Saturday, May 22, 2004

Sat. May 29 Advocate Church Page message
“Memorials take many forms”
Rev. Jeff Gill, pastor
Hebron Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

This Memorial Day weekend, many Licking County communities like Hebron conduct solemn ceremonies marking this time-hallowed and sacrifice-marked day. But a few veterans and others who normally are present will be somewhere else.
Washington DC always attracts many with monuments and memorials, from the Iwo Jima Memorial across the Potomac in Alexandria to Washington Monument itself. At the foot of that obelisk is the capitol’s newest place of memory, the World War II Memorial. This year’s “Rolling Thunder” with thousands of motorcycles passing the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in review will now come to a plaza facing the Reflecting Pool leading to the Lincoln Memorial, a plaza with twin towers marked Atlantic and Pacific for the two theaters of the globe-spanning war. Between the towers is a wall of 4,000 gold stars, just a token representation of the 400,000 lives this nation lost as over 50 million died worldwide between 1939 and 1945.
This oceanic, continent-hopping war brought 16 million Americans into service. Too few of them lived to see this day, and this long-overdue monument in our nation’s heart. My own family echoes the impact of the war and its aftermath: my dad’s two older brothers served overseas, one in the infantry fighting across Europe to Berlin itself, the other in the Army Air Corps keeping bombers in the air over enemy naval bases. My dad’s nickname as the child he was then, “Butch,” even graced the nose of a bomber over the Pacific theater. Just among my two uncles, the lesson of those two towers is made real. And one is gone, while the other is still with us.
It is well less than half of those WWII vets are still here, and we lose a few more everyday, but they continue to shape our communities and institutions, not the least in our churches.
One of the great privileges of ministry is the chance I have, in homes and hospitals, in living rooms and nursing homes, to learn small pieces of this story that so shaped all our lives.
Without knowing it, I’ve found myself suddenly in the middle of conversations with holders of the Navy Cross and Silver Star, of submariners on diesels under the Pacific and deckhands in the cold North Atlantic. I’ve been given nuggets of the tale that held freedom together by Marines and Air Corps pilots, Coast Guard sailors and Seabees, holders of the CIB and Ranger tabs.
My own WWII memorial consists of recollections not my own from Camp Lee and Fort Hood, of wave top views in Leyte Gulf, vistas across North African sands, and tunnel vision through island jungle roads. And much more.
In some way, I believe that those memories have an essential character that will endure long past the life span on Vermont granite or Hoosier limestone. My prayer this Memorial Day is that our thankfulness for their service will last as long as well.
Hebron Crossroads 5-30-04
By Jeff Gill

