Monday, December 30, 2002

Sun. Jan. 26
Souper Bowl Sunday!
This is a good reminder to bring canned goods -- like soup! -- for the food pantry this Sunday. Some folks like to get a can of food to donate for each snack item they buy for the Super Bowl celebration later on in the day. However you do it, help us make this a "Souper" Sunday for the food pantry.
Hebron Crossroads 1-05-03
By Jeff Gill

Winter is a fine time for reading. I enjoy skiing, and even snow shoveling has its pleasures (when you grew up shoveling snowfall
measured in feet), but there’s no time like these next few months for sitting near a fire, turning on a lamp, and opening up a book.
So the long promised (or threatened!) “Books and Coffee” series will begin the fourth Saturday of January, and run at least through May. We’ll meet at 10 am, in the meeting room at the front of 612 W. Main St. next to Hebron Christian Church, and I’ll have the coffee ready if you’ll come to talk about your reaction to the book o’ the month. They’ll all be relatively short, easily accessible by library or Waldenbooks at the mall, and picked by yours truly.
Jan. 25 we’ll look at “Johnny Tremain” by Esther Forbes. Officially a “juvenile” novel, this is a story of Boston as the American Revolution is getting started, and seemed a good choice as we’re about to see Ohio’s bicentennial celebration get started (March 1, don’t forget!). Published during the onset of World War II, Forbes was looking for ways to make history accessible and relevant to young people, but wrote a piece of historical fiction for the ages.
February 22 the selection is “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” by Jean-Dominque Bauby. This nearly un-summarizable book has to be read to be believed, and is quite short so why not try it? I guarantee a lively and memorable discussion.
March 22, as we’re all getting antsy with spring fever (or cabin fever if the winter’s grip has relaxed yet), the book is “Under a Tuscan Sun” by Frances Mayes. This is a true story that will warm up the most frigid view out your window as you read in February and March. There’s something here for cooks, carpenters, gardeners, teachers, poets, whatever your interests.
April 26, with Easter just past, we’ll look at “Desire of the Everlasting Hills” by Thomas Cahill, who wrote “How the Irish Saved Civilization.” Cahill is working his way through a series called “The Hinges of History,” and from his first Gaelic tribute to this most recent social history of the man Jesus, he’s living up to his intentions of giving a non-specialist overview of the major turning points in western civilization.
And the close of this experiment I made a “classic” that is rarely read today, but still in print (so someone’s reading it), Anthony Trollope’s “The Warden.” Again, a short book, but with a long reach across nearly 150 years into issues of today.
Even if you can’t attend any of the Saturday “Books and Coffee” gatherings but just decide to read a few of these titles that caught your fancy, you’ll have helped make this endeavor worthwhile. In fact, if someone e-mails me a few thoughts they had on completing the book for that month, I promise to make use of your contribution as we begin our discussion.
Of course, if you haven’t read (or finished) the book you’re more than welcome to attend; we just can’t promise not to ruin the ending for you! And the conversation is all the more interesting if you have some sense of who or what we’re talking about.
So request the book from the library, or go see the display at Waldenbooks (thanks Anita and Justin and Michelle!), and find a warm corner to read; we’ll see you Jan. 25.
Oh, and Go Bucks!

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and compulsive reader; if there’s a cure, he doesn’t want it! If you have news or book reports to share, call him at 928-4066 or e-mail

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Notes From My Knapsack

With the season of Christmas winding up on Epiphany Sunday (also known as Post-Fiesta Bowl Sunday), it’s also a good time for looking back over the “Holiday Season” and how the society around us does and doesn’t observe the occasion.

You’ve probably already heard how “the Gap” has instructed employees not to say “Merry Christmas”, and in fact I learned from employees at the mall that the landlords told all stores to avoid putting the word “Christmas” in any of their displays (I’m assuming, I hope unfairly, that manger scenes would have been completely out of the question). We’ve talked in the adult Sunday School classes and I’ve mentioned from the pulpit in recent weeks how seasonal music in ads and public spaces is now almost completely “carol-free,” limited to “Jingle Bells”, “Let It Snow”, and “Chestnuts Roasting. . .”, which was “The Christmas Song” when Nat King Cole first sang it, but never mind.

There’s plenty of room to bemoan some of these cultural developments, but let me tell you what the good news is in all of this. For many years, I think we’ve been too comfortable with assuming that society is taking care of teaching Christianity to our young, and reminding the more mature of the meaning of the story, not to mention the “reason for the season.” The good news, the Good News out of the new day we find ourselves in, is that we now know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if we want our children to learn the story and meaning of Christmas, we’re going to have to teach it to ‘em ourselves. The Gap isn’t gonna do it, Target won’t get it done, and the mall doesn’t care. And ya know what? I’m not sure they ever did.

As to the comment “but we’re in the majority, we shouldn’t let a minority take away our Christmas,” here’s an observation that isn’t good news, but is a good challenge as we go into our annual meeting Jan. 26 and Christian Ed planning Jan. 9: on Christmas Eve, we were rightfully pleased to see around 165 in worship. But Hebron has around 2200 residents, and if the four churches in town averaged about the same, that’s 660 souls in church, on a pretty churchgoin’ night of the year. We’ll average about 101 in worship through the year (up from last year, to be sure), and even if you use the 250 that attend at least five times a year, or “active members”, and call that an average of the four Hebron churches (which would be generous), that’s 1000, or less than half.

We’ve got a ways to go before we can really say that a majority of Hebron, or almost any other place in the USA, is truly Christian. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Are we ready to reach out to the unchurched in the Lakewood area? See you at the congregational meeting and dinner after worship the 26th!

In Grace and Peace,
Pastor Jeff

* * * * * * *
Your Family History:
A Story Worth Telling

Pastor Jeff will present his program on oral history and telling your family story at the Hebron Library on Sat., Feb. 1, at 10 am. The talk and discussion will last about an hour and a half, and is open to all!

* * * * * * *
Books and Coffee
Jan. 25, Feb. 22, 10 am

At the old parsonage meeting room on the fourth Saturday of the month this winter, you and your friends are invited to sit down with a cup of coffee and a good book. Waldenbooks is helping promote this series of discussions, led by Pastor Jeff. The January book is “Johnny Tremain” by Esther Forbes, and February is “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” Selections for Books and Coffee are fairly short, available in paperback, and generally can be gotten at the library in either our church or down at the Hebron branch, or you can go buy your own and bend the covers back all you want! Invite a friend and join us through May; we will also have a Wednesday Bible Study mornings through Lent, starting Ash Wednesday.

* * * * * * *
Friendly Class on the move!

The adult class will be moving for the next few months to Fellowship Hall; we’ll meet around tables with coffee in hand and maybe a munchable item or two, along with the lectionary-based Bible study. Come join the assembly at 9:30 in the sanctuary, and then drop downstairs for class.

Monday, December 23, 2002

Booster East cover 12-29
Jacksontown Community Breakfast
By Jeff Gill

Are you hungry?

If it’s the first Saturday of the month, and it’s after 11 am, you have only yourself to blame. Nobody who passed through the Jacksontown United Methodist Church for breakfast has room for much more than a cracker until evening.

For eleven years next month, the Community Breakfast in Jack-town (as most locals call it) has been an institution, drawing folk in every first Saturday from all around Licking and Perry Counties, and even from farther away.

Last month, the December breakfast dawned bright and cold, with nearly 50 cars in the church lot just after 7 am. The couple collecting $4 apiece at the bottom of the steps to the basement thought turnout was a bit light because of the temperature, but the room was warm and full to a casual visitor's eye.

Working along a buffet line of crock pots and friendly faces helping serve bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes, fruit cups, and cups of coffee, a patron carries a now loaded tray in search of a seat in either the main area or one of two Sunday school rooms that serve as dining areas these Saturdays.

It’s hard not to find a familiar face for most visitors here, or at least a smiling one. As you sit down and dig in, conversation around you indicates that your fellow breakfasters are from Alexandria and Somerset, from Columbus and even Cincinnati. You can end up in conversations about installing culverts, calving season, teachers’ conferences, nursing shortages in OR’s, or comparing download times from internet services. One story going around is that a fellow with family in the area times his visits from Tennessee to coincide with the Jacksontown Community Breakfast.

None of this surprises Keith Cotterman, who has helped lead this program of his church since the beginning, along with his wife Dottie.
“We start a week before each first Saturday putting together everything we need,” says Keith. “We buy our meat from Al’s Meat Market in Newark, the eggs sometimes are donated locally, and everything else is brought in by church members.”

The idea began with a similar, smaller breakfast in Thornville, and when that program began to wind down, Keith went down to visit with Don Royer to see how they’d done it. That was January of 1992, and they began at Jacksontown United Methodist Church the next month. . .and haven’t stopped since.

At 5:30 am, winter or summer, light or dark, Keith and a few of what will end up being a 30 person crew unlock the church building, set out the crock pots, and start the coffee urns. 7:00 am is the opening, and there’s always a line waiting to get in when they start. By the 11:00 am wrap-up, the church will have served breakfast to 400 to 475 people.

“The church has used the proceeds over the years for a variety of ‘over and above’ projects,” says Pastor Bob Beyer. “We’ve made some building improvements, including increasing our handicap accessibility to the basement. Our administrative council will decide where the money from the January 4 breakfast will go, and they have allocated the December dollars to the new ‘Water’s Edge’ ministry in Buckeye Lake plus some seed money for a new church start in the district.”

Keith and Bob share a variety of causes and concerns the breakfast earnings have supported, including youth camp fees and for a Russian missionary who’s been in town to preach. The breakfast has also brought in at least ten families to the church over the last five years, they estimate.

“I have never had to recruit help,” says Keith. “People just show up and start working.”

