The following is our report from Church Conference:
We first want to thank you for the warm welcome we have received at Abilene First United Methodist Church. We are now five months into our appointment as your pastors here, and we feel very much at home here. We are excited about the ministries in this congregation and we are spending much of our time this first year simply getting to know people, focusing on worship and pastoral care, and being a part of the ongoing ministries of the church.
One way we enjoy getting to know people better is through the practice of going out to eat with different folks from the congregation each Sunday after the 10:30 am worship service. We have also met people for a meal or a visit during the week when that works better.
This fall, Annie Ricker, who was on staff as the Director of Caregiving Ministries, became a certified candidate for ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church. She also received an assignment to serve as the associate pastor as Hays First UMC. With her move, the responsibilities of the caregiving ministry were moved to the pastoral staff, with Pastor Jenny taking on these responsibilities and thus moving her from 1/4 time to 1/2 time.
We have been working with the Worship Design Team to incorporate worship elements that are important to the congregation as well as those that we have found meaningful throughout the years. Worship Design, as well as Staff Parish Relations Committee, have been valuable in giving us feedback as we work to create meaningful worship for persons of all ages.
During the past several months, we have enjoyed being a part of the many ongoing ministries of this church. Vacation Bible School was held with Emmanuel UMC and Trinity Lutheran Church at Emmanuel UMC. The youth have been busy writing their own creed, taking fun out-of-town trips, putting on a Christmas Pageant, and selling wreaths. Power and Light, the after school program for elementary-aged children, provides Christian education in a rotation format in which each child has the opportunity to learn the lesson through Bible story, craft, cooking, and science. Wednesday evenings are a chance for folks to eat a meal together at our Wednesday evening meal. Several dedicated volunteers cook and clean up after the meal each week. One Friday a month, volunteers from the church help prepare and serve a meal at the Salina Rescue Mission. The United Methodist Women put on their annual bazaar this fall. The music ministry at the church is going strong, with the addition of a praise band, Generations of Praise, which enhances worship along with the Chancel Choir and the John Wesley Bell Choir. There is a weekly prayer vigil in the chapel. These are just some of the many ministries of the church.
We look forward to our on going ministry with you as we seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ. May we continue to live out the phrase that this church has embodied so well as we seek to have: Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors.