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Sorry I been absent – this list is part of the distraction for me!

So I moved in June and started at a new church in July. It has been a wild ride, but I am actually loving it – even when I get frustrated (mostly by technology and not stuff and people). But we are moving forward – everyday – even when the steps are just small ones.  Most of this list was accomplished in the past 7 months – because of a lot of hard work by many people. The letter goes to the congregation in the mail today, but blog readers can get a jump start! 

 

Did you know this about College Place United Methodist Church?

Ministry Area

  1. Two new members that joined the church in the last few months. Each Sunday we have noticed that we have a number of visitors.
  2. Our church paid 100% of the commitment for Conference and global support and local Missions of the United Methodist Church. We maintained its rich history of paying 100% of Conference asking to support missions around the world. Fifty-two churches (or 73%) of the district can say that.
  3. Hosted a Community Thanksgiving Service and Reception the Thursday before Thanksgiving Day.
  4. College Place has a new headset microphone used during worship (donated).
  5. Developed and approved the 2012 Ministry Budget in mid-December 2011.
  6. Had a weekly Bible Study/small group based on Bad Girls of the Bible.
  7. A Wesley-Luther Campus Ministry Bible Study was held at the church this past fall with various groups hosting a meal for the students.
  8. Senior Adult Valentine’s Day Party next Tuesday morning.
  9. An Ash Wednesday worship service is being planned for Wednesday, February 22 at 5:30 p.m.

10. The Friends Class is planning a spaghetti supper for March 24. Part of the funds will go to start a fund to raise money for restoring chimes in the tower as an offering to the College Hill community.

11. Wonderful news the Staff-Parish Committee is in the process of hiring staff to develop our Young Peoples’ Ministry for our church and community.

Outreach Area

12. We have outdoor signs that call attention to events such as Sunday Night Live and Wonderful Wednesday. We had visitors drop in for Wonderful Wednesday and returned to worship on Sunday.

13. The lighting of the sign and tower has been fixed and updated so the tower is illuminated at night.

14. College Place has five stone flower planters with lovely winter flowers that were donated. Four planters are at the front on the steps to the church and one on the side. We’ve seen our neighbors stopping and enjoying their beauty.

15. New computer software that allows design and printing of all kinds of brochures, flyers, bulletins and newsletters that we can better communicate happenings at College Place Church (donated).

16. The young adult group, CPYA, hosted the Fall Festival and Chili Cook-off and talked Santa into visiting just before Christmas.

17. We have updated Phone Tree software for calling, emailing and contacting members and friends of the church about happenings at College Place (donated).

18. The O’ Henry magazine featured our UMW cookbook being used to cook the meal at Greensboro Urban Ministry’s Weaver House in its Oct/Nov edition.

Technical Improvements and Updates

19. Two new Dell computers (95% donated) that are networked with each other and the copier (used as a much cheaper printer than bubble jet printers).

20. A new internet system giving us Wi-Fi in most of the building – the sanctuary, fellowship hall and for the basement area for Max and Friends. (Little set-up cost and actual reduction to our monthly services – Thanks AT&T!). No surfing the internet during the sermon!

Church Building Improvements and Updates

21. College students have painted and are renovating their Sunday school room and a new couch and loveseat set will complete this room soon (donated).

22. Max and Friends have continued their improvements to the basement area by cleaning and painting additional rooms and putting in new lighting in the old fellowship hall. They are currently working on the old kitchen and a couple of the rooms downstairs.

23. We’ve added beautiful, energy efficient windows in the pastor’s office, secretary’s office, music director’s office, storage room, Friend’s Class, John Wesley Room and kitchen (purchased with donated or endowment earnings for maintenance). Trustees have developed an on-going fund raising for more window replacement.

24. A renovated John Wesley Room with new blinds, drapes, flooring, rugs, recovered furniture and presentation cabinet. (All done by funds donated for this purpose.) A new painting of the original Church sanctuary hangs over the mantle in the John Wesley Room. It was painted by a member and donated. A dedication of the room is planned for March 4.