Among the long-time regulars, he points out Bonnie Lovejoy as gravy maker, Bud Lovejoy for pancake flipping, Ruth Wilson on fruit cups, and Dick Beard with potatoes and sausage. This particular breakfast, a number of the youth group members have sacrificed sleeping in to help with their Santa hats as servers, part of their support of the youth programs with Water’s Edge.

The congregation, with a classic old wood frame building and graceful spire visible as you drive south on Rt. 13 into Jack-town, has two worship services on Sundays at 9:15 and 11 am. With around 150 in worship between the services, they have about 20% of their active membership directly involved in the community breakfast program.

“This is a real unifying experience for the congregation,” says Pastor Bob, “but we do it because we really like seeing all the happy faces together to start a day like today.”

They would love to break the 500 mark someday, but doubt that Jan. 4 will be the day, guessing that many Ohioans will be up late the night before. On the other hand, we agree that a good solid country breakfast will be just the thing however the Fiesta Bowl turns out.

The Jacksontown Community Breakfast is every first Saturday of the month at Jacksontown United Methodist Church from 7:00 to 11:00 am, just south of the intersection of US Rt 40 and State Rt 13. The next breakfast is Jan. 4, and the cost is $4 per person. Proceeds go to support the mission, outreach, and ministry programs of the congregation.

Hebron Crossroads 12-29
By Jeff Gill

Hebron Village trash pickup is on Monday, and the one after Christmas is always a sight to see!
The mounds of bags, black plastic or festive shredded gift sacks; the piles of boxes wedged tight against the winter winds; white plastic kitchen garbage liners bulging with the remnants of good cheer gone south. It can all “pile up” as a commentary against the excesses of the holiday season.
But every time I’m tempted to react too negatively against the commercial and disposable side of the Christmas season, I remember the refugee families I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working with through the years in churches. From Cambodia or Laos, from Armenia or Somalia, one thing they all had in common: they loved the malls and the grocery stores.
Sure, they were a little scary, and yep, they usually couldn’t buy two things there even with some financial help (at first), but the sight of all those consumer goods, in great supply and vast selection. . .and without armed guards standing near the produce aisle, or government officials waiting to stamp your “permission to buy a radio” book! Over and over I’ve heard refugees say, “This really is a free country, isn’t it?”
And they know it isn’t “free” as in “not paying”, but free as in, if you have the money, you do what you choose with it. Looking at 47 varieties of salad dressing, where I see one more annoying decision I have to make, they see freedom and democracy even when they can’t afford to buy it. They know they’ll be back, and they want the Ranch Bacon Fat free, but all in good time.
So enjoy the excess as long as you appreciate what it means, which will probably make you a little less wasteful and a whole lot more thankful when it comes right down to it.

Speaking of which, with Christmas right behind us, it’s not too early to start reminding ourselves that the food pantries and aid programs often clean off the shelves to give families a boost through Christmas Day, and the winter will continue. If you’ve given generously to a local pantry or service group who see the needy each day, try to help ‘em out a bit each month right on through the year. Same goes for blood drives right after the holidays, which is as bad as the summer for keeping stocks up; check your local fire department or municipal office for a blood drive near you.

This is the big week for Buckeye fans, with not a few of our local folk leaving the Crossroads for the big trip west to Tempe. We hope the big screens in the hotels there have as good a picture of the living room TV’s in Hebron, as tickets are still sounding scarce (insert unnecessary hen’s teeth reference here). But there’s so much natural history and scenery to soak up in Arizona that I’m sure football fans won’t mind not getting into the stadium. Don’t forget the Spanish missions, the world-famous Desert Museum, the Lost Dutchman Mine, side trips to the Grand Canyon. . .
Somehow, I’m guessing that this isn’t helping. But have a great time everybody, OK? At least you won’t be scraping ice from your windshield.

Well, we’ll see you next in a new year; we’ve got restaurant openings, the “Mine + Nine” campaign, “Books & Coffee,” Statehood Day March 1, new library programs and wagon trains along the National Road, et cetera. 2003 looks like a fun and full year at the Hebron Crossroads! Come join us on down the road.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and a local columnist; if you have news, info, or just “stuff” for the column, call 928-4066 or e-mail

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Hebron Crossroads 12-22
By Jeff Gill

The time has come!

Christmas Sunday, Christmas Eve on Tuesday, Christmas Day on Wednesday; the time to gather and celebrate and give and receive is now upon us. If you’re looking for places to join in the celebration, here are some of the observances going on this week around the Hebron Crossroads.

Jacksontown United Methodist Church is having only the 9:15 am service this Sunday, with baptism and confirmation part of worship, along with a youth cantata. On Christmas Eve they will hold a candlelight service at 7:00 pm.

Hebron Christian Church on West Main will celebrate Christmas Sunday at 10:30 am, and on Christmas Eve the candlelight service with communion starts at 7:30 pm, following a concert of piano and organ music by David Ford from 7:00 pm.

Hebron United Methodist Church on East Main will share a cantata at the 10:00 am service this Sunday, and hold Christmas Eve worship at 7:00 pm.

And out on Beaver Run Road, Licking Baptist Church will hold services at 10:45 am Sunday and their Christmas Eve will start at 7:30 pm.

On Sunday afternoon, the entire community is invited to "Blues Christmas" at 4:00 pm in the Lakewood High auditorium. Sponsored by Jacksontown UMC, Hebron Christian, and Hebron UMC, this special musical program, free to the public with refreshments after, includes folk, a little rock, and of course blues-themed Christmas music. A number of churches plan to carol to their home-bound members later on that evening, and this program should get us all in the mood for singing. Load up the minivan and come to listen and sing, and chase away the holiday blues with "Blues Christmas." (No word on Elvis sightings.)

If you are looking for Christmas company, there are some meals open to the public in Licking County that are intended for anyone just looking for some extra faces and voices at the table. On Christmas Eve, at Central Christian Church on Mt. Vernon Road in Newark, a holiday meal is open to all from 4:00 to 7:00 pm when their Christmas Eve service begins. I hear that Steve and Connie Crothers have had so much spare time on their hands since her son A. J. Voris graduated from Lakewood (he’s a very active guy, we all know), that they wanted to take that new-found energy and cook dinner for however many hundred show up. You could come eat, or you could come help cook!

And on Christmas Day at noon, in the cafeteria at St. Francis de Sales’ Catholic Church just west of downtown Newark, Homer Curry and his (extended) family make dinner for all comers as well as carry out for all the police and fire crews working Christmas Day. It was my pleasure to "join" that family for a number of years (that was BC, or "before child"), and I can assure you that the fun and fellowship is there in full measure on both sides of the counter.

On the "cocooning" front, we’ve already seen "White Christmas", but all true Bing Crosby fans know that he sang Irving Berlin’s classic song first in "Holiday Inn" released in 1942. You can hear in some of the incidental dialogue the talk of mobilization and preparation for the war not quite begun, but already all around.

When I was a student at Purdue University, one of the vice-presidents who did the lobbying down at the statehouse told me a story while driving to a hearing on higher ed about walking onto the set of the closing scene in his new lieutenant’s uniform. His dad worked for the studio, and he had just finished basic and wanted to surprise his family by showing up unannounced, and the gate guard sent him over to a soundstage where the "film within the film" was being shot.

"Holiday Inn" was already one of my favorite films, but now whenever I see it, during that last sequence I visualize my friend as a young man, khakis still crisp, standing just out of sight and about to make his father jump with delighted surprise.

Oh, and of course, it was July, and the AC wasn’t helping at all as the bleached corn flakes fell and Marjorie Reynolds pulled her fur coat tight! But Bing shook his hand, Marjorie kissed him, he had one more meal at home, and went off ready to win the war single-handedly. Sixty years later, it still has that effect.

May your Christmas be full of joy and hope, family and friends, promise and fulfillment. . .and may you take the opportunity to help at least one other person this holiday season. The gift you give will be the only one you really get to keep.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and your Hebron Crossroads correspondent; if you have news to share from the area, call 928-4066 or e-mail Please remember that there is often a two week lead time before printing, so don’t delay, and send your info in now!

Saturday, December 14, 2002

The Church Window - Dec. 2002
Hebron Christian Church e-letter

Dec. 15, Third Sunday of Advent -- "Love"
Congregation Christmas Potluck after worship
Lakewood High Band & Choir Concert -- 3:00 pm

Dec. 22, Fourth Sunday of Advent -- "Joy"
"Blues Christmas" at Lakewood High auditorium
sponsored by Jacksontown & Hebron UMCs
and Hebron Christian Church -- 4:00 pm
Youth Group leads Caroling to homebound after

Dec. 24, Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship
7:00 to 7:30 pm music on piano & organ by David Ford
7:30 pm "Lessons & Carols" service with communion
* * * * * * *

Notes From My Knapsack

Thanks for all the great feedback from the Annual Planning
Retreat in November; look for the compiled results at:
(where i keep my newspaper column and print newsletter
text along with sundry other news of interest)

Thanks also for bearing with me as i struggled with the
"Peace Sunday" message; i appreciate knowing how many
of you also struggle with knowing that a Christian can't
casually speak in favor of war, but still feeling a deep sense
of justice about our national preparations against Iraq. It
is the easy criticism against taking armed action in the face of
terrorism that leaves me, and it turns out many of you,
troubled by those who claim to speak for the church.

Personally, i have great respect for those who advocate a
clear and consistent calling to pacifism, and i think the burden
of proof is rightfully on those who call on armed force to
solve disputes of any sort. What leaves me baffled and
frustrated are arguments that claim the moral high ground of
"situational pacifism," while reserving the right to accept force
in certain circumstances, to be determined later by the speaker.

For a better sense of "what makes for peace," in light of last
week's bestowal of the Nobel Peace Prize on Jimmy Carter,
here's some links for you. America has a number of living
Nobel laureates for peace, including Elie Wiesel, Jody
Williams (land mine activist), and Henry Kissinger (no
comment), but this land's most unappreciated winner is. . .

Norman Borlaug.

