I have taken the raw data of addresses, phone numbers, and emails that Julie collated from the sheets you have turned in and reformatted it into the first draft of a church directory. This is only a draft, and I plan to print a revised copy sometime in January, therefore if any of the information about you or your family is in error, please let me know. Hard (that is paper) copies are available in the Narthex for everyone who turned in their contact information. If you don’t see one with your name on it and you want one, please let Jenny or I know on Sunday, and we’ll take care of it. Electronic copies have already been emailed to those who provided email addresses for the directory. If you use Google Docs and want access to an always-up-to-date copy, please let me know.
This morning I have another reason why we need for you to let us know when you’re in the hospital and desire a visit. I phoned Salina Regional Health Center and asked to speak with a parishioner. They told me they didn’t have a patient with that name. I tried the patient’s full name, they said nope, we don’t have anyone by that name. I called the parishioner’s spouse to make sure I had the right hospital and was told that yes that was the correct hospital. The spouse also gave me the exact room number they were in. I called the hospital back, and a different person answered the phone, this employee connected me immediately with just the name and no need for the room number.
If you’re going into the hospital and you want to be left alone for some peace, Jenny and I understand that, and we’ll happily respect your wishes. If you want a visit, be sure and let us know so that we can be persistent if necessary.
Already we have a change to the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany hymn schedule. Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus appears on the schedule twice, so we’re substituting in the anticipatory communion hymn Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence this Sunday (December 3, 2017).
A Service of Death and Resurrection for Gerald E. Everett will be held Friday, December 1, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. in the sanctuary, interment will follow at Abilene Cemetery. Jenny and I (John) will officiate. There will not be a funeral dinner.
A reminder that the church office will be closed tomorrow (Thursday, November 22, 2017) and Friday (Friday, November 23, 2017) for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The board of trustees met this evening and one of the topics discussed was the security of the church in light of recent events both in town and in the country as a whole. If you are concerned, please know that the issue is being discussed and will be addressed. Please also heed the words of the angels, a message God is so urgently trying to convey to us: “Be not afraid.” God loves us, God’s providence provides and cares for us every day of our lives, and no matter what happens, God is with us and for us. Do not let fear undermine your ability to live as a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.
I’ve had two people ask me if the church has a contingency plan for an attempted mass shooting. We do not. I do not think there is any real chance that a mass shooting will happen at our particular church. And I’ll admit I’m skeptical as to what can be done given the power of automatic weapons and the fact that we all gather together in one place for worship on Sunday morning. Nonetheless, here are my recommendations for dealing with fires, tornadoes, and attempted mass shootings while at the church.
Fire: Exit the building and call 911.
Tornado: Go to Wright Fellowship Hall, the Wright Fellowship Hall Kitchen (even better the “dungeon” off of the kitchen), or the old nursery room (Room B-9). Use the phone or Wi-Fi in the basement to let someone outside the area know that you are safe and where you have taken cover.
Attempted Mass Shooting: run, hide, take cover, create a distraction, or swarm depending on the circumstances. When you can do so safely, call 911. I would suggest you take a look at the guide provided by The Washington Post in consultation with several security specialists.
In all these circumstances I would suggest you pray (although I’m pretty sure this will come automatically). I would encourage you to take heart in the fact that Jesus Christ went through death and out the other side into eternal life that we might do likewise. This sure and certain hope is an excellent reason to join the gathered congregation on Sunday morning.
A now for the political part you may want to skip: I have avoided talking about gun-control because it is a highly-charged political issue and given the diverse nature of our congregation I try to avoid engaging in too many of those. Nonetheless, I cannot bring myself to write a post about how to respond to an attempted mass shooting without encouraging you to contact your elected representatives and urge them to pass common sense gun control legislation. (An example would be the universal background checks supported by roughly 90% of Americans.)
Good News! I’ve been informed that the UMW Bazaar will be offering Lasagna dinners on both a dine-in and carry-out basis. The cost is $7.50 for those 13 and up, $5.00 for those aged 6-12, and free for those 5 and under. The meal will be served from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday, November 7, 2017).
Don’t forget to enjoy an extra hour of sleep tomorrow (Sunday, November 5, 2017) as daylight savings time comes to an end and we “fall back” one hour.
Below is a video invitation from Bishop Saenz to the Salina All-District Charge Conference on Sunday, November 19, 2017, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Concordia First United Methodist Church. Jenny and I hope that you will join us. Let us know if you need a ride.
Recent news items have me thinking about John Wesley’s views on slavery. From the beginning of the Methodist movement, slaveholding was forbidden by the General Rules, and at the end of Wesley’s life, the subject was still on his mind. The last letter Wesley ever wrote (in 1791) was to William Wilberforce concerning his (Wilberforce’s) work as an abolitionist. Wesley encouraged him to:
Go on, in the name of God and in the power of his might, till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it. — John Wesley 
It’s not fair to judge our ancestors by the standards of our time, but it is fair to ask what the best standards of their times were.
 John Wesley, “Letter to William Wilberforce,” General Board of Global Ministries, accessed November 01, 2017, http://bit.ly/2xJlO8L.
Don Hunt (husband of Jolene Hunt) has passed away. There will be a private graveside service.