Author Archives: John Collins

The Fourth Camry

If you drive by the parsonage, you may notice that there is another Camry parked outside. This is the conference car for Jenny’s new appointment as a District Superintendent. The conference provides each D.S. with a vehicle, not as a perk, but because it’s cheaper than paying them mileage. If Jenny drives the car for personal use, she’ll have to pay the conference back for the privilege, so you’ll probably see it sitting out in the driveway a lot.

Flashlight/Headlights Vigil

Jenny and I have been asked to pray at a flashlight/headlights Vigil for Justice prompted by the death of George Floyd, and we’re inviting you to join us. The vigil is sponsored by the Salina Branch of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). It will take place on Saturday, May 30, 2020, from 8 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Caldwell Plaza, 300 Ash Street, Salina Kansas (Caldwell Plaza is between the Salina City-County building and Salina Public Library).

The Vigil for Justice will begin with the reading of the names of those women and men killed over the last several years and invite any clergy or concerned citizens to lift up prayers focused on eradicating the injustices in our communities, towns, and cities, nationally and globally.

Because we are in a pandemic, the Salina NAACP encourages the practice of the appropriate protocols of social distancing and the wearing of protective masks. Alternatively, participants can stay in their vehicles and take whatever additional precautions they need to stay safe. Before 9 p.m., we will all turn on our flashlights and car headlights in solidarity and prayer. Jenny and I plan to stay in the car except when we’re leading prayer.

I’ll admit that, after watching the news from Minneapolis, I’m nervous and moving out of my comfort zone. But this is important enough for me to push my boundaries. My Christian faith compels me to non-violent action in the face of evil. This is intended to be a peaceful vigil, at the first sign that it’s not going to remain so, I will leave.

We Have to Root Out Systemic Racism

From my friend and colleague, Rev. Laura Guy, in response to the death of George Floyd:

“I planted a garden this year. And I have to go out every damn day and pull the weeds because they are determined to take over and kill off my flowers. America, we have to root out systemic racism every damn day because it’s killing us.”

Systemic racism is killing us, it’s killing some of us quickly and some of us slowly, but it’s killing all of us.

Zoom Communion and Bible Study

I’m someone who always loses the invitation to Zoom meetings, so I’m reposting this information:

We have Wednesday evening Holy Communion tonight at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday evening Bible Study will follow at 6:15 p.m. To keep things simple, I’m just going to use the same Zoom meeting, but you can come and go as you please. Here’s the information to log on, let me know if you need tech support.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://bit.ly/2Wdiguc
Meeting ID: 918 7453 9985
Password: 67410

One tap mobile
+13462487799,,91874539985#,,1#,67410# US (Houston)
+16699006833,,91874539985#,,1#,67410# US (San Jose)

Dial by your location
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
Meeting ID: 918 7453 9985
Password: 67410

Community Food Pantry Donations

May is the month First UMC traditionally provides food and funds for the operation of the Community Food Pantry which helps supply food and utility funds for those less fortunate. Because we’re not gathering as a congregation in the sanctuary, we aren’t taking in kind donations this year, but you can still make a monetary contribution by sending a check to Abilene First UMC at 601 N Cedar, Abilene, Kansas 67410 or making a contribution online at abilenefirstumc.org/giving.

A Prayer for Memorial Day

Jenny and I have used this prayer on Memorial Days past (it would also be suitable for Veterans Day).  It has been heavily redacted and I no longer remember where it originally came from.

Righteous God, who rules the nations. We pray to you to guard the brave men and women who risk themselves in battle for their country. Give them compassion for enemies who fight for their own patriotic causes. Keep them from the hate that hardens, from scorekeeping with human lives and preserve them from the sins peculiar to war.

Though they must be at war for a time, let them live for peace, as eager for agreement as for victory. Strenthen them as they encourage one another, and never let hard duty separate them from loyalty to your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.

We pray for those who have sacrificed themselves, giving their lives for the sake of others. We pray that we might hold them all in continual remembrance, and ever think of them as with you in that city whose gates are not shut by day and where there is no night.

Finally, we seek your forgiveness for the times when we have sent our brave men and women into battle unnecessarily. Embolden us by your grace that we might work for a world where fear has been dispelled and the nations are at peace. Amen.

Voices: Holiness Is God’s Godness

A succinct definition of holiness from Frederick Buechner:

ONLY GOD IS HOLY, just as only people are human. God’s holiness is God’s Godness. To speak of anything else as holy is to say that it has something of God’s mark upon it. Times, places, things, and people can all be holy, and when they are, they are usually not hard to recognize. [1]

You can sign up for devotions from Frederick Buechner at: https://bit.ly/3d1VWcU.


[1] Frederick Buechner, “Holiness,” in Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith (New York: HarperCollins, 2004).

Christ is our King

During this global pandemic, First United Methodist Church has continued to be the church. We have continued to show our love of God (through worship) and our love of neighbor (through service). We did not stop gathering as a congregation in the sanctuary because Governor Kelly told us to, and we will not resume gathering as a congregation in the sanctuary because President Trump deems us essential. Both the governor and the president are outranked by our King, Jesus of Nazareth, who commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. We stopped gathering in person out of obedience to that command. We will begin gathering again when doing so does not violate Christ’s law of love. In the meantime, we will continue to show our love of God by worshipping in our homes, trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit to bind us together in this difficult time.

COVID-19 Survey Results

The polls are still open, but as of right now, with 78 responses so far: 72% of respondents want to continue to worship from home even if in-person worship resumes the second Sunday of June; 27% of those who responded would choose to worship in person in the Sanctuary; and 1% would choose to worship in a group of 10 or fewer people in their home or the home of a friend.

The survey is still open at: https://forms.gle/y2wyyoJ13aD5KzLu6. If you haven’t already done so, please take the survey, but please read the background information carefully before you do.