January 20th, 2012 eNote

Below is my weekly email to the Tonganoxie UMC congregation.  I share it here so that others can keep in touch with what the church is up to.  Let me know if you’d like to be added to the list to receive the note weekly.

Dear Tonganoxie UMC Family,

This week I had the opportunity to spend three days in Topeka with United Methodist Clergy from Kansas and Nebraska.  The gathering was called by the Bishops of both states and provided an opportunity to worship together, to hear a series of great lectures by Brian McLaren, and to process and discuss the plans that are moving forward for the creation of a new Annual Conference that includes both of our states (currently there are three annual conferences – Kansas East, Kansas West, and Nebraska).
From the gathering I took a great sense of hope for United Methodism in Kansas and Nebraska.  I also took a great sense of confidence about the work that you have begun and that we are doing as a congregation.  It was once again clear to me what a blessing it is to be serving as your pastor as we journey into the future to which God is calling us.  It was a great conference, but I am glad to be back home and excited to share a few things with you today.
Year-End Finance Number Clarification
It seems that a statement I made in last week’s eNote, “we finished the year in the black by nearly $5,000” was heard differently by some than I intended for it to be and so I want to provide some clarity this week.  In 2011 we began the year with roughly $20,000 available in the general fund checking account.  At 2011’s end we had payed all of our obligations (including 100% of our apportionments, mission and ministry support through the denomination) and ended the year with roughly $25,000 available in the the general fund checking account.  We operated in the black throughout the year, but managed to finish the year slightly ahead of where we had started.
Souper Bowl Challenge – Pep Rally this Weekend
The challenge we received from McLouth UMC is now well underway and each congregation is seeking to collect as many cans of soup (as well as spaghetti-o’s, ravioli, chili, or beefaroni) as they can.  I am already hearing and sensing a great deal of enthusiasm about the competition and had some fun conversation with Morgan Whitaker Smith, McLouth UMC’s Pastor, and Mike Chamberlain, our District Superintendent this week.  Mike made good on his promise of 5 cases of soup and even upped it a can to make sure he was giving more to us than the Topeka DS was giving to McLouth.  I want to share a few things regarding the challenge this morning:
  • Mike also challenged all of you, as leaders in the congregation, to match his pledge of at least 5 cases of soup.
  • Some coupons have been left in the gathering area by the soup collection and you’re welcome to take them to purchase soup if you’d like.
  • If you want to support our efforts to fight hunger in Tonganoxie and Leavenworth County, but don’t feel that you have the time or energy to shlep soup to the church, you can make a donation of cash or write a check to the church (clearly marked for Soup) and we have some volunteers willing to shop on behalf of the congregation.
  • We will have people at B&J encouraging the community to help us out by buying some soup next Saturday the 28th from 10-2 and Sunday the 29th from 12-3.  Please invite your friends who might be shopping at those times to buy some soup or consider coming out to help with the display.
  • If you were in worship last week you heard me say it, but I want to make sure this promise is out there for all to hear – if you are able to collect 5,000 cans of soup I will shave my head.  Let that serve as some motivation for you!
  • At the conclusion of the 10:30 service this Sunday we will have a fun pep rally to help us get pumped up for the competition.  Many have been working hard on plans for this this week.  YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS IT!
Introduction to Tonganoxie UMC Class Rescheduled
I had previously announced that next Sunday, January 29th, I would be offering an “Introduction to Tonganoxie UMC” class as an opportunity for people to learn more about our congregation and consider membership.  This class is being rescheduled for February 19th (still from 3-5pm).  More details will be coming soon, but I invite you to mark your calendars for that class now, especially if you have questions about the church or might be interested in the possibility of joining.  All are welcome regardless of how long they have been involved in TUMC.
Again, it is a joy to be serving as your pastor and I am so excited to see how 2012 unfolds for us as we continuing living into our purpose of being a community of faith inviting all to know God’s love, connecting with each other, growing in our faith, and serving our community and the world.  I look forward to seeing you in worship on Sunday as we continue our sermon series, “Come and See” by talking about  what it means for us to be Connecting on Purpose.
Grace and Peace,

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