Didn't know the name? I'll bet some of our farmers do, but
you should too: read this,

and then this,

and you'll know a little more about what being a peacemaker
sounds like. Hunger is one of those discordant notes that we have
to "damp" (in bell language) to hear the high, soft tones of peace ring out
clear and strong.

Subject change: it's Annual Report to the Congregation time again!
If you want to e-mail me text to print out for your committee, group,
class, or office, please get it in to me or Ila by Jan. 12; no Fiesta Bowl
extensions. And keep our Nominating and Budget Committees in your
prayers as they do the work of discernment and vision for our church in
black and white!

And finally, the proposed "Books and Coffee" gatherings in the former
parsonage parlor are set for fourth Saturdays at 10 am; right now the line-up is:

Jan. 25 -- "Johnny Tremain" by Esther Forbes

Feb. 22 -- "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" by Jean-Dominique Bauby

Mar. 22 -- "Under the Tuscan Sun" by Frances Mayes

Apr. 26 -- "Desire of the Everlasting Hills" by Thomas Cahill

and May 24 -- "The Warden" by Anthony Trollope

May you and yours have a blessed Advent and a very merry Christmas!
And the e-letter will see you next year in 2003;

In Grace & Peace,
Pastor Jeff

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Hebron Crossroads 12-15
By Jeff Gill

If you missed the Lakewood Middle School Bands in their Holiday Concert last Sunday, too bad for you! The good news is you can partially make up for it this Sunday at 3 pm in the same Lakewood High School auditorium as the bands and choirs of LHS perform through the afternoon.

Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth grade bands all performed under the direction of Rob Caldwell, as well as the Eighth Grade Jazz Band. Mr. Caldwell warmed to his full house as he made introductions of the various numbers and occasional soloists, and made all the parents, grandparents, and friends feel welcome for the afternoon of music and Christmas cheer.

During one of the breaks between bands we heard from Kim Kocher and Vanna Dernberger about the ongoing fundraising work of the Lakewood Band Boosters. Along with the prizes of the day, they let us all know about Kroger Gift Certificates that route 5% of all purchases to the fund that pays for instruments, uniforms, music, and fees as needed.

If you would like to purchase these for your own use, good for groceries, at the pharmacy, or the fuel station out front, call or e-mail before 9 am Mondays for pick-up Wednesday at 7 pm: 323-4178 or They’re distributed from the north door of the high school; just leave your name, phone number, how many of each denomination ($5, 10, 20, 50, 100), and the total dollar amount of your order.

And I’m sure you can find someone to answer your questions about the Band Boosters’ work this Sunday afternoon between 3 and 6 pm! Hope to see you all there.

Also in the Lakewood High auditorium, coming Sunday afternoon Dec. 22, is "Blues Christmas." Sponsored by Jacksontown United Methodist Church, this is a free musical program starting at 4 pm.

While enjoying their first Saturday breakfast last week, Pastor Bob Beyer told me that this has nothing to do with "Blue’s Clues" or mysterious holiday rooftop lights, but is the production of some Methodist clergy, including a district superintendent from Findlay, who like playing the blues and have a Christmas program to share.

Sounds like a good prelude to an evening of caroling, don’t you think?

Speaking of looking ahead, this is the last week to get me info on your church Christmas Eve services: call 928-4066 or e-mail with times and details. Many different programs are in the works at area churches, and everything from afternoon to midnight worship; let me know and we’ll print ‘em all next week.

And looking way far in the distance, March 1 is "Statehood Day" and the kick-off of Ohio’s Bicentennial (for details, read your new license plate!), and activities of local interest are planned for that date and right through the Fourth of July weekend. A county committee, with local folks involved, is already meeting, and we’ll tell you here at the Crossroads about what’s up, but mark March 1 (it’s a Saturday) on your calendar right now.

Whether it’s a church pageant, band concert, school program, or tuning to the 24 hour Christmas music on the radio, I hope the joy of the Christmas season is growing for you even as the days are shrinking for all of us. Speaking purely for myself, I think having a bit of snow and cold temps has helped this December feel a bit more Christmas-like than the last couple have.

Our little guy has developed a full-blown case of the "wantthats" as every commercial for building blocks, doll kitchens, video games, and nose hair trimmers goes by. . .he wants it all, regardless. . .but it was interesting to see his holiday frenzy come to a complete halt when we were watching "White Christmas" the other day. Bing Crosby walks to center stage in his combat fatigues, Danny Kaye winds up the music box, and as the shells explode in the distance, all the battalion pauses and is silent as Bing sings his dream.

And a four year old stops dead in his tracks some fifty years later, and listens just as thoughtfully.

Yet another thing Bing can do that I can’t. . .make my kid stop and pay attention!

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and a big fan of the movie that "White Christmas" first was sung in; if you know that movie title (and year!), or have Christmas season news to share, contact him at 928-4066 or

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Hebron Crossroads
By Jeff Gill

Looking back over our shoulders here in Hebron. . .
Last Saturday saw the terrifying sight of Mayor Mason, councilmembers Friend, Gilbert, Halter, and Walters up in aerial buckets and dangling from poles. No, it wasn't after a tense committee meeting; they were hanging the village Christmas decorations along Main and High Streets, with Mike McFarland supervising.
Ours is the kind of town where the elected officials dig right in with both hands and help out, and we're surely the better for it.
It was also the wrap up of David Scheiddegger's Eagle project, and among a number of other generous contributions, a family decided to set aside part of their Thanksgiving afternoon to making up twelve shoeboxes full of helps and gifts to overseas military personnel. When David and Troop 33 picked them up, they also included hand written notes with each one. . .two in crayon.
Our prayers travel with those supplies as the Red Cross routes them to Afghanistan and parts further north where our soldiers and sailors still stand on guard through the Christmas holiday.
And then Sunday night I saw out an upstairs window the braided chain of red and white lights along Interstate 70 as the busiest travel day of the year wound down. How many stories and sorrows and celebrations zoom past us across the fields along that line of asphalt? Hope you and yours got home safely from wherever Thanksgiving took you, and that you gave thanks for just getting home, among other simple gifts!
So, to look ahead: Saturday Dec. 7 is "Christmas in the Country" at Infirmary Mound Park on Rt. 37. The Licking Park District annually hosts this event from 7 to 9 pm with some candlelit and lantern illuminated activities, including choirs singing carols, foodstuffs a'cookin', horse's harnesses jingling, and all manner of outdoor Christmas activities. Come on by and you might even hear some familiar Hebron area voices lifted in song, and you'll be more than welcome to join them.
And Sunday the 8th, if you haven't had your weekend dose of Christmas season music, come to the auditorium at Lakewood High School at 3 pm and hear Mr. Caldwell directing the 6, 7, and 8th grade bands in their winter concert. Next Sunday, same time and place, the high school bands and choirs will perform, and that's an extravaganza not to be missed.
Of course, the Hebron and Jackson Elementary Christmas programs, as well as the Middle School choir concerts are coming up on midweek dates as well, and next week we hope to have time and date info on them.
There's been a bit more feedback on a "Books & Coffee" gathering in Hebron, and I'll point again to the fourth Saturday of January, where we'll gather in the Meeting Room of Hebron Christian Church at 612 W. Main St. at 10 am. I'll make the coffee, and you bring a copy of "Johnny Tremain." The moment I mentioned the title, Jason at Waldenbooks said "that a man can stand up," quoting the key line out of James Otis' mouth from Esther Forbes' 1942 novel. Winner of the Newberry Award, it's known as a "juvenile" in the trade, but really it is simply a short novel with a great message, and this scribbler thinks that, children's novel or not, it has some of the best writing in any book of the twentieth century.
If you think that sounds a bit much, then get a copy from the library, or buy one from Walden's at the mall, and come Jan. 25 to tell me why I'm wrong!
And one last seasonal thought: who's your favorite filmed Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol"? Sim '51 is running ahead of Owen '39, with the Duck a distant third. C'mon you old MGM buffs; I want to hear from the fans of Gene Lockhart as Bob Crachit and his daughter June's first film appearance in the 1939 version.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and is collecting info on Christmas Eve services as well as old film reviews. If you have something to add on either, call 928-4066 or e-mail

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Hebron Crossroads 12-01
By Jeff Gill

This is the last weekend for helping David Scheidegger with his Eagle Scout project. You’ve probably seen the wrapping paper covered boxes in local Kroger’s and area churches. He’s collecting items for members of the armed services overseas, and with the guidance and assistance of the Red Cross, he will get these items collected and delivered to troops in places like Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan.

Scout Troop 33, chartered through The Dawes Arboretum, is working under David’s leadership to get this project closed out this weekend so materials can get to the service personnel by Christmas.

Items on the list (posted in full with the boxes) include microwave popcorn, wet wipes (remember, they’re camping out in a desert!), sunscreen and lip balm, batteries, personal hygiene items, recent paperback books, and even folded gift wrap and ribbon. As David points out, "soldiers like to give gifts, too!"

Last Sunday night was a great evening of Thanksgiving at Lakewood High School as six area churches came together to share our thankfulness. . .and share a generous offering with LEADS at Buckeye Lake for holiday assistance.

The "Won In Him" drama and music group shared a powerful message (actually, three!) and many thanks to Martha Fickle for helping with arrangements while in the middle of the run for "The Christmas Carol" in the same auditorium. Many of the youth from the participating congregations and with "Won In Him" were also in that delightful production, which featured among many other things a cartwheeling Scrooge!

We had over 250 in attendance, and I think everyone left really ready to be thankful right into the Christmas season, which is now upon us. Could I remind everyone with Christmas activities that any Hebron area event is of interest to "Hebron Crossroads," but production requirements mean you’ve gotta get ‘em to me about two weeks before at minimum. That means if you have a Christmas week event at your church or with an organization, let me know right away! I hope to run all the Lakewood Area Christmas Eve and Day worship services here in the column.

