Spring 2022

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Dr. Douglass Key





Rev. Nick Demuynck

IN EVERY ISSUE 03 Letter from Your Pastor 06 Book Review 08 09 Articles 14 15 Upcoming Events 16 19 Member Milestones


A Letter from Your Pastor


ommunity matters. Relationships matter. Genesis tells us God created humans to be in relationship with us, and God created humanity so that we would not be alone, but with others. Connected. In community.

We see God's emphasis for us to be together, to worship together, and to walk through life together not only in Genesis, but also again and again in Scripture perhaps most beautifully embodied in Acts 2 when the believers "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, to fellowship, the breaking of bread and to prayer" (Acts 2:42). As I write these words on a Monday, yesterday's worship services complete with images of young children singing, a baptism, a "back row" regular once again sitting in his usual seat, the little ones rushing out for children's church, and people visiting with one another following the services fill my mind. Looking out from the pulpit, I saw one of you, a member, sliding up to sit next to someone whose spouse died to this life a few months ago. After worship, I saw others gathered around the same person having a conversation complete with hugs shared; the love and caring were beautiful. Even Holy. This is what can happen when we are together "leaning in" toward God and one another as the Body of Christ! Reflecting on our current moment, especially as we approach Holy Week, I can't help but wonder if there isn't a message for us as well? How is it that God is calling you (and us) to reach out to others? Whether serving as a Children's Sunday School teacher, participating on a mission trip, or reaching out to people who are among the growing number of refugees from war-torn countries like Afghanistan and now Ukraine, we need to "lean in." Lean in toward God and one another, much as our Savior first leaned in toward us. In Christ,

Rev. Dr. Brad Smith, Senior Pastor


In a relatively small congregation in a small town, visitors were hard to miss. I did not know him, but I remembered him as the man who slipped into the back pew on Good Friday. He was a member of the ARP church across the street and, since ours was the only Good Friday service on offer in town that night, he joined us. It was, he said, the most profoundly moving rehearsal of the events of the night of Jesus’ death he had ever experienced. His wife died six months earlier, and the fog of grief had been slow to lift. In the midst of his struggle to find meaning and peace, he stumbled into this communal retelling of a story of suffering and death that was determined to wring hope and purpose from sorrow and loss. Good Friday made a difference for him. He entered the sanctuary in one place and left in a very different one.

It is a story Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan once described as one “everyone thinks they know too well and most do not seem to know at all.” (The Last Week, p. ix) That is, of course, not everyone’s fault. For generations, the church has emphasized the triumph of Palm Sunday and the glory of Easter Sunday. On the Sundays, people are worshiping, praising, and exalting Jesus, not mocking, questioning, denying, or betraying Him. Without diminishing the power and place of the Sundays, though, there is something to be gained by tending to the events of the week. There is something to be learned in the stories of the temple leadership trying to alienate Jesus from the crowds. As the Passover celebration approaches, they get more and more desperate to discredit Jesus before He comes to the attention of their Roman benefactors.

This single anecdote suggests there is something to be gained by attending to the stories of Holy Week, from reflecting on the events of Jesus’ life between Palm Sunday and Easter sunrise. There is a reason why the gospels devote so much of their narrative to the last eight days of Jesus’ life. Everything in the gospels points to Jerusalem. In Mark’s gospel, for instance, the last week accounts for fully 36% of the book. PAGE 4


Their desperation and Jesus’ radical insistence that the lives of the faithful Jewish people in Palestine do not belong to the priests or to the Romans, is the dramatic context for what happens in the upper room. That running battle with the religious elites is front of mind for the disciples and their Lord when He takes bread, blesses, breaks, and gives it to them. Unable to discredit him in public, they have recruited an insider to betray him to them in a secluded place under the cover of darkness. All of that has happened before Jesus tells them how much He has “earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15). When He prays, later that night, for God to “remove this cup from Me,” it is precisely this dragnet of hostility that is closing around Him that He wants God to destroy.