25. Renovated offices have fresh carpet and paint, blinds, new desks (both gifts). The office has been rearranged to aid efficiency. The office restroom was painted, new shelving added for storage and covering for heating & A/C return ductwork. This was all accomplished by funds outside the ministry budget of the church (either donations or endowment specified for maintenance).

26. A new security system that features up to 8 cameras to monitor 8 areas of the church and enabling recording of entry and movement in our building. It replaced the previous system which was not consistently working (donated).

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Palm/Passion Sunday – Apr 17, 2011 – “From Palms to a Cross”

Procession and All Glory Laud and Honor hymn 02 Gospel_Music

Sermon: 05 From Palms to A Cross

Benediction Response  and Postlude 12 Benediction _ Postlude

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Lent IV – Apr 3, 2011 – John 9 – Jesus and the Blind Man

Help Us to See – AUDIO

Service and Sermon of April 3, 2011

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Sermon Feb. 13 – “God’s servants, Working Together”

A sermon from I Corinthians 3:1-9 from Feb. 13, 2009. Scout Sunday. Sorry about the voice effected by a cold. Click the link to listen.

God’s Servants, Working Together

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When Being the Boss isn’t Enough

“When Being Boss isn’t Enough”

I Timothy 6:6-19: Advice to Timothy – “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” (v. 10)

Luke 16:19-31: Lazarus and the Rich Man

September 26, 2010 Jason Harvey: Broad Street UMC: Statesville

I could have come up with a more joyous text, if I didn’t attempt to regularly preach from the Lectionary texts. That is the a beauty of being a United Methodist Preacher, one can choose one’s own text. But the discipline of Lectionary preaching encourages, no makes, no forces the preacher to preach text he or she would just quietly push under the rug and leave for someone else.

But today, we have two texts before us that really make one ponder if one is so inclined to ponder – pondering these days isn’t something in vogue. It seems that yelling and back and forth are in, but not pondering. Thinking and weighing the impact and the responsibilities of a situation that involves more that one or a few of our closest friends seems to be only a memory of the past.

But for some of those who find merit in pondering and questioning, these texts serve as a reminder of reasoning of their normal action or perhaps a strong wake-up call offered of responsibility and needed action. Hearing once again the often quoted, often ignored line, “The Love of Money is a root of all kinds of evil” challenges us to evaluate our lives – our motivations – our plans – our driving forces in our lives.

You see we have been talking about money a lot around here lately. We are recovery from the summer slumps of offerings. I know there are vacations to pay off, new school clothes to be payed for, fees due here and there. I’d just soon not have to mention money. We’ve talked enough about the ill-fated economy as we considered our Capital Campaign decision.

We know times are challenging. But the small comfort I take in our constant momentary conversation is two fold. The first is the fact that in all of the New Testament’s teachings by Jesus, money is talked about more than anything else. It was talked about more than ANY OTHER TOPIC in the Gospels – if one combines the rest of the topics, even then money would be the top runner still. Money and it’s responsibilities and place in the world were of great focus to Jesus and the early church. In the first of Acts, those who were Christian lived a communal life – one big happy bank account – “and none had want for anything.” I doubt that’ll come up much before November’s election by some who wear their faith on the shirtsleeves. But that shared bank account isn’t what seems to be presented as the only way to be Christian. There some give and take in this.

The real point, at least in my reflection and understanding is really based in I Timothy’s words today – “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Money in itself, like many things, guns that can give life through hunting or protecting, in difficult times, or drugs, that can ease pain or prevent painful illnesses. But when those same items are used in the worst situations, then murders or overdoses can be the result.

When used poorly, all sorts of pain and terrible situations develop. But when our resources are used appropriately, they can able all sorts of good – new shoes or glasses, medical treatments and food, good homes and safe cars, brand spanking new Bible’s for third graders and new organs for congregations, new places to house ministry and experiences where people can learn of God’s love for them.

Do me a favor – penny, coin, key, a baseball or a pocket sized football or the end of your thumb. Hold the coin at arms length between you and the cross up front. Can you still see the cross? Now bring the object closer to your eye. When is it that you can only see the coin and not the cross? When does the object block out the cross all together? At what point does the object become the focus instead of the cross of Christ and his calling on your life?