There is so much to keep up with around these busy crossroads; your correspondent missed the spring Choral concert, and heard too late about the Economics Fair (which had an incredible turnout, where much learning was had by all) and the Renaissance Day last weekend where everything from jousting to trebuchets was on view, but not by me.
Whatever day you get this, there will be elements of the Hebron Crossroads Festival going on, from Canal Park’s amusements Friday through Saturday until 10 pm, the Gazebo entertainment Saturday afternoon, or the Symphonic Band Pops Concert at the basketball courts near the entrance to Evans Park on Refugee Road at 3 pm on Sunday.
For Saturday afternoon at Canal Park and Sunday 3 pm at Evans, bring your lawn chairs!
Karaoke is still planned for the evening of Saturday after some jazz, Christian contemporary, and other music from 2 pm on. I will be taking donations to Hebron PTO, our sponsor for the festival, to not sing. Pay up now (he threatened).
Last year we dedicated the Evans Park veterans’ monument, and this festival year we still focus Monday, Memorial Day, on the parade down Main Street along the old National Road from Basin Street and the former Ohio & Erie Canal turnaround spot to the east edge of town.
There facing the sunrise is our village cemetery, and the parade will end there with solemn ceremonies marking this day of remembrance going back to the Civil War. There are veterans of that war taking their final rest in the Hebron Cemetery, along with those of conflicts since.
For many of us, our thoughts will also be with a number from the community who have made the long ride to Washington DC as part of the annual “Rolling Thunder” of motorcycles past the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. They will see this year the newly dedicated World War II memorial just around the corner, at the foot of the Washington Monument and facing the Reflecting Pool leading to the Lincoln Memorial.
A great plaza about a pool with fountains, bracketed by low towers marked Atlantic and Pacific, with a wall of Gold Stars symbolize the gold stars marking those who died in service, 4,000 each standing in for a hundred, representing the 400,000 who died from this country of the 50 million who perished worldwide in the war. Bas relief tablets line the entry, showing everything from the home front on the farm to many other forms of service along with combat itself.
I look forward to seeing this marvel for myself. Along with growing up seemingly surrounded by those who fought and worked and served in each of the branches of our armed forces, my dad’s two older brothers served overseas, one in the infantry fighting across Europe to Berlin itself, the other in the Army Air Corps keeping bombers in the air over enemy naval bases. My dad’s nickname as the child he was then, “Butch,” even graced the nose of a bomber over the Pacific theater. Just among my two uncles, the lesson of those two towers is made real. One is gone, the other still with us.
This long overdue memorial already prefigured by salutes in marble, granite, and bronze all around the country in towns large and small, is a tribute to those 16 million veterans of an ocean and globe spanning conflict that still marks our modern civilization, not the least among the hundreds of thousands of WWII vets still helping shape our world.
May our thanks to them endure longer than carvings or sculpture.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and a nephew of veterans of the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of WWII. If you have a story from your family to share or news of local interest, call 928-4066 or e-mail
Notes From My Knapsack – June 2004 “The Church Window”
Sitting on my front stoop a few weeks ago was my writer’s copy of “Religion in Ohio – Profiles of Faith Communities.” This volume, edited by folks with the Religious Experience Advisory Council of the Ohio Bicentennial Commission, took a little longer to assemble than the Interfaith Committee had anticipated, so here we are post-bicentennial, but the book will be a monument and resource for the next fifty years just as the last version was from 1954.
Hebron Christian Church, near the “historic crossroads of Ohio,” has the distinction of having authors of two sections in their fellowship, myself for the Disciples of Christ, and Herb Hicks, still serving an interim up at Somerset, PA with an UCC parish, wrote the Society of Friends (Quakers) section, having dual standing and family history with that denomination. There are churches with co-authors in them, but I’m betting nowhere else has two different section writers in them!
By the time you read this, the first/renewed “Hebron Crossroads Festival” Memorial Day weekend will be history. I trust that the success of the event, the enjoyment of the participants, and the opportunity for groups like our church to engage the public will make this an annual tradition. . .again. Donna Braig, Maribel Neel’s sister, has written elsewhere of the delights in the 30’s and 40’s of greased pigs & poles, and massive parades (ungreased). We have high hopes for where this festival for our community might develop in the future.
Our reading of “The Purpose Driven Life” is history of a sort, but like all the best sort of historical understanding, it continues to have a life among us. Summer program ideas, mission experiences like what Jennifer McNichols will have later in the month in Nicaragua, and the commitment we share with the new Camp Christian dedicated June 12 (see elsewhere in the newsletter for more on each) with state CYF co-pres Josh Halter participating, all are signs of the vision and mission we seek to build together at Hebron Christian.
How is your vision for what God is doing in the Lakewood area developing? Tell someone about it this summer. . .
In Grace & Peace, Pastor Jeff
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Jennifer McNichols to Nicaragua
Along with some fellow education students at OSU-N, Jennifer McNichols will spend the latter part of this month in the Central American country of Nicaragua. This is a poor nation, with many simple needs more easily met by direct in-kind giving than by mailing cash. Jennifer has been asked by the trip leaders, who will supervise their time spent living and working among the campesinos (tenant farmers), to bring items easily transportable with their luggage allowance, like soccer or volleyballs that can be deflated for storage, or [blank blank blank]; also they have some allowance for carrying small children’s clothes, which in many cases are the right size for Nicaraguan adults, as well.
Contact the McNichols at 323-4600 for questions of if you have items to get to her before June 8. We look forward to sharing her story when she returns at the end of the month.
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Camp Christian Dedication & Camps
Magnetic Springs, Ohio has been a center of Disciples of Christ activity since 1949, when Camp Christian sprang into being. We’ve upgraded and built new a few times since then, but no period has seen as much change on the property, just west of Delaware in Union County on Rt. 37, as this past year.
Dedication ceremonies for the “new” Camp Christian are on Sat., June 12, at 11 am, with registration and social time preceding and a sack lunch to follow. Come join the celebration!
The very next day, our first crew of around 20 campers and counselors from Hebron Christian will move into camp for Hocking Chi Rho (middle school). At print time, Alan Cook, Susan Jones, Josh Walters, and Tracy Wildermuth are attending. Send them a greeting at Camp Christian, Hocking Chi Rho Camp, (Name), Magnetic Springs OH 43036 by June 12 to guarantee arrival.
July 4 starts Phyo CYF (high school), with Amy Brown, Crystal Damron, Sonya Ford, Josh Halter, Chris Jones, Sean Jones, Whitney Mason, Kalee McCord, Mattie McCord, & Julie McNichols [ed note - David Scheidegger still a maybe]. Same address, and send by July 2 for arrival that week.
And Templed Hills is our Badger 3-4-5 gr. Camp, with Jared Halter a camper, and Dory Smathers, Crystal Damron, and Josh Halter counseling, with Jeff Gill as co-director. Mail them at Templed Hills, Badger 2137, Box 575, Bellville OH 44813. July 9 is a good date to mail by for them.
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Graduate Recognition Sunday, June 2 in worship
We recognize LHS seniors Amy Brown, Sonya Ford, Nick Mason, and Julie McNichols (our youth group co-pres), along with Dennis Neel at Lakewood (Maribel Neel’s grandson), Robert Love at JVS (Helen Parker’s grandson), Austin Dernberger at Newark (Ralph & Mary Alice Dernberger’s grandson), Beth Wickizer at Worthington (Rev. & Dr. Wickizer’s daughter), Kyle Rogers at Hilliard (Rev. Hutchings’ grandson) and Jason Bartlett and Ronnie Hodges at Fremont Ross (Charles & Wanda Slater’s gr-grandsons) [ed note – and Tashina Jenkins ???, got note but don’t have referent]; our prayers and congratulations go with you through this new stage in your life and walk with God.
Commencement at Lakewood High is June 2, where Pastor Jeff will deliver the invocation; seniors will perform their final numbers with the band and choir during the ceremony, which begins at 2 pm in the main gymnasium.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Hebron Crossroads 5-23-04
By Jeff Gill

