Author Archives: John Collins

Christmas Poinsettias

This year the church has placed an order for 40 white* poinsettias from the Abilene High School (AHS) Horticulture Club. This project is a great way to remember or honor a loved one while supporting AHS students in the first year of a new endeavor. You can sponsor one (or more) in memory or honor of someone for just $10.00. Just make the check payable to the church and write “Poinsettias” in the memo line.

We’ll have a sign-up sheet in the narthex so that you can let us know of whom your poinsettia is in memory or honor. Please note that one sign-up sheet is for “in honor” and one for “in memory.” It’s important not to get the two mixed up.

*We’ve gone with white to match the sanctuary decorations.

The Advent Candles Are Being Recast

When we decorated for Advent and Christmas this past Sunday, I realized that I had not taken the Advent Candles down to Cypress Bridge to be recast. I have now done that. They can be picked up on Friday. Cypress Bridge is closed on Saturday (because it’s the Sabbath). I really need someone or someones to remind me to pick them up on Friday so that we can have them for Sunday. A little help, please.

Advent-Christmas-Epiphany Hymn Schedule

Here’s the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany Hymn Schedule for 2019-2020.

December 1, 2019 — First Sunday of Advent
202 People Look East
3047 God Almighty, We Are Waiting
211 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Vss 1-4)
196 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

December 8, 2019 — Second Sunday of Advent
206 I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light
234 O Come, All Ye Faithful
211 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Vss 1, 5-6)
203 Hail to the Lord’s Anointed

December 15, 2019 — Third Sunday of Advent
238 Angels We Have Heard on High
249 There’s a Song in the Air
2095 Star Child (Vss 1-4)
216 Lo, How a Rose Er Blooming

December 22, 2019 – Fourth Sunday of Advent
229 Infant Holy, Infant Lowly
220 Angels From the Realms of Glory
198 My Soul Gives Glory to My God
219 What Child is This

December 24, 2019 — Christmas Eve
240 Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
246 Joy to the World
217 Away in a Manger
239 Silent Night

December 28, 2019 — First Sunday after Christmas Day
196 Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus*
227 The Friendly Beasts
230 O Little Town of Bethlehem
221 In the Bleak Midwinter
3052 God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
228 He is Born, the Holy Child
218 It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
219 What Child is This*
251 Go Tell it on the Mountain

January 5, 2020 — Epiphany of the Lord
220 Angels From the Realms of Glory*
237 Sing We Now of Christmas, vss 1, 3, 4, 5
254 We Three Kings
245 The First Noel

*Indicates a repeat hymn.

Church Conference Correction

Yesterday from the pulpit, I explained that attending church conference is about as exciting as registering to vote or serving jury duty, but that just as those things are essential to a functioning democracy, so attending church conference is important to a functioning church. Yesterday afternoon, at the District Superintendents’ request, Jenny and I set in on a church conference in Chapman, and I stand by what I said, it was not exciting. But there was one exception, Dee Williamston, our District Superintendent, gave an excellent meditation/mini-sermon that made it worth the trip and the time. She’ll be sharing the same message tonight. I encourage you to attend. We’ll meet at 7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary.

Voices: God’s Love Overwhelmed Our Violence

I’m working my way through The Character of Virtue by Stanley Hauerwas. While doing so, I came across something that I know in my heart to be true, but something I can’t fully wrap my head (at least not yet).

We [Christians] believe that in the crucifixion of Jesus, God refused to defeat our rebellion by crushing us. Instead, the Father’s love of the Son overwhelmed our violence by refusing to end our violence violently. [1]

[1] Stanley Hauerwas, “Patience” in The Character of Virtue (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2018), Kindle Edition.

A Little Help Please

This Sunday, I’ll be preaching on Isaiah 65:17-25. The passage was addressed to Israel at a time when things had not turned out quite the way they had hoped. I’m looking for examples of times in your life when things did not go the way you had hoped/expected/planned. Drop me a line at