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Pastor gains from giving at Monte Sano school

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At Monte Sano Elementary School, they know him simply as Pastor Jim.

And for nearly the past two years, administrators and teachers at the school say Jim McCollough and several members of his church, Woodlawn United Methodist, have gone above and beyond in helping the school with everything from mentoring students to providing day care for some events.

"Just awesome," is how school social worker Jean Brown refers to the Rev. McCollough. "Pastor Jim makes it a point to know the kids by first name."

The school/community partnership was started nearly two years ago when the Rev. McCollough decided he and his church could offer their time in volunteering for the Augusta school, which is less than a mile from the church. He said he approached Richmond County school system officials with the idea and gained their approval and that of the school principal, Kathryn Perrin.

"It was just a great fit because we have all these folks who were retired teachers, retired professionals ... we had retired accountants and we had those who were retired that were doctors or were financial analysts or salesmen," he said.

Since the idea began, the Rev. McCollough has been assisting as a mentor in a Monte Sano class every Thursday, and he said there are about 10 to 12 other volunteers from his church who help at the school each week, assisting not only as mentors but also with duties such as making copies for the main office.

The Rev. McCollough, who moved to the area in January 2008 from Royston, Ga., said the idea was to give something back to his community, adding that it was easy, citing Monte Sano's great staff and group of students and parents.

"These relationships formed, and something really neat happened," he said. "I feel like we're the ones that have benefitted from this relationship. We love it there."

Mrs. Brown offered a story of how the school recently held a six-week parenting group course, noting that the Rev. McCollough and members of his church and family helped provide day care for the parents during that six-week time frame and even brought refreshments.

Mrs. Brown said a goal of Monte Sano's is to increase parental and community involvement with the school, "and Pastor Jim is our biggest advocate for that."

Recently, Woodlawn Methodist held a fall carnival and invited all Monte Sano staff, students and parents.

The Rev. McCollough said he's also helping organize another event for Monte Sano that will occur in the spring. He said it will involve the Augusta State University tennis team and their head coach meeting with Monte Sano students and others at Newman Tennis Center to provide tennis lessons.

The Rev. McCollough says those at Monte Sano have been his blessing.

"They don't realize that that blessing ... it's actually back the other way," he said. "It's just amazing that change and that difference that you make ends up being you."

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 828-3851 or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com

JIM MCCOLLOUGH

FAMILY: wife, Amy; daughters Jamy, Ali, Jean-Ann and Amanda

AGE: 48

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Pastor of Woodlawn United Methodist Church; has headed a community volunteer partnership with Monte Sano Elementary School since moving to the area nearly two years ago

QUOTE: "We love our community, and we want those children (at Monte Sano) to become wonderful loving citizens that can also find that place where they can share their gift."

Comments (14) Add comment
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anotherday
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anotherday 11/02/09 - 07:01 am
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Excellent!!!!!

Excellent!!!!!

lenard
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lenard 11/02/09 - 08:46 am
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great job !!!!!!!!!!!!

great job !!!!!!!!!!!!

InChristLove
22485
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InChristLove 11/02/09 - 08:47 am
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Wonderful!! Great way to

Wonderful!! Great way to reach out to the community and to help families in the area.

faithson
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faithson 11/02/09 - 09:08 am
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Every little bit counts....

Every little bit counts.... what a great program.... hope other organizations will follow Rev McClough's lead...

The Knave
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The Knave 11/02/09 - 10:26 am
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Why can't he simply be

Why can't he simply be referred to as "Jim" or "Mr. McCollough?" The term "reverend" is pretentiously obnoxious and reflects the religious industry's need to elevate their members to a phony, elitist, pious level (“Piety is oppressive. It takes all the air out of thought.” -- Norman Mailer.) When I encounter someone who has devoted their life to the study of some religion or another, I am reminded of the expression: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." Mr. McCollough's work with the school is commendable. I trust that he is not using it as forum to proselytize. ----- “Man is the only religious animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion--several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat, if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven.” (Mark Twain)

InChristLove
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InChristLove 11/02/09 - 12:10 pm
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The Knave, I have no idea

The Knave, I have no idea what you are talking about in your post after your first two sentences, but Mr. McCollough as your refer to him has earned the title of reverend. Just as a doctor or professor has earned their title Dr. or Prof., it's simply a respectful act to refer a minister as Reverend. Since it is his church members who is responsbile for helping out the community, it only seems fitting to give the man respect by calling him by his title. No where in this article is religion mentioned in context with the students....this is about teaching or helping them with the basic educational fundementals.

justbeasy
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justbeasy 11/02/09 - 01:03 pm
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Knave you need a life!!!!