Got cicadas?

That won’t be an ad campaign anytime soon, but it is an interesting question around the Hebron Crossroads, especially given that the dividing line between “broods” seems to run right up the old Ohio & Erie Canal, or Rt. 79.
The 17 year cicada is just what it sounds like: a bug that comes out every 17 years and screams, in a buglike way, until dark (the reverse of a horror movie, I guess); after mating, they plant eggs in slits through the bark of tree limbs, and over the next 17 years they develop living off of tree sap, grow and drop to the ground, burrow in deep and change and grow some more, until 17 years have passed when they burst forth in all their red-eyed, Edsel-faced glory, bug-screaming their way through another summer day.
But not all 17 year cicadas all across the US bust loose on the same timetable. One brood, the infamous “Brood X” (actually, that’s just the Roman numeral ten, but it looks cool, doesn’t it? Like a movie title, “Brood X Screams By Day!”) is over much of Ohio including the Columbus area. Licking County is half Brood X and half another brood that doesn’t hatch ‘n holler until 2008, from here over to Zanesville.
That’s what the maps say, but I was recently up at Flint Ridge and saw a new cicada looking very much at home, though still finding his singing voice. Do you have ‘em yet where you live?

Much more beautiful music last weekend at the Lakewood District Band Festival on Sunday afternoon. It is a very good plan to have one long concert instead of three or four on different nights. . .at least for those of us who have in the family or want to hear and support a bunch of kids from fifth grade right through the graduating seniors. The Band Boosters made this work even better with their cafeteria operation that ran through the afternoon, and the Little Guy loved the shredded chicken. To play with. Oh well.
“Hang On Sloopy” was nicely done by the fifth graders with some help from the high schoolers, like Sonya Ford and Josh Halter, which I thought was a very nice touch for their last number.
And Scott Coffey had a great speech at the start of the high school Symphonic Band portion about a local resident, Frank Robison, who had shared with him about the Hebron and Buckeye Lake tradition of circus bands in our area. They then opened with a march, not a military march but a circus march, and the difference was clearly discernable. “Broadway One Step” was a great piece and also a piece of our local history.
Thanks to all, and also Lauren Houck and Rob Caldwell, who did such a great job with the kids in teaching and directing all year.

Over at Hebron Elementary on Monday, the Spring Arts Program by the third graders (first grades traditionally do Christmas, and so on each year) was a musical presentation called “Child Of The World.” Mrs. Clark has had some health adventures this year, but really wanted the third graders to get their chance. With other teachers and family members helping (including a grandson, who helped, sort of!) the stage looked international and the kids were world class.
Under flags of the US, Israel, Austria, Great Britain, Mexico, Japan, and France all handmade, and over themes of Respect, Honesty, Courage, Compassion, and Responsibility, ditto handmade banners, they shared what it meant to be a “Child of the World.”
Solo pairs in the show were performed by Brianna Ames and Yves Amornyard, and by Mary Gilbert and Courtney Baker. Many other kids delivered lines and bits of song with great aplomb (they were calm and cool, too).

