknown, he first appeared on August 29, 2012, in Cleveland, MS, along with the remnants of a hurricane. Wearing only a purple collar with no tag, he followed the scent of canines Sam and Homer, and their human companion, Jamie, on their morning walk. Jamie began calling him Isaac (the name of the hurricane he accompanied) and convinced the new Methodist pastor in town to meet him. Pastor Darian immediately said, “Yep, that’s my dog,” became his pet parent and human sidekick, and gave him the title of paw-stor. He readily accepted the role but quickly questioned that decision when he learned this involved working on Sunday mornings.

After failing obedience school, a feat accomplished by only 10% of dogs his trainer had seen, Isaac’s pet parent accepted the fact that he needed to train her instead. They learned how to communicate with each other, she learned to obey, and he gradually submitted to her requests as well. Upon arriving in West Point, Isaac self-appointed himself the mayor and loved every inch of “his town.”  His morning walks downtown, afternoon rides in the neighborhoods, and weekend rides in the county were routines that became sacred rituals. He also considered himself the CEO of Love’s Truck Stop, his favorite place to visit and to welcome travelers in Clay County.

Though he began to show initial signs of slowing down in mid-2021, Isaac adapted with grace and joy. Though we wish he could have hung around with us for longer, we rejoice that he is running in circles around the heavenly throne room and scratching his back in forever-green pastures. If he were to choose a favorite verse of Scripture, it would probably be Job 12:7: Ask the animals and they will teach you.

Thank you for listening with me to “insight from Isaac” the past seven years. May the insight continue!

all good things to each you,

dr. darian

Pastor’s message 7.17.23

Congregational Call to Prayer: Fasting and Prayer

This Thursday, July 20, we will enter into a time of intentional quiet as a congregation, that will last until next Thursday, July 27. The discernment committee met for nearly four hours on Sunday afternoon to tally the surveys, and at our weekly meeting this Thursday we will review, evaluate and prepare those results to share with you as soon as possible.

After spending the past week in prayer, surrender, and meditation and Scripture, we invite you into two new opportunities for the next week. From July 20 through July 27, during the weekdays, the sanctuary will be open 9-11AM and 4-6PM. On Saturday, July 22, it will be open 9-11AM, and on Sunday, July 23, the sanctuary will remain open after worship until 6PM for anyone who wants to come and pray. There will not be an order of worship during these times of prayer, but prayer guides will be available for those who want to use them.

Second, we invite you into a time of fasting—a specific kind of fasting. Much of the discernment committee’s work this past month has been in the gathering of information. We invite you to join us in fasting from the gathering of information. If possible, I’d encourage you to step away from social media and news, especially any news related to Methodism, and to use that time of scrolling instead for prayer and meditation. If you are interested in learning more about specific kinds of fasting, please reach out to me, and I’d love to share more. And please don’t embark on a fast from food or beverage without checking with your healthcare provider first.

Let us pray together: Holy Spirit, we wait for you. We listen for your voice, and we seek your guidance. Bind us together first with you, the Father, and the Son, and from your union stir among us a spirit of unity. We desire your kingdom and your will for our congregation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

all good things to each you,

dr. darian

Pastor’s message 7/10/23

Discernment Updates: A Congregational Call to Prayer

For the past month, the discernment committee has regularly met, compiled an informational slide show, received and responded to your questions while compiling them into an FAQ, and organized presentations from two guest speakers. You also have received a survey that the committee will be receiving until Sunday, July 16.

On July 20, the discernment committee will enter into a week-long intentional time of quiet reflection on Scriptural study and invites the congregation to unite with us in prayer and meditation. The committee prayerfully plans to make a recommendation to Administrative Council by the end of July based on the congregation’s feedback.

As we prepare for that week of quiet, which will include an invitation to fasting, please join me daily in three things, beginning on July 12:

  1. Read the Scriptures assigned to each day and spend time with them.
  2. Offer the following prayer at least 3 times daily: Lord Jesus, soften my heart. Holy Spirit, soften the heart of our church. Heavenly Father, mold and make our hearts after Your will.
  3. Sing or listen to the hymn, “I Surrender All.”

