February 25, 2014

Dear Friends,

Many thanks to Fr. Steve Kelley for stepping in at the last hour to lead our worship on Sunday.  I went to bed Saturday night feeling fine and woke up in the middle of the night with a stomach bug that commanded all of my attention for the next 24 hours.  Fortunately, Fr. Steve answered my call at 7:00am and certainly rose to the occasion.  If you weren’t in church Sunday, you will certainly want to hear his message at midlandanglican.org.

Thanks also to all who could join us for spring cleaning this past Saturday.  Fifteen hearty souls from all three churches created about 75 large lawn bags of leaves, garbage and other debris from the gardens and courtyards.  It made a real difference to the appearance of things! Now, if our West Texas wind would just stop blowing for a season….

Please do be praying about the “New Opportunities for Fellowship and Learning” offerings shown below.  Launched just in time for Lent, they promise to bring great blessing to all who choose to make them a priority.  It is always worthwhile to busy ourselves with things that have an eternal significance.

MID-WEEK BIBLE STUDY AT THE OKNEFSKI’S, WEDNESDAY AT 6:30PM.

We begin this week with Hebrews, chapter 11, the “Faith Hall of Fame.”  This is the moving account of those who held firm to their faith before the coming of Christ.  Join us at 2201 Hereford Avenue.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR FELLOWSHIP AND LEARNING

Monday Evening Fellowship: Mondays at 6:00pm, beginning on March 10th.   A typical evening will run from 6:00 pm until 7:15 with dinner out afterward for those who wish.  Our study during Lent will be the Apostle John’s account of the last hours of Jesus’ life (John 13-18).  If you are thinking of coming, please do add your name to the sign-up sheet this Sunday.

Dinner and Devotions for Families: Alex Hale is working on launching a new fellowship for families with kids.  This group will also meet at 6:00pm (night to be determined) with separate dinner and devotions for adults and kids.  We will end by 7:15 so that the kids will have time to  finish homework and get to bed at a reasonable hour.

ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES, 9:15AM

·       Philippians and the Theology of Joy: (Fr. Tom in his office)

·       Found in Him: (Brad Watson in Room 101)

AND FINALLY:

·      Joke of the Week: It may surprise you to learn that the term “Bible” is actually an acronym.  It stands for Basic Information Before Leaving Earth.  Even if that didn’t make you smile, it should make you think!

·      If you are in need of pastoral care, you can reach me at 432-853-2751. Please don’t hesitate to call.

Your fellow servant,

Fr. Tom

February 18, 2014

Dear Friends,

Just a few more weeks and the season of Lent will begin.  Lent is a time of change when we take stock of our relationships with God and one another.  And, by God’s grace, we find power to make the changes that will keep us growing in the coming year.

To help with that process, we are offering two new opportunities:

New Small Group Fellowship: Mondays at 6:00pm, beginning on March 10th.  Much like our Wednesday evening group at the Oknefski’s, this group with meet for Bible study, prayer, mutual support and friendship—but at the church rather than in a private home.  A typical evening will run from 6:00 pm until 7:15 with the likelihood that many will then go out to enjoy a simple meal afterward. This group will not replace the Wednesday group but will provide a new opportunity for those not yet connected. Our study during Lent will be the Apostle John’s account of the last hours of Jesus’ life (John 13-20).

Dinner and Devotions for Families: This group for families will meet weekly at the church for an hour or so and will include a dinner, a brief devotional, discussion and prayer.  While the adults meet in the Fellowship Hall, the children and teenagers will share dinner with me and another adult in the wonderful youth area on the second floor of the Education Wing.  After dinner, and their own devotional time, they can enjoy pool, ping pong, video games and other fun activities with their friends.  This new group is being brought together by Alex Hale who will be glad to share the details with you.

MID-WEEK BIBLE STUDY AT THE OKNEFSKI’S, WEDNESDAY AT 6:30PM.

We begin with Hebrews 9.  Hebrews speaks of moving from elementary teaching onto maturity.  That will be the focus of our study in the weeks to come. As always, dinner is provided for those who can stay.  Join us at 2201 Hereford Avenue.

ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES, 9:15AM

·Philippians and the Theology of Joy: The apostle Paul brings up the idea of joy 16 times in this brief letter from prison. Ready for a little joyful living in the midst of life’s struggles?  Join us Sunday morning.  (Fr. Tom in his office)

·Found in Him: We were lost.  Now we are found…in Him.  Everyone has experienced isolation and alienation.  We lost more than a nice home when we were banished from Eden’s garden.  We lost relationship with God and with each other.  But then God did the unimaginable.  God the Son lived and died for us so that we might be reunited to Him. In this class, we will explore the wonder of the incarnation and the glory of our union with Christ. (Brad Watson in Room 101)

CHURCH SPRING CLEANING! THIS SATURDAY FEBRUARY 22ND, 8:00AM.

Our three congregations will work together that morning on a number of indoor and outdoor projects.  We begin with a few minutes around the coffee pot (and donut tray!) and then we’ll dive right in.  If you would like to work inside, bring a bucket of cleaning supplies and a paint brush if you have one.  If outside is more your speed, bring a rake, gloves and maybe a shovel.  This is a good opportunity to beautify our facilities while getting to know your fellow worshippers a little better.

PHOTO DIRECTORY PICTURES THIS SUNDAY AFTER CHURCH!

If you missed your chance last Sunday, we’ll be taking pictures again after church this Sunday.  Immediately after church, go to Room 2 which is just down the hall from where we worship. There are no photos to buy but we will gladly forward a copy via email if you like.

CONSECRATION OF FR. MARK ZIMMERMAN TO BE BISHOP OF THE SOUTHWEST, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28TH, 6:00PM IN EL PASO

So far, nine of us are making plans to drive to El Paso for this once a decade event. If you would like to travel with us, give me a call and we’ll add you to the mix.  We’ll be staying in a downtown hotel within walking distance of St. Clements, the place where he will be consecrated (ordained).

AND FINALLY:

·      Joke of the Week: This one was passed along by our very own Fr. Steve Kelly:

On Sunday after church a man walks up to the pastor and says,“Pastor, will you pray for my hearing?” The Pastor says yes and gathers the elders of the church together. They pray, and they pray, and they pray. After about 20 minutes of praying, the pastor asks the man, “How’s your hearing now? He says, “Well how should I know Pastor, it ain’t ‘til next Tuesday!”

·      If you are in need of pastoral care, you can reach me at 432-853-2751. Please don’t hesitate to call.

Your fellow servant,

Fr. Tom

February 11, 2014

Dear Friends,

As most of you have heard by now, the Anglican Diocese of the Southwest will soon consecrate (ordain) its first diocesan bishop, Fr. Mark Zimmerman of Somerset, Pennsylvania.  Attendees will include Archbishop Robert Duncan, a dozen or more bishops from around the country and several hundred people from the Diocese.

His consecration will take place at St. Clements Anglican Church in El Paso on Friday, February 28th at 6:00pm with a reception following.  A block of hotel rooms within easy walking distance of the church has been reserved for Friday evening so that those who wish to attend and stay over can do so easily.  Cost is around $80 per room.

Marianne and I are going and we heartily encourage you to do so if you can.  This is a rare event in the life of a Diocese and a joyful one at that!  If you are thinking of coming, please do let me know so that we can reserve a room for you.  We will be car pooling from Midland at noon on Friday, the 28th and will return by 2:00pm on Saturday.

MID-WEEK BIBLE STUDY AT THE OKNEFSKI’S, WEDNESDAY AT 6:30PM.

We begin in Hebrews, chapter seven.  Hebrews speaks of moving from elementary teaching onto maturity.  That will be the focus of our study in the weeks to come.  As always, dinner is provided for those who can stay.  Join us at 2201 Hereford Avenue.

NEW ADULT CLASSES SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES, 9:15AM

·       Philippians and the Theology of Joy: The apostle Paul brings up the idea of joy 16 times in this brief letter from prison.  Ready for a little joyful living in the midst of life’s struggles?  Join us Sunday morning.  (Fr. Tom in his office)

·       Found in Him: We were lost.  Now we are found…in Him.  Everyone has experienced isolation and alienation.  We lost more than a nice home when we were banished from Eden’s garden.  We lost relationship with God and with each other.  But then God did the unimaginable.  God the Son lived and died for us so that we might be reunited to Him.  In this class, we will explore the wonder of the incarnation and the glory of our union with Christ. (Brad Watson in Room 101)

PHOTO DIRECTORY PICTURES THIS SUNDAY AFTER CHURCH!

