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A Word from Woody. . .
"Interview with Rev. Dave Carlton "
Three dates in the last decade will live in infamy for Buras,
Louisiana. There’s August 29, 2005 for Hurricane Katrina, and April
20, 2010 for the BP Gulf oil spill, and August 29, 2012 for
Hurricane Isaac. These disasters have meant terrible consequences
for the economy and families of the Buras area. Since Christmas,
2010 we have teamed with Buras’ Trinity UMC to reach out to the
children of needy families through a special ministry called AngelFish
(please see article inside, p. 3). I had the chance recently to talk
to the pastor of Trinity UMC, Rev. Dave Carlton.
Lake Vista UMC Lighthouse:
How long have you been the pastor of Trinity UMC?
Rev. Dave Carlton:
Seven years, and I plan to retire next year.
You’ve been there through a lot of experiences…
I’ve been there for hurricanes, oil spills, insurance crises, and
the rebuilding process after Katrina. We rebuilt the church after
Katrina, and then Isaac came around and took our roof off! Oddly
enough, after Isaac hit, mission teams from all over the country who
helped us build after Katrina were calling me wanting to know when
they could come and rebuild again. So now we are up and running
pretty much now. We are a resilient people down here!
Of course my message to them since I’ve been here is a
are some of the ministry needs down there?
Where do you want me to start? Youth ministry is a big area of need.
I am working with a woman in the church to reach out to youth. VBS
is a big need for the children, because there is nothing for
children to do here during the summer. We tried to build a sports
area for volleyball and basketball, but the costs prevented us from
building a basketball court—but we have a green volleyball court!
What about family needs?
Lots of prayer and spiritual guidance are needed. In fact tomorrow
[on Sunday] I’m doing a service of the anointing of the Holy Spirit
and we are going to anoint people. People have a broad concept of
what Christianity is about, but not much on United Methodism—a lot
of Catholicism is down here. I was impressed—the other Sunday I was
preaching and I noticed that half the congregation was writing
notes! One of our struggles is the music ministry—we need someone to
play piano or guitar. Some of our other musicians have had some
difficult times in their lives. We do have some other musicians, and
it’s interesting that despite this shortage of players we find
worship is really good right now!
The Buras area has been through a lot of difficulties. How do you
handle crises as a pastor—where do you go for personal renewal?
I go out on the water fishing-- get away from telephones. Also, the
hour and half drive it takes to go to the city is down-time for me.
My last vacation was a stay-cation. I went out fishing and worked on
some things at the house. My laptop computer Lake Vista UMC got me
has been a great blessing— I get to talk to lots of people through
that! My personal times with God are key through the down times, the
quiet times. When I get out on the boat and feel that gentle breeze,
I can sense it is like the arms of God on me saying, “Everything is
going to be good”.
Tell me about the Christmas ministry there.
Up until Katrina, Trinity UMC performed a Christmas
in Buras’ civic center. After Katrina they wanted to start it back
up. So we put on one every year now—for about the fifth year in a
row we have been doing that. But not all the children knew the
Christmas carols—like “Silent Night” and “Away in the Manger”—but
they knew “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”! So I think we have
some more work to do in the world today!
We have been doing AngelFish
with y’all for about four years, and this will be the fifth year. Is
there still a need for it?
Yes! Rebuilding happens down here, but it is real slow. Government
regulations, lack of supplies, lack of workers—all these things make
the rebuilding go slowly. So there are a lot of families with a lot
of different kind of needs. Some of them are financial needs, others
are getting past pride to seek help from counselors or financial
advisors, and so on. People here talk about how much AngelFish
means to them --it gives the people hope. It gives them hope that
people still care about them.
And indeed we do care! Let’s keep the wonderful people of
Plaquemines Parish in our prayers, and ask the Lord to bless our
outreach to them through this year’s AngelFish
Yours in the Lord of Life,