When He cries out in dereliction from the cross, His forsakenness is not limited to the moment of crucifixion, but reaches back to God’s having deployed Him alone to dismantle the systems of oppression and exploitation that was operating out of the temple. The silent sorrow of Saturday is riven with failure and termination. Early on the first day of the next week, with the fog of grief still a lived reality for the disciples, the events of the previous week matter. Our understanding of the significance and power of the resurrection is deepened when we have lived through that week. The week is coming. It will be bracketed by great celebration, praise, and glory for our Lord and Savior. There is much to be gained by our careful attention to the journey between the feasts: the meal, the arrest, the trial, the execution, the fear, and the sorrow. On Thursday, we will recall the upper room in its entirety, in Thompson Hall, celebrating our own Passover Seder meal. Maundy Thursday communion will follow in the Sanctuary, where we will receive the New Commandment doing in remembrance of him. On Friday, we will remember that suffering has meaning, and Jesus’ suffering was redemptive to the extent that we can call Friday "good." This is the journey that leads us to sunrise early on the first day of the week. Holy Week will not leave us where it found us. Join us on this journey, and see if the rising sun on Easter morning isn’t more joyful, hopeful, and glorious than you ever imagined.



SACRED MARRIAGE A Book Review by Caroline Bennett

Butterflies. We all feel the flutters when first falling in love with our one-and-only. Even into the initial years, after vowing “to love, honor, and cherish,” the overwhelming awe between spouses seems it could never wane. Yet, truth be told by any married couple, even the swooning and smitten will stumble. In Gary Thomas’s bestseller, Sacred Marriage, he addresses the unavoidable stumbling that happens between every man and wife, and offers a perspective shift that can take the marital relationship to higher levels.

“Sheila and I very much enjoyed the Sacred Marriage Retreat. Gary did a splendid job and really got us thinking about how our relationship can pull us toward being who and how God created us to be," said John Arnold. The Sacred Marriage book, as well as the DVD/Study Guide, are available through Eastminster’s Library. In addition, members can access downloadable video sessions for group/individual study by requesting the Study Gateway membership link from cbennett@eastminsterpres.org. Other Gary Thomas books available through EPC’s Library are Sacred Parenting, Cherish, When to Walk Away: Finding Freedom From Toxic People, The Sacred Search, and A Lifelong Love: Discovering How Intimacy with God Breathes Passion into Your Marriage.

Contrasting the typical “how to” marriage books (how to work through conflict, for example), Thomas projects that more often the foundational issue is the lack of “heart to.” Using scripture to solidify his points, he turns the reader’s attention to God’s purpose for marriage (beyond procreation) as the platform on which we learn and practice biblical love, perseverance in love, self-sacrifice through love– all the while drawing nearer to God. Sacred Marriage replaces the spouse-centered marriage with a God-centered marriage. In March, Gary Thomas joined us at Eastminster for our Sacred Marriage Retreat. Sixty-seven couples spent Friday night and Saturday morning engaged in learning how to refresh and deepen their commitment to marriage, through the Sacred Marriage approach. PAGE 6




Thanks to a generous gift to the Endowment fund from Patricia and Robert Ariail, 67 couples were able to participate in Eastminster’s first marriage enrichment weekend in March. The Ariail Marriage Enrichment Endowment Fund, established in 2019, provided proceeds of over $8,000 to bring nationally known speaker Gary Thomas to lead the Sacred Marriage Retreat on campus. The Ariails’ goal with their gift to the Endowment was to enrich and support marriage through programs and activities sponsored by the church. Robert, who died in 2018, and Patricia, who died in 2014, created another endowment fund—the Ariail Property Endowment Fund. Already, it has produced proceeds of about $6,500 to fund new flooring on the second floor of the Christian Education Building.

