By Kara Witherow, Editor
Retired South Georgia pastor Rev. Hamp Watson celebrated his 80th birthday on Thursday, August 25. To commemorate the day, he released his eighth book, “About Those Special Days.”
The book, which benefits Macon Outreach at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church, focuses on special days that the church typically observes and celebrates – days listed on the church lectionary and days not listed.
Christmas, All Saints Sunday and Easter are commonly observed, but days like Valentine’s Day, Sunday school promotion Sunday, Labor Day, Independence Day and Thanksgiving cannot be ignored by pastors who would like to remain in favor with his or her congregation. All of these special days are included, as is a day called “The Feast of Tabernacles.” This special day is included in the book because of the long-standing tradition of the Jewish community’s support of Macon Outreach.
The book will give clergy and laity alike a new appreciation of each special day, and can be used as a resource for Sunday school lessons, devotionals, or just to enhance the reader’s knowledge and understanding of the day.
“I offer these messages, portions of which might be used by pastors as they prepare for their own celebration of these days,” said Rev. Watson in the book’s foreword. “I am also hopeful that readers will find an idea here and there that illuminates these days and makes them more special.”
Following the example of Jesus, the mission of Macon Outreach at Mulberry is to address physical and spiritual hunger, enhance human dignity, and offer hope for the future to disadvantaged people in Macon and surrounding communities. The services offered by Macon Outreach include: the Downtown Kitchen, Clothing Shop, grocery pantry, prison library, homeless prevention, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds, and work assistance.
Located in Rev. Watson’s retirement hometown of Macon, Macon Outreach serves lunch to about 150 needy and homeless people at noon each day, Monday through Friday. More than 1,000 people are served each week. The grocery pantry also gives out groceries to nearly 100 families each week.
“The money raised by the sale of these books will go directly towards feeding people,” said Macon Outreach Assistant Director Debbie Towson. “Every book that is sold will directly impact a person’s life.”
In the past year, Macon Outreach has seen an increase in the number of people needing assistance. The ministry served 800 more people this July than in July 2010.
“We have homeless people and we have those that are struggling and have lost their jobs,” Towson said. “They’ll come and eat with us because they can’t afford to buy food. A lot of times this is the only meal they get.”
Rev. Watson has written seven other books, all which benefit missions and ministries of the South Georgia Conference. They are “Experiencing Ineffable Mystery,” “A Light Unto My Path,” “Saying Yes and Amen to Life,” “A Christmas Cornucopia,” “Little Stories/Big Ideas,” “More Big Words For Our Time,” and “Frederick Wilson Still Speaks – Big Words for Our Time.”
All eight books, including Rev. Watson’s newest book, “About Those Special Days,” are available and can be ordered directly from Rev. Watson for $10, plus $3 for shipping costs (for a total of $13). Order from Rev. Hamp Watson, 149 Cambridge Way, Macon Ga. 31220, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. “About Those Special Days” may also be ordered from Macon Outreach by calling 478-743-8026.