Monthly meeting articles are published twice
After participating several years in the Pike County Ministerial Association in the early 1990s, Penn was seeking fellowship among his peers after the organization ceased to exist. Attending a revival meeting at Southside Baptist in early October 1995, Penn asked the local revivalist/pastor if he was affiliated with the Upson Ministerial Association and when was the next meeting. Jeff Overton told him that he was and the meeting was the next morning at Silvertown Baptist Church.
Penn returned to Thomaston the following morning and was impressed with the meeting format led by then associational president Jeff Lunsford. Penn's prayer partner at the meeting was Robert Hoffmann, the pastor of First Baptist. Hoffmann treated Penn with great respect and touched the young evangelist's heart on the true importance of prayer and bearing one another's burdens. Penn became faithful in his attendance, missing only a half dozen meetings in ten years.
Despite Penn never joining the group because of his credentials or lack thereof, his faithfulness was highly respected among other clergy and they assumed that he was really a member of the group with full honors and benefits. In 2000, Penn was named the executive secretary for the Transient Fund, taking the place of Jeff Lunsford who resigned from the group to teach English in China. Penn was later designated as public liaison for the organization and he wrote news articles about the meetings which were published in The Thomaston Times. He also served briefly as secretary until the position could be filled by another.
After three years of writing articles in a sincere attempt to increase membership, Penn prayerfully felt that his work was not productive enough. He resigned as public liaison and secretary of the Transient Fund in September 2005, but continued to attend the meetings up until May 2007, when God told him it was time to leave and how appropriate for the timing as that meeting was held at Silvertown Baptist. Penn never shared his intentions of leaving as he did not want any dissension and concerns voiced about his prayerful decision. He just quietly left and never returned.
In early 2006, having been relieved of the monthly chore of writing a newspaper article, Penn compiled his UCMA collection into a book for the historic benefit of the term of good deeds performed by the organization during that three year period. A copy of the book was donated to the local Thomaston-Upson Archives and several copies were sold to fellow UCMA members.
Like other recent books of Penn's involving history and Bible, the book has two indices - one listing proper nouns and the other Bible references of monthly devotionals given at each meeting.
95 pages $10
Mel Gibson's movie, "The Passion of the Christ" topped the March 2 agenda of the Upson County Ministerial Association meeting. Mountain View Baptist Church hosted the gathering of local pastors and ministers in their new Family Life Center.
Keith Johnson, minister of music at Mountain View, opened the meeting with a brief devotion, taken from Psalm 91:1. "Pastors in leadership roles tend to put more pressure on themselves than is actually there," said Johnson. "One must realize that there really is a secret place in the Lord. The definition of secret is something kept from knowledge or view. No one knows of that place but the individual and God. Ministers need to find that secret place of refuge for refreshment, strength and shelter."
Following the devotion, a brief video of two national movie critics commenting about "The Passion" movie was viewed. The tone among those attending was very positive about the movie and its successful run at the Ritz Theater. Local churches throughout Upson and surrounding counties have purchased entire sections of seats to see the movie. Everyone agreed that the movie will have a positive impact on the community.