It seems that Jesus knew where the real rub would be. Not in international relations, or human relationships – not in resistance to change or internal conflicts within the body of Christ – or insert whatever hot button issue is being used to distract us from bigger problems that surround us by talking heads. The topic that Jesus is concerned about hits closer to home – within reach of each of us. It’s about the money. Jesus, even in the midst of all the other things he feels like he needs to teach and share with the disciples and the people following him around, he teaches about money. Not teaching that the money in itself is a bad thing – no.

But if we allow money – and it only – to direct, dictate, or determine how we live our lives and respond to God’s calling in our lives, then, my friends, we are in a world of hurt – and heaven help us, cause there will be hell to pay.

On the other hand of focusing heavily on money and it’s drawing of us: if we allow money to not to be so close to us or hold it so dear to our hearts and so tightly in our fists, it can be an aid to abounding goodness, not just for one or two, but for two, or three, or four, or five hundred, six or seven thousands, 8 or 9 million or 10s of billions of God’s created people can have enough.

I Timothy, the end of todays lection: “As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches (I’ll add stocks and speculation funds), but [set their hopes] rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” But you say see, it is about me having a good time you might argue. But I say to you, the writer isn’t finished with the thought. He says, “They, [those rich folk,] they are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.” That’s what it says. Bout the same thing as Spiderman’s – “To those whom much is given, much is expected” line.

Like that rich man – not helping Lazarus – the man at his gate. Totally ignoring him. Not out of fear or threats to himself or others or prior experience of not making progress, but simply not helping. The rich man has always been the one in charge, the big boss – telling folks what to do. Then he dies, and heads to Hades, somehow he can see into Heaven and recognizes Abraham and Lazarus. And claiming Abraham, as his father, he asked that Lazarus, the man laying outside his gate whose name he knew as well, to go and deliver a message to his brothers. Well, you know that rich man’s riches done run out. He’s had his goodness, and his power, and his control – but no longer. Abraham reminds him, still claiming him by addressing him as child, that his brothers have the prophets too and they have to decide for themselves. Abraham says, even if they were to see a dead man return, they’re ways would not be changed.

Well, his brothers’ decisions are the same for us. How will we use what we have been entrusted? Cause there is a time when death equals all of humanity – at some point. We don’t know when. I love a line from one of the funeral prayers, “Let us live as those prepared to die and let us die as those who go forth to live.” The decisions we make, the things we consider important now, in this life, will make a difference in the way we are viewed in death. Not haughty, as Timothy’s word’s remind us, pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.; take hold of eternal life. Deep soul challenging commands. and share the rewarding gifts of sharing the abundance of God’s gifts.

All glory, honor and power be to the one who was, is and is to come

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Prayer of Invocation for MLK,Jr. Celebration and Diversity Awards at Mitchell Community College

Mitchell's Main Building

The prayer:
O God of people and dreams, of peace and unity, we pray to thee for thou presence during our time together today.

We as members of this college, community, state, nation and world, band together in remembering one who led a struggle toward freedom. We also pray for guidance and desire to join our sisters and brothers of every race and creed in the journey of life that is placed before us each day.

We give you thanks for those who have come before us hearing the call of freedom and life and responded to the need of the whole rather than the need of oneself. St. Francis of Assisi, William Wilberforce, Mahatma Gandhi, Susan B Anthony, Archbishop Oscar Romero, Dorothy Day, Nelson Mandela and especially, today, we remember The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Those people who have responded selflessly for the sake of their neighbor’s lives.

In light of the act that unity and harmony have yet to be achieved, O God, we give you thanks and offer our continued prayers for those who work toward diversity. Strengthen and enliven them as they work toward enabling Dr. King’s dream of togetherness and unity as one human family. Help each of us to follow their model with our living that we too may join their cause.

And with the words of Dr. King’s prayer I close: “Keep us, we pray, in perfect peace, help us to walk together until that day when all of God’s children – Black, White, Red, and Yellow – will rejoice in one common band of humanity in the kingdom of our Lord and of our God, we pray. Amen.”

Quoted Section – “Giving Thanks for a Committed Life,” a prayer by Martin Luther King, Jr. in Harold A. Carter’s “Prayer Tradition of Black People (1985).”

