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.
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.
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.
This announcement is coming late, but Jennifer Green joined first United Methodist Church by profession of faith on February 20, 2019 (at the Wednesday evening communion service). We’re glad to have her officially with us.
Our next All-Church Potluck dinner will be this Sunday, March 31, 2019, at 11:30 a.m. in Wright Hall.
Today, Friday, March 15, 2019, the Community Foundation of Dickinson County is doubling all donations made to the First UMC Endowment fund (up to $10,000). You can give online at http://www.donatedickinson.com or take a check down to the Community Foundation Office in the old Astra Bank Building. If you want to give before then, you can bring or mail a check made out to “Community Foundation of Dickinson County” to the church office. Either way putting “First United Methodist Church” in the memo line would not go astray.
To be clear: this money goes into the church’s endowment fund which means that we can only draw on the interest. For this reason we’re looking for donations that go above and beyond your regular giving.
You should be seeing the ad above in the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle soon. It’s in response to the recent 2019 General Conference.
Share your love for the church with future generations. On Friday, March 15, 2019, the Community Foundation of Dickinson County will double all donations made to the First UMC Endowment fund (up to $10,000). On May 15, you can give online at http://www.donatedickinson.com or take a check down to the Community Foundation Office in the old Astra Bank Building. If you want to give before then, you can bring or mail a check made out to “Community Foundation of Dickinson County” to the church office. Either way putting “First United Methodist Church” in the memo line would not go astray.
Here’s the clarification: this money goes into the church’s endowment fund which means that we can only draw on the interest. For this reason we’re looking for donations that go above and beyond your regular giving.