The Honored Dead

Below is a list of the members of First United Methodist Church who have died since our last All Saints Service on May 28, 2017. We’ll be remembering and honoring them this coming Sunday (May 27, 2018). Please check the list and let me know of any additions or corrections that need to be made.

Irene P. Meyer, June 22, 2017
Richard Ray Danner, July 19, 2017
Joseph E. Couture, August 28, 2017
Saundra “Sandy” F. Heroneme, September 7, 2017
Marilyn Joan Holmes, September 21, 2017
Jon Dale Thayer, October 26, 2017
Shirley Reynolds, October 28, 2017
Don Hunt, October 31, 2017
Melvin G. Cox, October 31, 2017
Gerald E. Everett, November 23, 2017
Laurine S. Atkinson, December 16, 2017
Mary J. Hamill, February 7, 2018
Jill Royer, February 12, 2018
Mary “Maxine” Fiedler, February 17, 2018
Clarice Emig, May 10, 2018

A Succint Definition of Pentecost

Shane Claiborne has an excellent, succinct explanation for today’s celebration of Pentecost:

This past weekend Christians around the world celebrated one of our holiest holidays: Pentecost. Pentecost, meaning “50 days,” is celebrated seven weeks after Easter (hence the 50), and marks the birthday of the Church when the Holy Spirit is said to have fallen on the early Christian community like fire from the heavens (for this reason lots of Christians wear red and decorate in pyro-colors, and it’s also where the fiery Pentecostal movement draws its name).


Shane Claiborne, “Not Just Another Manic Monday: Pentecost And The Reconciliation Of Humanity,” The Huffington Post, August 13, 2011, accessed May 21, 2018,

Praying for Palestine, Israel, and Us

I try to keep this blog focused on the life and faith of our local church, but sometimes that same faith compels to say something. Now, with yesterday’s violence in Gaza strip, is one of those times.

My understanding of the United States’ decades-long, previously bipartisan, approach to moving our embassy to Jerusalem was that it would come at the end of the peace process when the age-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians had been put to rest. Under this approach, the moving of the embassy was a “carrot” to encourage the peace process. Now without the conflict being resolved, the embassy has been moved to Jerusalem, a blatantly pro-Israel move that prompted Palestinian protests.

So far, 60 Palestinian civilians have been killed and thousands wounded. I pray for the Palestinians, I pray for the Israelis, I pray especially for the Christians in their midst, a small minority under intense pressure. I fear that the United States will never again be seen as an honest broker for peace and I pray that we can somehow regain our standing and again be able to do some good.

The idea, held by some American Christians, that the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will hasten the coming Kingdom of God is so ludicrous, that I have nothing at all to say about it. I pray for the eyes of those who believe that nonsense to be opened.

Gather Us In

Received from Clark Williamson:

Dear Congregation,  I just wanted you to know how wonderfully you did singing “Gather Us In” last Sunday.  Your musical offering was truly filled with the Spirit and it became a great way to begin our time of worship!  Thank You,  Clark Williamson

A Little Bit of Eden

In the church’s east parking lot, close to the office entrance, there is a small island that contains two, rather large, trees. For years there was no grass, not even weeds, around those trees, just dirt, and it seemed as if nothing would ever grow there. Then, over time, Diedre Dunham brought in a couple of different kinds of groundcover clippings from home and filled in all the bare spots. I just walked in this morning and noticed how beautiful, how Edenesque, that little bit of ground was. Keep your eyes open. The beauty of God’s good creation is everywhere.

Four Questions for Ascension Sunday

We’ll be celebrating the Ascension this Sunday (May 13, 2018). I’m formulating a sermon with four questions I’m going to try my best to answer. They are:

  1. What exactly happened?
  2. What did it mean (then)?
  3. What does it mean (now)?
  4. What do we do about it?

Hope to see you there.

Abuse is Grounds for Divorce

I’ve always viewed abuse (either physical or emotional), as grounds for divorce but had difficulty succinctly explaining why. A few days ago, in a series of tweets, Rachel Held Evans shared a pithy explanation that I’ll be referencing from here on out:

First of all, Jesus’ teachings on divorce were intended to protect women from exploitation, not create new laws that would further exploit them.

Second, Jesus’ whole posture toward the law was that its purposes are thwarted when it is used to perpetuate human suffering. This is why he healed on the Sabbath. It’s why he stopped the religious leaders from stoning the woman caught in adultery.

I truly see no difference between sending a woman back to an abuser “because the Bible says so” and surrounding a woman for a stoning “because the Law says so.” And I have no doubt that Jesus would prioritize a woman’s life over a legalistic interpretation of Scripture again. — Rachel Held Evans

The only thing I would add is that the abuser is sometimes a woman and the abused is sometimes a man.

Rachel Held Evans. Twitter post, May 4, 2018, 11:56 a.m. to 12:01 p.m.,