Wiregrass Pastor continues serving congregation from Alaska

Things have looked a little unusual for Sunday services.
Pastor continues preaching to Wiregrass from Alaska
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 8:05 AM CDT
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TAYLOR, Ala. (WTVY) - Reverend Craig Bailey, Pastor of Tabernacle United Methodist Church, is serving his congregation from thousands of miles away.

“Back in December, I was told that I would be sent on assignment in Alaska on the express mission of having to mitigate soldier suicides,” said Bailey.

Bailey was ready to serve his country in that way, but was determined to continue his responsibilities back home. This means that things have looked a little unusual for Sunday services, with Reverend Bailey preaching over Zoom on a television screen for the congregation.

Bailey said, “I did not want this time of me serving up here to be a time where my church and I are disconnected. I didn’t want the church to have to limp through different lay speakers each Sunday.”

The congregation has been grateful for the consistency in their services. Church member Carol Barrett said, “It’s been great, we have felt so close, with him being gone, when someone was out physically here in the church, anyone we asked to step in has said yes.”

Tabernacle has sent handmade prayer cloths and other supplies to the soldiers Bailey serves with in Alaska. “Things that I can put in soldiers hands when I’m talking to them, when I’m encouraging them, to let them know that somebody back in Alabama is thinking about them,” said Bailey. “A church in Alabama is praying for them, praying over them.”

Bailey said that being able to continue preaching wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the church and his family.

“In situations like this, you can be trying to do great things where you’re at, but if you don’t have support at home, you know with family and church, the wheels begin to fall off pretty quick. But I can’t say enough how much my family and church family have supported me in this, and they’ve encouraged me a lot even when I’ve had some difficult days.”

The United Methodist Church has gone through division over the past few months, with many churches deciding to separate from the denomination. Bailey said that Tabernacle invites those who have been displaced from that process to join them at Tabernacle.

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