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Advent III/II: Sunday’s Sermon

Advent II – Dec. 13, 2009
Broad Street UMC: Statesville, NC
The Canticle of Zechariah – Luke 1:68-79: Malachi 3:1-4; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6.
The Rev. Jason W. Harvey

Some times in life you realize you make good choices. Other times you realize you don’t necessarily. This morning I chose to put on the socks that don’t stay up. I hate that. I was in the office this morning and I reached down to pull up the socks that don’t stay up and I realized I wore blue socks with my black suit. They are dark blue – good news. The other news is I felt if I wear my blue stole I’ll be ok. A little edgy, but that’s ok. It is the fashion trend of Statesville, I started it right here.

The other thing you realize that you make choices, well, when you type up the bulletin (those three mistakes are mine – out feet, our feet – something like that). You print the bulletins and you then you realize that the text that you put into the bulletin and you realize that you have put in the texts from the week before, but I like the text from the week before, so we are doing Advent, number two today and you have another week to shop before Christmas this year. So we’ve stretched that out a week more. Our merchants are glad to hear that. We have another week to shop.

However, since last week was such a wonderful celebration of our 100 year sanctuary. I look out and I see the remainate of the festivities gone past, but I am greatful you’re here. I don’t blame you, I thought about staying home and listening by the radio. If you are listening on the radio, we welcome you.
But there are some wonderful things going on this time of the year. I love it. All around town and even right here in our church. Sunday school parties, UMWomen Circle parties – one tomorrow; I’m looking forward to it.

Church trips we go on. The van tires are still cooling down at Boggs Motor from the Senior trip to Lake Junaluska yesterday. Twenty-five of us went yesterday – it was a great trip.

Last Saturday, 19 of the youth and I and some others took off to the Candle Tea in Winston-Salem to a neat event. We wound up watching the Christmas parade sitting inside the Mellow Mushroom Pizza in Winston-Salem. We were right there on Fourth St. the parade went by as we were munching on pizza. I found a way to watch a parade and it is not out standing in the cold.

However, at Old Salem we went downstairs, I don’t know, several of you have been to Old Salem… There is one rumor I want to dispel – it is Moravian Sugar …Cake, not Sugar Bread, being from Winston-Salem, I am somewhat of an authority, it is Sugar Cake, not Sugar Bread. So I am here to change Statesville, I understand there is an ugly rumor of Sugar Bread in our midst. The Moravians have sent me here to do that.

We went to the Candle Tea, we sang some Moravian songs, we saw them make candles, the beeswax candles, ate some of the Sugar, what’s it called? Cake, good, no rebels. So we went downstairs to the PUTZ and from what I understand, I’m Methodist, with some Moravian influences. They would put these small houses around the bottom of their trees in family homes – small wooded houses sometimes with candles. They would go around and see the neighbor’s villages. The PUTZ in Salem was dying out, so they included it at the Candle Tea. It takes about three months to set it up, it is viewed for a month and it takes a month to take down. They use marble dust for snow. It is great. All kinds of wonderful things.

We had this tour guide, she really hammed it up for the kids. She made Salem come alive. Well, I was standing on one end, probably about the Wachovia Building and I was looking over the village. I couldn’t see all the way to the end.

I asked her how long she’d been near Salem? She replied, “All of her life.” I thought she would remember what it was I was about to ask her. I told her I couldn’t see that far down, but was there a Rambler dealership at the bottom of Salem hill – Winebarger and Adkins? She said no, but she remembered it. It was my Granddad’s dealership. Not far from Krisby Kream – another W-S treasure. As I walked by she said they’d bought two cars there – a wagon and convertible and I absolutely loved them.

Well, I, I’m not trying to sale Ramblers, althought I could probably do it; but I could I’ve got some good lines down – “It’s a good solid car.” “It was a car before it’s time. It really was.” They don’t make it anymore, but that’s par. I could sale it.

Have you ever noticed that a person who asks a question in some public setting they somewhat become an authority on the issue. People automatically look toward one person to do the speaking. Have you ever noticed that in a meeting?

