Friday, November 28, 2008


Make the pain go away!

I HATE depression!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

Three feet. That's how much we've got right now. Three BIG feet of snow.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bound to Happen

Remember these folks?

Well, the doo hit the fan Most of the choir members are receptive to learning "new" songs. On the Sundays that new music is sung, I try very hard to make sure the choir has the music (music and lyrics) so it can be practiced Wednesday night at Choir Practice. Today, we were going to try 'Heart of Worship' by Matt Redmon (Yeah, I know - "new" music).

Someone came and got me, saying the choir was up in arms. I arrived in the Choir Room only to discover that most of them were happily singing away. Aggie was pitching a fit because the organist was playing the piano.

Aggie, if you remember, is a lot like She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named from the Church-I-Used-to-Serve. It IS all about her and her husband, Elmer. She refuses to play anything but the old standards.

Unfortunately, the computer we use to play CDs imploded right before church. I was going to sing Heart of Worship to an accompany CD, but that wasn't going to happen. Hmmm. Aggie doesn't play "new" music, but Organist (who ironically is the same age as Aggie) can and will play anything. And it's five minutes to Worship. What a time to pitch a fit!

I went back to the Choir and sang with the Choir. Aggie wasn't singing. When the song finished, she launched into the same old song: "NO ONE LIKES THESE SONGS! WE'RE GOING TO LOSE PEOPLE IF YOU CONTINUE TO FORCE US TO DO THESE! YADA, YADA, YADA!! I FEEL LIKE I'M NOT NEEDED ANYMORE!"

Oh, please.

Almost everyone else said, "I like this song! I like to learn new music! I don't know what your problem is, Aggie!"

Her sole supporter said, "We want to sing songs out of the hymnal!"

I gently reminded Sole Supporter that out of the five songs we sing per Sunday, three are old familiars AND they are out of the hymnal. Oops, Sole Supporter.

And I asked the choir what they wanted the most for the church. Almost unanimously, they answered, "Young people and middle-age folks."

AND I once again I reminded them, growth comes with change and change comes with discomfort. These "new" songs are the songs the young, young adults and middle-agers are listening to and singing (Thanks to the scarcity of area radio stations other than the Christian stations.) And it's not about us. Getting out of our comfort zones is the price we pay for evangelism and discipleship.

We sang Heart of Worship accompanied by Organist on the piano and it seems most of the congregation knew it. There were hands being raised and eyes being closing and a sweet spirit filling the church. And I know God was being offered the best we have to give.

Aggie decided not to join in the Passing of the Peace, not even shaking hands with the other choir members. (Insert eye roll here) Whatever.

I will be sad if Aggie and Elmer decide to attend Hubby's church. Most of their friends are there. It's the OTHER UMC in town, but it has no young or middle-aged people. Just a bunch of older folks who don't want to change. He and the associate pastor do a wonderful job of pastoring, but both of them acknowledge that it is just a matter of time before they close, unless Jesus comes back or they decide to change.

This is the part of pastoring I don't like. Interestingly enough, Aggie's nephew has threatened to leave Church-Around-the-Corner unless we start singing new music.

Can't win for losing. This one's in God's hands.

Mission Statements

Why are Mission Statements so hard to write?

CATC's Visioning Committee (PPRC Committee and key church leaders) have been working on a mission statement for the past three months. They can agree on the bigger picture - it's the finer details they can't seem to agree upon.

We've discovered what our core values are. They're not hard: Love (for God and others), faith and ..... obedience, service, guidance? They've managed to work in the love and faith part, but the ___________________ part, they just can't agree to name it.

This week is the last time to work on it. They have to come to some sort of a consensus because I will be putting it in a larger package (2009 officers, budget, etc) and asking the congregation if they can live with it (if they can't, then it needs tweaked) and then it's on to the next level of planning in the boards and committees.

These folks have been a lot of fun to work with. Even when they can't reach consensus, they're still gracious and friendly. I'm praying it will go through!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kids Ask the Darnedest Things

I decided to change it up this Sunday since it was a very special Sunday. So, instead of dragging out the hairdryer and curling iron, I decided to go with styling mousse and towel-dried hair. I was pleased with the results!

Children's Time happened. I talked about the CATC celebrating its 100th birthday. I talked about the changes that have happened in the last 100 years.
Five year old Annie raised her hand.

Now Annie's dad is a high school teacher and her mama is a Lutheran pastor (and fellow Duke grad!). Annie and her brother don't miss a trick.

Me: "Annie, do you have something you would like to say?"

Annie: "No. I have a question."

Me: "OK. What is your question?"

Annie: "Pastor Net, why is your hair wet?"

Blink, blink.

Cue raucous laughter from the congregation (They didn't even try to chortle quietly!)

Me: "Um. It's not wet, sweetie. I just put styling mousse in it and let it go this morning. Here, you can feel it."

Annie: "Oh. It feels like my brother's. He uses styling gel."

Everyone took great delight in reminding me after the service that, in spite of what I might think, I am not in control. The kids are.

And that's OK with me. These kids have great teachers!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tired but Full

Church-Around-the-Corner's 100th Birthday Celebration is officially over. My feet are tired and sore, but my heart is full to running over.

What a wonderful celebration!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Beginning of the End! Yeah!!!!

Tonight is Church-Around-the-Corner's Charge Conference. Yeah!
Tomorrow starts the weekend celebration of its 100th Anniversary. Yeah!
We have all kinds of wonderful events lined up: Chicken & Biscuit Dinner, addresses from former pastors, programs, a big worship service on Sunday, exhibits .... This has been years in the making.
And in two weeks, Stewardship Sunday and that program will end!
And hopefully, church life will fall back into some kind of a normal routine.
Off to clean the parsonage so's the former pastors and spouse can walk down Memory Lane!