Monday, March 29, 2004

Hebron Crossroads 4-11-04
By Jeff Gill

Easter sunrise services are held all over, in unique venues like the Midland Theater in Newark, outside at Licking Baptist Church overlooking Beaver Run, or the Lakewood Area Ministerial Association service at Dawes Arboretum, watching the sun rise through the cypress swamp over historic Hog Run valley, where some of the earliest Christian worship services were held 200 years ago.
Those settlers’ descendants are still part of little churches like Whitechapel UMC and Fairmount Presbyterian, as well as newcomers like Hebron and Jacksontown UMC and my own Hebron Christian.
You are welcome to come join one group of us as we gather together to celebrate Easter at 6:30 am in the upper picnic shelter at Dawes, with breakfast following in memory of Nelson Werkhaven at the United Methodist Church of Hebron.

On Saturday, Apr. 10, children’s Easter Egg Hunts are offered by churches and civic groups from Infirmary Mound Park on Rt. 37 by the good folks of the Licking Park District in the morning, to Excel Academy in Jacksontown at 10 am, and to Buckeye Lake’s Ryan Park sponsored by the Buckeye Lake Youth Association at 2 pm. Hebron Christian is offering a crafts and activity time for smaller children at 3 pm on West Main Street.
Plus, you can walk by Kathryn Lockwood’s house on North Street at Seventh anytime and see her world-famous Easter Egg Tree in the front window. Go ahead, just walk up on the porch! After all, each of the kindergarden classes at Hebron Elementary do each year. Can you guess which are the new eggs this year?

Anthony Trollope, the British novelist and post office manager (he “invented” the bright red post-boxes you may associate with scenes of England, imitated here by the round-top blue mailboxes of American street corners) is famous for writing 1000 words each weekday morning before breakfast, accounting for his prodigious output, matching that of his contemporary, the prolific Charles Dickens.
Running across that bit of literary trivia, I nodded with appreciation of the large but achievable task Trollope set himself, since recently I had done some verbal accounting of my own, with the help of the computer’s word count function.
Every week, for this column, I usually write around 800 to 1200 words (this one, due to the pressures of Easter week preparations, is an unusually brief 696!); in preaching the message on Sunday mornings at church, what some call a “sermon,” 2500 to 4000 words. Each month, my pastor’s column in the congregational newsletter runs 400 to 600 words (plus a few other quick notes), and I write the Licking District page for the Scouting monthly tabloid, “The Scouter,” another 1000 to 2500 words. That’s 20,000 to 25,000 words of output each month this keyboard generates with the help of my fingers, not counting the Saturday church page in the Advocate, stray articles for my denominations’ publications or other freelance writing in history and culture, plus postings to web forums and comments boxes on religion and society. If I were writing novels, I’d be keeping up with Anthony pretty well.
But my toughest writing challenge? Every week or so, I try to put something eye-catching, thought-provoking, or amusingly meaningful on our church sign board. Long ago, I learned that posting sermon titles preaches only to the converted, and that less is indeed more; our sign’s configuration and letter size ruthlessly enforces the “less is more” rule, giving me about seven words on each side to make my point (and I try to put a different statement on each side, to boot). Add to that the fact that some word selections given the supply available in our letter bin leave me short a “T” or “N,” forcing a rephrasing, and those 14 words or so become the biggest test of my verbal ingenuity.
This week, however, I only need three words to say all I need to offer you for Easter week.
“Christ Is Risen!”

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and is fortunate in loving to write (not to mention read); if you have news of literary or local interest, call 928-4066 or e-mail

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Hebron Crossroads 4-04-04
By Jeff Gill