Looking even further down the road, I’ve heard some very positive feedback on trying out a book group for a few months, at least, open to anyone in the Hebron community. The first two books proposed, "Johnny Tremain" (a short novel of the days leading to the American Revolution) and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (amazing non-fiction) are available in a display behind the counter at Waldenbooks’ shop at Indian Mound Mall, and some of us are thinking of a "books and coffee" kind of format on a Saturday morning once a month. Could we try that on fourth Saturdays at 10 am from January to May and see what happens? I’ll make the coffee, and the meeting room at 612 W. Main is available. More book ideas are welcome, and we’re still making this up as we go.

Speaking of books, one last observation about the now completed run of "The Christmas Carol": the script was interesting in that it followed the book rather closely, with often missing scenes from the well-known movie versions back in the story. The huddled figures of Ignorance and Want under the robe of Christmas Present (which I only recall from the George C. Scott TV version), and the global tour of Christmases from the helm of a ship at sea to a family in a coal mining village, all were included in the version Lakewood performed. If you haven’t looked at the actual "Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens in some time, this was a great reminder to go back and enjoy the original text in all its richness.

Having said that, what’s your favorite filmed version? I always hear about the Alastair Sim version of ’51, but my personal preference is Reginald Owen, ’39. And of course there’s Mr. Magoo and Mickey, not to mention . . . well, just send in your favorites and why, and I’ll share ‘em Christmas week.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church, and has his own "humbug" issues; if you’d like to share a Scroogian memory, call 928-4066 or e-mail
Notes From My Knapsack

Are you ready for Christmas? Hmmmm, "ready" for Christmas. What does that mean, anyhow. . . Not sure? Well, here's a test for you to check with:

Do you have an Advent wreath or Advent calendar at home, so you and yours can let the excitement build from Dec. 1 through Christmas Day? Sure, the chocolate calendars count! You can have fun with anticipation, can't you? Just don't let the sanctuary be the only place you see a wreath or other way of building to the 25th. The "how many shopping days" things in the paper definitely don't count!

Have you stopped and spent some time thinking about what those you love really want in their lives? See, it's not about being "anti-shopping" or anything like that, but what does gift giving mean if it gets run through the sausage grinder of sales imperatives. The commercial side of Christmas is at its worst when it makes people ask for stuff they don't even really "want", but think they have to have. Reflecting on what your loved ones really would appreciate in their lives can be an activity that's downright prayerful, even if you can't always get them those things.

And have you looked at the manger scene yet? Yeah, I know you set it up and all: everybody has one, and I don't have to tell anyone to set it up. But have you looked at it? Have you run the story it tells through your mind -- not only the story the figures tell, but the story I know so many of you have about the history of the set itself? A story which often has to do with the miracle that we, ourselves, are part of the story God is telling in Creation. But don't forget to look at your manger scene, and just let your gaze linger.

In Grace & Peace,
Pastor Jeff

Monday, November 04, 2002

Hebron Crossroads 11-10
by Jeff Gill

Monday is Veterans Day, November 11. The roots of this observance are in what was once called "Armistice Day," when World War I ended at "the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month," 11 am on Nov. 11.

We all know that President Wilson’s "war to end all war" wasn’t, and sadly we know little beyond that. Marshal Foch, Edith Cavell, Ypres, and even Bellau Wood are names and places that ring only the most distant bells in our modern era.

John Keegan, the great British military historian, recently wrote a fine one-volume summary titled "The First World War" which is now out in paperback. He comments on the fact that the last living memory of that conflict is just now passing entirely from our sight, and I’ll always count it an honor that, as a pastor, I’ve had the privilege to sit at the side of WWI vets and hear their stories of Camp Funston out on the plains, of crossing the Atlantic on luxury liners turned troopships, and of endless seas of mud as our AEF troops came, years late, to the well-trodden muck behind the trenches of the Somme and Marne.

However you observe Veterans Day, I hope you find an opportunity to think a bit back to 1918 and the moment when our country found itself waking up to wider responsibilities in a world growing both smaller, and more dangerous. The Ohio Historical Society’s most recent "Timeline" magazine carried a fascinating story of how one of Ohio’s own carried himself well in the final moment of the sinking of the Luisitania, which in turn was the first moment of our now-inevitable entry into that global struggle. That story will be part of my remembrances on this Nov. 11.

And this may just be a particular concern of my own, but I like to think of Memorial Day, over in May, as the day we pay special attention to both the memory and the memorials of those who died for their country. This observance, Veterans Day, is when I hope we can all pay some extra appreciation out to those who served and returned, and now carry the proud but heavy burden of being a veteran back into their everyday lives among us.

No veteran that I know would dream of complaining about it, but being a veteran is hard work in and of itself. . .really! There is an awareness that never stops of being the one who keeps a memory alive for those who aren’t here to speak of it; a sensitivity to issues of patriotism, saluting the flag, and service to country that you’re not always sure others share or appreciate your always reminding them of.

It is a burden, a responsibility, and certainly a privilege, and vets carry this with them every day. That, and their own memories, not just of battle and terror, but also of tedium and waiting, of days spent doing nothing far from home and wondering if the time spent has been worth the while, or if you’ll just be that many days behind your peers when you return. There’s "Dear John" letters and joyful birth announcements that carry a sadness of their own as you’re not there to share the reality of the event. . .and always the waiting.

While we always want to properly respect "these honored dead," in Lincoln’s words, I hope we can make sure at some point of this Veterans Day to thank a veteran. You know one, of course, and if you think you don’t, ask around and you’ll probably find you’re wrong, and that veteran will be glad you cared enough to ask.

Our Hebron American Legion Post, in simple acts like their carefully crafted ceremony to dispose of worn out American flags last Sept. 11, is a home and haven for many such who proudly carry the burden of flag etiquette, saluting at parades, and reflecting on their past and how that touches our nation’s present. They make sure that an honor guard is present at the church or cemetery when one of their own passes on, and they are there to support when a yound man or woman makes the choice for national service.

Make sure to be there for them; keep a moment of silence at 11 am this Monday, and later on, if you can’t do anything else, drive by the Post on Basin St. and just honk! They’ll know what you mean.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and a proud holder of a simple honorable discharge; if you have a veteran’s story or other news of the Hebron area to share, call 928-4066 or e-mail

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Hebron Crossroads 11-17
by Jeff Gill

Somehow, for some reason, the "Holidays" (that run of festive days and events from Halloween to New Year's Day, now extended to Jan. 3 for the Fiesta Bowl) are a time for a double dose of Nostalgia.

Something about the memory of family gatherings long past, recollections of "how we used to do it", and the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the holiday season bring along with them a powerful impulse to do wild, irrational things like grind coffee beans in one of those old black cast iron gadgets, or hang up herbs to dry in the basement, and even to try getting the family to sing around a piano.

It may also have to do with the longer nights and colder temperatures, causing us to "click" on the electric ignition of our gas-log, before which we perform feats of complex explanation of how that jolly old elf will come down the chimney of a ventless fireplace.

And do you notice how Santa and his elves, seen in their workshop under high, timbered, open-beam ceilings, are busy at work making blocky wooden toys of the sort that are, shall we say, a hard sell to modern kids? Rocking horses, dolls made from two-by-fours, wooden whistles. . .

Perhaps it's nostalgia for what never was, but it works on a deep level for most of us, triggered by the simplest raisin cookie made with an excess of cinnamon and allspice.

Trains are a part of this, that form of transportation so crucial to making modern life possible, but so irrelevant to most of us today. Not just Lionel train sets (another part of that wistful scene of St. Nicholas snoozing before a fire and an empty cookie plate, with an old style elctric train looping about his feet), but the real deal with smoke stacks, cow catchers, and conductors with gold braid on their caps.

Chris VanAllsburg's "The Polar Express" perfectly captured that gap between memory and modernity by using an Art Deco train of the imagination to give a child a preview of Christmas preparation. Buckeye Central Scenic Railway has some very popular Christmas season runs on weekends leading up to Christmas, there on US 40 across from the Lakewood Schools complex, and the sound of a train whistle travels far across the snow and deep into the heart during this time of year.

Our Hebron Library will have a speaker on "the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad" next Monday, Nov. 18, at 7:00 pm. Carl T. Winegardner has written extensively on "the old B&O", the railroad that opened up business and trade between the Midwest and the East Coast in the 1850's . . . just like the name says!

We here in the Hebron area might be forgiven if we hold a small grudge against the railroads for a) not going through Hebron, and b) killing off the canal system. But it has been 150 years, and we're good people, so come to 934 West Main St. and enjoy a wonderful evening of nostalgia for an era that most assuredly did exist for a time, and is now part the nostalgia that is the heart of this season.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church, and always stops to listen when a train whistle sounds in the distance. If you have evocative sounds to recount, or local news to share, call 928-4066 or e-mail

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Hebron Crossroads 11-24
by Jeff Gill

Time to give thanks! That’s not a weighty problem, that’s good news; how often do we have a whole lot more to give thanks for than we have a place to give thanks at?

Seriously, I think all of us have regular occasions when we have a passing awareness of the good someone has done us, or the good fortune we enjoy, and there is no one person or no opportunity with the person nearby (or still living, alas) to give those thanks directly.

That’s why about a half-dozen churches in the Lakewood area are joining together to hold a Community Thanksgiving Service at the Lakewood High School auditorium this Sunday, Nov. 24, at 7:00 pm. This will be a simple, ecumenical service open to all faiths and backgrounds. We plan to have music, a small dramatic presentation for the message, a few hymns to sing, and an offering to support LEADS at Buckeye Lake with their holiday assistance and food pantry programs.

Giving thanks isn’t complicated, and it isn’t the private preserve of any one religious tradition. "A thankful heart" brings joy to God throughout the Bible, and a spirit of thankfulness is good for us as individuals in ways almost beyond number. I’d like to express my thankfulness right now for all the work and energy Bob Beyer, pastor of Jacksontown United Methodist Church, has brought to effort to pull together this Community Thanksgiving, and we hope to be thankful for your presence Sunday night at the LHS auditorium!