Mr. H. A. Tuck, a wonderful photographer and member of Memorial Christian Church has offered to take pictures of families and individuals THIS SUNDAY for an All Saints photo directory.  He will do so immediately after church in Room 2, just down the hall from where we worship.  This is the first of two sessions he is offering free of charge. There are no photos to buy but we will gladly forward a copy via email if you like.  Would you please plan to stay after church this Sunday for a little while to help us make a good start on the pictures?  Thank you.

 

CHURCH SPRING CLEANING!, SATURDAY FEBRUARY 22ND, 8:00AM UNTIL NOON

Our three congregations will work together that morning on a number of indoor and outdoor projects.  We begin with a few minutes around the coffee pot (and donut tray!) and then we’ll dive right in.  If you would like to work inside, bring a bucket of cleaning supplies and a paint brush if you have one.  If outside is more your speed, bring a rake, gloves and maybe a shovel.  This is a wonderful opportunity to beautify our facilities while getting to know our sister congregations a little better.

 

THIS WEEK

Every Sunday Morning, Classes at 9:15am, Worship at 10:30am

Wednesday, February 12th, 7:00am-8:00am, Morning Prayer in Classroom 101.  Enter by the red door at the Cuthbert Street parking lot.

Wednesday, February 12th, 6:30am-8:00pm, Mid-Week Bible Study

Sunday, February 16thPhoto Directory Pictures After Church!

LOOKING AHEAD

Monday, February 17th, 6:00pm, RESCHEDULED VESTRY MEETING

Friday, February 21ST, 8:30am-10:00am, Jubilee Center, Preparation for Food Distribution

Saturday, February 22ND, 9:00am-12:00am, Jubilee Center, Food Distribution

Saturday, February 22nd, 9:00am to 12:00pm, Church Spring Cleaning

Friday, February 28th, 6:00pm, Consecration of Fr. Mark Zimmerman in El Paso (details below!)

Tuesday, March 4th, 6:00pm to 8:00pm, Mardi Gras Party!

Wednesday, March 5th, 7:00pm, Ash Wednesday Service

 

AND FINALLY:

·       Joke of the Week: Definition of an Intellectual: Someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of the Lone Ranger.  How about this one from Mark Twain: “Age is a matter of mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

·       If you are in need of pastoral care (especially after those jokes J), you can reach me at 432-853-2751. Please don’t hesitate to call.

Your fellow servant,

Fr. Tom

February 4, 2014

Dear Friends,

This has been an eventful week already!  Monday morning, I received a call from Pastor Keith Gibbons of Journey Church to tell me there had been a break-in Sunday night.  Our things were untouched but the thieves did enter Memorial Church’s office and stole the safe.  No easy task to be sure.  Fortunately, they didn’t receive much of value (the offering was small because of the weather) and, except for a small glass pane and a door jamb, nothing else was damaged or taken.  Say a prayer for the burglars that they will have no peace until they turn to the Lord for forgiveness and change their ways.

This is a busy week at All Saints.  Along with the regular activities during the week, there is a food pantry Saturday morning and plenty of great opportunities on Sunday.  Check out the special Sunday schedule below.

THE REAL SUPER SUNDAY AT ALL SAINTS!

9:15am  New Adult Classes

·       Philippians and the Theology of Joy: The apostle Paul brings up the idea of rejoicing 16 times in this brief letter from prison.  Ready for a little joyful living in the midst of life’s struggles?  Join us Sunday morning.  (Fr. Tom in his office)

·       Found in Him: We were lost.  Now we are found…in Him.  Everyone has experienced isolation and alienation.  We lost more than a nice home when we were banished from Eden’s garden.  We lost relationship with God and with each other.  But then God did the unimaginable.  God the Son lived and died for us so that we might be reunited to Him.  In this class, we will explore the wonder of the incarnation and the glory of our union with Christ. (Brad Watson in Room 101)

10:30am Worship and Jubilee Collection

·       This month we are collecting canned mixed fruit.  Bring one or bring a case!

12:00pm Second Sunday Lunch at Schlotzsky’s

·       Join us after service just two doors to the west of the church.  Great sandwiches and salads, Cinabon rolls. 

5:00pm Annual All-Church Birthday Party

·       This is a much loved annual event sponsored by the women of Memorial Church.  The idea is that you share dinner and cake with others who are born your same month and get to know others in our extended church family. There is also a silent auction to benefit missions projects sponsored by the women at Memorial.  If you stop here for dinner, you can still make it to….

6:30pm Pastor’s Roundtable at Grace Lutheran, 3000 West Golf Course Road

·       The topic is Engagement or Separatism: What’s a Christian to Do? Pastor Pase and I will take up the subject of when it is good for Christians to be involved in secular things and when it might be better to stay away.  This is a real question for parents with school aged kids and for involvement in the arts and entertainment, certain kinds of work and even how we use the internet.  As always, there will be plenty of lively conversation.

MID-WEEK BIBLE STUDY AT THE OKNEFSKI’S, WEDNESDAY AT 6:30PM.

This is MELCHIZEDEK WEEK at Bible Study.  Don’t know who Melchizedek is?  Better come this week!  As always, dinner is provided right after the study for those who can stay.  Join us at 2201 Hereford Avenue.

AND FINALLY:

§  Joke of the Week:  Three quick ones from Steven Wright: 1) Is there another word for synonym?  2) If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his wages?  3) Would a fly without wings be called a walk?

§  This Sunday, you will be hearing from our own Bob Landreth who I have asked to talk about Kairos Prison Ministries.  This is a ministry to inmates in both state and federal institutions introducing them to the love of Jesus.  If you are familiar with Cursillo, Walk to Emmaus or Tres Dias, you have an idea how this works.  Bob, who is an eight year veteran of the ministry, has just completed another weekend.  I pray you will be encouraged by what he has to share.  Learn more at kairostexas.org.

§ If you are in need of pastoral care (especially after those jokes), you can reach me at 432-853-2751. Please don’t hesitate to call.

Your fellow servant,

Fr. Tom

January 28, 2014

Dear Friends,

Mardi Gras is common in other parts of the world but not so much in Midland, Texas.  No matter! All Saints celebrated Mardi Gras last year at La Bodega and we’ll do so again this year on March 4th with our sister congregations.  Parties are familiar territory for all of us, I trust, but I want you to begin thinking about this Mardi Gras party differently.

Beyond the barbecue, the children’s games, the beads, the king cake, the smiles, laughter and music, parties in a Christian context are always unique opportunity.  First, there is the privilege of building up your brothers and sisters in Christ. This is a joy for believers and necessary for the health of the body.  Second, church parties are a natural place to bring our un-churched friends and family members into contact with the love of Christ.  As we look forward to Mardi Gras this year, would you please ask the Lord who you should invite?  Let’s use this opportunity to share the great treasure we have in Christ and in one another with a grandchild, a neighbor, a golf buddy or co-worker.  Bring as many folks as you like.  There is always room for one more.

Many thanks to Dene Sheppard for bringing Kristen Williams to sing for us on Sunday.  What a blessing!  After the service, I overheard members of the music team mentioning how much they appreciated hearing her and how they would like to make more opportunities for the congregation to offer their songs to the Lord.  If you think you might want to offer a solo as Kristen did or to sing something with others, do let Robin, Kasey, Debbie or Marianne know.  And please do give a warm welcome this coming Sunday to David Banda, our guest pianist.

Let there be light!  We have added some brighter bulbs to the front of the church.  Makes a nice difference.  Check them out this Sunday.

MID-WEEK BIBLE STUDY AT THE OKNEFSKI’S, 6:30PM.

We’re just getting started on our consideration of the New Testament letter to the Hebrews.    Hebrews provides insight into the Jewish roots of Christianity, urges us to stand firm in our faith and, most importantly, explains our confidence in following Jesus. Join us Wednesday evening.

AND FINALLY:

§ Joke of the Week:  This is the Emo Phillips joke I told in this Sunday’s sermon.  Share it with your Christian friends.  It will lead to wonderful conversations!  If you weren’t with us on Sunday, you might want to catch the joke in the context of the sermon at midlandanglican.org.  The sermon is called “Die Heretic!”

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!”

He said, “Nobody loves me.”

I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

He said, “Yes.”

I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”

He said, “A Christian.”

I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?”

He said, “Protestant.”

I said, “Me, too! What franchise?”

He said, “Baptist.”

I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Baptist.”

I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”

I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.”

I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”

I said, “Die, heretic!”

And I pushed him over.

§ If you are in need of pastoral care (especially after that joke J), you can reach me at 432-853-2751. Please don’t hesitate to call.

