Sunday, August 31, 2008


Elmer and Aggie were in church today. We shook hands and were cautiously cordial.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Channeling the Questing Parson ...

... and She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

"Pastor, we need to have a heart-to-heart talk," said Aggie, the pianist for Sunday morning worship. "You may have noticed that Elmer and I were not in church on Sunday. That's because we were out looking for a new church. I don't like the changes you've made in the morning service. I don't like playing those new songs like "This is the Day" and "His Name is Wonderful." I don't like that you've asked us to learn new songs like "In Times Like These." We never sing the old songs out of the new hymnal anymore.

"And I certainly don't like your preaching. You make the Scriptures too modern and you certainly don't interpret Scripture like Jesus would have. Besides that, you get out from behind the pulpit and move around the congregation. Pastor Wilbur never did that! He stayed put.

"And to tell us that since Children's Church program has been let go because the teacher has done it for years and wants a break, you want folks to donate school totes and coloring books and crayons! Let them kids sit up and pay attention! Better yet, work to find another Children's Church teacher. Those kids are too distracting to stay in church and they bother the older members anyway.

"And don't get me started about using that newfangled screen and hanging movie projector. Everyone needs to learn how to read the music and that can't happen when the words are the only things on the screen!"

"I like being up on that podium with the organist and you and the Worship Leader, but I'm not going to put up with these changes. Elmer may be your Lay Leader, but he doesn't like any of it either. I think we'll be looking for another church."

Pastor Net leaned back in her chair and quickly asked herself, "What would the Questing Parson do?" And it came to her.

"Well, Aggie," said Pastor Net, "I'm not going to stand in your way if you and Elmer feel called to find another church. Might I suggest a small, dying church whose congregation has never wanted to change. Since they will be few in number, they would appreciate your gift of music because they cannot afford a paid pianist. And they will tell you how thankful they are to have and just how wonderful you are. Since they'll be older, they'll want to sing all the old songs at the slower tempo you're so fond of playing. And since they know they're dying, they will not want to be joyful, but will be sad, serious and somber. After all, they're going be meeting Jesus sooner than later.

"Better yet, you and Elmer can give them palliative care until they close the church. And when the last one's gone, you can move on to another church with like-minded folks who don't want to change because they're only in it for themselves and content to live in the past."

Aggie puffed herself up like a frazzled goose and spun around on her heel and out the door.

Grayhaired Secretary leaned back in her desk chair, looked into Pastor Net's office and pumped her fist up and down in the air.

(I was praying about how I could remove Elmer from his LL position. He has a small, narrow mind and it IS all about him and Aggie. He's killed or been run out of every Sunday School Class he's been involved in because he hogs the conversation or turns it to himself. And I didn't have the heart to tell Aggie her services would be curtailed because we're starting a Worship Team with the blessing of the Organist!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Life in a Small Town

I submitted my application last week to Small Town Volunteer Fire Department & Ambulance Service so I can serve the Small Town community as an EMT. I got a call saying that I needed to be "interviewed" by one of the Executive Board members to ensure that I was "morally fit" to be a VFD member.


Sounds like an Arlo Guthrie song, doesn't it?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Reminders of First Days

A nostalgic wave comes over me this time every year. Remembering the first days of our children's school years. 'Nuff to bring a tear to my eye and a catch in my throat.

I made sure he had everything he needed today ... black pants, black shoes, black socks, black belt, zebra shirt and his whistle. I sent him out the door with a kiss and his briefcase, telling him: For Pete's sake, Hubby, remember this is a high school varsity game between the Charter School and the Christian School, not the Olympics. Call a good game!"

Ah, the first day of the refereeing year. Pardon me whilst I find a tissue.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Our church float took First Place in the CornFest Parade yesterday morning in the Church Division and tied for First Place with the Amway Store's float in the overall judging.

Hubby's church float had a Corn Still promoting ethanol.

Free Methodist had kids "eating" corn and prayers of thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest.

The Catholic church had a bunch of senior citizens playing cooking utensils in a kitchen band.

The Lootherans didn't have a float.

I thought the Presby's would win it on the "cuteness factor." They had six little kids wearing muffin head costumes, sitting in a giant muffin baking tin. Another cutie was the cook, stirring corn meal in a bowl and "pouring" it on top of the muffin heads in the baking tin which he then "pushed" into the cardboard replic of a wood-burning oven. My heart sank when I saw their float; and right then and there, I was willing to give a concession speech.

