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