Your fellow servant,

Fr. Tom

January 22, 2014

Dear Friends,

Our Vestry Retreat and Parish Planning Summit are this weekend.

The goal of the Parish Planning Summit is to strengthen our fellowship and to make plans for reaching others who do not have a church family.  We will touch base with our original vision for the parish, spend time in prayer and work in groups to chart a course for the coming months.

Please do save Saturday morning this week for All Saints.  I am confident that your involvement Saturday will make a difference and your efforts in the months to come will bear much fruit.  May God grant us wisdom, insight and unity as we move forward for his glory.  We begin at 8:00am with breakfast and will finish before noon.   Adults, teenagers and older children are invited to take part.

MID-WEEK BIBLE STUDY AT THE OKNEFSKI’S, 6:30PM.

We’re just getting started on our consideration of the New Testament letter to the Hebrews.  Hebrews was written to strengthen persecuted Jewish Christians who were tempted to give up on Christ.  Hebrews provides insight into the Jewish roots of Christianity, urges us to stand firm in our faith and, most importantly, explains our confidence in following Jesus.  Join us this evening at 2201 Hereford Avenue.

 

AND FINALLY:

Jokes of the Week:

 

What’s the difference between a Northern fairy tale and a Southern fairy tale?

   A Northern fairy tale begins, “Once upon a time…”
A Southern fairytale begins, “Y’all ain’t gonna believe this!”

What is the difference between ignorance and apathy?
I don’t know and I don’t care.

What’s the difference between Democracy and Feudalism?
With Feudalism, it’s your count that votes!

If you are in need of pastoral care, you can reach me at 432-853-2751. Please don’t hesitate to call.

Your fellow servant,

 

Fr. Tom

January 14, 2014

Dear Friends,

Thanks to all who joined us for the Annual Meeting last Sunday.  It was a wonderful time to celebrate where we have been and to begin looking to the year ahead.  A copy of my letter in the Annual Report is attached.  Copies of the whole Annual Report, including the financials, can be obtained by contacting Teresa Sheppard.

We elected the following persons to serve in the coming year: John Brenner and Curt Henderson  for Vestry, Gary Oknefski and Dan Stoelzel for Diocesan delegate and alternate and Kim Henderson and Fr. Peter Nwangwu for the 2015 Nominating Committee.

I learned this week that members of the congregation contributed directly to year-end financial gift I received from the Vestry.  Thanks to all who gave.  It was very helpful and much appreciated!

MID-WEEK BIBLE STUDY AT THE OKNEFSKI’S, 6:30PM, NEW STUDY!

This week, we begin our consideration of the New Testament letter to the Hebrews.  Hebrews was written to strengthen persecuted Jewish Christians who were tempted to give up on Christ.  Hebrews provides insight into the ancient Jewish roots of Christianity, urges us to stand firm when pressed to minimize our faith and, most importantly, explains why we have complete confidence that Jesus will save us for all eternity.  Join us this Wednesday!

ARTIST NEEDED!

The Vestry has asked a committee to explore the possibility of commissioning two pieces of art depicting stained glass windows to hang at the left and right of the altar.  The committee, consisting of Beth Stoelzel (chair), Charlie Ice, Debbie Kelly, Julie Harvey and your Rector, is receiving names of local artists who might be interested in the project.  If you know of someone who paints in oils or acrylics, please let us know his or her name and contact information.  It would be helpful to receive those names this week.

PARISH PLANNING SUMMIT!  SATURDAY, JANUARY 25TH FROM 8:00AM TO 12:00PM, BREAKFAST PROVIDED.

At the Annual Meeting, I mentioned that adults, teenagers and older children are invited to take part with the Vestry in an All Parish Planning Summit on January 25th.  The purpose is to discern together how God is leading us in the coming months.  We’ll discuss ways to strengthen our fellowship and make plans for reaching others who do not have a church family.  We will pray to truly hear God’s priorities in all of this and for unity as plans come together.  Please do save that morning for All Saints.  God can do great things through us when we are together seeking his will.