Village of Hebron Crossroads Festival info, including pre-sale tickets at the elementary school, can be found on the front page; suffice it to say that the excitement grows with each passing day! We do still need some parking helpers. Lakewood women’s softball and men’s baseball were continuing their winning ways as these paragraphs were typed; for breaking news, watch our sister publication The Advocate, or go to

That’s the interesting stuff for now; if you still want to read (or if Editor Amy has room), some of you have shared other observations about the “DaVinci Code” craze and my comments about the book. For what it’s worth, thanks to a “blogging” friend online, Amy Welborn, who has written a book on this phenomenon, here’s a look at how even Dan Brown, the author, has had to back off of some of his more outlandish claims. . .and you can check it out yourself at

Early version:
All of it. The paintings, locations, historical documents, and organizations described in the novel all exist. Photos of the paintings and locations can be viewed in art books or on my website.
A somewhat later version:
The paintings, locations, historical documents, and organizations described in the novel all exist. Photos of the paintings and locations can be viewed in art books or on my website.
Most recent version:
The Da Vinci Code is a novel and therefore a work of fiction. While the book's characters and their actions are obviously not real, the artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals depicted in this novel all exist (for example, Leonardo Da Vinci's paintings, the Louvre pyramid, the Gnostic Gospels, Hieros Gamos, etc.). These real elements are interpreted and debated by fictional characters. While it is my belief that the theories discussed by these characters have merit, each individual reader must explore these characters' viewpoints and come to his or her own interpretations. My hope in writing this novel was that the story would serve as a catalyst and a springboard for people to discuss the important topics of faith, religion, and history.

Jeff in closing: Interesting evolution, no?

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and he hopes he looks good in an orange vest Memorial Day weekend; if you’d like to help or have news of local interest, call 928-4066 or e-mail
A Weekend To Remember
Community Booster 23 May 04
By Jeff Gill

Renewing the tradition of a community festival after a twelve year gap can be a big job, but the Hebron Elementary Parent Teacher Organization is ready, with more than a little help from their friends.
May 28 – 31, Memorial Day weekend, the Hebron Crossroads Festival will start with a carnival in historic Canal Park on Friday, May 28. Michael’s Amusements will open their rides at 4 pm that day, running until 10 pm each of the next three days. Saturday rides open at Noon, Sunday at 1 pm.
The Hebron PTO is offering pre-sale tickets, 5 for $5, saving you up to .50 per ride. 25% pre-sale proceeds got to the PTO. Officers will have the tickets at the elementary school outside the office on Tuesday, May 25 and Wed., May 26 from 9 to 10 am and 2:30 to 3:30 pm, and outside the main entrance on Thursday, May 27 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
But fundraising really isn’t the purpose of beginning again this Hebron tradition.
“We’re just excited to be able to offer some things to bring the community together around,” says Kim Gowdy, PTO president. “We saw this as a chance not only to give back to the community on behalf of the school, but also to give children and families a way to see that they don’t have to travel a long distance and spend a whole bunch of money to have a great time. They can come right down the street or around the corner, to the Crossroads Festival.”
Along with the rides, Canal Park will offer a variety of family entertainment on Saturday afternoon and evening, from jazz to gospel, along with storytellers and other family entertainment. Bring lawn chairs or blankets and hang out at the Gazebo for some special Saturday night musical guests.
Between the rides and the Gazebo is a community area with booths from a number of non-profit groups. “Right now we have Girl & Boy Scout troops, Hebron Lions, the Hebron Historical Society, a couple area churches, and others who will offer a variety of goods and activities,” says Stacey Hoffman, PTO vice-president. “Invitations went out to over 40 service oriented groups who were offered the space for free, and if spaces aren’t used, we’ll have a couple businesses or crafters who will rent a space as well.”
The booth area is open through Saturday afternoon and evening, with a pavilion sponsored by Action Pest Control giving a shady spot to eat between the booths and carnival concessions. The carnival rides will open again from 1 to 10 pm, with some of the ClownTown clowns joining the fun in and around the area.
Sunday some of the focus also shifts to Evans Park out on Refugee Road, where the Lakewood Symphonic Band will hold a concert at 3 pm. Bring your lawn chair or blanket and join us out on the fields as we enjoy an open air year-ending offering from Scott Coffey and the gang.
Monday, May 31, is Memorial Day, and the rides and activities close down to allow the entire community to share in the 10 am parade from the American Legion Hall down Main Street to the Hebron Cemetery for a wreath-laying program. Following is an auction at the village firehouse on Basin St. next to the Legion Hall to support the volunteers’ association with the Hebron Fire Department.
“The village is very happy to see this tradition coming back,” affirms Mike McFarland, village administrator. “We’ve enjoyed working with the PTO on this and want to help in any way we can.” Hebron Police and Fire will have booths at the Festival Midway Saturday, and will be active around the carnival and parade all four days of the Crossroads Festival.
Scott Walters, village councilmember for the Parks Committee, offers that “this is a great step back for our community. We’ve really missed having this in our town, and the village appreciates the work the PTO has given to get things rolling again.” Parks and Streets employees have already started preparatory work all around the sites of the Festival, at Canal & Evans Parks, and at the village cemetery.
All agree that this is not a one shot event, but a new beginning of an ongoing tradition for the Hebron Crossroads, with additional events and activities already being considered for 2005. The Hebron Crossroads Festival really looks like it is here to stay.