"Sacred Marriage was a great reminder of the commitment we made, and of the importance of loving your spouse well in all circumstances. We are looking forward to taking the Cherish Class - Sundays@5" - Jessica and Tripp Laval Over the past two years alone, in addition to the Ariail funding, more than $110,000 in proceeds have made a variety of church programs possible, including: The Dr. Joe Donaho Teaching Church Fund Approximately $10,000 for seminary support for Lynn Grandsire, Ed Black, Joshua Smith, Rachel Smith. Approximately $22,000 to make the E2 summer intern program possible. $9,300 to sponsor the 2021 CORE program featuring baseball great Dave Dravecky. Missy Boyd EDS Scholarship Fund $38,000 for scholarships for Eastminster Day School students. Carolyn Holderman Family Nurture Accelerated Mission Fund Approximately $6,000 for families in need. Frank and Betty Hardin Fund $1,300 for sanctuary camera enhancements. General Endowment Fund Approximately $10,000 for audio/visual enhancements and $5,000 for college scholarships for CHAMPS graduates. The Endowment was established to offer members and friends the opportunity to leave a legacy of faith for future generations by welcoming a variety of gifts such that distributions from endowed funds will expand and enrich the mission and ministry of the church. The $4.2 million endowment includes a general fund, teaching fund, scholarships, property enhancement, and family nurturing support. Interested in how you can leave a legacy through the Endowment? Contact Chair Alec Chaplin Jr. (alecjr@chaplin-co.com). Also serving: Andy Lowrey, Sharmin Hill, Anne Seabrook, Billy Newsome, Paul Trippe, Bill Collins, and Dr. Brad Smith.




So, if that holds true, the interviewees felt like they were being taught to focus on themselves or their own well-being over the well-being of others. Weissbound and his team subsequently recommend that parents and caregivers do five things: "Make caring for others a priority; provide opportunities for children to practice caring and gratitude; expand your child's circle of concern; be a strong role model TIME MAGAZINE'S KID OF THE YEAR and mentor; and guide children in managing destructive feelings." BY REV. CROSKEYS ROYALL

Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Recently, a Time Magazine story about an 11year-old boy named Orion Jean caught my eye. Orion is Time's "Kid of the Year" for 2021 and strives to be an ambassador of kindness, saying that he tries to answer the call to action that kindness places on his own life. Consequently, not only does he spearhead big initiatives like book drives, but he also lives kindness out in his daily interactions with people, minute-byminute. Orion's attitude impressed me and, as I read his interview, I wondered how a person at such a young age could have developed such an empathetic and caring attitude. What are the people around him teaching him that has helped shape his personality in such a positive way?

I find it affirming that all five commands are mirrored in the teachings of Jesus, who continually reminded us to be lights in the world, to be loving, to serve others (friend or stranger), and to keep our own anger and selfishness under control. The “way” of Christ is not only one that defeated sin and death, but also one of aggressive kindness. May it be so that we practice random acts of kindness in our daily lives, like the 11-yearold boy named Orion Jean (below).

A 2014 article in The Washington Post about a study by Harvard psychologist Richard Weissbourd revealed that "about 80% of the youth interviewed...said that their parents were more concerned with their achievements or happiness than whether they cared about others." The interviewees were also three times more likely to agree that “My parents are prouder if I get good grades in my classes than if I’m a caring community member in class and school.” PAGE 8


CHAMPS: COMMUNITIES HELPING, ASSISTING, MOTIVATING PROMISING STUDENTS Dam'iah added that being a part of CHAMPS helped her the most because they went on multiple college tours and were assisted with financial aid and school applications. Fast forward...She recently graduated from Arclabs Welding School and will soon begin her career as a paid apprentice with W.B. Guimarin & Company.

CHAMPS SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS (LtoR) Front Row: E-monnie Cheeks, Nia Burton, Dam'iah Tobias Middle Row: Corey Corley, Nina Hemingway, Jalen Blunt Back Row: Amber Burton, Jordan Ward, Charles Washington


ARCLABS GRADUATE NAMED APPRENTICE In 2021, we heard the term "Five Kingdom Goals" for the first time. Then, we watched as those five goals became a reality through the donations of benevolent members, the volunteers who served, and the mentors in programs such as Bradley Lunch Buddies and CHAMPS.