Wednesday, July 12: Ephesians 4:1-6

Thursday, July 13: Philippians 2:5-11

Friday, July 14: 2 Timothy 2:1-7

Saturday, July 15: Ephesians 1:15-23

Sunday, July 16: Colossians 1:9-18

Monday, July 17:1 Thessalonians 3:6-13

Tuesday, July 18: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Wednesday, July 19: 2 Corinthians 1:1-7

Be sure to check out for more resources & guidance on prayer. We will be communicating with you about more opportunities to pray together.

all good things to each of you,

dr. d.

Pastor’s message 7.3.23

Grief and Gratitude


Last Friday afternoon, I had to say, “farewell,” to my faithful, canine companion, Isaac. As you know, he’s been one of my favorite theologians and a consistent source of sermon material in the nearly 11 years we spent together. I’m not sure he always liked the titles of “paw-stor” and “dog-tor” that I bestowed upon him, but he went along with them in love as most of our four-legged friends do.

 A few years ago, I remember seeing that an Episcopal priest and author named William Miller had written an “o-bark-tuary” when he lost his dog named Willie Nelson. I thought to myself then, “I want to write one of those when Isaac’s time comes.” Don’t be surprised if you see an abbreviated version of the “o-bark-tuary” in the newsletter in a few weeks!

 Know how grateful I am for the texts, calls, emails, food, hugs, cards, and all other forms of care you have given to me the past few days. My heart is a healthy mix of heavy and grateful, and I appreciate your continued patience and love as I walk through this grief.

 Since I did not have a chance to share with you the books, movies, and music that brought me joy in June here in the newsletter, I’d like to recommend two books that capture the joy of our pets, even in the midst of loss. The first is The Gospel According to Sam: Animal Stories for the Soul by the aforementioned Rev. William Miller. The second is Dog Songs, a collection of poems by Mary Oliver.

 all good things to each of you,

dr. darian

Pastor’s message 6.26.23

Following Up on What Matters

Tornado Relief (From Family Ministries Director, Stacy Hays)

During our visit to Amory a couple of weeks ago for tornado relief, we had our eyes opened to the amount of work that still needs to be done in that area. While we did some cleanup, the amount of tree limbs and debris still covering the town and county is disheartening. There are people living in homes covered in tarps, while others are still staying in hotels. Some churches are not able to worship in their own sanctuaries. We need volunteers who are interested in going back with equipment to move the debris to the road and other areas for pickup. Please let Stacy know if you are willing to help in this important mission and we can begin to organize and make plans for a trip back.

Discernment Season

Be sure to bookmark our discernment committee’s page for regular updates. We will also provide hard copies of the most recent minutes each week. We appreciate everyone’s questions. We are working to answer as many as possible in the FAQ section of the site. This will be evolving as we add questions and answers. Thank you for your patience as we continually update the site. The website is  Also, please remember to come hear Dr. Steve West this Wednesday at 5:30 PM.

Growing in Wisdom

Let us continue to choose one psalm and one chapter of Proverbs to read daily. I hope that each day the Holy Spirit spotlights to you a word, phrase or verse to bring you strength and joy. We will offer some new suggestions next week.

Psalms 101, 105, 102, 108, 120, 121, 122

Proverbs 29, 30, 31


all good things to each of you,

dr. darian


The 2023 session of Annual Conference is meeting in Tupelo this week.  Please be in prayer for all attending, Bishop Lewis, Dr. Darian, and our lay member from FUMC – West Point, Ralph Weems.

Pastor’s message 6.12.23

Listening Together

Teach me wisdom in the secret heart ~Psalm 51:6

Leaning Into Wisdom Together

Let us continue to choose one psalm and one chapter of Proverbs to read daily. I hope that each day the Holy Spirit spotlights to you a word, phrase or verse to bring you strength and joy.

Psalms 72, 71, 73, 75, 93, 80, 78

Proverbs 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28

Summary of Discernment Committee’s First Meeting

The first meeting of the discernment committee was on Wednesday, June 7. We decided to meet weekly on Thursdays at 6PM. Our first order of business was to elect officers and discuss our next steps. Chuck Carson was elected as chair, Brooks Tinsley as vice-chair, and Shannon Wallace as recording secretary.

As a reminder, the members of the committee are Norma Atkins, Tommy Bryan, Chuck Carson, Jeff Hairston, Ladonna Helveston, Tracey Holcombe, Art Shirley, Brooks Tinsley, Shannon Wallace, and Dr. Darian Duckworth.