Knave you need a life!!!!

The Knave
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The Knave 11/02/09 - 01:29 pm
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OK, InChristLove, I'll take

OK, InChristLove, I'll take the bait. It is not surprising that you ..."have no idea what (I'm) talking about..." I repeat, a mind is a terrible thing to waste, whether it's yours or some "reverend's." Anyone who devotes their life to "studying" the myths, fables, fairies and fiends of religion, particularly if they spend time attending a seminary, does not deserve to be referred to by any title that connotes respect or admiration, let alone "reverence." It is laughable that you put the "reverends" in the same category as those who have earned a professional degree in some productive and intellectually meaningful discipline. There is nothing professional about the religious industry and its pseudo schools. The good fellows who man the garbage collection truck in my neighborhood are more deserving of being called "professionals," than are any of the products of the religious diploma mills known as seminaries. --- "Mystical explanations are thought to be deep; the truth is that they are not even shallow." (Friedrich Nietzsche) "Let's work to spare humankind from further religious 'thought'-- that shallow pretentiousness with delusions of profundity." (P.Z. Myers)

InChristLove
22485
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InChristLove 11/02/09 - 01:40 pm
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The Knave, prove that God is

The Knave, prove that God is a myth, or that stories from the Holy Bible are just fables, or fairy tales. Just because in your opinon the garbage collector in your neighborhood deserves more respect, does not mean it's a fact.

anotherday
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anotherday 11/02/09 - 01:59 pm
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There would be one to find

There would be one to find something wrong with this great story.

bobaisgaf
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bobaisgaf 11/02/09 - 03:37 pm
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Knave, at least the man did

Knave, at least the man did seek some level of higher education which allowed him to receive his "title". Why find fault when he is trying to increase parental involvement in the school and enhance the education of the students. This alone is a commendable act considering most parents leave it up to the public school system to be teachers/babysitters, which could be viewed as possibly corrupting their children's minds. It's a terrible thing to waste, right?

anotherlook
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anotherlook 11/02/09 - 06:28 pm
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Knave, I for one am surprised

Knave, I for one am surprised that you quoted Mark Twain ( that is Samuel Clemens) because of his experience with his wife while she was dying. For those who may not be familiar with this story, here's a quick synopsis. While his wife was a very spiritual person, Samuel was adamantly against religiosity. Over the years Samuel's constant unrelenting disbelief caused his wife to finally lose her faith in God. While she lay dying Samuel pleaded with her to regain her faith but she could not. It was one of the many regrets that he carried to his grave that he had caused her to lose her faith. And just a final word: the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote: "that even though the existence of God cannot be determined through reason, a person should wager as though God exists, because so living has everything to gain, and nothing to lose." As for myself, I having nothing to lose and eternity to gain am overjoyed to see how wonderfully God's people are being such a blessing to the greater community.

LCC0256
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LCC0256 11/02/09 - 09:37 pm
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The world is full of sad

The world is full of sad angry humans who will lash out at any and everything in their path. Ironically many times they target those who are filled with Christ's love. The reasons are many but bottom line is we are commanded to pray not only for this fine pastor but also this jaded misguided critic who is searching for something many of us have already found...and it was FREE!!

corgimom
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corgimom 11/02/09 - 09:44 pm
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The Knave, he earned his

The Knave, he earned his title by being ordained as a minister in the Episcopal Church. It's a form of etiquette. Different churches call their ministers by different titles. That's like saying it's obnoxious to call a Catholic priest "Father" or a nun "Sister".

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