Well, I asked that one question and one of our kids looked at me. She observed some of the details. There were footprints coming in and out of this one small building behind some of the houses. And she asked, “What’s that little building out back?” I replied an “Outhouse.” I still got a blank stare. I pushed forward and said, “Well, that’s the place they used to go to the restroom.” That got her attention. She looked at me like a murder had just been committed. “What, they didn’t have indoor pluming?” I said, “no, they didn’t” and one of the parents added in, “nor did they have cell phones.” A bit of a reality check for how far we’ve come in a short while.

Back to our guide person – she really made Salem come alive – making up little stories about houses and people chatting on the street. She even told a story about what the town crier was saying. You know what a town crier is don’t you? It’s not gone the way of the outhouse, has it? Well, he was the internet, tweeter, the evening news and newspaper all rolled into one noisy man walking along the streets. Often ringing a bell, hollering out “Oyea, Oyea,” and would then yell the headlines. Sorta like a prophet, a little bit. He made the announcements for the courts and the government.

Did you know the Lord Mayor of London still has a town crier? Did you know that the town crier is still protected by law against assault and harassment? The town crier was a agent of the king, so therefore, if the town crier was accosted or something, then that is treason on the words of the king. The town crier would announce something like tax increases and that is never welcomed.

So you have these town criers that are somewhat still existent. They have competitions and things where they get together.

You know sometimes in Advent, I feel a little like a town crier (ringing huge handbell, requiring both hands – at this point) – Oyea, Oyea! In Advent, I feel a little like a town crier. I stand here saying something similar to before, just in a different time and place.

Thinking back to December two years ago – we thought we had the world by a string. A year ago in December, you probably remember it – we were wondering if the world was going to be around in a couple of months. Dire faces because of dire funds. This year we’re a little better, but we’re not out of the woods yet on that issue.

But I take my place here again to say we’re in the Season of Advent once again and not Christmas – not yet! It is the way that the church says we’re different – things inside these walls aren’t the same as outside the walls.
Advent say to us, “wait, slow down, remember the reason we are to celebrate – but in a way more than just being reminded that, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” In my opinion, a rather trite explanation of the Incarnation of God – God made flesh. That little mantra doesn’t seem to capture Jesus. Advent is the church’s way to say to us, “anticipate the joy of Christ’s birth, but not yet!”

Stanley Hauerwas, Time Magazine’s 2001 America’s Best Theologian – How many of you’ve heard of him? (Only one had – my senior pastor) – he teaches at that other divinity school, down there, where ever it is, at Duke. Sometimes I think he pushes us (the church) against the culture too much, some I can really get behind. But my understanding or memory of a quote in this pass issue of “Christian Century” that today’s church has lost its ability to be counter cultural, since it has become a slave to consumer trends. He says, today’s church has lost its ability to be counter cultural, since it has become a slave to consumer trends. We my friends, we want people to like us, so we’ve made concessions:
If you are visiting, we want you to come again.
If you are here, we really want you to stay.
If you haven’t been here or it has been a while, we would love to see you again. But in our process of trying to make everyone happy; to get everyone to like us, we’ve forgotten that our message isn’t always comforting – to the ways of the world.

Advent says to us, we can’t put on some festive sweater, a painted on smile, purchase someone an artificial gift we’d rather give to someone else. And then go out into the world and everything will be happy. That, my friends, is called “denial” – and it isn’t just a river in Egypt.

Advent says the ways of God are not the ways of the world – not anywhere close. Might does not make right! Ask Mary and Joseph in a tiny stable in a few days. The old king might not know about the new king. And tell me the last time a bunch of roughen shepherds were the first to be invited to the biggest party in the world’s history by a choir of angels.

Not the same! Not the same. – Yells the town crier.

Jesus Christ for whom we wait isn’t the same ol’, same ol’. This Jesus – both the infant that we celebrate and the ruler who has promised to return in the end – is a major change agent in our lives – and can be in each of our individual lives, if we so choose.

