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       March 2018 newsletter


      A Church That Practices Fruitful Living





      I want again to thank you for your prayers for my health over the past two weeks. The abundance of cards, notes, email and messages helped sustain me during my recovery.

      For those who don’t know, I had (as Shirley McCausland noted) a cardiac “spell.” Ultimately, that led to a heart cath and a stent. This past week I worked limited hours — fewer hours than I would have worked, but there are too many “mother hens” around here who kept reminding me not to overdo it.

      Of course, exercise and diet are two preventatives from having such “spells” again. Low fat, low sodium, low sugar. Feel welcome to remind me of that when I hit the doughnuts with gusto at Sunday fellowship time. I have said I am probably already 80% compliant on the eating. It’s the 20% that’s terrible. That reminds me of a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow about a little girl who had a little curl in the middle of her forehead.

                           When she was good,
                                      She was very good indeed,
                              But when she was bad, she was horrid.

      That pretty well sums up my eating and exercise routine in the past. With Lisa’s help and yours, the “good” will increase.

      Thanks to Rachael for preaching in my absence on March 18. Also, thanks for Pastor Jody Beth who picked up the slack even with her own family health concerns. For Tara leading the confirmation class.

      Thanks again to you, Swift Church, for your love and support. I am blessed to be in the company of saints like you.

      — Pastor Keith

      Lisa Cardwell, music director

      Work is underway in the Swift Music Department for Lent, Holy Week and Easter.

      The chancel choir will be singing a new anthem (purchased in memory of Rick Jensen) on March 11. It is called “Gather by the River To Pray” and incorporates “Down to the River to Pray” and “Shall We Gather at the River.” This will be sung in honor of McKenzie Cardwell’s baptism. Also on March 11, the adult handbell choir will play “Day by Day the Shepherd Leads” and the men’s handbell quartet will play an arrangement of “Jesus Loves Me.”

      We have four musical groups playing or singing during Holy Week.

      ■ On Maundy Thursday, March 29:

      Joyful Tones chime choir — “Beneath the Cross” and ”Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley”
      Chancel choir — “The Upper Room”
      Adult handbell choir — “Ah, Holy Jesus”

      ■ On Good Friday, March 30:

      Joyful Tones chime choir — “Near the Cross” and ”Were You There”
      Chancel choir — “The One Who Bears My Shame”
      Beginner handbells — “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”
      Adult handbell choir — “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted”

      ■ On Easter Sunday, April 1:

      Chancel choir — “Behold the Risen Lamb”
      Adult handbell choir —“I Know That My Redeemer Lives”

      Please join us in worship of our Lord and Savior.

      Greg McNair and Kim Whitchard, elders

      We are in the midst of another Lenten journey, getting glimpses of Jesus’ final days of walking Earth as a man and perhaps feeling some of what he experienced along the way to his crucifixion.

      Lent, a season of reflection, soul-searching and commitment, began on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 14). Our evening service included imposition of ashes on our foreheads or hands as a reminder of how temporary this human existence is. We were glad to have Rachael Knoll, our regional presbyter, preach on the following Sunday while Pastor Keith was home recovering after a heart procedure a few days before.

      A new twist this year is Lenten prayer trees — tying ribbons on our tree in the chapel, sanctuary and outside. The idea is to get our church family focused on praying, with our prayers “blooming” on the trees. There are different colors of ribbon for various kinds of prayers.

      The ribbon color prayer designations are: yellow — love and happiness; green — health and healing; gold — praise; orange — thankfulness; navy blue  — hope; light blue — peace and harmony; rose — forgiveness; pink — loss of loved one.

      Holy Week begins March 25 with Palm Sunday and Jesus’ triumphal arrival in Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Palm branches will be waved joyously, commemorating the Son of God’s arrival in the Holy City. You can bring branches from home or pick up some at church.

      Next comes Maundy Thursday (March 29) and Jesus’ final Passover supper with the twelve apostles in the Upper Room — and then his betrayal and arrest. We will celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

      Good Friday (March 30) is when Jesus goes on trial and is sentenced to die a grueling death on a cross. But before he is nailed to the cross, he is beaten savagely and mocked and humiliated. Here, Jesus pays the price at once for all of our sins — dying for us all. On this night, we’ll repeat a very touching service we observed last year — wrapping the cross, adding flower petals and carrying the cross to the tomb (church cemetery).

