There will be a Service of Death and Resurrection for Ruth Dieter tomorrow (Friday, April 19, 2019) at 11:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary. Interment will follow in the Abilene Cemetery. Jenny and I will preside. There will be no visitation and no funeral dinner.
Many of you joined me in using the Lenten Devotional book titled Get Over Yourself, God’s Here by Kate Moorhead. One of the passages I most needed to read was the one in which she was commenting on Jesus’ cleansing of the temple and wrote: “Conflict can be holy. Conflict is not bad; it is an agent of change.”
You are invited to an All-Church Easter Breakfast on Sunday, April 21, in Wright Hall during the education hour (9:20-10:20 a.m.). Celebrate the Resurrection with food, fellowship and special entertainment from our youth. Please bring a favorite breakfast dish. There will be an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids following breakfast at 10:15 a.m. Children should meet in Wright Fellowship Hall.
This past Sunday (April 14, 2019) we welcomed our newest member Easton James Heger, the son of Heather James and Michael Heger. He was baptized at the 8:15 worship service.
NO COMMUNION SERVICE ON WEDNESDAY
Because there will be communion at the Holy Thursday service, we will not be having a Wednesday evening communion service this week.
HOLY THURSDAY SERVICE
This year’s Holy Thursday service will be held on: Thursday, April 18, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. It will be a service of Tenebrae (Latin for darkness) and will include Holy Communion. Children are welcome, but they may have a hard time appreciating the service.
GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE
We will be holding a Good Friday service at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 19, 2019. This will be an “interactive” Good Friday service designed with children and youth in mind.
I have long steered clear of the hot-button issue of abortion, but an upcoming attraction is forcing my hand.
The movie Unplanned which treats the issue of abortion from a pro-life perspective is coming to the Great Plains Theatre. The movie review site Rotten Tomatoes says it’s “a dramatic approach to a hot-button topic whose agenda is immediately clear, Unplanned will only reinforce the feelings of viewers on either side of the issue.” 
I haven’t discussed this issue from the pulpit, only in private conversations. In a nutshell, I agree with the position of the United Methodist Church, and I want abortion to be as rare as possible, but I believe that making it illegal will not accomplish that goal and will instead put the health and safety of a great many women in jeopardy. (The rise of the mob occurred during prohibition.) There are times when threats to the health (including the mental health) of a woman make abortion the least bad option. In the words of The Book of Discipline:
“Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion. But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child.
We recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, and in such cases we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures by certified medical providers.” 
I believe there are things we could do to make abortion a rare occurrence (like comprehensive sex education, the use of contraception, and a stronger social safety net—under our current system, an abortion costs a lot less than a birth). But our society has largely rejected practical measures and instead opted for a divisive cultural battle. The women I know are better equipped to navigate the ethics of their pregnancies than the collective legislative bodies found in Topeka, Kansas and Washington, DC.
My plan at present is to address this issue at the place where I feel that it can best be discussed, direct dialogue between two individuals or conversations among small groups. Both Jenny and I would like to hear what you think.
Last Sunday’s worship services were led by the 2019 Confirmation Class. They did a great job and we’re glad to have each and every one of them as professing members. Pictured above, from left to right: Carson Woodworth, Jensen Woodworth, Jack Hunter, Troy Boyd, Blair Adams, Joy Clemence, and Ava Crist.
Rev. Rick Saylor will be filling the pulpit for Jenny and I on May 19, 2019. Jenny and I are using a vacation Sunday and will be out of town.
“The Resurrection is not the resuscitation of a body; it is the beginning of the transfiguration of the world.” — Patriarch Athenagoras 
Jesus didn’t come back from the dead, he went through death and came out on the other side. The same will be true for us. We will not be resuscitated, we will be transfigured. I’m going to be mulling over this quote for the rest of the day, I invite you to join me.
 Jim Friedrich, “Preaching on Easter Sunday Isn’t About Convincing People,” The Christian Century, April 4, 2019, http://bit.ly/2UGnuie.
This coming Sunday (April 7, 2019) is Confirmation Sunday. The confirmation class, consisting of Blair Adams, Troy Boyd, Joy Clemence, Ava Crist, Jack Hunter, Carson Woodworth, and Jensen Woodworth will be leading the service. I looks to be a great service and we hope to see you there.
Evelyn Carter officially transferred her membership from Crossroads UMC to Abilene First UMC at last night’s Wednesday evening communion service.