The children and youth of First put on a great Christmas pageant yesterday. Jenny and I want to extend a special thanks to Wendy Robinson for putting it all together.
NPR has a story about a Bible intended for slaves and published in 1807 that “excludes any portion of text that might inspire rebellion or liberation.” According to an associate curator at the museum where said Bible is on display, “About 90 percent of the Old Testament is missing [and] 50 percent of the New Testament is missing.”  The existence of such a version of the Bible is a reminder that the Bible is a dangerous book. That’s why slave owners insisted that so much of it removed, it’s why so much of it is still ignored today.
 Michel Martin, “Slave Bible From The 1800s Omitted Key Passages That Could Incite Rebellion,” NPR, December 09, 2018, , accessed December 10, 2018, https://n.pr/2QqWiCL.
A funeral service for Kenneth (Ken) W. Brown will be held Saturday, December 22, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. in the sanctuary.
Note: this post originally stated the time as 10:30 p.m. I apologize for any confusion and thank Jennifer Johnson for catching the error.
This Sunday (December 9, 2018), the children and youth will be presenting the Get the Story Straight Christmas Pageant at both worship services.
The cast and crew are as follows:
Mary — Emily Vinduska
Sheep — Carson Woodworth and Cameron Vinduska
Narrator — Jensen Woodworth
Joseph — Jackson Green
Angels — Liz Collins, Audrey Unruh, Yui Nishimura, Anna Holt, Cora Vinduska
Shepherds — Hailey Vinduska and Ethan Gonzales
Magi — Eyler Holt, Jack Hunter, Braden Adams
King Herod — Miller Unruh
Slides — Tyler Green
Hope to see you there.
This year the Mission and Outreach Team is again sponsoring a “Hat and Mitten Tree” in the narthex (lobby). We’re collecting hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, underwear, and socks in all sizes from pre-k to high school senior. (Underwear and socks go under the tree!) We’ll turn these items over to the Abilene School System.
“One of the greatest contributions of the Wesleyan movement is the idea that not everything that happens is what God wants to happen.” — Jeff Gannon 
Everything happens for a reason, but sometimes the reason is that we human beings are sinful, stupid, or both. We must not blame God for our mistakes.
 Rev. Jeff Gannon of Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, Wichita, Kansas at a Salina District Large Church Gathering, October 13, 2018. Meeting Notes.
A funeral service for Charles F. “Bud” Bankes will be held Sunday, December 16, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. in the sanctuary. A visitation will follow in the narthex from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
This prayer from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals is well worth making our own.
Open our eyes to see you where we have failed to see you before. Amen. 
It’s worth making our own because if only we could see Christ in every person who stands before us, the world would quickly become a better place.
 Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hargrove, and Enuma Okoro, Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2010), Kindle, 365.
Because of the weather last Sunday we canceled the hanging of the greens, but this coming Sunday is still the First Sunday of Advent. For that reason, we’ve rescheduled the hanging of the greens for tomorrow (Wednesday, November 28, 2018) at 5:30 p.m. If enough people show up and are interested, we can all pitch in and order pizza. We’ll pause for the regular, brief communion service at 6:00 p.m.
I haven’t yet responded to the recent headlines on immigrants, migrants, and those seeking asylum, nor the actions taken along the border between the United States and Mexico because I have simply been too heartbroken. Over and over again, the Bible tells us that we are to welcome the stranger and treat the alien among us as a neighbor. The gulf between what we are doing and what we should be doing is like that between the rich man and Lazarus. I have heard the protestations, objections, and difficulties involved in doing what the Bible tells us we are to do, but above all that din, I can still hear the voice of God, and we are not heeding it.
If you want some examples of what the Bible says here are a few highlighted in The United Methodist Book of Resolutions: Leviticus 19:33-34; Exodus 22:21; 23:9; Deuteronomy 10:19; 24:18-22; Matthew 2:13-18 (in which the child Jesus himself is the one seeking asylum); and perhaps most importantly Matthew 25:31-46 (in which the nations of the world are judged).
Abilene Schools have canceled classes tomorrow (Monday, November 26, 2018) and so the church office will also be closed. Stay warm and stay safe.
Sunday School and the 10:30 Worship Service have been cancelled for today, Sunday, November 25, 2018. Stay home and stay safe!