What a fascinating publication date this issue of the Booster has: 04-04-04. Makes you think of some kind of magical, mystical code. . .well, see further down for the ?DaVinci Code? review.
If astronomy is more your source of awe and wonder, note well along with the Little Guy that for a little while yet, in early evening/late dusk you can see all five ?visible? planets in a row across the ecliptic, from rarely seen Mercury low on the western horizon to Venus, Mars and our own satellite the Moon together, Saturn right overhead and Jupiter plodding along in the east. It will be a very long time before the naked-eye planets are all together like this (OK, 2038; long enough), so step outside and enjoy the cosmic view.
But this second phase of Spring has a magic all its own; lawns grey-brown with winterkill start to glow, a very earthly glow. Green under yellow makes for a vibrant gold, and as you admire that look, you turn to open fields nearby and there?s suddenly a thin green coating across last Fall?s furrows. Turn again, and there?s high grass growing around the sprouting yellow daffodils and magnetically purple crocuses all in full blossom.
Spring. To coin a phrase, it?s a good thing.
Time Change! First Saturday of April means ?spring forward,? and no matter how you put it, I still think ?lose an hour of sleep.? Ah well, at least we?re not losing that hour on Easter morning when pastors get up at 4:30 am. . .but don?t show up at church as the last hymn is playing the third verse!
Severe weather is one of the hazards of warmer air from the south having a close encounter with the holdover cold fronts from Canada. Tornado watches and warnings are not to be taken lightly in central Ohio, especially just east of the ?heat island? effect that is Columbus? acres of asphalt and concrete. Does your family have an emergency pac (flashlight, batteries, radio, first aid kit) and a place with some blankets handy down in the basement (northwest corner) or an interior room without windows? And did I mention that time change weekend is a good time to swap out your smoke detector batteries and check your CO detector. . .
Speaking of Spring safety, ATV?s are humming in the fields of Union and Licking Townships. When we lived in West Virginia, and my wife was a state extension service staffer, we?d have our living room floor covered each Spring with 4-H posters for ATV safety. There are few possible slogan versions for ?don?t lose your head, wear a helmet? that we haven?t heard.
Seriously, though, wear a helmet and be just a bit more careful than you think you need to be. Quadriplegia is not fun, no matter how much of a kick zipping across mud bogs can be.
And I hear that riding a Segway can be dangerous if you don?t know what you?re doing and don?t take the training program included in the $5000 sticker price. Hebron Village learned that they won?t, in fact, get Segway personal transporters for everyone, since the First of April story on that was, believe it or not, an April Fool?s gag at the Hebron Crossroads.
No foolin?, there is no more ?Bowman Chevrolet? in Hebron. The new signs went up along Main Street for ?Coughlin Chevrolet of Hebron,? as they?ve been answering the phones for the last few weeks. You pronounce that ?Cog-lynn,? by the way, not ?cough-lan? as some Irish might have it. The Coughlin folks, with Joe Bowman, Jr. as general manager here, will be around for a while: there is a plan to develop a piece of land on Broad Street in Pataskala near their Kroger, but that?s a year or more away. . .so welcome to our Coughlin (say it, ?cog-lynn?!) neighbors.

?The DaVinci Code? has become a bestseller, which would be of little note to me (how can anyone, no matter how voracious a reader, keep up with every so-called bestseller on the market?) except for one thing. I?ve had a couple of people ask me the attention getting question ?Did you know Jesus got married to Mary Magdalene?? My first reaction was, bemused bafflement on the order of ?what have you been reading, anyhow?? After hearing the answer ?The DaVinci Code? both times, I realized I was going to have to read the thing (love the Hebron library!) to respond properly.
Normally, someone who wants to make wild speculative claims about the early Christian church has plenty of ?we don?t really know? territory to work with. In the case of Dan Brown?s ?DaVinci? thriller, he cheats, more than a bit, by putting a brief preface on his book under the header ?Fact,? while his details of history and events are filled with basic errors and untruths. A few examples? The nefarious popes of one episode Brown?s narrator magisterially describes are said to be up to no-good-ness in Rome. . .but the papacy was in Avignon, France during this time period. Whoops.
Scholars, so-called in the text, aver that there were ?over eighty gospels? at one time, and the ones not chosen other than the four ?canonical? gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) were ruthlessly suppressed. . .no one in the whole wide spectrum of biblical scholarship can point to anywhere near that many gospels, and if they were so carefully suppressed, how come I have easily obtainable paperback volumes with all of them included on my shelves? Brown?s characters claim all sorts of silly things about Christian theology that ?weren?t true until the time of Constantine,? all of which can be quickly shown to be absolutely false by reading documents of the early church. . .available in searchable text on the internet ( being one good source).
And the ?secret? that Mary Magdalene was the bride of Jesus of Nazareth and hidden in plain view at his right hand in Leonardo?s ?The Last Supper? is based on assertions that don?t pass the common sense test, let alone explaining where John the youthful apostle is in DaVinci?s Milanese fresco if he?s actually a she. Is John out checking the bill with the caterer?
If you like murder mysteries with albino assasins in a European setting, and know not to learn theology, let alone history, from a fiction bestseller, enjoy the read. But Jesus didn?t marry Mary Magdalene, and no one with a lick of historical sense has ever claimed they did, liberal or conservative. As for their children, they are all adopted and easy to find, probably near you; like most adoptees, they?ve taken his name. Ask around, you?ll find ?em.
Speaking of which: Easter Egg hunts. . .call or e-mail me soon, folks, like right now! Contact info at the end (just keystrokes away) with day, time, and preferred age group.
Lakewood Schools schedule update: Friday Apr. 9 no school, Apr. 14 an early release Wednesday of two hours.
Mickey Mouse update coming soon, and more Hebron Crossroads Festival news!