"It's funny to look back," she told us. "I graduated from Dreher High School in 2021 and wanted to study welding after taking some classes there, but with this scholarship, I was able to attend Arclabs Welding School. I was so excited to receive several job offers. I have chosen a path that I think I'll really like with Guimarin," she grinned. Will she remain connected to CHAMPS? The trend has been a big yes - Dam'iah, like many of the other students, has continued and will continue to be a part of the program. After high school graduation, she jumped right back in participating in the mentor-intraining program, and now Dam'iah serves as a mentor at the CHAMPS monthly meetings. Congratulations, Dam'iah Tobias!

One of Easminster's goals was to provide college scholarships to CHAMPS participants (recipients pictured above). The goal was met. Nine scholarships were awarded, and now we celebrate our first graduate, Dam'iah Tobias, who also happens to be the granddaughter of longtime Eastminster employee and friend, Tony Taylor! "Dam'iah Tobias has been active in the CHAMPS program since 2015. She participated in all the monthly meetings, summer camps, and attended Salkehatchie summer mission trips," explained Rebekah Gaston, Director of CHAMPS.

Above: Dam'iah with Arclabs Welding School mentors on Graduation Day


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DR. LYNN A. GRANDSIRE It seems so long ago that Dreaming and Discerning Groups met, and Eastminster leadership received information from the congregation about your desires for Eastminster to either begin ministry or enlarge existing ministry. One common need that was on people’s minds and hearts before COVID was how best to recognize and help people with mental health disorders. One way Eastminster has responded was co-hosting the Will for Hope event last summer, when we welcomed renowned suicide prevention speaker Ross Szabo (to right), to speak with parents and youth of EPC and from the community. Continuing in that vein, Care Ministry has done some preliminary expansion for more regular support in other areas. There are already some groups that meet weekly or monthly, as there is a great need for both grief and divorce care groups. And, though EPC's website is under construction with a roll-out on the horizon, our Congregational Care section of the website has recently expanded. The first addition is “Grief Resources,” and the second is “Mental Health Resources.” Under the first tab, you will find three documents that provide some of the normal reactions and responses to grief. PAGE 10

Grief is a journey that lasts for a significant amount of time, and people go through different stages in the healing process. In addition to virtual resources, Eastminster's Stephen Ministry provides grief books that are available to members during the first year after losing a loved one. The Mental Health tab currently has a document that provides a link to take a free mental health assessment through the South Carolina Mental Health Association. You can then contact them if you'd like their assistance, and they will immediately connect you to a local mental health clinician. We hope to add to this section of our website as we understand the needs of our congregation, and we hope that you will also begin to take advantage of this information to help you navigate the healing journey. We look forward to adding more items to the website as they are available. To find out more, visit our website at www.eastminsterpres.org, or email Pastor Lynn at lgrandsire@eastminsterpres.org. EASTMINSTER TODAY


THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2022 DR. LYNN A. GRANDSIRE “Soul Shop” is a national workshop for faith leaders on suicide prevention from a Christian perspective. Individuals from Eastminster attended this seminar in Lexington, SC, in January 2022, and were very impressed with the information and the speaker, Michelle Snyder. With EPC's desire to increase member awareness surrounding mental health issues and suicide prevention, we are hosting an all-day seminar on Thursday, May 26, 2022, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., in Thompson Hall. This event is free for anyone who is in a leadership position or is interested in learning ways to better interact with people who might have been impacted by suicide in some way. The full-day seminar was very beneficial and enriching for those of us who attended in January, so if you can possibly set aside the entire day on May 26, it would be well worth your time.

