Jenny and I are currently in Wichita for the Great Plains Annual Conference meeting, but we’re looking forward to coming back to officiate the wedding of Randi Jennings and Josh Evans at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon (Saturday, June 16, 2018).
Phyllis F. Friederich, has passed away. So far there is nothing official available, but it is my understanding that the service will be Saturday, June 30, 2018. I’ll post the time when I’m more certain of it.
Jenny and I will be away at Annual Conference tomorrow and so there will be no Wednesday Evening communion tomorrow (June 13, 2018). We’re looking forward to celebrating the sacrament with you the Wednesday after that.
Orban L. Haas, has passed away. A funeral will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 7, 2018 at Danner Funeral Home with visitation the same morning at 10:00. Amanda Cormack will officiate. Jenny and I want to thank her for filling in for us.
The AFUMC Scholarship Committee met last night and awarded scholarships to the following students: Tucker Robinson, Kyler Schardein, Jaden Walters, Rae Schwarting, Gabe Johnson, Allie Walters, Marissa Schardein, Mallory Schardein, Keil Kelly, Jordan Luty, Ben Luty, and Andrew Schwarting. Congratulations!
We’ll be announcing this year’s Scholarship Recipients soon. However, next year’s applications are already up at https://abilenefirstumc.org/downloads/. Next year’s applications must be completed in full and submitted to the church office or the AHS Counselors’ office by 5:00 p.m., Monday, April 8, 2019, to be eligible for consideration. The scholarship committee will convene on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.
A Service of Death and Resurrection for Charlene R. Brown will be held at 11:00 a.m. today (May 29, 2018), in the sanctuary. Visitation will be in the narthex at 10:00. Interment will follow at the Abilene Cemetery. Jenny and I will be presiding. My apologies for the late notice.
Tomorrow (May 20, 2018) is Pentecost Sunday. You’re invited and encouraged to wear red.
A Service of Death and Resurrection for Clarice Emig will be held at 10:30 a.m. today (May 18, 2018), at the Martin-Becker-Carlson Funeral Home. Interment will follow at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery. I (John) will be presiding. My apologies for the late notice.
Stop looking for a perfect church. It does not exist. Join an imperfect church and serve in every way you can to make it nearer perfection. — Nicky Gumbel
Nicky Gumbel. Twitter post, May 12, 2017, 2:46 p.m., http://bit.ly/2L3gdB4.
The Council of Bishops has met and endorsed “The One Church Plan.” According to the summary on umc.org:
To find a way forward on the denomination’s homosexuality debate, bishops are recommending the church allow more freedom at the conference and local church levels.
Under what the Council of Bishops calls the One Church Plan, decisions about whether to ordain LGBTQ clergy or to officiate at same-gender unions would be made closer to the congregational level.
The plan would remove the restrictive language against the practice of homosexuality in the Book Discipline, the denomination’s policy book. The plan also adds assurances to pastors and conferences who in good conscience cannot perform same-sex weddings or ordain “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy that they don’t have to do so. 
Our understanding (Jenny’s and mine) is that if this plan is approved by General Conference (a big if) it would leave individual annual conferences to decide whether or not to ordain LGBT folk and individual congregations and pastors to decide whether or not marriages between same-sex couples would be performed in a local church. Bishop Saenz has a pastoral letter here: http://bit.ly/2jtP3qw.
 United Methodist Communications, “Bishops Propose Plan for Way Forward,” The United Methodist Church, May 04, 2018, accessed May 04, 2018, http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/bishops-propose-plan-for-way-forward.
It’s church policy to close the office and cancel events when school is cancelled due to weather. In the light of the school’s cancelation of after-school events, we will be canceling this evening’s activities—with the exception of Power & Light. That means no Ring Praise (youth bell choir), no communion service, no Youth Group, no Choir, and no John Wesley Bell Choir (adult bell choir). As I said above, Power & Light is still on, but that’s because we don’t want to leave anyone in the lurch, but, if possible, parents are encouraged to pick up their kids early.