This Jesus – for whom we wait – reminds us that our world, no matter how tough we may experience it, will not fall from its axis – it may change, it may look different – the North Pole might be the South Pole – or the South Pole the North Pole. But it will not have final say over our lives, over our souls. I wonder what December 2010 will look like, I wonder what December 2020 will look like, or maybe December 2222? What will they look like how will they be? But we need not fear it. “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow – they neither toil or spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.” (Matt. 6:28-29).

There are paths we fear to trod before each of us, but even though life may threaten, we do not face our challenges alone, because of Christ’s presence.

Advent reminds us that Christmases and days have come before. Some are now fond memories, others are painful scars – but Advent reminds us there are new memories to be made in the here and now – and the scars of past wounds that make us who we are, but they are not our defining feature.

This morning on my way in I was listening to the BBC Worldservice on 90.7 – 88.5 and 89.9 were playing these elaborate classical pieces and I wanted companionship on my way in. They were interviewing this guy from South Africa who was missing a bone in his leg. This man was born and his parents had to choose to have both of his feet and part of his legs amputated – one was misshapen and the other was missing a bone need for structure. But this young man had decided to make a go of life. He’d had some prosthesis made and he was able to walk and to run. In South Africa they aren’t as easy on their kids as they grow up. He said had his Mom ran after him each time he fell over, she’d still be running. She’d say, “Yeah, he’ll get up.” And he did. He said once he got in trouble and was sent across the street to the girl’s school from his boy’s school and he had to do ballet for two hours a day for a month. He said ballet for a kid with no feet was a challenge. He said he did it, he tried. He made a go of it.

Now he’s bring up an issue in the world of sports. Can he compete with so called “able bodied” runners, ‘cause he is so good, so fast? He’s moving on. He has figured out a way to live in the circumstances where he’d found himself. He’s made a life. Now he’s being interviewed by the BBC. Pretty amazing.

Advent reminds us that promises made have been fulfilled and the Messiah is here, the Messiah is come in the birth of Jesus, the little infant. But we also know there is hope for the future. All things wrong will be made right.
That’s what Advent reminds us of.

Advent says to us, “wait, just you wait!” the future is to be your present. Not something for us to dread, but for us to hope. Not merely to hope, but to work toward. It is great for us to help out a person who needs even the basics of life during this season, but what is it that we, many of us some of the most influential people in this town and county, what can our church do to correct injustices that created this situation in our society? Where has the spirit of transformation gone from Christianity?

Foundry Church in DC. I was listening to a sermon online the other day, back from November. Dean Snyder, the Minister there, was laying out the goals of that congregation for the next five years for that church. One of their goals he laid out was to alleviate homelessness in Washington, DC. That’s pretty big, isn’t it? They plan to work through church communities throughtout the District. They estimate that for $19 million they can eliminate homelessness in DC. He said he’d watched homelessness as we knew it had developed over the past 30 years. It’s not something that has been present throughout our nation’s history. But they could end homelessness by 2014 for $19 million dollars.

I am reminded of Bishop McClesky’s illustration last week. This thought has stayed with me all week long – about how Liverpool could build an $11 Million dollar cathedral. The Dean of the cathedral asked why we were so willing to put forth the necessary money for a nuclear submarine or concord jet, when one day they will be obsolete? But we are not willing to spend $11 million dollars on a cathedral that will last 500 or 1000 years and touch so many people’s lives. $19 Million is all it takes to cure homelessness in our nation’s capital. That’s amazing, that’s a Christian vision. That’s going after God’s way.

We must move forward to live out the promises of God. Yeah, God is working to bring about transformation, but what are we doing to help? When is the last time you wrote a letter or made a call to some leader in some place – especially because of the Scripture’s calling us to be and do and not our pocketbooks? Advent isn’t always fun – contrary to what the world’s idea of what Christmas always is, Advent isn’t always fun.

You know, It’s a Wonderful Life was on last night. Produced in 1946, I believe, know telling how many times it has been shown. It shows how much one person can shape a small town and the impact they can have on it. After George wished that’d he’d never been born and Clarence, the angel shows up and he hasn’t been born and we sees how Bedford Falls has changed to Pottersville. He finally realizes the impact he’s made on his small community and then he stands on the same bridge and prays, “Please God let me live again.”

And he does.

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