AND FINALLY:

  • Joke of the Week:  A man runs into the vet’s office carrying his dog, screaming for help. The vet examines dog’s lifeless body and tells the man that his dog, regrettably, has expired. The man, clearly agitated, demands a second opinion.  So the vet leaves the room and returns with a cat. The cat sniffs the dog’s body from head to tail and meows at the vet.  The vet looks at the man and says, “I’m so very sorry, but the cat thinks that you’re dog is dead, too.” The man is still unwilling to accept that his dog is dead. So the vet brings in a Labrador retriever. The lab also sniffs the body and barks once. The vet says, “I’m sorry, but the lab thinks your dog is dead too.”  The man, finally resigned to the diagnosis, thanks the vet and asks how much he owes. The vet answers, “$650.” “For what?” exclaims the man.  “Well,” the vet replies, “My initial diagnosis was $50.00 but the cat scan and lab test cost $300.00 each.
  •  If you are in need of pastoral care, you can reach me at 432-853-2751. Please don’t hesitate to call.

Your fellow servant,

Fr. Tom

January 7, 2014

Dear Friends,

Our Annual Meeting is this coming Sunday after church.  At the Annual Meeting, we’ll elect members of the Vestry, Delegates to Synod and the 2015 Nominating Committee.  We’ll also review the budget for 2014 and discuss plans for the coming year.  A light snack will be provided immediately after service

Nominees for office include the following:

Vestry: This year, two are needed. John Brenner and Curt Henderson have both just finished one year terms and have let the Nominating Committee know that they are willing to continue by serving full three year terms.  Two consecutive terms are permitted by our bylaws.  Because both have already brought valuable skills to the Vestry’s work, the Committee re-nominates them for additional three year terms.

Synod Delegates: We are permitted a Delegate and an Alternate.  Last Year, Allen Harvey was the Delegate and Teresa Sheppard was the alternate.  Since Teresa is in the Standing Committee of the Diocese and Allen is the Texas Chancellor for the Diocese, both already receive votes in Synod by virtue of their offices.  The Committee nominates Gary Oknefski to serve as our delegate this year and Dan Stoelzel to serve as alternate.

2015 Nominating Committee: These two, elected by the Annual Meeting, will join the Rector, Wardens and two retiring Vestry Members to form next year’s committee.  Kim Henderson and Fr. Peter Nwangwu were nominated.

There is no regular Second Sunday Lunch this week, but we are continuing our collection for the Jubilee Center.  THIS WEEK, THE NEED IS FOR CANNED BEANS!  GREEN, PINTO, LIMA, WHATEVER YOU BRING, IT WILL BE GRATEFULLY RECEIVED!

MID-WEEK BIBLE STUDY AT THE OKNEFSKI’S RESUMES WEDNESDAY AT 6:30PM

This week, we begin with a one evening study of Proverbs 31 concerning women of “noble character.”  On the 15th, we begin our consideration of the New Testament letter to the Hebrews.  Hebrews was written to strengthen Jewish Christians facing persecution and the temptation to give up on Christ.  Hebrews is a wonderful book if you want to understand the ancient Jewish roots of Christianity and how to stand firm when pressed to minimize your faith.  If you are ready to pursue real growth as a believer, there is no better place to do it than on Wednesday evenings.

AND FINALLY:

  • Joke of the Week: A man walks into a bookstore and says “I hope you don’t have a book on reverse psychology.”  Had to think about that one, didn’t you?
  • If you are in need of pastoral care, you can reach me at 432-853-2751. Please don’t hesitate to call.

Your fellow servant,

Fr. Tom

December 31, 2013

Dear Friends,

Our Annual Meeting is a week from this coming Sunday after church (on the 12th).  At the Annual Meeting, we’ll elect members of the Vestry, Delegates to Synod and the 2015 Nominating Committee.  We’ll also review the budget for 2014 and discuss plans for the coming year.  Please do make every effort to attend!

The 2014 Nominating Committee, consisting of our Senior Warden (Alex Hale), our Junior Warden (Dan Stoelzel), those elected from last year’s annual meeting (Nadine Oknefski and Dene Sheppard), and those appointed from retiring Vestry members (Kim Henderson and Tina Ice) will present the nominees this coming Sunday.  This is much later than normal because I failed to bring the Committee together before Christmas.  I do ask your forgiveness for that.

I look forward to enjoying Epiphany Sunday with you.  The season of Epiphany celebrates the revealing of Christ’s divine identity and mission in the world.  It begins with the arrival of the wise men and their gifts for the King of Kings and week by week shows that Jesus truly is Emmanuel (God with us)!

