Yes, it was 19 years ago, but I remember it well. It was a Tuesday and I was teaching at Conway Christian School. As I came out of class, a television had been set up in the gymnasium and we were glued to it “for the duration”.

I’m sure you remember that day, too, if you’re old enough. You’ll know where you were; you’ll remember the shock of those around you; and you’ll remember your own thoughts and feelings as “9/11” became a phrase that will always be a part of the American language.

But as well as I remember watching the horrible, unwinding events of that day, I also remember the days after as America came together.

For a brief time, churches and houses of worship were filled. Neighbors took even more than the usual care of each other. Members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, stood arm in arm on the steps of the Capitol to pray and sing. I vividly remember the special service that took place at the National Cathedral. For a brief time, America was one!

We had looked a common enemy in the face and seen that desire to destroy everything American, not just segments of our society, but our society as a whole. We had realized that, in order to combat this vicious ideology, we had to be unified, we had to stand together, to work together, to pray together.

We realized how our lack of unity had led to our vulnerability and, American pride aside, how vulnerable we all really were. And we realized how much we needed God; how much we needed God in our personal and family lives; how much we needed God in our churches, schools and communities; and how much we needed God in every aspect of American life. And for a while, sadly, a very short while, America was different, America was better.

Nineteen years later, we find ourselves again greatly vulnerable to the attack of the enemy. This enemy will not attack with airplanes or with bombs, though he might use those as well. No, this enemy is more insidious, more virulent. He is the enemy within.

Today, 19 years later, we’ve pushed God back into “His closet” (until we think we need Him again). His commands and laws, given for our good and for our protection and peace, lay shredded in our trashcans. We have become self-sufficient in our materialism, leisure lifestyle and lack of concern for others.

Our politicians wouldn’t think of trying to reach common ground because they each have their own power bases and fortunes to “protect” and couldn’t even agree with each other if one said, “the sky is blue” on a sunny day.

And the ideology of our culture gives each segment of population a “pity party” mentality, feeling all others are “picking on me” or “putting me down” so I can’t trust anyone else. And our media, for the most part, no longer reports “news”, but gives a slanted version (someone said, “If you don’t watch the news you’re uninformed; if you do watch the news you’re misinformed”).

In the latter part of 2001, Americans watched and waited to see what would happen next. Would there be more attacks? Can we protect ourselves? Who is the enemy? And today, the danger from within is even greater because once the fissure, rending Americanism has begun, it will not be easy to stop.

Walt Kelly’s cartoon opossum Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Sadly, true. It is not our differences that separate us, it is our similarities.

Each of us has a sinful, pride-filled, me-centered heart! We are born with it and live with it, only having it “governed” as we’re taught God’s morals and laws at home, church or other places. And today our sinful hearts are running rampant. And the only cure is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!

Way back in A.D. 67, the Apostle Paul described 2020 America to his young friend Timothy. In II Timothy 3, we see this description of our culture: “For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.

“They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!”

Way back in the late 1970s, as a young teacher pursuing a master’s degree in counseling and guidance, we studied an essay attributed to James Patrick Kinney. I’ve kept it and used it often, and today it speaks to America and Americans, on 9/11/2020:

“Six humans trapped by happenstance in dark and bitter cold, each possessed a stick of wood – or so the story’s told.

“Their dying fire in need of logs, but the first one held hers back; for, of the faces around the fire, she noticed one was black.

“The next one looked across the way, saw one not of his church, and could not bring himself to give the fire his stick of birch.

“The third one sat in tattered clothes and gave his coat a hitch; why should his log be put to use to warm the idle rich?

“The rich man just sat back and thought of wealth he had in store, and keeping all that he had earned from the lazy, shiftless poor.

“The black man’s face bespoke revenge as the fire passed from his sight, for he saw in his stick of wood a chance to spite the white.

“And the last man of this forlorn group did naught except for gain, giving just to those who gave to him was how he played the game.

“Their sticks held tight in death’s stilled hands was proof enough of sin; they did not die from the cold without -- they died from the cold within.”

May we remember the lessons we should have learned 19 years ago, and may 9/11/2021 find us back on the path to love, acceptance and Godliness.

2020 Prayer March

On Sept. 26, the Rev. Franklin Graham and others will be at the Washington Mall in Washington, D.C., for a Prayer March.

These are his words: “Let’s pray that God will turn this nation back to Him. This is the most critical time for America that we have seen in our lifetime and I know the power of prayer. I want to invite you to bring your family and gather with other Christians. Churches and pastors, fill a busload and join thousands to pray.”

Go to PrayerMarch2020.com.

Coastline Women’s Center Needs You!

Each evening on the 11 o’clock news we hear the statistics on new positive COVID tests and the number of deaths for that day. We’ve been hearing the death toll from the recent storms and fires, and while we understand that 1 death is too many, we feel relief when numbers go down.

But there is one statistic that continues steadily, each day, no matter what else is going on, and that is the tragic death toll from innocent infant boys and girls being killed in America’s abortion mills.

