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For the next nine weeks, Lynne teaches again one of her favorite books, The Iliad, this time at Manchester Academy. I enjoy the new purchases that crop up around our home.
I owe my love of The Iliad to one man, Dr. John Reishman, one of the outstanding literature professors at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Until his class, I don’t recall reading a work of ancient Greek literature, and, had I made the attempt, the ability to navigate the text would have been sorely lacking. I needed a teacher, and found one in Dr. Reishman.
Since then, I have read The Iliad several times in the translations of Fitzgerald, Lattimore, and Fagles, and a very small portion in Greek class at Vanderbilt. Time and again I return to moving scenes, and especially to those of Hector: his return from battle to his wife Andromache and their infant son, his brutal death and the savage abuse of his corpse below Troy’s walls, and his father Priam’s pleading with Achilles for the return of his body.
Years from now, I trust that a Manchester Academy student will trace his love for ancient literature to Lynne’s teaching.
“Retirement” is not in my Uncle John’s vocabulary. At age 90, he is the visiting pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Ripley, TN and is in Chapter 5 of his Romans series. You can listen to him twice a week on the local radio station. I am thankful for his testimony and example.
Ordained in 1951, Uncle John joined the PCA in 1974.
What a joy to catch up with him last weekend at the wedding of Megan Joy Wingard and Timothy Stern!
Today is the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, the commencement of the Allied invasion of continental Europe. Within a year, Hitler was dead and the Nazi reign of terror over.
President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 speech at Normandy marked the 40th anniversary of the invasion. Reagan used the opportunity not only to honor the allied soldiers who fought their way ashore, but also to strengthen NATO’s resolve in the face of threatened Soviet nuclear missile deployments to Eastern Europe. I introduced this speech to my high school rhetoric and debate students as one of the great presidential speeches of the 20th century.
My father, George Thomas Wingard, Jr., fought in Europe later in the war. He was at the Battle of the Bulge, which began on December 16, 1944, his 21st birthday. My cousin, George King, son of Clinton and Magnolia Wingard King, was killed during the D-Day invasion. Their courage and the courage of all America’s military forces should be remembered.
Thirty years ago today I was ordained to the gospel ministry at Faith Presbyterian Church in Morganton, North Carolina. You only get one first church, and this one couldn’t have been better. Loving and caring and encouraging, its members will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Apart from my sons’ and grandchildren’s birthdays and the anniversary of my marriage to Lynne, my ordination day is the most memorable and important date in my life. Lynne makes the day special – a card, gift, and dinner – just one example of the many ways she stands beside me in my work.
My interest in the ministry began long before I ever preached. Since I was a teenager, I wanted to to be a pastor. My Dad influenced the direction my life would take. His care for congregations inspired me, and as I watched him go about his work, I sensed that pastoral ministry was the life God wanted for me. Dad’s moving prayer at my ordination service meant the world to me.
Certainly, ministry is full of joy, as well as challenges, setbacks, and disappointments. It deals with matters of eternal consequence. “Who is sufficient for these things?” Scottish Presbyterian minister James S. Stewart was right: “the first duty of a minister is to be a real man of prayer. Nothing one can do for God or man is so important as that. To maintain the spirit of prayer is just about the greatest thing a Christian (or anyone in the ministry very specially) can do for the world.”
For three decades God has given me the privilege of serving a succession of godly people in Christ-centered churches. So, it doesn’t surprise me one bit that Paul calls the Philippian believers his “joy and crown” (Philippians 4:1). That’s how pastors feel and think about their congregations, and that’s how I do.
For the beloved people I’ve served I thank God today.
A Centerpoint School class roll from 1913.
Centerpoint was located in southern Montgomery County, Alabama. It was near Elmdale, the Moore-Wingard farm. Some of the teachers lived with the Wingards.
Clinton King was the teacher in 1913. One of his students is my grandfather’s sister, Magnolia Wingard, age 15. Five years later, in 1918, Clinton King and Magnolia Wingard were married.
Several of my great uncles and aunts and their kin are listed on the report card.
These pictures were take at an October 2007 workday at Moore-Wingard Cemetery in southern Montgomery County. The cleanup crew from left to right:
Duane Norman, son of Murray and Ralph Norman
Murray Wingard Norman, daughter of Uncle Murray Wingard
Vickey Wingard, wife of Rick Wingard
Rick Wingard, son of Dick Wingard, grandson of Uncle Sam Wingard
Ralph Norman, husband of Murray Norman
Austin Norman (front), son of Duane Norman
Richard Wingard, son of Uncle Will Wingard
Here’s what the cemetery looked like in June.
Here’s what the graves looked like around 1955. You can see the old Wingard home in the background. It has long since been demolished, and the field is now wooded. The land was sold to a paper company.