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
The following thank you note was received from the Clean & Serene Narcotics Anonymous Group (NA) that meets in the church library. We wanted to share it with you. NA is just one of the numerous groups that meet in the church every week.
John & Jennifer Collins
Abilene First United Methodist Church
601 N. Cedar St., Abilene, KS 67410
I would like to thank you all, and the church family as a whole, for allowing the Clean & Serene Narcotics Anonymous Group to use the library once a week for meetings of the 12 step program for recovery from drugs and alcohol.
It has been 5 years since our first meeting. I would like you all to know, even though we are still a small group, five to six people, we have two people who have been clean and sober for three years, one has been clean and sober for two years, and one has been clean and sober for one year and three 90 day periods. Each Narcotics Anonymous group of men and women share their own recovery with each other to help stay clean through the principles of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
Because of the community service your church family offers here, people’s lives have changed for the better. The meetings are always open to any who would like to know more about this fellowship, maybe to help a friend or family member.