We are all thankful for the work Lou Staffilino, outgoing superintendent of the district, has done not only for this event, but also throughout the years he has led us to becoming "the most improved schoold district in Ohio!" We all knew we could do it, but it took Lou to show us how.

Some of you may still be asking: do I have anything to be thankful for? In any one situation, I wouldn’t dream of telling someone how or why they ought to be thankful, but for us all around the Hebron crossroads, let me try a few. . .

We really ought to be thankful for how good the corn and soybean harvest ended up, considering how deep our fears were back in late summer. The yields per acre haven’t super, but the fact that they’ve been surprisingly average is a real cause for thankfulness! And while we’re at it, why not be thankful for farmers?

We can be thankful that the Hebron area has so much going for it that we had two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin here, right? When was the last time that happened! We have a real, (not-) live rhino inside village limits, too, which my little guy thinks is quite amazing.

We really ought to be more thankful than we are for clean, pure drinking water, and the pumping station on S. High and the waste treatment plant on north Rt. 79 are the input and output of our part in keeping clean and safe drinking water around for generations to come. So you could be thankful the next glass of water you pour from your tap. . .

I’m thankful for the highly professional, but strongly volunteer supported fire and police departments we have in Hebron. Chief Mike Carney has left a mark on our saftey services here in the area that will influence us for many years to come, and while we’re sad to see him go, we’re very proud in how our village played a part in preparing him for greater responsibilities with the federal Department of Justice – Newark may have Judge Frost, but we claim Chief Carney, and we’re thankful to have known him.

And finally, I think we all can be thankful for having so many active, vital churches in the immediate Hebron area; from Licking Baptist and their new worship center on Beaver Run Road, Hebron Church of the Nazarene and a new wing behind the church on Canal Road, the United Methodist Church of Hebron on East Main St. and of course my own Hebron Christian Church on West Main, this village has a reliable source of community spirit, mutual support and encouragement, and a willingness to serve, which was so evident when those churches and staff from our wonderful elementary school turned out late at night for a child safety drill some weeks ago.

Great churches, a wonderful community school, fine businesses, a well-trained and reliable village staff from street department to volunteer firefighters, a crop now in the silos. . .are you thankful yet? Come join our Community Thanksgiving Service Sunday night at 7:00 pm, and I bet we come up with more!

Did I mention being thankful for the fried bologna sandwich at Hometown Deli and strombolis at Clay’s Café?

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and he’s thankful for a wide variety of things; if you have food items you’re thankful for or local news to share, call 928-4066 or e-mail

Monday, October 28, 2002

Community Booster East
Nov. 3 cover

Hebron’s Future Is Now
by Jeff Gill
Contributing Writer

“It’s amazing,” muses Mindy Kester, village tax administrator, “but I really don’t think people realize what’s happening in Hebron.”
“You have to get out and around and see for yourself.”

Kester has lived her whole life in Hebron, but worked outside of the village until six months ago when she was hired to replace Mike McFarland, who became village administrator.

“I had to work here to realize just how much is in the works for Hebron,” says Kester, who adds, “and the really amazing thing is how much room there is to still grow and yet keep that small town feeling we all love about our home here.”

A small town with new sidewalks and an improved water system, that is. Kester and McFarland were happy to share all the news that was already apparent with the concrete forms for curb cuts and new walks along Main St. in evidence from downtown out to Ninth St., linking with those already installed for Evans Park on Refugee Rd. and the Municipal Complex and Library.

Less obvious, but with larger implications for economic growth in the Hebron area, is work going on at the Water Works on S. High St. just past the entrance to Lake Forest, the Dominion Homes subdivision with its own expanses of new pavement and freshly turned earth.
“We were getting close to maxing out our water pumping capacity at one million gallons a day,” reports McFarland, “so we’re glad to start this expansion that will double our capacity.” The Waste Treatment plant on N. High St. is slated for work planned in another six months to double the capacity there, too. Work has already begun, though, to reduce the “infiltration” through storm drains of run-off water, which increases waste treatment capacity even further at minimal cost. Major excavations along Cully St., paralleling Main to the north, are one example of this work.

“All of this kind of municipal investment is what developers and investors want to see as they decide where to put their money,” says McFarland.

One of the obvious results of this longer-range view towards economic development is the east side of Hebron, where on the further side of the Rt. 79 bypass from Dominion Homes is the peaked roof of Buckeye Outdoors’ new 43,000 square foot retail center, and an even newer peak east of their store marking the site of the Kroger Corporation’s latest investment in Ohio.

After a rousing grand opening a few weeks ago (see Hebron Crossroads from last week - jbg), followed by a number of promotions including a visit from Buckeye great Archie Griffin, store manager Jill Graham feels ready for the long haul.

“Our first week, I was just thrilled,” says Graham, who has helped open a number of new stores for Kroger. She opened the first Kroger fuel station for the company, and says “fuel sales here are good, very strong for a new store.” They expect to draw on a range of customers that extends both west, north, south, and well to the east.

That “well to the east” business model must be true, because clerks at the Duke & Duchess gas station and convenience store in downtown Hebron report that “business is about the same now as it was before Kroger opened.”

Across Arrowhead Drive from Kroger, Buckeye Outdoors personnel said that “fall is always a good time for us, regardless. Even when the economy drops, you can always hunt.” Most of the major bow, blackpowder, and rifle seasons start around Autumn.

Maurice and Sharon Potvin have built their outdoor sporting business on a client base from Wheeling to northwest Ohio, and having a reputation for good stock and reasonable prices gives a whole new meaning to an employee’s comment, “People want to hunt, and they’ll hunt.” Hunting for bargains, it seems, is always in season.

News of the merger with Vance’s in Columbus opens up new markets even beyond the store’s walls, and those walls go quite a ways out, with trophy mounts and displays of gear, clothing, and hunting or fishing accessories as far as the eye can see.

Staff said it was too early to tell if the Kroger opening would increase their business, but “it was pretty good already.” One clerk pointed out that “people love to bring their kids here, and make it a family thing, because children love seeing what’s on display.” The full-size stuffed rhinoceros in the middle of the sales floor appeared to agree.

Next door at the Amerihost, brand-new manager Kris Moore was of much the same opinion, telling of steady, good business at their location, but with nothing new to add to the ongoing rumors about potential occupants of the lot in front of their motel. “We’ll all know about the same time when someone decides to break ground there, but it’ll be a help.” Moore was very upbeat about the “pool memberships” Amerihost offers for $40 a month to local residents to use the recreational facilities between 8 am and 10 pm.

Just north off of 79 is the new McDonalds in Hebron. Store manager Lee Freeman has been preparing new employees since last July, and while job applicants have been steady, the training has surprised some.

“This store has a number of prototype pieces of equipment,” points out Freeman, “and it isn’t all just dunk fries and flip burgers anymore.” So the training continues, with even MickeyD’s becoming a high-tech employer. “But business has been good, and we just want to keep up with it, and maintain a good customer experience.”

New business and economic activity in Hebron isn’t limited to big name brands. Small business growth includes the arrival of PAL Printing next to the Duke station, Cheapskate Music next to JT Computers and Video just down Main, Unique Boutique behind the Shopper Cleaners on N. High, just across from one of the newer professional additions to Hebron, Mantonya Chiropractic Clinic.

At the crossroads of Main and High, Park National Bank’s Rob Springer says, “we’ve refinanced pretty much everyone who’s going to refinance.” He and Betty Green have been kept busy with the sheer volume of refinancing through this recent period of low interest rates, but expect rates to start to increase in the near future.

Back at the municipal building, Kester and McFarland point out that, along with the Lakewood levy for increasing resources to the local school district, there will be a 2 mil continuing levy for the village to maintain and improve basic infrastructure. This will replace the current 2 mil levy which expires next year. They hope area voters will approve both this Nov. 5 Election Day.

“I think we’ll be amazed at where we’ll be just a very few years from now,” says Kester, as she orders the village’s second set of “Hebron thank you” note cards, which will go out even faster than the first box did according to village staff. “We want to be thankful right now for what people are doing for the quality of life here today,” adds McFarland.

Or as Carly Simon sings, “these are the good old days!”

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Hebron Crossroads 11-03
by Jeff Gill

If you attended the last Lakewood home football game for Senior Night, you’re probably still drying out as I am.

I’ve seen harder rain, and I’ve sat through colder rain, but I’ve never seen harder rain go on for longer and generate a more lastingly miserable climate than we had for the Licking Valley game. (Cue reminiscences of legendary bad weather long ago, fade to black under swelling music and closing credits…)

With a night like that, you just have to salute the kids on the field, including football players, band members, and cheerleaders, for putting up with it all in generally good cheer and keeping up doing whatever it was their job to do, right down to the water bottle gang who, quite frankly, seemed kind of redundant under the circumstances.

Along with all the football and band seniors recognized, a great big Lakewood salute has to go to the retiring David Wolford, who will no doubt long remember (for many reasons!) his 310th marching band performance before a still appreciative if soggy crowd.

It’s too soon to say goodbye, but congratulations on a job well done, Mr. Wolford. Some in the crowd, now lawyers, business owners, moms and dads themselves, were part of that number one performance, and considered it an honor to be present for number 310.

Drew Daubenmire gave us what we hope is a preview of coming attractions for the Lancer football program with those last two touchdowns. Anyhow, congrats to LV and good luck in the playoffs.

Some other youth interests are getting attention in Hebron these days, even as flag football and soccer wind their way to a close for the season. Beyond the new parking area at the northwest edge of Evans Park on Refugee Rd., a few loads of dirt were brought in for a “bike park” as part of the activities out at our ever-growing recreational facility.