The committee decided that over the course of this week we will gather information to review at the June 15 meeting and compile into informational sheets to distribute to congregation.

We will also create a page on our website devoted to this season of discernment and our work. Minutes from our meetings will be available on this page as well as any information compiled. Once this page is set up, we will share with you how to access it and how to sign up for updates. All of this is in an effort to maintain transparency and honesty with you.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions. At the top of this page you’ll see a verse from Psalm 51. Let us offer this together as a congregational prayer over the course of this week.

all good things to each of you,

dr. darian

Pastor’s message 6.5.23

Discernment, Worship, and Wisdom

This week I have three important areas on which to update you

Discernment Update

I am grateful to share with you that the following church members have agreed to serve on the discernment committee. Please be in prayer for each of us as we prepare for our first gathering:

Norma Atkins                         Tracey Holcombe

Tommy Bryan                         Art Shirley

Chuck Carson                         Brooks Tinsley

Jeff Hairston                           Shannon Wallace

Ladonna Helveston                 Dr. Darian Duckworth

“When the Lord Says GO”: A Summer Worship Series

During the months of June and July, our Sunday morning worship services will be based in Scriptures that charge us to go where God sends us. At the beginning of this year, I heard a pastor say, “God will not ask you to go anywhere he has not already been himself.” We can rejoice in knowing that where God sends us, and what he commands us to do, He has already been there. I encourage you to read the weekly Scriptures that are printed on the back of the newsletter ahead of Sunday worship so that are our hearts will be prepared to listen to the Spirit together.

Leaning Into Wisdom

Let us continue leaning not on our own understanding but rather into God’s Word by reading from the Bible’s wisdom literature. Choose one of the following psalms and proverbs’ chapters to read daily.

Psalms 49, 50, 51, 139, 33, 65, 61

Proverbs 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

all good things to each of you,

dr. d

Pastor’s message 5.30.23

What’s Brought Us Joy in May

At the end of every month, I like to use this space to share with you the music, movies, television, and arts that have brought me joy over the past month. My hope is that in sharing, we’ll all be inspired to ask where God is stirring joy in each of us.

Born Again by Jess Ray (music): I first heard of Ray in her collaboration with another songwriter named Taylor Leonhardt. They record and lead worship under the name of “Mission House.” This is Ray’s most recent solo album, and I especially love the song, “Lillies and Sparrows,” based on the words of Jesus.

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza (book): I’m always intrigued with novels written by two authors. This one especially caught my attention because it is a story set amid racial unrest for two best friends. Like the authors, one character is black, and the other is white. The subject matter is serious, but the book flows so easily. I am very glad I read it and will think about for a while.

Field of Dreams (movie): It’s baseball season! Get ready for your annual reference to this classic film in at least one sermon this summer. I actually am finding myself watching my favorite movies on repeat now as opposed to watching newer ones. No matter how many times I watch this beautiful movie, I see or hear something new that teaches me about God’s goodness.

I’d love to hear what’s bringing you joy!

all good things to each of you,

dr. darian

Leaning Into Wisdom Together

This week, choose one of the following psalms & proverbs to read each day:

Psalms 113, 37, 31, 42, 8, 41, 45

Proverbs 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14


Pastor’s message 5.22.23

Leaning Into Wisdom

This past Sunday, I shared that so often we lean the opposite way that Proverbs 3:5 instructs us. This well-known verse commands us, “Lean not on your own understanding.” The other half of the verse is an invitation to lean onto the Lord, to trust him with all the heart. Why do we choose our own knowledge time after time over his wisdom? To be a people of spiritual discernment, who hear the Holy Spirit in community, it is imperative for us to lean into the Lord with trust. The wisdom books are the best place to start. Starting Wednesday, May 24, when many of you will receive this newsletter, please join me in daily readings from Psalms and Proverbs. You can read or listen to the passage, electronically or in print. There will be no quiz! Let’s simply start reading together daily as a congregation.

Wednesday, May 24: Psalm 101, Proverbs 1

Thursday, May 25: Psalm 105, Proverbs 2

Friday, May 26: Psalm 102, Proverbs 3

Saturday, May 27: Psalm 107, Proverbs 4

Sunday, May 28: Psalm 104, Proverbs 5

Monday, May 29: Psalm 9, Proverbs 6

Tuesday, May 30: Psalm 36, Proverbs 7

      all good things to each of you,

dr. d