But we WON! WE WON!

The trophy is sitting on the Worship Center today along with some of D2's academic awards and some of Son's athletic awards. I'm preaching on "Excellence in All We Do for Jesus Christ" based on the Romans lectionary passage and the Olympics.


Friday, August 22, 2008


It's CornFest Weekend in Small Town! The whole town has turned out for this annual festival honoring ... corn!

What's the theme of the weekend? Why ... corn!

The County Fire Police have blocked off the center of Small Town for the weekend by order of the Mayor and Small Town Police Department. There are corn balloons, corn dogs, chili and corn bread, corn fritters, fried corn, boiled corn and roasted corn-on-the-cob. (There's also hot dogs, sloppy joes, funnel cakes, bake sale items and the like!)

My absolute favorite of the evening was the Bubblegum Machine Dance Factory. The DJ spun really cool kiddie tunes and we did the Chicken Dance, the Hand Jive, the Bunny Hop and Hokey Pokie.

Tomorrow is the BIG parade. Church Around the Corner has a float in it. The Chair of this years' Float Committee is 13 years old. He stood up in worship three weeks ago and announced he was volunteering to Chair, but needed some help putting the float together. He got lots of help! Our float has a working water mill and small grist stone to grind corn (13 year old's idea). Most of our church children will be riding on it and throwing out "Jesus Loves You" bracelets to the crowd. Both the adults and kids will be dressed in pioneering clothes and Psalm 65:13 covers the back of the "mill." We're going to kick some ecumenical church butt (Hubby's church has a nice cardboard corn stalk and loots of hay bales on their float).

And later on tomorrow there's a Chicken BBQ at the Fire Hall; a Jimmy Buffet Cover Band, Pig Roast, Hula Hoop and Limbo Contests at the Small Town Park.

I love this town!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Accidental or Incidental??

It's a small world, after all ... a small, small world.

Went to visit a hospitalized parishioner this afternoon. When I got there, her daughter was visiting too. I know Sick Parishioner's parents because they're members of my favorite Mennonite church in the community I just left. Her cousin is still a good friend from the CIUS.

Her daughter asked me if I knew J. I replied I knew lots of J's - could she narrow down the field. Turns out I DO know her J, a pharmacist and her husband who came briefly to CIUS, but left because of how poorly they were treated (not by me ... I visited with her and her hubby when he was admitted to Big Fancy Hospital in Nearby City with a cardiac condition).

Turns out they heard I had moved. They know Parishioner's Daughter who assured them that Church Around the Corner is NOT anyway like the Church I Used to Serve. PD has invited J and her husband to join us for worship! Way cool!

Male Nurse comes in to start IV on Sick Parishioner. He looks vaguely familiar and I greeted him with a generic "hi!" SP said something and I laughed and Male Nurse's head whipped up and asked, "Pastor net, is that you? I thought it might have been, but I wasn't sure until I heard you laugh!"

Turns out I knew him too. Male Nurse was a seasonal camper at Little Bitty Church from two appointments ago. He was from Really Big City where Three Rivers Converge and the sports teams are named for Industrial Workers, Cold Weather Birds and Jack Sparrow Wannabees. He came to church when he was at his camp and LBC's church family and I prayed him through the loss of his job and his parents.

He and his wife sold their home in Really Big City. He went to nursing school and since they liked the area, they moved up here. He works at Little Hospital and she is a teacher at the Christian School. They're looking for a new church family. SP, SPD and I invited them to join us for worship.

Now, what are the odds that all this was accidental?

Toss in the conversation I had with the Presbyterian Elder at the Discount Mattress Store who feels called to ministry and loves to talk about theology ...

How great is our God!

I love this place! I love God!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Life in a Small Town

Hubby heard this conversation between an eight-year old boy and the young man's father while he was downtown at the Small Town Super Market last night:
"Dad! Look! There's the guy that lives with our pastor!"

Friday, August 15, 2008

Has It Been that Long?

When he calls me "Baby," my heart still skips a beat.
Hubby & net

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


It's official! I have been reinstated as an EMT by the State Department of Health!

Bring it on!

Let's Get This Party Started

Tonight, Church Around the Corner's S/PPRC meets for the second time. Last month's meeting was a listening post of sorts. They talked, I listened. And if you remember from my previous post, they had a lot to say.