Mike McFarland says that, when the earth was scheduled to be dumped, a crew of 15 youths with shovels, rakes, and some turning-to with bare hands went right to work shaping lumps, bumps, and jumps. They were happy to do their part in creating their own fun, and were appreciative of the village support they got. Another tip of the Big L cap to those who did the work and will no doubt enjoy their dirt biking all the more for knowing they made it happen!

If you get this by Friday, Nov. 1, the village will sponsor another Red Cross Blood Drive from 1 pm to 6 pm in the Municipal Complex. Your correspondent will be checking folks in, and giving a pint himself which makes 8 gallons. If I can donate 48 times, you can drop by and give it a try, can’t you? Takes 30 to 45 minutes, and you get a quick health profile to boot, not to mention the cookies.

Don’t forget that Tuesday, Nov. 5 is Election Day; the fine folks who serve as poll workers are set up and ready at 6:30 am, which takes care of me, Ken George, and Mayor Mason. They’re ready for you when you get done with work, too, right down into the evening at 7:30 pm. The Lakewood levy for operating expenses and new heating for Hebron Elementary, the Hebron continuing levy for streets and services, and a variety of state officials will be up on the ballot.

Please make sure to vote, swipe off the back of your ballot for hanging chads, and thank a poll worker as you head out…they’ll be glad you noticed!

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and someone who even votes in uncontested primaries; if you have Hebron area news to share, call 928-4066 or e-mail
The Church Window -- Hebron Christian Church
Nov. 2002 print newsletter
(pastor's text material; send me an e-mail to go on mailing list! - jbg)

Notes From My Knapsack

We’ve got a variety of interesting articles for you to read this month. But I would like to encourage everyone to think about something coming up next month. . .sooner than we might like to think: namely, Christmas.

We traditionally give gifts for this holiday, and to the degree that we’re echoing the Magi in their joy and sharing with the Christ child, when we’re giving of ourselves for the happiness of others, gifts can be a great part of the holiday season. Yet we got an interesting hint recently of just how this tradition gets mangled.

You may have heard news coverage of the recent longshoreman’s strike on the West Coast, and seen pictures of idle container-loading docks and schools of cargo ships bobbing in the waters off Long Beach, San Diego, or Seattle. But did you notice that the big fear for the wholesalers and retailers was that the big toy sellers, the likely "craze sales" like Cabbage Patch dolls or Tickle Me Elmos of years past, were stuck out at sea, and might not make it to store shelves in time for Christmas.

Just think about that for a moment: we don’t even know what those products are yet (trade secrets, y’know), but the makers are so sure of their ability to make us crave and covet these yet-unkown products that they’ve already had made in China and are in the middle of shipping to us that, if they don’t get ‘em here by mid-December, they’ll go broke. The whole business is dependent on getting us to want, on demand and with precision timing, what they want to sell us even when we have no idea we want it.

Remember that as you start to browse the shelves and ads for your Christmas shopping this year; is that what someone really desires for themselves, or are we just "wanting" on cue for the benefit of someone else? Give gifts this Christmas, not products. That helps the giver and the receiver get a little closer to the reason for the season!

In Grace & Peace,
Pastor Jeff

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For more information on the recent Regional Assembly of the Christian Church in Ohio, see "What’s New" at for a rundown of development with Basic Mission Finance (BMF), soon to be renamed Disciples Mission Fund, or (you guessed it!) DMF. The special day offerings (inserts & envelopes) will change in their purpose as well to reflect the new priorities built into the DMF system. Talk to Pastor Jeff for more details.

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Pastor Jeff will join his wife Joyce at the National Association of Interpretation (her professional assoc.) annual meeting in Virginia Beach, VA Nov. 12-17; so they and Chris can take some vacation time this year, Jeff will be off from Nov. 11 to the 19th. The elders will be available for pastoral needs and to preside over worship on the 17th. The elders will be able to contact the pastor if necessary, but will take care of most congregational needs through this time.

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Program Planning Retreat
Sat., Nov. 9, 9 am to Noon

"Open Wide The Door"
Theme - Organizational Evangelism
Leadership study – John 10:1-18 & Rev. 3:7-8, 20-22

Open to all members; elders, the diaconate, and officers of the church are expected!

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Community Thanksgiving Service

Sun., Nov. 24, 7 pm

Lakewood High School auditorium

Please bring a friend or neighbor to this ecumenical service of thanksgiving

Sunday, October 27, 2002

The Church Window -- news special for Sunday, 27 Oct 2002
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Hey everyone out there in cyberspace -- I was waiting to get past the Regional Assembly
to send the e-version of "The Church Window" out, and then. . .anyhow, the print version
will go out shortly. (See saved text at

You'll get an early November e-letter with Thanksgiving info, but i'm slapping this one
out because i thought you might want to know something i just heard (well, read, at that Rev. Cynthia Hale and her Disciples' congregation in Georgia,
New Hope Christian Church, will be part of a 60 Minutes piece on "Black migration back
to the South" tonight at 7 pm or when football ends. THAT'S TONIGHT!!!

And just to make it all worthwhile, here's a few more links to sink you teeth into,
first, one on Bible translation and one of the great Christians of the last century:

An amazing new discovery in Israel that i wasn't ready to focus on in a sermon yet:

Finally, one i couldn't resist ('cause if i don't point it out, who would?), esp. #2:

In Grace & Peace,

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Hebron Crossroads 10-27
by Jeff Gill

"We’re all just so very excited," said Terri Orr, the new "front end manager" of the newest of 116 Kroger’s right here in Hebron. Terri, as a Hebron resident, is particularly proud of this top-of-the-line store and fuel station that was opened and dedicated two weeks ago. She had to shout, though, to be heard over the Lakewood High Marching Band as Kroger officials from the top on down and most of "official" Hebron assembled for the ribbon-cutting.

"I have some family reasons for taking a personal interest in this store," said Marnette Perry, the familiar face of Kroger’s on TV and president of the company. "My in-laws live right down the road (near Thornville) and this is the store they’ll be shopping at."

No pressure there for Jill Graham, the manager brought in to face the challenging task of opening a new facility literally from the ground up! But there are familiar faces from the Krogers in Heath, Newark, and Pataskala, and many employees from Hebron like Terri, and a piece of tradition few in the crowd were aware of that Sunday 8 am.
"This is not Kroger coming to Hebron," said CEO Perry, to more than a few blank stares; and then, "this is Kroger coming BACK to Hebron."

Turns out a Kroger had been in Hebron in the 20’s to some point during WW II, when it closed, was later reopened, and then closed again in 1954. . .a little before my time. The well-informed tell me it was located about where Park National’s drive-thru lanes front on Main Street, opposite Fitch’s Market.

In fact, Kroger has done a great job of decorating their facility with large prints of both modern and historic views of Hebron, including a shot down old Main Street with the Pure Oil gas station in the foreground, and a wonderful shot of the canal with a lone canal flatboat in the middle distance.

Farms silhouetted against the sunset, a nearby National Road milestone, and the façade of Lakewood High School are some of the modern day views looking down on the shoppers.
Shoppers were visible in abundance, with the pose for the ribbon-cutting regularly disrupted by carts already coming out of the store filled with bags full of groceries. Kroger management tells me they expect, from past experience (it is, after all, their 116th, so you hope they’ve learned a thing or two) to draw on an area with a 20 mile radius. The bulk of the shoppers will come from closer, but the idea of including a pharmacy with a drive-up window and fuel station is to make the trip worthwhile for folks from Etna and Kirkersville to the east, over to Brownsville and beyond to Muskingum County in the west, and south into Perry and Fairfield Counties.

The location just off of US 40 and the Rt. 79 bypass just north of I-70 makes it a good stop-off point for commuters from Franklin County to homes in Thornville and around the east end of Buckeye Lake.

All that, of course, is good for the Hebron economy, shown by the full turn-out of village councilmembers and staff, the mayor of course, and assistant superintendent Phil Hermann for the schools with his family. Even at the early hour, this was a "can’t miss" event in the latest chapter of Hebron’s history as "Historic Crossroads of Ohio."

Some of our local history was honored in a unique way last weekend at Octagon State Memorial, also known locally as Moundbuilders Country Club, just north of Licking Memorial Hospital.

A prayer circle gathered at the center of the Observatory Circle, just one part of the vast 2000 year old structure known as the Newark Earthworks. 117 participants joined in spoken and silent prayer, heard drumming and flute and sung prayer offerings, spoke out of American Indian, Christian, and Buddhist faith traditions, and came from as far away as Michigan and Minnesota to be present for this last of four "golf-free" days at a site known globally as one of the 70 wonders of the ancient world.

That’s right, one of the most significant spots of ancient history, a few miles north of us! Of that list of 70 sites like the Pyramids, the Colosseum in Rome, and Stonehenge, only three are in North America: Cahokia Mounds near St. Louis, Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, and the Newark Earthworks, of which ours is the oldest as well.
This site is believed to be connected by an ancient "road" of 60 miles to Chillicothe, which passes just through the village limits of Hebron to the west, and some traces of this double walled way can be dimly seen on older aerial photography near Beaver Run.

It was a pleasure and an honor to be part of this ecumenical prayer circle honoring this site, and to be part of the ongoing "connection" to the Hebron area, which truly has been a "Historic Crossroads of Ohio" . . .for two millenia!

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and associate of Friends of the Mounds; if you have Hebron area news or questions about Licking County prehistory, call 928-4066 or e-mail

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Hebron Crossroads 10 - 13 & 20

Hebron Crossroads 10 - 13
by Jeff Gill

When our children are threatened, we want to respond. That’s a fairly basic human impulse. Even when children not our own are in danger, our reaction is to jump to assist.

How do we prepare to deal with a possibility of danger when we don’t even know what the emergency situation is? There are ways to organize and plan for a situation like a “stranger abduction” or lost child, so the response time for using volunteers is kept to a minimum.