If for some reason you are not able to attend on May 26, we are also hosting a shortened version of Thursday’s event on Wednesday, May 25, from 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., in Thompson Hall. This is in conjunction with our High School Youth Program (see Pastor Nick's letter below). Look for signup links on our website, and invite your friends to join us. These events are open to the public, so please let any counselors and school officials know about Soul Shop as well May 26 (or May 25)!

Letter from Pastor Nick: Dear Friends, It has been a tough six months, and really two years, for the youth of our church community. In tandem with the Congregational Care Team, High School Youth Ministry will host an evening of food, conversation, and restoration with folks from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) that is tailored specifically to high school-aged youth. AFSP works with a trained suicide prevention specialist and mental health expert, who will also be here to help guide us in our conversations that evening. I truly hope you will consider having your youth join us that evening as we come together as a community and care for each other’s mental health. Please let me know if you have any questions about this. Grace and Peace, Rev. Nick Demuynck ndemuynck@eastminsterpres.org EASTMINSTER TODAY MAGAZINE



On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic and still two years later, COVID-19 continues to be the public health crisis about which everyone talks. However, this may not be the most pressing public health crisis. In our country, the most pressing public health crisis is that many people have found a way not to go to church.


"He must become greater, and I must become less and less.” Second, we begin to realize our disappointments and sufferings do not define us as failures; rather, we begin to see we are all sinners in need of redemption from our God who redeems us. Third, being around a body of believers and among those who truly care decreases chronic loneliness, depression, substance abuse, anxiety, and increases healthier marriages.

In a sermon, Dr. Dondi Costin- the President of Charleston Southern University- said, “Beyond our Studies show in-person church attendance private spiritual disciplines, what makes a difference is down roughly 30% since the pandemic. in the lives of people who follow Jesus Christ is Now there are groups of people at higher gathering in public.” When we gather in public, we risks for serious illnesses from COVID-19, gain spiritual instruction and accountability, and we and they should stay away from mass receive messages of hope. However, we are on the gatherings. However, when people are not cusp of what could be the greatest public health crisis in church, studies show people face if people continue finding ways not to gather in their increased levels of depression, anxiety, and places of worship. To combat this public health crisis, broken marriages. In Christianity Today, the call for Christians is to make our way back to the two Harvard professors wrote an article, foot of the cross and gather together to proclaim “Empty Pews Are an American Public Christ’s death and resurrection until He comes again. Health Crisis,” which addresses that not That is what we get to do in church; the health only is church attendance down, but also benefits are an added bonus. that attending church is a health benefit. On pages 14 and 15 of this magazine, you will see information about upcoming events at Eastminster. Regular church attendance and We pray that you will join us at these events and not participation in worship have three major benefits. First, we find a healing truth that only find a place to connect, but also rejoin a community of believers who truly care about you. life is not about us; John 3:30 says, PAGE 12


Rev. Nick Demuynck GETTING TO KNOW NICK & SAVANNAH A LITTLE BETTER - HIS OWN WORDS SINCE ARRIVING IN 2020 It is hard to believe that it has been almost two years since I began my call here at Eastminster, and it is even harder to believe that this entire time has been during a global pandemic. This is certainly not how I imagined beginning my pastoral ministry, but nevertheless, here we are. That being said, it has been an absolute pleasure to be in ministry here, and I am grateful for the chance to walk side-by-side with all of you as we continue to grow in our life of faith together.


My wife, Savannah, is a graduate of the lesser school in North Carolina, (just kidding!) the University of North Carolina, so being a “house divided” is part of our family’s identity. Good thing I am not competitive. Savannah also received her M. Div from Austin Seminary and is finally a pastor in the area (she used to commute to Myers Park Pres.). She just joined Lake Murray PC's staff as their Associate Pastor for Spiritual Formation, and I could not be more excited for her! I cannot put into words what a blessing it is to share this life of ministry with Savannah and grow in our callings together. It is truly a gift, and I could not ask for a better partner to be in life and ministry with.

