We had quite the weekend here in Sumter County, Georgia. We’d planned for some time to have our spring Fuller Center International board of directors’ meeting here. Then President and Mrs. Carter agreed to have dinner with the board, so we decided to make an event out of it.
Things got started on Wednesday evening when three early-bird members, LeRoy Troyer, Paul DiGiammarino and John Schaub stopped by the house for dinner. Sheilla made an outstanding chicken pot pie, and we got things off to a sociable start.
Everyone else came in late Wednesday and Thursday, and all who’d fit stayed at the Plains Inn, a charming boutique hotel with each room decorated in the style of a decade of Jimmy Carter’s life, from the 20’s through the 80’s. Most everyone else stayed at the historic Windsor in Americus, a grand hotel from the glory days. Sheilla and I stayed at home, and were grateful for that.
The board meeting started at noon on Thursday, and we worked hard firming up the foundation for what we all believe is the beginning of truly great things for The Fuller Center for Housing. Thursday evening we were all invited to the home of Anne and George Peagler for an over-the-top evening of fine food and fellowship. The Peaglers are hosts extraordinaire, and the evening gave us a chance to recharge and get ready for another day of meetings.
The board met again all day Friday. This is a fine group of people and we are truly blessed to have a group with so much depth, experience and dedication. We worked hard and well, and the ministry is being well served.
Friday night was the big event. The Carters had agreed to have dinner with the board, but we wanted to include a few more folks, so we named another sixty or so as honorary members. Sheilla has a lot of experience with this sort of thing—she fed several hundred volunteers for a week in Eagle Butte and hardly broke a sweat, so a cozy little dinner for 90 was a snap. We held it at the Community Center in Plains and it was catered by Mom’s out of Preston. Those who have visited Plains will remember Mom’s as the place everyone, including the Carters, goes to after church on Sunday.
The dinner was a huge success. Fuller Center co-founder, Linda Fuller Degelman shared a few words as did LeRoy Troyer. President Carter shared some thoughts as well, and then the Carters graciously posed for a picture with all of the guests. [Mini-primer on Georgian English—one doesn’t have one’s picture taken down here, one has it ‘made’.] The Carters are good friends to the Fuller Center, and we are grateful for their graciousness. They didn’t even raise an eyebrow when the board size went from 17 to 90.
On Saturday we had a Legacy Tour for our guests who hadn’t spent much time down here. We started with a visit to Habitat’s Global Village, an exhibition of poverty housing and solutions to it from around the world. Building the Global Village fulfilled one of Millard’s dreams, so we lay a little claim to it as well. From there, after a quick coffee stop at Café Campesino, we traveled out to Koinonia Farm, the birthplace of Habitat and The Fuller Center. We toured the campus and did some shopping and enjoyed the simple spirit of that place from which so much good has come.
From there it was on to Plains, we stopped for lunch at Dylan’s, the new restaurant at Mom’s old place. Sheilla and I Ieft the group there so we could get a little R&R. But it was back to Plains the next day for Sunday School at Maranatha Baptist Church. President Carter was teaching—he’s taught Sunday School regularly since he was 18 years old, and he’s good at it. That was the closing event of a very full few days. It was wonderful, though, to have so many friends and partners in town to get a better look at what we do and where we do it. Sumter County is quite a place.
To see dozens more photos from the wonderful weekend, click here.
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