FAIRMONT — Some clergymen prefer to stand up in entrance of the congregation to ship “sermons.”
The Rev. D.D. Meighen isn’t one in all them.
For him, deliverance of an excellent story does all of the preaching ever wanted on a Sunday morning.
A compelling account of somebody’s stroll in life — versus a laundry listing of proclamations delivered from on excessive — is akin to an act of wonderful grace, for him.
Or, religion that made itself recognized at simply the best second.
Tales of vacationers who lived to inform about it.
These are the tales the Fairmont-area minister, together with his sturdy ties to Morgantown and WVU, has been crafting and chronicling for many years.
Meighen can be a group activist and founding father of his personal cable entry community within the Marion County metropolis, broadcasting civic conferences whereas spotlighting folks and group occasions of observe.
This previous Monday in Charleston, the West Virginia Council of Church buildings instructed his story for a change.
The council offered Meighen with its Mary Virginia De Roo Award.
It’s the very best honor the ecumenical group bestows for religion and outreach.
“I actually wasn’t anticipating this,” the recipient mentioned.
“I used to be humbled and flattered. I’m simply on the market doing what I do.”
Which, as might be famous, is so much.
Even for a 78-year-old man of the fabric and media practitioner whose (alleged) retirement lasted precisely two months: from December 2021 to February 2022.
Or, particularly for a 78-year-old man of the fabric and media practitioner whose (alleged) retirement lasted precisely two months: from December 2021 to February 2022.
Not that he harbored intentions of ever getting too comfy in a rocking chair, anyway.
Throughout that winter month final 12 months, Meighen was coaxed again into his area.
That’s when he assumed, on the request of the group, an interim appointment as director of the WVU Presbyterian Scholar Fellowship, on Willey Road.
It was a straightforward promote, truly.
And, a homecoming of coronary heart.
From 1976-81, Meighen served as campus minister of the state’s flagship college.
College students in Morgantown then have been nonetheless feeling the sting of Vietnam and Watergate, earlier than uncertainty over the Center East settled in.
They have been looking for, wandering and hoping to set down moorings for his or her place within the cosmos — be it anchored by religion, or not.
They usually nonetheless are, he mentioned.
Name it human nature, he mentioned. We’re all seekers.
That’s true, he mentioned, of the congregants who’ve stuffed the pews on the 17 church buildings and their 4 denominations he’s served — in a calling that’s solely only a few Sundays away, now, from spanning six a long time.
The once-and-future minister started doing outreach work early at Fairmont Senior Excessive College, the place he rapidly discovered he loved toting a reporter’s pocket book simply as a lot because the Good Guide.
After divinity college in Ohio, he got here again dwelling within the early Seventies.
The younger minister was intent on altering hearts and minds over some long-held misconceptions about life within the Mountain State, the place poverty, most of the time, prevails.
A part of that mission meant reaching, and preaching, into the then-conventional knowledge decreeing that Appalachians, usually and easily, “selected” to reside that approach.
To show the stereotypes fallacious, he lived with two needy households in Marshall and Fayette counties for almost two years.
He ate at their tables and contributed financially to their households, whereas chronicling their struggles.
Virtually Heaven, he mentioned, doesn’t assure a livable wage.
Thus started his liturgy of the lens (and microphone) because it have been, that took him on an analog tape, then digital, journey to TV19.
Meighen was a one-man operation for his above community, protecting conferences of Fairmont Metropolis Council and the Marion County Fee, together with candidate boards on the Elks Lodge and concert events at Palatine Park.
You’ve politics as a result of you could have folks, he mentioned.
It’s much more so, he mentioned, with dispatches of the each day information and human situation: Right here’s what occurred when Dad bought drafted.
Right here’s why I voted the way in which I did — or mentioned what I mentioned, after the primary studying of that zoning ordinance.
This is the reason Mother by no means completed her diploma.
Right here’s the way it taken care of the floodwaters lastly receded.
Meighan’s gospel goes that knowledgeable residents make higher decisions within the voting sales space.
And naturally, he mentioned, everybody has a narrative to inform.
That’s the narrative that’s us, he mentioned.
Meighen’s story today includes medical appointments and occasional hospital stays.
He’s coping with some well being points which have shocked him.
There’s at all times a plot twist, he mentioned.
“I’m working by means of it. It’s non permanent. Only a few little bumps alongside the trail.”
Bumps for which he’s presently utilizing a wheelchair to navigate.
He makes use of the chair when he preaches at space church buildings for fill-in work, and he accepted his accolades in Charleston whereas additionally seated in that chair.
You understand how it’s, he mentioned, chuckling, when a minister will get on a roll.
“Hey. I nonetheless have work to do.”
And tales to inform.