      On Easter (April 1), we will celebrate Jesus Christ’s triumph over the grave and resurrection as our Lord and Savior and return to reign beside God in heaven. That will be a joyful, jubilant day with many “Hallelujahs.” Again, we will partake of the Lord’s Supper — the bread of life and the cup of salvation.

      We pray this Easter journey will touch your soul deeply when you reflect on what Christ did for you — all because of God’s great love for each one of His children.

      Again, we say thanks to all worship helpers at Swift Presbyterian Church. There are quite a few of you. We are grateful for your dedication and service to God and the church family. If you want to volunteer, please see Kim or Greg. Or you can contact the church office. There is also a form on the church website you can use if you’re interested in serving.

      If you have ideas for worship, please feel free to share them with Pastor Keith, Pastor Jody Beth, Music Director Lisa, Judy Walker or your worship elders.

      Susie Alexander schedules our Sunday flower donations. Please call her to reserve your date.
      You can reach Susie at 251-943-4145 or


      We will not meet on Thursday, March 1, at the Gulf Bowl, Captain’s Choice Grill,
      at 11:30 a.m. due to the Lenten Lunches. We will resume April 5.
      Delicious food, reasonable prices and great conversation. Come and meet new friends.

      Thursday, March 15 • 6:30 p.m.
      Groovy Goat at Owa
      (underneath the large clock tower)

       If you haven’t been there yet, they have huge hamburgers, delicious shrimp dinners, and a variety of other offerings. Although some might think pricey, the sales tax is included in the price of the meal. If you are so inclined to bring back “the good old days” when you played pinball, a beautiful arcade is included to enjoy after your meal.

      Please call or text Mary at 251-295-5267 by 4 p.m. that day if you know you’re coming so adequate table space can be reserved. (A few extra chairs will be reserved for any last-minute deciders.)

      Thursday Lenten lunch worship series continues
      at the Spirit Center of Foley United Methodist Church

      The community ecumenical Lenten lunch worship services started on Feb. 15 in the Spirit Center of Foley United Methodist Church, 915 N. Pine St. The theme for this year is “Enriching Our Lenten Journey.” The Thursday luncheons will start at 11:30, the service shortly after noon and will be finished before 1 to enable a working person to return to work within the hour. There is a donation of $5 for lunch.

      Each minister was given a suggested subject taken from Colossians 3:12–14. The ministers for the remaining weeks are:

      • March 1 — The Rev. Dr. Darren McClellan, district superintendent of Baypines District of the United Methodist Church, will speak on humility.

      • March 8 — Pastor Elwanda Powell, The Words Alive Ministries of Robertsdale, will speak on kindness.

      • March 15 — Pastor Ben Ragsdale, City Hope, Foley, will speak on patience.

      • March 22 — Pastor Bennie Richardson, Morningstar Missionary Baptist Church, will speak on love.

      “Please join us each Thursday and use this time to prepare your heart for Holy Week,” said an email note from Foley United Methodist.


      Inspiring, resilient faith
      Students explore what it means to be Presbyterian and how to live out their confirmation promises.

      Classes will continue each Sunday into the spring.

      The confirmation class schedule for the next few weeks:

      March 4                       OT — Kings

      March 11                     Confirmation: Polity

      March 18                     OT — Babylonian Captivity

      March 25                     Confirmation: Worship

      April 1                          No class (Easter)

      Tara Morrow and Teresa Thomas, elders

      GΦG will meet on Sunday, March 11, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the youth room. Fifth grade and up.

      Refuel is March 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. at a location to be announced.

      ■ For youth attending Montreat, your $100 out-of-pocket expense is due by April 1.

      SWAG (Saved With Amazing Grace) is for children in grades K–4. They will meet at the church on March 11 from 4 to 6 p.m.

      If anyone would like to provide dinner for approximately 20 children/adults we would greatly appreciate it. Contact Teresa Thomas at 609-2209 or Tara Morrow at 979-3325.

      Sunday school class meets in the fellowship hall • 9 a.m.
      Susan and Daryl Pichoff, leaders

      Our study for the Lenten season is Adam Hamilton’s series “24 Hours That Changed the World.” We tend to perceive the final events of Jesus’ life as happening over several days, but it was only 24 hours. This video study aims to clarify the theological significance of Christ’s suffering and death and the meaning of those events on our lives. Please join us for some lively discussion and, of course, snacks.