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and a skywatcher from his own little guy days; if you have news of astronomical or local interest, call 928-4066 or e-mail
Notes From My Knapsack – April 2004 “The Church Window”

One of the advantages of having a weekly column in a local paper (there are a few disadvantages, believe it or not) is that I can write stuff there are then expand on it here for the church audience. . .or sometimes vice versa.

There are two books I’ve been asked about quite a bit by church folk. One, “The DaVinci Code,” I’m going to address more generally in my “Hebron Crossroads” column, and spoke about at the Newark Lenten dinner last week. The other is actually the twelfth and final installment in the “Left Behind” series by LaHaye and Jenkins, out this week entitled “Glorious Appearing.”

Both bestsellers challenge the reader to ask “what do I believe about this?” In the case of Dan Brown’s “DaVinci” thriller, he cheats a bit by putting a preface on his book under the header “Fact,” while his details of history and events are filled with basic errors and untruths. If you like murder mysteries with albino assasins in a European setting, and know not to learn theology, let alone history, from a mass market paperback, enjoy the read. But Jesus didn’t marry Mary Magdalene, and no one with a lick of historical sense has ever claimed they did, liberal or conservative.

“Glorious Appearing” presents a different sort of challenge. Do we, as Disciples of Christ, believe that God is the Lord of History, with both creation and conclusion included in the eternal plan? Do we believe that the man, known as Jesus of Nazareth, will return at the close of Time itself and reveal in his person God’s glory and our everlasting salvation? Yes to both, and an Amen!

But the whole “rapture theology” which so many think is standard Christian belief is actually a fairly recent development, starting with a fellow named Darby in England in the 1800’s. This “premillenial apocalypticism” says that the correct interpretation of the Bible, using bits of many books in both Testaments, is that Christ will appear briefly, take into the air (“rapture”) all true believers into heaven, and step back with them for seven years of trial (the “tribulation”), and then after certain events have played out on earth, return to end history, Satan’s time of power, and usher in “the millennium” of Christ’s reign on earth as it is in heaven.

Well, that’s one way of looking at it. Another way is that of Alexander Campbell, our religious forebearer who called his Restoration movement journal “The Millenial Harbinger.” He held to the interpretation that, after Christ’s followers had truly followed his teachings for a millennium – a thousand years – Jesus himself would return to say “Well done, thou good and faithful servants” and wrap up the heavens as a scroll, ending history then. For those who claimed, even in the mid-1800’s, to have a date for this event, Campbell would impatiently cite “no one knows the day or the hour” and go about the business of making of Christ’s millennium a modern reality.

Which is right? Well, either points to at least one reminder both have in common. Whether by “Apocalypse” or auto accident, if you don’t know when your “history” ends, you’d best be prepared TODAY. Beyond that, I think we need to keep Revs. Darby and LaHaye in perspective. They have their interpretations, Campbell had his, and we each need to prepare our own hearts to open freely to God’s call here and now. Anything beyond that fits under the Restoration plea: In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity!

In Grace and Peace, Pastor Jeff

* * * * * * *

Palm Sunday & Celebration of Completing
“The Purpose Driven Life” with a Pancake Brunch
after worship Apr. 4
Donations only; all go to Campership fund

Camp fees are $210 for grades 6-8 June 13 & grades 9-12 July 4 at Camp Christian,
$255 for grades 3-5 at Templed Hills July 11.

