Clark Williamson, director of music ministries, has asked me to share the following:
For the special music this Sunday, I’ve invited Nick Wright to return and play a flute solo. The selection is called “Find Us Faithful,” an arrangement by Stan Pethel. The words and music are by Jon Mohr. The lyrics are so inspirational, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share them with you.
We’re pilgrims on the journey of a narrow road.
And those who’ve gone before us line the way.
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary.
Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace.
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.
Let us run the race not only for the prize.
But as those who’ve gone before us.
Let us leave to those behind us.
The heritage of faithfulness, passed on through godly lives.
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave, lead them to believe.
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone.
And our children sift through all we’ve left behind.
May the clues that they discover, and the memories they uncover.
Become the light that leads them, to the road we each must find. (Chorus)
(CCLI license #811889)
Jenny and I are looking forward to the baptism of Jared Thomas Vinduska this coming Sunday, June 18, 2017, at the 8:15 a.m. service. Jared is the son of Kristina and Jason Vinduska.
This Sunday we’ll be observing All Saints/Memorial Sunday. We combine the two because All Saints Day is the church’s ancient memorial day. As The United Methodist Book of Worship puts it:
All Saints … is a day of remembrance for the saints, with the New Testament meaning of all Christian people of every time and place. We celebrate the communion of saints as we remember the dead, both of the Church universal and of our local congregations. 
I’ll be preaching on 1 John 3:1-3. We’ll also celebrate Holy Communion, name the honored dead and recognize memorial gifts.
 The United Methodist Book of Worship (Nashville, TN: United Methodist Publishing House, 1992), 413.
Allie Walters has given the church the artwork pictured above. It’s named “Sanctuary.” In real life, it’s 22″ by 30.” The piece was made with compressed charcoal, 2B Conté (a specific kind of sketching pencil), pencil, and ink wash. It’s wonderful and we’re looking forward to getting it framed and displayed.
There was an intermittent* high-pitched sound not unlike the early phase of a feedback cycle during worship morning. I just wanted you to know that we’re aware of it and we’re working on it. Thanks for your patience.
*A big part of the problem is that it’s intermittent. We haven’t managed to reproduce the noise outside of worship when we could better troubleshoot it.
I just returned from the bank with three rolls of nickels for tonight’s Good Friday service at 7:30 p.m. The cross, the nails, the vinegar, the water, the cock crow, the gavel, and the crown of thorns are also prepared. This is an interactive worship service intended to be meaningful for both children and adults.
There are 16 scripture readings from the Gospel of John for the Tenebrae service this Thursday. Please drop me a line at email@example.com if you’re willing to help.
Next Sunday (April 2, 2017) will be confirmation Sunday and the confirmation class will be leading both worship services (they need Jenny and me for communion and confirmation itself, but they’ll be doing all the rest). Come to either service and support Braden Adams, Sam Burton, Jack Graefe, Beth Holmes, Nick Holmes, and Miller Unruh.
Jenny and I really enjoyed hosting our District Superintendent, Dee Williamston, as she preached at both worship services this morning. She did a great job and so did the gathered congregation.*
Amanda Cormack will fill the pulpit next week, while we worship with my folks in Council Grove. Amanda is a regular preacher at Grace United Church of Christ here in Abilene. She earned her M.Div degree from the Graduate Theological Union in 2007, and briefly served as a licensed minister in Billings, MT before moving here with her husband Chris in 2009. Since then, they have had two children: Claire, age 4, and Rob, 10 months. Claire sometimes joins her grandmother, Pat Cormack, in worship at Abilene First United Methodist Church.
*The role of the congregation in preaching is often overlooked, but nonetheless essential.
Jenny and I are excited about hosting Rev. Delores “Dee” Williamston, our District Superintendent this Sunday (March 19, 2017). Dee will be preaching on John 4:5-42. The liturgists will be excited about the fact that she’ll be reading that long passage. Hope to see you Sunday!
We’ll have Ash Wednesday services at 12:15 pm and 6:30 p.m. this coming Wednesday (March 1, 2017). We expect both services to last about thirty minutes or less. The second service will include communion.
The United Methodist Book of Worship contains the following statement:
Our worship in both its diversity and its unity is an encounter with the living God through the risen Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. — The United Methodist Book of Worship.
The idea of worship as a place to encounter the living God really resonates with me. I would love to hear about the times you have had an encounter with the living God in worship. Such information would be a valuable guide to the planning of future worship service, please let me know.