MID-WEEK BIBLE STUDY AT THE OKNEFSKI’S, ON BREAK UNTIL JANUARY 8TH

On the 8th, we’ll begin the new year with a one evening study of Proverbs 31 concerning women of “noble character.”  On the 15th, we begin our consideration of the New Testament letter to the Hebrews.  Hebrews was written to strengthen Jewish Christians facing persecution and the temptation to give up on Christ.  Hebrews is a wonderful book if you want to understand the ancient Jewish roots of Christianity and how to stand firm when pressed to minimize your faith.  If you are ready to pursue real growth as a believer, there is no better place to do it than on Wednesday evenings.

REGULAR SUNDAY SCHOOL FOR ALL AGES IS BACK THIS COMING SUNDAY!

It has been a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s season, but it is now time to get back to “normal” with our Sunday School program.  I will continue my series on ethics titled “What does the Lord Require of You?” in the Adult Classroom (101) and Brad Watson continues his class on Romans in my office.  Sunday School for Youth and Children will also resume in their regular classrooms.

AND FINALLY:

  • New Year’s Jokes of the Week (laugh if you find them funny, ponder them regardless!):  1) A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.  2) I have only one resolution. To rediscover the difference between wants and needs. May I have all I need and want all I have.
  • If you are in need of pastoral care, you can reach me at 432-853-2751. Please don’t hesitate to call.

Happy New Year!

Fr. Tom

December 23, 2013

Dear Friends,

This year’s Christmas Pageant was pure joy!  Thanks to: Michael Brenner, Olivia and Alexis Hale, Max Henderson, Tripp Houck, David-Phillip and Sarah Ladokun, Marianne Finnie (our intrepid director) and Debbie Kelly (our wonderful soloist) and all others who lent a hand.  At the end of the play, our young actors provided a touching scene gathered around the manger as Debbie Kelly sang “In the Bleak Mid-Winter.”  See the attached photo!

The hymn’s last stanza goes as follows:

What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;

Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;

Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;

Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

What can I give him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;

Yet what can I give him?  Give him my heart.

This was certainly the message of the Pageant and is always the best response to our Savior’s birth.

Thanks to all who donated gifts and money for our Christmas Outreach to Jubilee families.  If you would like to spend an hour tomorrow (Christmas Eve) helping to deliver the gifts, come to All Saints at 2:00pm and we will provide the gifts and an address to visit.  If you would like to ride along with Marianne and me, we would love to team up with you.

Finally, thanks to all who turned out for our Christmas Caroling Sunday afternoon. I know that Juanita Evinger and Wendel and Jan Miller deeply appreciated it. A picture of the gang singing with Juanita is attached too.

MID-WEEK BIBLE STUDY AT THE OKNEFSKI’S, ON BREAK UNTIL JANUARY 8TH

On the 8th, we’ll begin the new year with a one evening study of Proverbs 31 concerning women of “noble character.”  On the 15th, we begin our consideration of the New Testament letter to the Hebrews.  Hebrews was written to strengthen Jewish Christians facing persecution and the temptation to give up on Christ.  Hebrews is a wonderful book if you want to understand the ancient Jewish roots of Christianity and how to stand firm when pressed to minimize your faith.  If you are ready to pursue real growth as a believer, there is no better place to do it than on Wednesday evenings.

SPECIAL SUNDAY SCHOOL FOR ALL AGES ON DECEMBER 29TH: MINI LESSONS AND CAROLS!

This coming Sunday, Brad Watson will be leading a relaxed, interactive version of the 9 Lessons and Carols Service during Sunday School beginning at 9:15am.  Meet in classroom 101, the adult Sunday School room.  The traditional readings will be discussed and there will some time to enjoy some of the great Christmas carols.  Following Sunday School, we will have our regular Holy Eucharist service at 10:30am.

AND FINALLY:

  • THREE BAD REINDEER JOKES, NO, FOUR! 1) Where do you find reindeer? It depends on where you leave them!  2)  What reindeer can jump higher than a house? They all can!  Houses can’t jump!  3) Why don’t Prancer and Dancer and the other reindeer overtake Rudolph? Because they don’t believe in passing the buck! 4) You don’t see many reindeer in zoos, do you?  No. They can’t afford the admission.
  • If you are in need of pastoral care, you can reach me at 432-853-2751. Please don’t hesitate to call.

Merry Christmas!

Fr. Tom