Chuck Leavell is a tree farmer in middle Georgia. He’s been recognized by the state of Georgia, the Forestry Commission and many other conservation groups for his work in land restoration. Chuck Leavell is also an author. With books titled Between a Rock and a Home Place, Forever Green: The History and Hope of the American Forest, The Tree Farmer (a children’s book) and his most recent A Better America: Smart, Strong, Sustainable, he has established himself among modern writers. But Chuck is best known for his music. As a keyboardist, he has produced or recorded with: The Allman Brothers, The Marshall Tucker Band, Gov’t Mule, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, George Harrison, The Black Crowes, Miranda Lambert and more. But… but… he is best known as the long-time touring keyboardist (for years and years and years) of The Rolling Stones…

I was sitting in the Atlanta airport a few years ago waiting to board a prop plane to Greenville, Mississippi. From the same gate, another small plane was bound for Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Chuck was sitting and waiting; reading a book. A young man sat next to him… wearing a Rolling Stones t-shirt. I waited. Nothing happened. The young man got on my plane to Greenville…sat next to me… and I asked him, “Do you know who was sitting beside you in the airport?” When I told him, he looked as if he’d missed the moment of a lifetime.

The New Year – 52 Sundays – is ahead of us in 2016. They will include: Communion, Churchwide Retreat, Cuba Mission Team Celebration, the Lux Aeterna of Morten Lauridsen, the celebrations of Lent and Easter, youth and children leadership, a multi-lingual Pentecost celebration, a visit from Livingston Taylor (James Taylor’s brother), baby dedications, A Christmas Day Service (Christmas is on Sunday this year! How much fun will that be!) and much, much more. I hope you will make an effort – a commitment – to be in worship as often as possible. You may not get to sit beside Chuck Leavell, but you will be in the presence of God and good friends. And I wouldn’t want you to miss it.

— Jim