Tonight, I'm going to lead a Bible Study about the C/church's purpose. They are so wanting to do "ministry," but it's a shot-gun (with an open choke) approach. Just aim and fire. The pattern is way, way wide and all spread out. You can't do ministry that way ... the louder voices get heard whether or not the issues/"recommendations" they speak are truly what needs to be done.

The PPR Chair invited folks to "suggest" ways the church can be in ministry. Of course, the main concern is increasing church membership and attendance, i.e. "survival." I'm trying to tell them that if the church is healthy, then growth is inevitable. "Church Growth" should not be the main focus of ministry.

Their last Mission Statement (done about 20 years ago) is a convoluted, rambling, wordy, run-on sentence. Tonight, we're going to get started on a new one. But first, we need to take a look and listen as Jesus spells out what he expects from his disciples.

The UMC's Mission Statement is "Making disciple of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."

Our Conference's Statement is "to provide leadership, connection, and resources to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."

Our Conference's Vision is "to ignite and sustain a passionate, spiritual connection with Christ among all people in [our Conference's area]."

Our Core Value Statement: "Our core value is love: We love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength and our neighbors as ourselves. This value is commanded by Jesus, inspired by our Wesleyan heritage including to spread scriptural holiness over the land and witnessed through our integrity, accountability and inclusiveness."

Lofty words to be sure. I'm not looking for anything this profound, but tonight we will attempt to contemplate, understand and verbalize what Jesus expects us to do as CATC. It's a first step. Then we can plan ministry around what Jesus expects us to do.

Mission Statement making is not an immediate proposition. It takes time, discernment and a lot of prayer. I'm starting a "Pastor's Partners in Prayer," made up of committed prayer warriors, to cover this process in prayer. I've gotten four folks so far to commit to pray daily for the church, me and the church's leaders.

I'm really excited about empowering this church!

Sunday, August 10, 2008


God is good. Life is good.

That's all I need to say!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Fair Time and New Skills

It's County Fair time and Church Around the Corner has a booth with just about every other non-profit in our county. CATC is a little different, however. They're not out to make money - they're out to provide a presence.

With soda going for $3.00 a bottle elsewhere, CATC's booth sells a 20 ouncer for $1.00. Same with water. Popcorn is a quater a bag; 50 cents a box. They also sell double scoop sno-cones for $1.00. But, IMHO, the very best is the Cotton Candy!

I have a new marketable skill to add to my resume: Cotton Candy Spinner. $2.00 for a HUGE bag or $1.50 for a GINORMOUS plonk on a stick! See the picture above? Triple that. No kidding.

I'm really tired tonight. We had a steady business today and I worked seven hours on my feet.

It was pretty neat, too - I saw former parishioners from my appointment before the CIUS. Lots of hugs and catching up!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Church Family

Have I mentioned just how wonderful my new church family is?

The Oldest Attending Member took a header this morning before worship, making a face plant into the hallway carpet. He's lost a lot of weight lately and the combination of ill-fitting clothes and weakness caused his accident. He ended up with a very large wound on the side of his head where his fragile skin tore. The Lay Leader came and got me, alerted the church and we all got to work.

His many friends took turns holding his hands, praying over him, speaking encouraging words of love and support. Others prayed in the Narthex; one called Small Town Ambulance Service and others brought me the first aid box so I could practice my rusty EMT skills.

Ashley, who is a 21-year-old mentally challenged young woman, asked me what had happened to her "friend."

"He has a big ouchie on his head, Ash," I told her.

Ash knelt down and tenderly kissed her friend on his head. "There! That should make you feel better!" she said. Mr. Oldest Attender kissed her hand and thanked her for the gift.

That's OK!" Ashley said. "I love you!"

My heart swelled up and I choked back tears.

After the ambulance crew got Mr. OA assessed and loaded up, his church family lined their way with shouts of love and good wishes.

When it had turned the corner and couldn't be seen any more, we all made our way into the sanctuary for worship. I think God was beaming.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Little Less Anxious

Thank you all for your support and comments! I am feeling some better this week. The CRNP at the Family Practice said to take my vitamin and calcium at least four hours after I take my thyroid medicine and see if that helps. Thanks Anonymous - I didn't think of that.

These folks are just wonderful. Of course, they have their times and their issues; but overall, they are compassionate, caring, FUN-LOVING folks. Compared to the last four years, this is heaven.

Onward and upward!

Problems with Sitemeter

For all you all who can't access blogs because you get an error message saying that Internet Explorer cannot open the page: Delete your Sitemeter! There is a major issue with it!