I think we would all agree that the last few years have been very "different." Due to COVID restrictions, I've not even had the chance to meet so many of you, so I wanted to take a moment to just share a little bit about myself. Here goes...I call Wake Forest, NC, home although we moved around a little bit in my adolescence due to career changes. What do I like to do when I am not at EPC? Possibly my greatest interest outside of churchand some youth and college students already know this- but I am a HUGE sports guy! I can be found sitting on the couch or hanging with friends watching a myriad of different sports any day of the week. Speaking of college football, I am also a graduate of North Carolina State University (anyone heard of the Wolfpack?) with a bachelor's in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, and a focus in Nonprofit Studies. More recently, I received my Masters of Divinity (M. Div.) from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

I'd like to also brag a little on the students here at Eastminster. Even during pandemic times, these high school and college students are loyal to their church and their God, and maybe to their parents too, but they just keep coming back, and I am so grateful! In closing, I look forward to meeting more and more of you soon. Until then, may God continue to bless you and keep you!



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Member Milestones... Newborns Q1


Ada Frances Griffin Elliott Alexander Hassinger Clara Louise McWilliams Mills Grace Snell James Molony Tupper

Thirteen Q1

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Dean Albert Julian Barber Ainsley Carrington Virginia Cruea Evan Dampier McCall Daves Colin Fitzgerald


Alex Magargle Ava Stone Dalton Stursberg Jack Wilson Reese Wingo Jackson Scott Wright Sullivan Wright

...Newsworthy Birthdays in Q1 Mark Brown Taylor Brown Cooper Burke Tia Curnias Christian Hendricks Rivers McElveen William Morris Merrick Richardson Donald Tomlin Jake Whitener Luke Williams

Keller Barron Margaret Batson Sarah Brown Margie Brown Sandra Bryant Pud Clarke Rankin Craig Barbara Dixon Jerry Fuller Bill Gillespie Happy Hays Lloyd Hendricks Ross Holmes Alex Jenkins

Eighteen Q1

Pierrine Johnson Chip King Julia Markley Harry Mashburn Mary McNair Beverly Mims Gene Mitchell Marianne Murphy Joy Padgett Esther Pearman Henry Price Betty Ann Schroeder Ann St. John Leland Williams


Eighty& Up Q1


Don't see your name? Contact Christina Siokos (ext. 123) so we can update our member database. EASTMINSTER TODAY


Taking the "First Step" Bethany and Jesse Parker - Jesse joins by reaffirmation of faith and Bethany by transfer of letter from Church of Our Saviour in Jacksonville, FL. They live on Forest Drive. Bethany is EPC’s Middle School Youth Director and Jesse is a Substitute Teacher for Richland School District 1 and is also at EPC on the tech team. They join many youth and young adults in membership.

Emily and Luke Richardson join by reaffirmation of faith. They live on Dearborn Road. Luke is an associate attorney at Collins & Lacy, P.C., and Emily is also an attorney at McAngus Goudelock & Courie. They have an 11-month old son named Joseph (Jay). They join their friends the Lawsons and Abramsons in membership.

Sara and Julius Weathers join by reaffirmation of faith. They live on Brentwood Drive. Julius is in business development at THS Constructors, Inc., and Sara is an attorney. They join their friends Melissa & Charlie Mimms in membership.



Welcome New Members Jenny Moss joins by transfer of letter from Trinity Methodist Church in Sumter, SC. She lives on Shady Lane with husband, Charlie Moss. Jenny is a self-employed artist and owner of The Mustard Seed. She joins family Meredith and Daniel Christenberry and friends Jane and Frank Shuler, Julie and Wane O’Neal, and Connie and Mac Leppard in membership.

Pam Summers joins by reaffirmation of faith. She lives on Monroe Street. Pam is a retired registered nurse. She joins her friends Becky Airhart, Julie O’Neal, and Meredith and Daniel Christenberry in membership.




Eastminster Presbyterian Church 3200 Trenholm Road Columbia, SC 29204

Nonprofit Org. US POSTAGE PAID Columbia, SC PERMIT No. 27

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