Category Archives: PSA

Things I Want You To Know #7 1/2

Something I need to add to #7: you don’t need to pay your pastor’s way when you invite them out. What my mother calls “Dutch Treat” is fine, even preferable. We’re not looking for a free lunch, just your company.

For easy reference, “Things I Want You to Know #7” can be found below.

The seventh thing I want you to know is that I’m not particularly eager to go to places/events by myself. I wish I had shared when we first came. Like most people, I get nervous going to places where I don’t know anyone (or even where I know only a few people). Many, if not most, parishioners want their pastor to be active in the community. The best way you can help this along is to extend an invitation to a ball game, a concert, a play, a club meeting, the parade, the fair, etc.

Things I Want You To Know #7

The seventh thing I want you to know is that I’m not particularly eager to go to places/events by myself. I wish I had shared when we first came. Like most people, I get nervous going to places where I don’t know anyone (or even where I know only a few people). Many, if not most, parishioners want their pastor to be active in the community. The best way you can help this along is to extend an invitation to a ball game, a concert, a play, a club meeting, the parade, the fair, etc.

Things I Want You To Know #6

Sometimes, in a sermon, I’ll ask you “does that make sense?” A tweet from Twitter user @DrAmyPsyD explains what I’m thinking:

“When I say, ‘Does that make sense?,’ it’s not because I don’t think you’re smart. It’s because I think that I am incoherent.” [1]

I wish I had seen this nine years ago and been able to share it with you then, but this is exactly what I’m thinking when I ask that question in a sermon.


[1] Dr. Amy, Psy. D., Twitter post, April 19, 2022, 2:55 p.m., twitter.com/DrAmyPsyD.

My Favorite Documentary

My favorite documentary is “Prohibition” by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. It is a cautionary tale about what happened when a minority of people in this country tried to impose their religious beliefs, values, and morals on the majority. It warns of the unintended consequences of doing so and the inevitable blowback that comes about as a result.

I can’t find it for free anywhere online, but you can pay to stream it at various places and, in a few days, I should have the DVD if anyone wants to borrow it.

Purvis Farewell

The church office received the following flyer and we wanted to make sure all of you knew about this event:

You’re Invited to an Open House to Say Farewell to Andrea and John Purvis

SATURDAY, 7 MAY 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The Alamo Saloon in Old Towne Abilene

Andrea and John are headed to Linn County as Andrea becomes a District Court Judge. Join us so that we can see them off and thank them for all they have done for our community.

Cake and punch will be served
POC is Sarah Ikena sarahikena@yahoo.com

Checking In

I just want to check in with as many people as possible after yesterday’s big storm. (We had quite a bit of excitement driving back from Topeka, but it sounds like you had even more excitement right here at home.) Please let me know if you or someone you’ve been in contact with needs help.

Things I Want You To Know As I Leave #4

My colleague, Amanda Baker, wrote what follows about funerals. I’m thankful that she gave me permission to share it with you. Hopefully, it helps to explain why I don’t believe you need me to come back to officiate at funerals after I move.

“It isn’t hard for skilled clergy to preach a funeral for a person we’ve never met. I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. Meeting the family and gathering the stories and tidbits that tell us about a person’s life and witness are some of the best things we get to do, and I promise it’s enough. When we do know the person, we nearly ALWAYS learn things we hadn’t known, and, to tell the truth, we’re much more at risk of skewing the service with our own perception of the person.”

“We bring an understanding of the grief process, a theology of resurrection, the tradition of the Church, and a willingness to listen. You bring the stories and the love, and together they create the right service for the person you love.”

“I know many of you have been to a service where it was wildly evident the officiant didn’t know anything about the deceased. But that isn’t really the problem. The problem is that they didn’t listen to the people who did.”

Things I Want You To Know As I Leave #3

I probably should have shared this when I came, but I’m sharing it now. I fear that we’ve missed some opportunities to connect. I don’t know that you need or want a pastoral visit unless you let me know. There are two reasons for this. 

First, because of HIPAA, I don’t have any way of knowing you are in the hospital unless you let me know or have someone else let me know.

Second, being raised in Kansas, I was taught that you don’t invite yourself over to other people’s homes. Instead, you wait for an invitation. As someone who often wants to be alone when I’m hurting this makes sense to me. If you need or want a visit, I’m more than happy to come but very reluctant to invite myself over.

Third, unless you tell me otherwise, I’ll generally assume that you want me to reply in the same manner that you contact me. So, for example, if you text me, I’ll take it you prefer that I text you back unless you tell me you want a phone call or an in-person visit. 

I’m sharing this even though it’s about time for me to leave because every pastor I know faces this challenge. I’m sharing this in the hope that it might be helpful for your relationships with future pastors.

Things I Want You To Know As I Leave #2

I want you all to know that leaving you is not easy. It’s time to go, but that doesn’t make leaving any easier. It’s hard enough that I’ve been seeing a therapist. I’ve been seeing a therapist because pastoring a church through Covid-19 was stressful and because, after nine years, leaving is hard to do, and I want to leave well. I want to leave at peace and on good terms with as many of you as possible, and I want to leave at peace with myself. Toward this end, I can do the theological work myself, but the therapist has been really helpful with the psychological and emotional work of leaving.

I know that my moving means that you need to process things as well. Please take care of yourselves, and let me know if I can help.

Things I Want You To Know As I Leave #1

On my appointive assessment this past year, I indicated to the Bishop and Cabinet that I was ready for a move. (I thought it best for both you and for me). June 30 will be the last day that I have pastoral responsibility for Abilene First UMC. July 1 will be the first day of my appointment at College Avenue UMC in Manhattan. I will be serving full time there and so I will not be coming back to Abilene to serve in any pastoral role. (Rev. Mik King told me I was welcome to come back for funeral sermons, but I said no because I strongly believe that all my professional time should be rendered to the church to which I am appointed.) I will no longer be your pastor, but Jenny and I hope to remain your friends.

Those of you who met Mik this past Sunday have a sense of how capable and compassionate she is. You’ll be in good hands. Funerals and weddings are services that bind a congregation and a new pastor together and I want your relationship with Mik to be as strong as possible.