* * * * * * *

Maundy Thursday Dinner & Service, Apr. 8
6:30 Potluck downstairs and program,
7:30 Worship upstairs in sanctuary,
including communion
followed by Prayer Vigil

* * * * * * *

Good Friday Memorial Service
(no communion)
7:30 pm, Apr. 9
concludes the Prayer Vigil

* * * * * * *
Children’s Easter Party
Egg Hunt, activities, snacks, and crafts
Saturday at 3 pm, April 10

* * * * * * *

Easter Sunrise Service at Dawes
6:30 am at upper picnic shelter
Handbells, singing, and message
Breakfast following at Hebron UMC

* * * * * * *

Celebration of the Resurrection
10:30 am in the sanctuary,
beginning with Service of Baptism
Junior Choir Call to Worship
Handbell Choir offering
Senior Choir Cantata

* * * * * * *

Crafty Women
Third Thursday, Apr. 16
6 pm to ???
Crafts and Scrapwork in the parsonage, open to any women with any level of craft skill or interest!

* * * * * * *

“Date Your Mate” night
Sat. April 17, 4 to 9 pm

Following our study of “The Purpose Driven Life” asking (and answering!) “What on earth am I here for,” we will give married couples a chance to ask “what would a Purpose Driven Marriage look like?”

$50 per couple will get you child care at the church, a program from Hebron to Granville where our trail of activities will pause at the 1812 Buxton Inn for a full dinner and dessert together (all costs included), and return to the church for a conclusion together.

A sign up at the back of the church (or downstairs during coffee fellowship) will allow you to choose your entrée and help Pastor Jeff plan the evening.

* * * * * * *
* * * * * * *

The Scouter – May 2004
Simon Kenton Council BSA

Licking District Trailmarkers

One of our own!

Licking District is proud to have Trevor Gamble as our District Chairman, and we are even prouder to announce that “Trig” is the first recipient of the Licking County United Way’s first annual “Ken Johnston Volunteer Award” for distinguished service to the community as a volunteer.

Ken was a very active part of the United Way for many years, working as a teacher and administrator (and earlier in his life, as a pastor in Hebron!); after his death a few years ago, the board of the United Way decided to take an idea they had been considering for some time – to honor a volunteer each year for their career of service across the community – and name it after Ken. For Trig to be the first to receive what will no doubt be a long-standing, prestigious award is no surprise to those who know him but still quite an honor.

The award was was presented at the annual meeting of Licking County United Way in the Reese Center at OSU-N, with hundreds in attendance. Licking District joins in saluting this fine scouter whose volunteer work has gone far beyond even his Scouting commitments, and whose hard work continues with leading our county into new heights of Scouting involvement.

We also appreciate our strong connection to the United Way in Licking County all the more after the difficulties Simon Kenton Council has had with the Franklin County United Way board; there too, Trevor Gamble has been a voice for Scouting on our local board of UW.

They say after you’ve made night landings on aircraft carriers everything else is pretty easy: Trig certainly makes it look that way!

* * * * * * *

If you have ideas for material you’d like to see in “The Scouter” on the Licking District section, call 928-4066 and leave a message for Jeff Gill, or better yet, e-mail him at
Which is also how you can offer material for publishing in this page. . .plus:
See for all your latest updates!

* * * * * * *

Cub Day Camp 2004 is a “Circus” at the Rock

June 16 – 19, Wed. – Sat.

Licking District Cub Day Camp registration packets have been sent out to all the Cub leaders. If you haven’t received one, please call Angie or Ric Eder at 740.927.0357, or e-mail

Volunteers are coming in, but we still have some areas to be filled (contact info same as above!). We will be starting each day at 8:30 am and ending at 4:30 pm.

Stations include the ever popular creek walk in Rocky Fork, songs and storytelling by the Talestone, clowns, and of course, in keeping with the circus theme, we’ll see Cubmasters juggling paperwork!

Camp fee is $46, and for each additional scout registered from the same family before May 14, it is $40. All scouts must be registered when they arrive or they cannot attend, to protect the child and Scouting under our insurance. Registrations received after May 15 to June 11 are $56, and any postmarked after June 11 will cost $66. Camperships are available, but they must be turned in before May 14. Cancellations must be submitted before June 1, and are subject to a $20 fee for materials already purchased. Additionally it is $10 for the Friday Webelos overnight, and $10 for the Sibling Circle, limited to children of those working as part of Cub Day Camp, with required registration form.

We need to maintain a 1:4 adult:Cub ratio, so keep recruiting your leadership; they will need to be fully registered adults before the first day of camp as well – this helps us verify and secure the status of all adults who have access to children in a camp setting, in keeping with Ohio state law. The state and Scouting’s inspection process will check this, so please help out by verifiying registration before you arrive for everyone.

Thanks from the district to Ric & Angie who are putting so much careful preplanning into this major Licking District event!