Those of you who give to the church online, by EFT, or by check will soon be receiving a letter thanking you for your giving for the first six months of 2020. I don’t know how many of you read those letters carefully—to be honest, when I’m on the receiving end, I tend to scan them at best. With that in mind, I wanted to draw your attention to the following first paragraph:
We are living in interesting, difficult times, with a lot of uncertainty about what is to come next. In these times, I am thankful for the opportunity to continue to serve First United Methodist Church. This congregation has worshipped with what may be the most rigorous COVID-19 countermeasures of any faith community in Abilene. I am not ashamed of that. In fact, I rejoice in it as a demonstration of your commitment to loving not only God but also your neighbor. Jesus calls us to care for one another, you have done that even when doing so means staying six feet apart. The countermeasures you adopted have meant some profound changes to when, how, and where we worship, but you have taken them all in stride. Thank you.
Thank you. I meant it. I mean it. We’re all in this pandemic together and together, we’ll all get through it.
Merry Christmas Everyone! And may the Holy Spirit pour out the blessings of the Christ child upon you. I had a great time at all three services yesterday (although I may have been a little bit “punchy” by the 11:00 p.m. service. Being with God and being with so many of you meant a lot to me. I want to render thanks to our staff and the many people who volunteered to help get it all done. Special thanks to Bill Burwell, Sara Burwell, and Sue Murry, who volunteered at all three services. You went above and beyond.
I’ve twice said this from the pulpit, but I want to make sure that everyone who volunteered for the summer lunch program knows how much their efforts and assistance were appreciated. You have the gratitude of the school district employees who ran the program and the thanks of Jenny, Clark, and I (John) as well.
The following note was found in the little free pantry:
Thank you. If not for you I wouldn’t be able to eat this week. God bless you.
I wanted you to know the difference you’re making.
A tip of my hat to Malorie Unruh. Last Sunday, She sent Jenny and I a picture posted by a Facebook user named Makenzie Grace Tindall. It wasn’t big enough to use for a slide, but I recreated it in the slide below for my sermon tomorrow morning. I’ll be preaching on James 2:1-17.
On a personal note, my grandma, Ocie Neuschwander, died yesterday morning. The funeral will be Saturday (we’ll be back for Sunday morning worship). Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers over the past several months and years.
Received from Clark Williamson:
Dear Congregation, I just wanted you to know how wonderfully you did singing “Gather Us In” last Sunday. Your musical offering was truly filled with the Spirit and it became a great way to begin our time of worship! Thank You, Clark Williamson
This morning I signed thank you letters to everyone who participated in the 2018 Stewardship/Commitment Drive. My hand is sore, my heart is happy and sincere thank you to everyone who took part. Please contact me if you participated, but don’t get a letter in the mail in a few days.
The Abilene Homes for the Holidays Tour begins this afternoon (Saturday, December 2, 2017). I mention this because First United Methodist Church is part of the tour this year. Jenny and I want to thank the decorating committee for a church building that looks great. We also want to thank those who volunteered to greet and host visitors today and tomorrow and all the people who brought cookies. Don’t worry if you can’t take the tour, everything will be in full view tomorrow morning during worship.
The strips of lights in the sanctuary, both below and above, have now been replaced with high-efficiency LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs. A few months ago Herman Hoffman and Darrol Dunham replaced the strips in the lower coves and yesterday the Hoffman Family (Herman, Chris, Lillian, and Mia) replaced the ones up above. The cost of this project was covered by the Jon Thayer Fund. Thanks!
A special shout-out and thank you to everyone who volunteered to help at the Summer Lunch Program. Your response has been overwhelming! — John and Jenny
The following was received from Ellouise and Norris Marshall. They made the mistake of giving it to me, and thus its publication has been delayed.
We are expressing our love and gratitude for the many fine folks who have been so kind, loving and thoughtful in expressing these attributes in cards and personal comments as Ellouise has gone through her illness over the last month. We will be eternally grateful for all you have done. I hope each of you continues to be in our lives and we will be in yours. The FUMC and the Questors class are so much a part of our lives and we are thankful for that.
Again thanks for your generosity, kindness, and love. Our hearts are full of love for all of you.
Ellouise & Norris Marshall