Thankfully, there are still many trying desperately to save these unborn human children and, in our area, one of the dedicated groups is Coastline Women’s Center.

Counseling mothers who are in crisis, conducting pregnancy tests and ultrasound scans, giving needed diapers and other items to new mothers, and sharing the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Coastline is seeing babies saved from abortion, parents saved from the trauma of having aborted their child, and seeing men and women turn to Christ as Savior and Lord.

But currently, with the pandemic and the circumstances of our “world and local” situation, Coastline, a nonprofit organization, has not been able to conduct its usual fundraisers and funds are limited and dwindling.

We can help! Each gift you give is not just a donation, but an investment in life and eternity. We cannot, we must not, let Coastline get to the place where they have to cut services or even close their doors.

How can you give? Mail your gift to Coastline Women’s Center, P.O. Box 3325, Myrtle Beach SC 29578. You can Text to donate: text the word COASTLINE in your message box to 91999. You can also give by going to the Coastline website coastlinewomenscenter.org.

Continue to Pray for our Schools!

As Labor Day passes, more and more of our students will be “back in school”, in one way or another. This year promises to be as “interesting” as the end of the past year proved to be.

Let us all pray for our students at every level, their parents, school administrators, faculties and school staffs. Education is important to our young people and we can all see if there are ways we can be a helpful and positive part of this school year “adventure”.

What Can I Do To Help?

The ongoing COVID-19 “pandemic”; the upcoming “flu season”. Financial upheaval caused by the current situation. Storm devastation. Wildfire destruction. The list of difficulties and problems seems never-ending.

Thankfully, there are many groups and individuals looking for ways to help out. Samaritan’s Purse, the Red Cross, many denominational disaster teams, Help4Kids, the Shepherd’s Table, Coastline Women’s Center, Bethesda for Single Mothers, CAP and many more need our help. Can we spare some time, financial or material help? We can all do something.

“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying…when did we see You hungry, thirsty, a stranger or naked, or sick or in prison?’

“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” (Matthew 25:34-40)

International Day of Prayer

Sunday November 1 has been designated at the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians. On that day, churches, families and individuals will focus on intercession for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are constantly in danger of imprisonment, torture or death.

Videos, prayer cards and other resources are available from The Voice of the Martyrs, info@vomusa.org. Plan now to have your church be a part of this important day.

Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry

■ The Catholic Church of St. James, 1071 Academy Drive, announces a new Mass Schedule beginning this month as follows: Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.; Sundays at 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. (and 12 p.m. Spanish); Monday-Friday at 9 a.m. and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. – Spanish.

The church also collects nonperishable food items for Catholic Charities and CAP Monday-Friday from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the church. Please help as you are able. Call (843) 347-5168 or go online to www.stjamesconway.org.

■ Tilly Swamp Survivors of Suicide, a new faith-based support group for those having lost someone to suicide, meets the first and third Mondays of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the church: 4619 S.C. 90. Phone (803) 566-0702.

■ St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, 3449 S.C. 65, will be distributing food on the second and fourth Fridays of each month from 11 a.m. until all food has been distributed.

■ Loris First United Methodist Church, 3507 Broad St., has a Blessing Box in the church and it is available each Friday from 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. This box contains nonperishable food items and individuals in need are encouraged to come to the church at those times. Also, if you would like to donate items, please place them in the box.

■ Dogwood Hill Baptist Church, 1040 Mt. Zion Road in Loris, has a food pantry on the third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m.-10 a.m.

■ Salem Baptist Church, 4008 Salem Road in Aynor, opens its Food Bank on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 9 a.m.-noon. The mission: “We serve Christ when we serve people.”

Myrtle Beach/The Coast

■ Please join Catholics for Freedom of Religion at 3 p.m. Friday on the front steps of St. Andrew CC for their Rosary for America in remembrance of 9/11/2001. Special prayer intentions, as always, will be for our churches, our country and for our freedoms that are still being threatened as we remember those attacks of 9/11. We must never forget the lives that were lost that day!

We will also honor and pray for all our law enforcement officers to continue to serve and protect us and our communities every single day. And we must also remember the men and women of our military.

Bring your folding chairs or cushions and join in “prayer in the public square”. Contact Carol Jean Walters at (631) 926-0995 or (843) 236-0162. Or email her at cjwalters@catholicsforfreedomofreligion.org. God Bless America!

■ Community Bible Study (CBS) begins this week at Ocean Drive Presbyterian Church on Sixth Avenue South in North Myrtle Beach. The group meets each Wednesday at 9:15 a.m.

This fall’s study is The Gospel of John and there are classes for men, women, couples and children (birth through high school). CBS is a nondenominational, in-depth Bible study designed for all levels of Bible knowledge and all are welcome. Call coordinator Jeri Friz at (843) 249-6957 or email to wdgm250@gmail.com.

■ New Life Prayer Shawl Ministry will be presenting a “Blessing of the Gifts” Sunday during the 10 a.m. service at Grand Strand Community Church, 3820 Holmestown Road. The sanctuary is large and can accommodate many while keeping social distancing. And a popcorn and soft drink fellowship will follow the service.