      March 4 — “Condemned by the Righteous”
      March 11 — “Jesus, Barabbas and Pilate”
      March 18 — “The Torture and Humiliation of the King”
      March 25 — “The Crucifixion”
      April 1 — “Christ the Victor”

      “Seeking God’s Presence”

      April 14 at Evergreen Presbyterian Church, Dothan
      Registration, 9:30 a.m.
      Program and worship service, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
      Registration is $12.50 if received before April 4; $17.50 if received after April 4.
      Price includes lunch.
      Mail registration to Mary Jenkins, 1203 Mixon Drive, Bay Minette, AL 36507.

      Registration forms and more information can be found on the flier in the back of both churches.


      We are blessed to have so many people who would like to be part of Bible study and fellowship at Swift Church. Here is a listing of the groups currently meeting. All of them are open to people visiting and/or joining the group, whether you are a member of Swift Church or not. For more information, contact the leaders or the church office.


      Sundays, 9 to 9:45 a.m., adult Sunday School class, Andy Lay room, a chronological study of the New Testament, led by Cheryl Jensen and Anthony Kaiser

      Sundays, 9 to 9:45 a.m., Snacks with Susan, fellowship hall, led by Daryl and Susan Pichoff; topic varies

      Sundays, 5:30 to 6:45, Sunday night Bible study, Andy Lay room, studying the book of Hebrews, led by Pastor Jody Beth and Philip Melton, 251-213-6625

      Thursdays, 10 to 11:30, Thursday morning Bible study, Andy Lay room, studying the book of Hebrews, led by Pastor Jody Beth and Philip Melton, 251-213-6625
      (During the month of March, our Thursday morning Bible study will conclude at 11:15 a.m. to allow time for people to attend the Lenten Luncheon series.)


      Thursdays (first Thursday of month), 11:30 a.m., “Two or More” fellowship lunch at Captain’s Choice Grill at the Gulf Bowl in Foley on Juniper Street. Contact is Lee Mansell.
      (The March 1 “Two or More” lunch is canceled due to the conflict with Lenten lunches. It will resume on Thursday, April 5.)

      Thursdays (second Thursday of month), 1 p.m., Swift Fourth Day, fellowship hall. Bring your own sack lunch and enjoy Christian conversation. This is a new group, started by six people who attended Cursillo #36, and is open to everyone. Contact is Sue Johnson.

      Thursdays (third Thursday of month), 6:30 p.m., Butterfly Girls and Guys’ Night Out fellowship dinner at area restaurants, different place each month. Sometimes men and women eat at same restaurant at separate tables, sometimes two restaurants near one another. Contacts are Daryl and Susan Pichoff.



      The Swift Church session met on Monday, Feb. 19. After Pastor Keith Cardwell called the meeting to order:

      ✔ Pastor Jody Beth Melton led the group in Scripture reading and prayer, lifting concerns and celebrations of the church and the session members.

      ✔ We received the financial report.

      ✔ We approved written reports and minutes.

      ✔ We discussed the driveway repairs.

      ✔ A report on the recent presbytery meeting was heard.

      ✔ We removed Nancy Labrato and June Curzon from the active role.

      ✔ The meeting closed with prayer.

      Al Sprouse and Cathy Rogers, elders

      Many thanks to all who supported our Souper Bowl of Caring on Feb. 4. The soups, desserts and breads were delicious, and $591 was donated to support our food pantry. Swift folks enjoyed the food and fellowship. Tina Sprouse is heading up the food pantry now, and volunteers and food donations are always needed. Twenty to 30 families are served at each distribution on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month.

      We continue to support Living Waters for the World with our “two cents a meal” offering on the third Sunday of every month. We see around $200 donated every month for that worthy mission. LWW is a global ministry that provides sustainable clean water and fosters long-term, mutually beneficial relationships between volunteers and communities in need.

      The mission committee decided to contribute $1,000 a year to UKirk, serving college students on the campus of the University of South Alabama. Lauren Peters is the director of that faith organization. You will remember that Lauren served Swift Church as a youth adviser a few years ago. This $1,000 comes from The Vernon Anderson Fund that supports missionaries in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We have supported three missionary couples in the Congo for the last several years. However, Bob and Kristi Rice have been called to South Sudan to work. Since Swift was supporting Congo missionaries because longtime memberVernon Anderson was a missionary in the Congo and is buried in the Swift Cemetery, the mission committee decided to give that $1,000 to support the work of USA’s UKirk. We will have a special mission for UKirk later in the year as well.

      We are now in the season of the One Great Hour of Sharing mission that started on Feb. 18 with Blue Shirt Sunday. This special Presbyterian mission will wrap up on Easter Sunday. A gift to One Great Hour of Sharing enables the church to share God’s love with our neighbors in need around the world by providing relief to those affected by natural disasters, provide food to the hungry, and helping to empower the poor and oppressed. The three organizations under the OGHS umbrella are:

      Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, which has recently helped victims of the California mudslides and hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma. The blue shirts represent PDA.