A “Community Response Team” (or CRT) is a fairly common concept in larger towns or cities, but for a village like Hebron to have a CRT is somewhat unusual, certainly in Ohio.

Oct. 2 was the first full-fledged drill of our Hebron CRT, started at the end of the Council Meeting with the municipal complex as the gathering point. The first calls went out at 8 pm, and while the last few calls were being made, at 8:20 pm there were 18 present and ready to respond, and by 8:30 pm 50 local residents joined around 25 council members, village employees, and police & fire personnel.

Lt. Larry Brooks has been doing the leg work on this plan, with Chief Carney’s full backing. Larry was recently promoted from Sgt., replacing the retiring Lt. Glenn Watson, who stepped down after over 20 years of public service in law enforcement around the area. “Sgt.” Brooks attended a workshop that gave him a vision for what Hebron could have organized in advance, and after talking to the chief and to some folks in the village such as your columnist, the plan became a reality. As the CRT co-ordinator for Lt. Brooks, I want to thank Wes Baker of Hebron Methodist, Bill Van Meter of Hebron Nazarene, Lonnie Aleshire of Licking Baptist, Connie Wildermuth for Hebron Christian, and Jeff Geist at Hebron Elementary for being calling team leaders for their respective institutions.

It was a real pleasure to see the crowded council chamber, with the extra doors to the lobby opened to accommodate all the interested volunteers. Lt. Brooks gave an overview of what Hebron Police and other law enforcement would do while the CRT divides up into search parties to go out and cover assigned areas, each under a police officer with a radio for contact with the command post.

Mayor Mason liked the idea of orange vests that could be quickly issued, and other suggestions are being evaluated by the HPD. The CRT folks will not be involved in house searches, roadblocks, or any other hazardous activity, so our main equipment need is for participants to dress for outdoor weather appropriate to the day or night they’re called!

Still on the municipal front, the new parking lot is getting heavy use on Saturday mornings at Evans Park on Refugee Road. The Union Township Trustees have been a great help in making this expansion possible, with Jack Justice commenting that “there’s a lot of township residents getting a whole lot of benefit from that park.” When we come together for service, amazing things can happen, and it’s been a pleasure to report on so many such instances recently.

Both soccer and flag/tackle football for the younger kids have their strong supporters, and their respective organizations have put some real teamwork into making the game and practice schedules work out, including around the grueling home game tailgate schedule over in Columbus! Everyone wants early Saturday morning, but the share-and-share-alike philosophy has been a good example to our children by the adults.

Teamwork is sure typified by achievements like the state runner-up trophy brought home by the Lady Lancer softball team, and their work is honored by signs at the village limits. You can see them at the top of the signage for a number of Lakewood achievements by the “Hebron” signs. That’s a good reminder to all of us to support our Lakewood School District team Nov. 5 (and don’t forget absentee ballots if you’re going to be out of town that day).

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and a home owner with a “Lakewood Yes” sign in his front yard; if you have Lakewood or Hebron area news to share, call 928-4066 or e-mail

* * *

Hebron Crossroads 10 - 20
by Jeff Gill

Hebron Public Library’s “Storytime” program has already begun for the fall, with sessions on Tuesdays from 11 to 11:30 am until December 3.

Children need to be accompanied by an adult, and both get to hear a story and participate in a craft activity. Holiday cooking trivia is one of the subjects coming up, and every week is a treat specially prepared by the Hebron librarians.

If you have questions about “Storytime” please call 928-3923. The library is behind the municipal complex. There will be no story time during Thanksgiving week.

“Hebron Reads” has also started at Hebron Elementary, but it’s never too late for new reading tutors in this program.

Begun as part of Gov. Taft’s “Ohio Reads” initiative, the results of the program have been challenged by folks who obviously have never participated in reading tutoring, because the intention of the program was never simply to improve reading skills, but to focus volunteer resources on children who are struggling with reading and a variety of other learning skills.

The real test of “Ohio Reads” will not be short term test score bumps, but in longer term areas such as graduation rates and overall achievement. A child who finds reading extremely frustrating in 1st and 2nd grades will likely struggle in many areas over the years, and the tutoring and mentoring from “Hebron Reads” gives the teaching staff an extra tool to fix problems before they even begin.

Could you read to or with a child for a half-hour or hour a week? Call 928-2661 and leave a message. Kudos to Mrs. Frush and Mrs. Henry for the work this reading tutor has seen them put in already this year.

Of course, what a child benefits from most is seeing the adults in their life reading at home. I’ve heard in recent years about programs in cities like Chicago and Cincinnati called something like “All On One Page,” or “Cincinnati Reads,” where a particular book if selected, made available in a variety of locations through schools, libraries, and service groups, for as many as are willing to read during a particular time period.

The idea is that with “everyone,” or at least a whole bunch of people all reading the same book around the same general time, conversations will naturally spring up on the subject or area of the writing, usually a relatively short novel, whether recent or classic.
Some books selected that I’ve heard of include “To Kill A Mockingbird” or “The Yearling.” What would be a good fit for Hebron? This column would be happy to assemble a reading guide and some discussion starters during the reading period set, but you readers need to help me with some suggestions.

If you have ideas, even if they’re just subject areas, and especially book titles, please pass them along to me. As folks at my church know, I’ve been recommending quite often a non-fiction book called “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” This is a short book with a lasting impact about dealing with limitations, both physical and spiritual. I also think “Johnny Tremain” is much more than a children’s book, and maybe one of the best American novels around, but that’s just me. What do you think? Our kids will be watching. . .

You may not know that October is “Family History Month,” and you also may not know that Newark has recently obtained and started developing a “Farm Park” north of Cedar Hill Cemetery on Rt. 79. The hope of the Newark Park Department is that this will be a working 19th century farm, and Beth Deering, the site manager, is collecting furniture and recipes from descendants of the farm’s original occupants.

That’s a long way out of Hebron, but I’m telling you because on Sat., Oct. 26 at 11 am I’ll be doing a program entitled “Your Family History: A Story Worth Telling!” This is not going to be about genealogy, which has many expert practicioners in this county. We’re going to talk about the how and in what ways of gathering your family stories into history that lives and breathes for you and your descendants. Come join us on what will surely be a beautiful fall day.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and an avid reader; if you have suggestions for a “Hebron Reads” book selection, call 928-4066, or e-mail

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Hebron Crossroads 10-7
by Jeff Gill

Harvestime is all around us; the soybeans have gone from yellow to brown, the corn stalks tan from grey-green. With those transformations, the farm equipment is out in the fields not from dawn to dusk, but from can-do to can’t-any-longer.

In the fields around Hebron, coming home from late night meetings, I see headlights out in places where I know headlights can’t be. At home after what I like to think of as a long day, I’m seeing the harvesters out describing ever-decreasing rectangles in the fields behind our house, the floodlit arcs shortening and lengthening across the back window.

Folks, that’s the next step towards your corn flakes and tofu, your tortillas and organic plastics, feed for milk cows and beef cattle. As the bumper sticker says, “If you ate today, thank a farmer!” Just don’t try calling them at home the next few weeks.

A few recent conversations have pointed out to me that not everyone knows what’s going on out in those dustplumed combines by day and brightly lit harvesters at night. Harvest is when the farmers go out in fields and start “bringing in the sheaves,” so to speak. Right now the corn and soybeans are ready for harvest, but wheat and hay have come in weeks ago for many, and the pumpkin crop I think we all know just came ripe.

The trick with corn and beans is the moisture content: too much water content and the crop could rot in storage, increasing the necessary expense of drying, but wait too long for everything to get good and dry, and you run an increased risk of storms flattening the plants so that mechanical harvesting can’t work. There’s more to it than this brief description indicates, but the point to keep in mind is that timing harvest is just as tricky – or just as much of a science mixed with luck, if you like – as planting. Too early, too late. . .too bad.

Ohio doesn’t need riverboat gambling or an expansion of the lottery when we’ve already got farming!

Devine Farms had a great first weekend of “pumpkin season,” and Martha Fickel had the Drama Club gang out running the concessions for Ralph and Charla as a fund raiser. You’ll recognize the hot dog makers and cider pourers from “The Music Man” and “Guys and Dolls” down at Lakewood High, or you will recognize them when you go see “A Christmas Carol” later on this year.

The corn maze is a little smaller than some of the multi-acre works of art around Licking County you’ve seen featured in these pages. If you have a four year old, that’s a good thing!

Chris ran up and down the blind alleys and roundabouts with glee, looking a bit confused at times, but quickly reassured by a glance over his shoulder to confirm Dad was still there and smiling. Dad, of course, could look so confident because he could see the barn roofs over the top of the corn stalks, and from his better vantage point stayed oriented. The little guy could only see corn (or “cown” as he regularly shouted), but trusted the big guy to not let him get too far lost.

Obvious metaphor alert. . .i’ll just let you fill in the rest of that meditation.

We don’t normally cross-promote between the Booster and the Advocate, even though we’re corporate cousins, but this is really just a trip out to the recycle bag in the garage for many of you. Last Sunday (Sept. 29), on page 5D, John Skinner had a great old story about Hebron and Henry Clay back in the early 1800’s.

He references “the Licking Arms, a hostelry in Hebron” as the location for a tale of duels, derring-do, and dauntlessness. You’ll have to find the article to get the whole story, but Henry Clay certainly could have stayed the night in pre-Civil War Hebron; he’s featured on historical markers all along both the National Road from Wheeling to Columbus, and down the Zane Trace, such as on the marker in Tarleton between here and Chilicothe.

You should remember Clay from your American History classes as one of the early great Congressional figures, a man who would “rather be right than President,” and who along with Daniel Webster helped negotiate the Missouri Compromise, but later came down solidly as anti-slavery, dooming his chances for the White House in the 1840’s and 50’s.