■ Help 4 Kids and Backpack Buddies continue to provide food for 400 to 500 families per week and need your help. Suggested food donations include: peanut butter, jelly, pasta and sauce, rice, beans, cereal, macaroni & cheese, canisters of Kool-Aid, canned meats, snacks and chips.

You may also donate grocery gift cards used for produce, meats, dairy and bread and monetary donations are always appreciated.

And let’s not forget the need for back-to-school supplies, pencils, pens, notebooks and all the rest! Also, there is a need for new clothing, sizes 4 and up (especially teens); shoes and sneakers (any size), socks and underwear. And send gift cards that Help4Kids can use to purchase necessary goods.

The office is located at 2523 Forestbrook Road, Myrtle Beach SC 29588 (Gifts may be mailed to that address also). Go online to www.help4kidssc.org.

■ Together in Christ has a Wednesday ZOOM Prayer Meeting from noon-12:30 p.m. each week. Prayer changes everything and you are invited to pray with the mid-week group. Email hgprayer @sccoast.net.

■ St. Philip Lutheran Preschool is currently registering students for the 2020-21 school year for the 2, 3 and 4-year-old classes. Come join the fun!

The Virtual Schoolhouse is available for any students in Kindergarten-fifth grade enrolled in virtual learning (hybrid and/or full-time) with Horry County Schools. Staff will provide guidance; document connection issues; and coordinate times for breaks, snacks and lunch.

Health and safety protocols will be followed to include: morning temperature checks, social distancing, and required cleaning. Classes will be Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Contact the director, Jenn Loeswick at stphilippreschoolmb@gmail.com or look us up on Facebook: St. Philip Preschool-Myrtle Beach. The preschool is located at 6200 N. Kings Highway. Call (843) 449-4322 and we’ll get back to you.

■ Temple Emanu-EL by the Sea announces the following services that will take place at the Dunes Club, 9000 North Ocean Blvd.: Erev Rosh Hashanah, Erev Shabbat, Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m.; Rosh Hashanah First Day, Shabbat, Sept. 19, 10 a.m., Evening Service 7:30 p.m.; Rosh Hashanah Second Day, Sept. 20, 10 a.m., Shofar Service, Tashlich Ceremony (after services on the beach); Kol Nidre, Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m.; Yom Kippur Day, Sept. 28, 10 a.m. (with Yizkor); Mincha & Neilah, start 5:30 p.m., Private Devotion/Open Ark 5:30 p.m.-6 p.m.; Break the Fast and Shofar, 7:41 p.m.

(Please note: due to COVID-19 constraints, no children under age 12). Phone (843) 449-5552.

■ Knitting Hearts Community Spiritual Freedom Conference will be held Sept. 19 from 9:30 a.m.-noon at Ignite Church of Myrtle Beach, 4808 North Kings Hwy. Guest speaker will be Randy Stewart. Go to www.knittingheartsministry.wordpress.com.

■ The New Beginnings drive-thru food distribution will be held again Sept. 19 from 10 a.m.-noon at the Church of the Resurrection, 8901 U.S. 16 Bypass in Surfside Beach. Phone (843) 215-4500.

■ Low Country Food Bank and Faith Outreach Ministries will have another sponsor Drive-Thru Food Distribution at 4223 Socastee Blvd. Nov. 6 at 2:30 p.m. Phone (843) 215-4500.

■ The fall Women of Passion Conference, “Dare to Dream God-Sized Dreams” (Ephesians 3:20) will be held Oct. 10, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at The Grace Place, 404 George Bishop Parkway in Myrtle Beach. Tickets go on sale this week. Contact Stacey Gurley by phone at (864) 477-9683 or email to stacey@lovecoversus.com.

■ Infusion Ministries International Presents Blue Fire Conference with guest speaker David Hogan Oct. 10-11 at the Landmark Resort, 1501 South Ocean Blvd. Email to GotInfused@gmail.com or go to the website infusionintl.org.

■ The Colombiettes of St. Andrews Church, 37th Avenue North are in need of crafters and vendors for their Nov. 7 Christmas Bazaar that will take place from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Community Life Center. Contact Patricia Martelli at (908) 938-1433 or email patriciamartelli57@gmail.com.

■ St. Michael’s Catholic Church, 542 Cypress Ave., in Murrells Inlet has a Life Chain every first Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on U.S. 17 Business near the church driveway. You are invited to participate in this event. (Bring a chair if not able to stand for the hour.) Contact Joanne Bennett at (614) 313-8425 or email Joanne.bennett55@ gmail.com.

■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, opens its Thrift Store each week, Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. You are encouraged to come out and browse and buy and, in so doing, you’ll be supporting this community outreach. Phone (843) 236-1121.

■ Temple Shalom, 4023 Belle Terre Blvd., invites you to Shabbat services each Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Phone (843) 903-6634 or go online to templeshalommyrtlebeach.net.

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