      ■ The Presbyterian Hunger Program celebrates the vital work of local congregations and complements it by doing “root cause” work to help address the underlying questions of why people are hungry in order to reduce ongoing hunger.

      Self-Development of People enters into partnerships with community groups of low-income people that want to change their lives and communities. Funds are awarded through grants. The mission committee has set a goal of $1,500 for the OGHS mission. Donations will be tracked with blue paper shirts representing a $30 gift on a clothesline in both sanctuaries. Please prayerfully consider giving to this mission.

      Swift Presbyterian Church is still holding an English as a second language class in the fellowship hall on Friday mornings at 9:00. This class is taught by Esther Tillmon, ESL coordinator at South Baldwin Literacy Council, and is financed by a grant from the South Alabama Presbytery. Please consider attending this class to make the students feel welcome at Swift. Currently, there are no Swift folks attending that class.

      Thank you to the folks of Swift Presbyterian Church who so generously share the blessings of our God.


      The Presbyterian Home for Children in Talladega is offering a tour of the home. The vans leave from Spanish Fort Presbyterian Church, Tuesday, March 13, at 8 a.m. Contact Pastor Keith or the church office no later than Sunday to register to go. There is no cost. Space is limited. Visitors will receive a tour of the campus, and lunch will be provided by the home. The group should return to Spanish Fort around 6:30 p.m. 

      If you are interested in carpooling to Spanish Fort, call or send an email note to the office.


      Dear presbytery friends,

      Gwenda and I thank you for your prayers and concerns as well as your patience and understanding. We know that this has been a difficult time for all of you when you do not know exactly what is going on with Gwenda and me and what the future holds. We have been living with very much the same uncertainty ourselves. Gwenda has been gradually improving — much slower than we would like — and with times when she is better and times that are worse. Looking at things as a whole, however, there is a trend of improvement. Gwenda’s neurologist tells us that her illness was caused by an unknown viral illness that caused the neurological consequences. The neurologist feels that this will [be] resolve[d] but was not able to give a specific time course. Gwenda will soon begin physical, speech and occupational therapy and we pray that will also lead to improvement.

      Gwenda’s improvement is sufficient that we feel that she can live with her sister while I return to the DRC for about three months. I will primarily be helping a hydro renovation team from Germany to do the renovation programs at IMCK and the Bibanga hospital. It will be a very busy time, and I would ask for your continued prayers for Gwenda and also prayers for me as I return to work in the DRC.

      Often we are tempted to rely on our own abilities and think that we can control things. This has been an experience that has made clear our lack of control and deepened our faith and drawn us closer to God and to each other.

      Blessings in Christ,   


      We are nearing the deadline to sign up for the summer 2018 Guatemala mission trips and we would love to add your name to the list of those traveling. This partnership is in its sixth year and going strong. Our prayer is for any person who feels called to serve God in an international context will jump on board with this partnership between the Presbytery of South Alabama and the Q’eqchi Chisec Presbytery in Guatemala.

      All the details for both trips can be found below. The deadline to submit your $100 deposit to Trinity (June trip) or Evergreen (July trip) is Sunday, March 18.

      Cost: Approximately $1,500 per person. We encourage people to invite others into their journey by asking for financial support from individuals, their churches, or holding a fundraiser.

      Dates: June 21–28 or July 6–13

      Information about each trip: The two trips differ in scope and type of work ensuring every person can use their skill set on one of the two trips.

      ■ June 21–28 — Coordinated by Trinity in Fairhope. They will spend the week in Coban, working on the Theological Training Institute at the Presbyterian complex. This will include a focus on construction work. This group plans to fly from Pensacola.

      Send deposits to: Trinity Presbyterian, 545 S. Mobile St., Fairhope, AL 36532
      Checks payable to: “Trinity Presbyterian”; please note Guatemala 2018 in the memo line.
      Contact: Margaret Davis (

      ■ July 6–13 — Coordinated by Evergreen in Dothan. They will spend the week in the Chisec area, laying tile flooring in a church, preparing leadership for a vacation Bible school and executing the VBS, and leading a women’s Bible study. This group plans to leave from both Dothan and Mobile airports, meeting in Atlanta. You can choose the departure location that is best for you from these two options. Send deposits to:

      Evergreen Presbyterian, 1103 N. Pontiac Ave., Dothan, AL 36303
      Checks payable to: “Evergreen Presbyterian”; please note Guatemala 2018 in the memo line.
      Contact: Ashley Drake Mertz (

      If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact Ashley or Margaret. We look forward to hearing from you that you will be joining one of the two trips this summer as we continue to build the partnership between Presbytery of South Alabama and the Q’eqchi Chisec Presbytery in Guatemala.

