Category Archives: Announcements

Worship Livestreams for April 10, 2022

Tomorrow we’ll be reading Luke’s account of Jesus’ passion and death. There will be a short meditation afterwards, but the important thing is the reading itself. The praise band will be with us and the choir will provide special music.

We do our best to livestream both services every Sunday morning. Please let us know if you have any problems. (It’s the only way for us to know if something has gone awry.)

The 8:15 service should be here:
The 10:30 service should be here:

Words of Assurance from Steve Harper

I want to share something I saw recently from Steve Harper, a retired professor at Asbury Theological Seminary—the seminary now most aligned with the GMC. Speaking of his decision to remain in the UMC, He recently wrote: 

“I have learned that progressives believe in the inspiration and authority of Scripture as much as any conservative does. Our differences are about hermeneutics [the interpretation of the Bible], not revelation. . . . My witness to those who will stay in the UMC is that you will remain in a denomination that is biblical. You do not have to join the GMC to be faithful to Scripture. . . . My witness to those who will remain in the UMC is that you have not compromised or diminished your faith by commending acceptance, inclusion, and the common good. You have, in fact, decided to personify Micah’s exhortation to “do justice” (Micah 6:8). . . . In sum, my witness to those who will remain in the UMC is this: if you want to be in a denomination where biblical authority, a credible theology of human sexuality, and a commitment to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself is in full force—you need not leave.” [1]

[1] Steve Harper, “Along the Way: Parting Words & Words of Witness,” Oboedire, March 17, 2022,

Easter Flowers

We are trying something new this year for Easter. We ask that you share your blooming potted flowers for worship on Sunday, April 17, 2022. Any type of blooming flower is appreciated. Bring them to the church during the week prior to April 17. Please be sure your name is on the container and take it home with you following the worship services that day. — Pam Simpson

Voices: Oscar Romero

Just today, I stumbled upon this word of comfort for the times when I feel like my efforts to build for God’s kingdom aren’t getting anywhere. I hope it will be a comfort to you on your difficult days as well.

“It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view. The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts: it is beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is the Lord’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us. No sermon says all that should be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the Church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything. That is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted knowing they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that affects far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very, very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the Master Builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future that is not our own.” — Oscar Romero

Oscar Romero, quoted in Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and Enuma Okoro, Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), Kindle.

Reminder: Dickinson County Donate Day 2022

The annual Dickinson County Donate Day with matching funds from the Community Foundation of Dickinson County will be tomorrow (Friday, March 18, 2022). Whatever you give to the First United Methodist Church in care of the Foundation will be matched up to $5,000. Checks should be dropped off at the Foundation at 418 NW 3rd from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on March 18, 2022, or you can give online on that day at If Friday doesn’t work with your schedule, you can bring your check to the church office prior to that day. Make checks out to the Community Foundation with Abilene First UMC in memo line.

Please note that these funds go into the church’s permanent endowment, not the general operating fund.

General Conference Postponed

The Commission on General Conference has decided to postpone the August 2022 worldwide gathering of United Methodist delegates until the regularly scheduled one in 2024. A video message and letter from Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. can be found below. In response to this news, the Global Methodist Church, a traditionalist Methodist denomination has announced that it will launch in May 2022. [1]


[1] Adams, Liam. “Global Methodist Church Announces May Launch, Split from United Methodist Church over LGBTQ Rights.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, March 3, 2022.

A Prayer In Time of War

If you’re like me, you prayed for Ukraine last night. Went to bed. Woke up. Read the news, and then prayed for Ukraine some more. I don’t know what else to do. Although plenty of people have opinions, I am quite certain that I don’t now how the United States should respond. So I pray. I don’t have a set prayer for this. But I do find myself repeating these four phrases: “Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Come Lord Jesus. Amen.” Please join me.

Your New Pastor

Yesterday, at both worship services, Jill Lang, the chair of the SPRC, shared the following letter from Bishop Reuben Saenz:

Dear Friends, 

The cabinet and I are pleased to announce that Mik King will be appointed as your pastoral leader beginning July 1, 2022.  This appointment concludes a thorough process during which the staff parish committee of your church has been consulted along with Mik.  We have prayed asking for God’s wisdom about the best available leadership for your church and this is our decision. 

As with all appointments, this one will be fixed during the annual conference closing session on June 11, 2022. 

I extend my best wishes and prayers to you all during this transition of pastoral leadership for your congregation.

Grace and peace, 

 Ruben Saenz, Jr.

As I told the congregation at both services, Mik is both a colleague and a friend. And not only a friend but also one of my best friends.* I believe she is an excellent fit for this congregation.

*If you dread another pastor like me—fear not; she’s my friend, not my clone. For example, she’s a little bit shorter and a whole lot nicer.

I’m Moving

In last year’s Appointive Recommendation, The Staff Parish Relations Committee indicated to the Bishop and his cabinet that: “Our [Abilene First UMC’s] mission can be met with our current pastor, but we would also be open to a new pastor who has gifts/skills in the area(s) of [a] fresh perspective to re-invigorate and help the church grow.” I agreed with this assessment wholeheartedly. For the same reason, I indicated that I was ready for a move on my own appointive recommendation.

After a process of careful discernment, the Bishop is appointing me to Manhattan College Avenue UMC effective July 1. The Bishop and Cabinet will work hard to discern the pastor who will take my place and make that announcement as soon as possible, but I will continue to serve as your pastor until the end of June.