Rev. W. Dan Overstreet:

My Fond Memories of Inman United Methodist Church

Submitted by Rev. Overstreet, Williamson, GA to  Sara Jane Overstreet

 

I have lovely memories of our church dating back as far as I can remember. The stained glass window which is over the door from the vestibule to the sanctuary in the current building was burned deep into my memory from my earliest years. I spent many hours listening to Sunday Sermons, revivals, etc. drinking in the beauty and significance of this picture. The times I have been honored with the opportunity to preach in the current building I have been almost overcome with emotions and reverence for this beautiful window which I have loved so long.

I remember how my mother (Sara Banks Overstreet) felt that seven years of age might be too young for me to really understand what church membership on profession of faith is all about. She talked with Rev. Tim Holbrook who assured her that I knew more about what it means to profess Jesus and become a church member than most people who seek confirmation and/or baptism.

I was very disappointed when the building I loved and appreciated had to be replaced. I always enjoyed hearing my grandfather (Alex Banks) tell about the moving of the church from the cemetery to where it stood until the current building was built. The thing that helped my grief the most was remembering how we would almost bounce on the inclined floor as we entered the church and/or on our way to and from our seats upon going to the altar or the door.

I was like most of our members who felt bad about the old parsonage needing so badly to be renovated or replaced. I hasten to say I was extremely proud of the church for being a major financial and moral support for the students that were sent to them as Candler students. We all took great pride in the fact that many of these ministerial candidates likely would not have been able to have obtained a seminary degree without this help.

I wish to share an experience I had at pastor's school one year regarding the condition of our old parsonage. I was at a table with a large group of young North Georgia preachers who had no idea who I was. The topic of conversation was how horrible our parsonage used to be. A former Inman pastor was one of the most vocal about explaining to another preacher how fortunate he was to have been able to avoid having to go to Inman a few years before this conversation. When I had all of this I could stand I asked him if Inman provided most of the money he needed to go to Candler. He reluctantly admitted that he did not know how he could have made it without this help. It was then I announced that they were talking about my home church. I told them that I am extremely proud of the fact that Inman had their priorities in good order when they took money they could have been saving for a new parsonage and used it to educate so many young preachers. That man seemed to try to avoid me at all the state wide meetings after that but I am still proud the Lord prompted me to speak up for my home church instead of remaining silent when she was being run down. I feel very strongly that the comparative ease with which Inman built a new church and a new parsonage was God's way of expressing gratitude for what Inman did to help educate so many preachers for His ministry.

I pray that EVERYONE will remember that my official membership being in Fayetteville when I accepted the call to preach was a mere technicality. My mother (Sara) and I felt my membership should be where I could be most active in youth work. Many will remember how impossible it was to maneuver those red clay hills between Fayetteville and Inman when they were wet. I have always regretted that foresight did not lead me to transfer back to Inman before declaring my candidacy for the ministry. I keenly appreciate the interest shown in me by many members at Fayetteville. Some members contributed to my tuition when Rev. Hamby Barton got me in Young Harris where I met Rev. Comer Brownlow who shared in the service of marriage between me and a long time friend Loreen Phillips. By the time Rev. Jack Lamb came to Fayetteville so many of the older members had died that Rev. Lamb tried to help the church realize that Dan Overstreet was still around as a member of the South Georgia Conference.

Inman kept in touch with me to the extent that I always felt this to be my home church. I used a portable communion set which I received from the Inman Women's Society throughout my ministry. The people at Inman have always made me feel loved and appreciated as one of their own. One of the greatest thrills of my life was to help baptize my grandchildren (Graceann and Alexander) as the eighth (8) generation of my family in our beloved church. My daughter (Sara Jane) who is currently church historian might have discovered in her extensive genealogy studies that we date back even further than I realize.

On the fourth Sunday evening in January 1994 we had come up to attend the funeral of a relative the next day. My dear wife Loreen (Phyl) hemorrhaged to death with Non-Alcoholic Sclerosis of the Liver. When she got to the gate of heaven she asked how soon she could see Jesus. The angel she was talking to said she could not see Jesus yet because her work on earth was not finished. The Spalding EMTs and Emergency room finally stabilized her. A few months later we opted to have the "Warren Shunt" surgery done at Emory in order to greatly reduce the probability of another hemorrhage being fatal. This was such new and radical surgery that only five surgeons in the world were attempting it at that time. When I realized I could not continue to give as much time and energy to a pastoral appointment as I was use to and give Phyl as much attention as I wanted to I took early retirement. We bought a house close to Zebulon (Williamson address) after seeing a Spalding EMT ambulance at the barracks in Zebulon. Given Phyl's (and now my) poor health it seemed only logical to become active as we could in a church closer to our house. We now enjoy Williamson UMC very much and the commute is only a small fraction of the time it takes to go to Inman. We only regret we frequently are not able to attend.

Again I say, I will always feel that Inman should be considered as my home church even though my membership is in the South Georgia Conference. South Georgia could not have shown me any more love and appreciation if I had grown up within their geographical boundaries.

I spent one year on the Glenn Circuit, one year at St. John's in LaGrange, one year as Bishop Moore called it "on loan" to South Georgia and two years at Bethel near Stockbridge. After two failed attempts to serve "student appointments" (for which I can not get retirement credit) and go to school I gave up and asked for membership in South Georgia. I never learned to put my school work above the people I was sent to serve. In those days financial assistance was almost non existent for college students even with families. After being ordered by many doctors on two different appointments to quit trying to attend college and be a minister at the same time I gave up on college. After some of my best friends in North Georgia promised to block my attempts to enter the conference without a seminary degree I was welcomed into membership in the South Georgia Conference.

In addition to the year in Folkston at Bishop Moore's request I served: John Wesley Circuit, Uvalda; Waldens, Stapleton; Bartow Charge; Bloomingdale; Buckhorn, Dexter; Plains; Waverly Hall; Hamp Stevens, Columbus; and retired from Shellman.

I say to the people of Inman UMC, thank you for helping me remember through the years that Inman is my home church.

In closing I borrow the title of Bob Hope's theme song, "THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES."

Rev. W. Dan Overstreet

family information: Winton DeVan Overstreet, Jr. b. 1932 to Winton DeVan Overstreet, Sr. & Sara Nancy Banks. No siblings. Married to Loreen Phillips. Children: 1) Sara Jane Overstreet--grandchildren Graceann Overstreet Rogers and Alexander Overstreet Rogers; 2) Marcus Lloy Overstreet--married Meri (Oswald), grandchildren Courtney Marie Overstreet and Raymond Devan Overstreet. Maternal extended family has many connections with Inman United Methodist Church from earliest days--Hightower, Banks, Mitchell, Hill, Stubbs, McLucas, Luncford descendent.

 


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