This and other stories may soon be told in cases within the lobby of the Hebron Municipal Complex, as Larry Rodgers of the Hebron Historical Society and Mike McFarland are working at providing some display space and artifacts there. We’ll let you know as those plans develop, or you can just drop in on their meetings on the first Monday of the month at 7:30 pm in the Masonic Building on N. High St.

The first 50 years of Hebron were wild and wooly ones, and there are many more stories to be told about these Hebron Crossroads!

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and a semi-professional pumpkin carver. If you have recipes for roast pumpkin seeds or other seasonal delicacies, send them to or call 928-4066.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

The Church Window (print edition) – October 2002

Notes From My Knapsack

Sat., Nov. 9 at 9 am is our annual Program Planning Retreat for all elders, deacons & deaconesses, and officers of the congregation.

Organizational Evangelism is the theme this year, as we review our fellowship groups, programs, and events in light of how they help us share the good news of God’s love made known through Jesus. We’ll spend some time in worship and prayer together, a little Bible study, do some practical exercises in personal evangelism, and then use the rest of our time ‘til noon to review 2003 from Epiphany to next Advent.

Every group in the church should be represented, and all members are welcome. At noon, some of us will stay for lunch and the budget committee will meet to take our ministry priorities from the retreat and put them into dollars and sense.

Please be with us for all or part of Nov. 9 and our PPR!

In Grace & Peace,
Pastor Jeff

* * * * * * *

Stewardship & the Diaconate

Over the next few months, various members of the deacons and deaconesses will share the offering meditations. They will tell us about their look into some of the different outreach causes the congregation supports, from Disciples Mission Fund causes like Homeland and Global Ministries, to local work like LEADS and the Housing Coalition.

First Nora Lee Orr and other Women’s Group members will tell us about Church World Service (CWS) and their Blanket Sunday offering, which is a special offering over and above our budget and mission giving, along with the Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost envelopes.

The youth will also be preparing for the CROP Walk Sun. Oct. 20, which is also a CWS support, of which 25% stays in Licking County. After the first three weeks on our CWS giving, we’ll hear about the Mental Health Assn., the Jail Ministry, the Regional Capital Campaign, overseas missions, and many others. All of these presentations from members of the diaconate will help prepare us for the Annual Congregational Mtg. in January, and allow the diaconate to fulfill their scriptural mandate (Acts 6:1-6 & I Tim. 3:8-13) of helping manage our outreach.

* * * * * * *

Pastor Jeff will present “Your Family History: A Story Worth Telling” on the rescheduled date of Sat., Oct. 26, at 11 am at the new Newark Farm Park north of Cedar Hill Cemetery on Rt. 79.

* * * * * * *

Regional Assembly – Springfield, OH Oct. 18 & 19
Please pray for our delegates and pastor as they help
in the work of the larger church

* * * * * * *

Wednesday Bible Study
10 am, October & November
“Christian Essentials”
starting with the Letter of Jude
(haven’t read that one lately, have you?)

* * * * * * *

Youth Meetings

Oct. 13 – 6 pm

Oct. 20 – CROP Walk after church to 5 pm

Oct. 27 – 6 pm

Monday, September 23, 2002

[Note for Knapsack readers: these short Scouting related articles show up each week on the e-mail distributed "Things To Do This Week in Scouting" edited by the amazing Steve Hoar of Licking District, and are posted in the local news page of They show up here in bunches of four to six every. . .four to six weeks!]
pax et gratia, jbg

Commissioner's Corner
by Jeff Gill, Dist. Commish

What so many Scouters don't get to experience in Licking District, and what
I'd like to be able to share with the readers of this feature, is the great
variety of people who are all important to Scouting.

Of course, there are all the Cubmasters and Scoutmasters, and Den Leaders
and ASMs, and Pack and Troop Committee chairpeople who are the "first line"
of adult Scouting. As any active Scouter knows, it takes a whole bunch of
"characters" to do character building for our youth, and we've got 'em in
our units. What about beyond the unit level? There are characters there, too!

You may not see them at the next Camporee, but at the District Golf
Challenge, Mark Evans (along with his brother and dad) did another fine job
this summer bringing together a number of business and industry leaders to
bring both dollars and awareness of Scouting to a new level. At the Council
Executive Board, many more folks who you'll not likely see at the next
Roundtable, but veteran Scouters like John Weaver and Norm Sleight of
Licking County, gather round a table to set plans and agendas for all of
Simon Kenton Council. And at the Commissioners' College, you may not all know
Sharon Scheidegger, Nancy Liming, or George Wilhelm, but they were
representing our district among dozens from all around the council.

Men and women in all walks of life are involved in bringing the Scouting
program right down to the basics, and we're thankful for all of them!
* * * * * * *

Commissioner's Corner
by Jeff Gill, Dist. Commish

While we're talking about the wide variety of people in a variety of roles that it takes to provide Scouting, I want to go from the District to the Council level for just a moment.

Whether you're at a Commissioner College, meeting historians of the Tuskeegee Airmen, or church custodians who specialize in historic preservation, or at a Council Exec Board meeting with the heads of our largest local utility and the state cable news network, you can't help but be struck by how necessary each and every member of the structure is to keep the whole standing. Even when celebrities are brought in for special purposes, like Clark Kellogg or Archie Griffin, you can tell that they know what Scouting is, and why they're there to help.

At Woodbadge or Pow-Wows, you meet materials engineers and sales professionals, data entry folk and machine language programmers, corporate execs and the people who serve lunch to corporate execs. But in the uniform shirt of the BSA, whether with blue, red, green, or silver shoulder tabs, we're all simply Scouters. All vitally necessary, and also all necessarily equal in our potential involvement in this amazing organization.
* * * * * * *
Commissioner’s Corner
by Jeff Gill, Dist. Commish

Saturday, October 12th, while Cub Leader Training is going on just across the hall, the District Commissioner Staff will meet from 9:30 to 11 am at Second Presbyterian Church in Newark. In what will be a quarterly schedule of district level meetings, all district scouters involved in roundtables, unit commissioning, or rechartering are invited to join for a time to review the rechartering process.

The recharter period is a crucial time for unit continuity – in simpler terms, units that can’t get their charter reviewed, corrected, and correctly turned in tend to be units that drop. That means a gap in how Scouting is available in that area, and we don’t want that.

If you are a current or former commissioner, please join us on the 12th; a number of folks in Licking District are close to qualifying for the Commissioner’s Key or Arrowhead, and we’d like to get those awarded this spring as appropriate!

Questions? Leave me a message at 928-4066, or e-mail, and I’ll get back to you or get the right person to call you with the right info.

* * * * * * *
Commissioner’s Corner
by Jeff Gill, Dist. Commish

On a personal note, I got a real satisfaction from my September Scouting magazine (sent free to all registered adult Scouters). On page 16 is an article about an Eagle Scout project that really defines what an Eagle Scout project can be, and that alone would have made the article worth reading – and my recommending!

But the real joy was in reference to the young man’s grandfather, in whose memory the project was completed. Gene Hunsberger was an Assistant Scoutmaster in my home troop, “Lucky” 7 of the former Pottawatomie Council, now Troop 907, LaSalle Area Council. Bill Eckert, the long-time Scoutmaster of T-7 (with 50+ Eagles to his credit, including yrs truly), brought on board Mr. H to help the troop while I was in high school, and while I didn’t get to know Mr. Hunsberger as well as my younger brothers did, he was a great asset to the troop where he continued his Scouting career until his untimely death just a few years ago.

The book described in the article was one he did indeed read from at troop campouts when a Sunday morning called for chapel service, and the book’s history with him as a corpsman in WW II and Korea was part of our troop lore. Congrats to Evan Hunsberger on making Eagle, and to Scouting Mag for helping honor a veteran and scouter like his grandfather Gene.

Makes you want to read your Scouting Magazine, doesn’t it?

* * * * * * *
Commissioner’s Corner
by Jeff Gill, Dist. Commish

James E. West, the legendary first Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America, was once asked what the three most important things for a prospective adult leader were. His answer: “Training, training, and training.” Jim Francis, our District Chairman, would probably add, “And some training!”

One of the amazing advantages to being an adult leader in the Scouting Movement is the training program. You have training for all branches of the program, at all levels, and now “position specific” training, and you know that other adult leaders that you meet at Pow-Wows, Council Scout Shows, Jamborees, NOACs, and at Philmont have all been through much the same basic steps.

Whether it’s offering the Fast Start video to new adults in your unit, getting scouters off to Basic or Outdoor training, or going off to any one of the many specialized training experiences offered through the year around the council, make sure you keep “the next step” of training in front of you and your fellow Scout leaders.

Questions? Leave me a message at 928-4066, or e-mail, and I’ll get back to you or get the right person to call you with the right info.

* * * * * * *
Commissioner’s Corner
by Jeff Gill, Dist. Commish

Charters: Ya Gotta Have Em! Yep, a charter is a must. Because Scouting loves paperwork? Not hardly; no Scout leader, whether professional or scouter really enjoys fussing with forms and rosters, but the charter is the one indispensable tool for managing our membership, maintaining communications, and supporting continued advancement and/or training.

The charter, with all the right names, ranks/positions, and addresses, allows the Scouter from the council, Boy’s Life and Scouting from national BSA, and other critical communications to get to the right place. Charters may be returned for lacking certain key indications about adult leadership, especially designations for Tiger Cub or Webelos den leaders. Registration info helps us to track who we’re gaining and just as importantly, who we’re losing and at what age. Heads of organizations (pastors, board chairs, club presidents) need to sign the charter and submit a “free” registration: as much so they know who they’re working with as much as so we can know who they are.

And don’t forget that every penny of the now $10 reg fee goes to Irving, Texas to support the registration management and training support programming of the National Council, so they don’t fundraise out from under local councils. That’s where all registrations, especially adults, are reviewed, and that’s a key element of our youth protection strategy.

Questions? Leave me a message at 928-4066, or e-mail, and I’ll get back to you or get the right person to call you with the right info.