      The Rev. Ashley Drake Mertz

      associate pastor
      Evergreen Presbyterian Church
      Dothan, Alabama
      Telephone 334-792-7898


      Brandon Irwin, a member of Swift Church, was named Foley’s “firefighter of the year” by the Foley Rotary Club and the Vosloh Charitable Foundation. He was honored at a special lunch and awards ceremony Feb. 16 along with other recipients in education and community service. He received a $1,000 bonus from the Vosloh Foundation and also certificates from Gulf Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep and Moyer Ford to be used in the purchase of a car at dealer cost. In accepting the award, Irwin said that he “felt blessed and it really was an honor, totally a surprise for me … I couldn’t ask for a better job or better leadership.” [ Read more.]

      Charlie Hastings, elder

      If you are interested in joining the church driveway committee, please contact Charlie Hastings or Chuck Carneal. We are looking for anyone who is interested in helping coordinate and plan activities involving the widening of the entrance from Swift Church Road.


      Saturday, March 3 • 9 to 10:30 a.m.
      First Presbyterian Church of Foley

      Open to snowbirds and the public … coffee and doughnuts provided. Join us for a program presented by Kyla Kelim, a Fairhope attorney who specializes in nursing home Medicaid, Medicare and estate and probate matters. She has been practicing law in Alabama and Florida for 25 years. She is well known as an advocate, litigator and speaker on topics affecting seniors throughout the country. Ms. Kelim launched Aging in Alabama to help address the crisis in health-care coverage facing seniors and their caregivers. Location: First Presbyterian Church of Foley, 195 E. Berry Ave., 251-943-8325. Please join us — we are all affected by these situations and education is the key.



      “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,
      faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
       — 1 Peter 4:10

      March 4 — Willard Penfold, Eunice Ray, Lynn/Mike Barnwell
      March 11 — Kim Whitchard, Judy Walker, Susie Alexander
      March 18 — Lee Mansell, Greg McNair, Danny/Paula Brewer
      March 25 — Norm/Debbie Schmidt, Janelle Armbruster, Kim Whitchard

      March 4 — Cathy Rogers
      March 11 — Tess Helton
      March 18 — Judy Walker
      March 25 — Pastor Keith

      March 4 — Megan Curry and Debbie Schmidt
      March 11 — Tracy Akins and Lisa Turner
      March 18 — Tess Helton and Kathy Menk
      March 25 — Pate Cardwell and Brett Cardwell

      March 4 — None; Holy Communion
      March 11 — Megan Curry and Debbie Schmidt
      March 18 — Lezli and Kenny Thomason
      March 25 — Tracy and Olivia Akins

      March 4 — Marlene Hastings
      March 11 — Tosha Thomas
      March 18 — Brett Cardwell
      March 25 — Marlene Hastings

      March 4 — Zadie Grace and Zoeylynn Barnwell
      March 11 — Jon Devery and Lainey Thomas
      March 18 — Gracie Helton and Baylee Thomason
      March 25 — Sully Curry and Tristan Walker


      You may have noticed this box in your bulletin. Using your “smart phone” and this box you can connect to the church’s online giving page. You can set up for automatic donations of your tithes or one-time gifts to a number of funds benefiting ministries of Swift Church. Use this by either entering your credit/debit card information or your checking account information. Of course, this is a secure website. You can also do the same thing by clicking the donation link on the church’s website,


      Fall registration for preschool has begun.

      School telephone: 251-200-3840

      Calling all Cursillistas . . .


      (Note date/location change.)

      Has your faith journey hit a crossroad?
      Join us for a full day of renewal, Cursillo-style.

      March 10 — First Presbyterian Church of Foley
      9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

      Music, talks, table discussions, lunch and worship •

      Cost: $15 for catered lunch

      Please reserve your ticket through Lee Mansell — 232-4775 or



      Remember to turn your clocks up one hour (spring forward) on Saturday, March 10, before you go to bed for daylight-saving time so you aren’t an hour off schedule Sunday.

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      23208 Swift Church Road
      Foley, AL 36535
      Phone: (251) 943-8367


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