Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The Church Window -- July 2004

Notes from my Knapsack

Camp and VBS are the usual themes for July, after the fireworks of the Glorious Fourth (and the depressing sight of back-to-school supplies right after the bunting comes down).

After my recent bone-crushing experience, a few folks assumed I’d take this summer off of camp directing. Nope, and let me tell you why.

First, I’m healing up very well says Dr. Quimjian, and if he had said “no” then “no” it would be, since I want to be picking up grandkids when I’m in my 70’s and that means doing my therapy and following instructions now.

Second, because the reason we’re here is to transform lives through an encounter with Jesus Christ. That’s the point, folks! We expect, we stand on God’s promises that radical change and healing of mind, body, and spirit can happen when people meet the living Christ. The maintenance mode of most Sunday worship can dull our expectation of what can and does happen – which is why I believe in camp and retreat experiences so much.

There is nowhere else in church life where I so often see that kind of transformation, and follow lasting effects from those changes, than out of long-term Christian community such as you find in a camp setting. Hopelessness and despair and anger and lostness are exorcised, and in their places comes the Spirit of the Living God, and the fruits of that Spirit: hope, peace, joy, and unity of purpose.

For those who suspect I regularly try to sneak bits and pieces of camp into our regular Sunday worship. . .guilty as charged! Because I wish for all of us the kind of life-changing transformation that comes so often through the dining halls and cabins and paths of that place we call camp, but is indeed for many “holy ground.”

In Grace & Peace, Pastor Jeff

PS: Look for some praise choruses in worship at 10:30 in August! jbg

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Hebron Community VBS
Fri. July 30 & Sat. July 31

Our shared VBS effort with Hebron United Methodist will rotate down to their location this year, which will also give us a chance to welcome their new pastor, Rev. Penny Drenton. A Friday evening rally and registration will lead to an all day program Saturday of Bible stories, songs, and shared experience.

More details will come out in the weekly bulletin on times and themes. On Aug. 1, we hope to hear a VBS song from our kids who attended and Mike McFarland of HUMC will share the message.

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Board Meeting Delayed a Week

The July General Board meeting, which normally would be Monday, July 12 at 7:30 pm in the church basement, will go back a week to July 19. At least three officers will be unavailable (including the pastor at camp!) on July 12, and we preferred not to cancel for the month. As always, anyone is welcome to attend as church business and working policy is formed at these meetings; the Board in Jan., Mar., May, July, Sept., & Nov., and Finance working group in Feb., Apr., June, Aug., Oct., & Dec.

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Outdoor Worship & Picnic

Sunday, August 8, Hebron Christian Church will worship at 10:30 am out on the grass in a straw bale amphitheater; following the service we’ll join in a potluck picnic together. The Hartford Fair begins that day, but band camp leaves the next Sunday as folks make their weary way back from Croton, and school the next week, so we’ll picnic before we run into the Sweet Corn Festival and the rest of Labor Day!

Another picnic and activity will come on Sun., Sept. 12

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Stewardship, National & Local

First, the wider perspective:

“Americans' charitable giving rose in 2003 over 2002, and marks only the fifth time since
1971 that charitable giving in America topped 2 percent of gross domestic product, reported the New York Times.

Americans gave an estimated $240.72 billion in 2003, a slight increase from the previous
year, according to an annual survey of charitable contributions compiled by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Estimated giving in 2003 equaled roughly 2.2 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, the fifth year since 1971 that charitable contributions exceeded 2 percent of the total output of goods and services.

"This occurs despite rather unsettling times," said Henry Goldstein, chairman of the foundation that oversaw the survey.”

Now, on our local scene: the Finance working group, meeting in the months between board meetings, has looked at giving patterns for Hebron Christian. Giving to the general fund of the church has steadily increased, from 1988 to 2003, around 7% a year. This is not including capital giving such as to Camp Christian, parsonage repair, roof replacement, elevator installation, or organ memorials, let alone our 2000 property purchase (which will be down to $50,000 of principal left on the mortgage at year’s end!).

Our stewardship has been strong and responsive through the financial downturn of the last few years, and we’re proud of the commitment of our members. We plan to fulfill the remaining $6000 we pledged to Camp Christian’s new buildings over the next two years, as well.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Hebron Crossroads 6-27-04
By Jeff Gill

So on a Saturday afternoon a few weeks back, I’m out in the driveway playing with the Little Guy, trying to keep him a) amused, b) interested, and c) out of the house while the Lovely Wife does vital and necessary housekeeping activities. Simple, no?
No. In trying to distract and amuse a tired and disgruntled six year old, I flip off a scooter onto the driveway. The concrete driveway. The hard, over six feet down from my eyeballs, very hard driveway; right onto my left elbow and nothing else.
Rolling over to my right, I grasp my left arm with right hand and feel a variety of things moving about that God did not intend to be moving loosely beneath the skin of my elbow, ironically barely scraped.
My first thought: this is not good. My second thought: this is gonna hurt. My third thought: I can get a column out of this!
OK, so the last two might be in reverse order.
Heading towards LMH in the passenger seat, iron grip on left elbow maintained by right hand, I divert the waves of pain and nausea with the thoughts: Who can preach tomorrow at early service? What about second service leadership? And: I’ll bet I could get a whole bunch of columns out of this experience! (Again, sequence open to dispute; it was gonna be a good sermon, though.)
You might have gotten the column on heartless, inefficient staff at the ER. But no, they were fast, caring, and even more extremely compassionate after they saw my x-rays.
You might have gotten the column on foolish, unprofessional behavior in the Fast Track area and Radiology late on a summer Saturday afternoon. But no, they were calm, considerate, and very good at explaining and answering questions. (My fellow patients, most of whom were not (patient). . .could be a column someday. Or a novel. Stay tuned.)
You might have gotten the column on fee-gouging, rapacious pharmacies that prey on those needing off-hours drugs. But no, after handing over a prescription sheet and some very basic data and a reasonable wait, I got pills that made my arm stop throbbing. A good deal, compared to chewing on yarrow shoots and lighting candles. Did I pay money for that? You bet, and my arm stopped hurting (some).
You might have gotten the column on pre-surgery as a humiliating, depersonalizing, alienating experience which precedes pain and terror with isolation and depression. Not at LMH, where friendly staff were helpful and responsive at every turn, and I got back everything I put in the lovely floral plastic bag (hello, the 60’s are so over) and had the LW with me as long as she could stand my brand of gallows humor. . .even had a fellow pastor come and pray with me before surgery, which felt very odd, given that I’m supposed to be the fully clothed one standing up doing the praying in that situation. Hmm, probably good for me to have that role reversal.
You might have gotten the column on opening child proof containers with one hand, but that is sooooo overdone (has that stopped you in the past? - internal editor's note). Yes, the Little Guy opened them for me, how'd you guess? Oh, you saw someone else's column on that. . .
You might have gotten the column on recovering from surgery with said six year old in house and both of you coming down with a stomach flu at the same time, but this is a family paper, so we shall draw a curtain across those grim days when the pain meds did not stay down, nor did anything else, including the Little Guy.
So many column possibilities, ruined by cheery competence, general professionalism, and a small amount of discretion. Since I’m typing with one hand until a further exam determines my next disposition in re metal pins, cast, etc., we’ll keep this short, but. . .
You might have gotten a column on the essential stupidity of the very concept of an HMO, and you will my friends, you will. A whole column, with plenty to say, none of which has to do with the Little Guy or staples or viruses.
But for everyone who aided in my medical care, emergency and otherwise, located in Licking County, who actually had anything to do with pinning together my shattered left elbow and bruised pride and sense of indispensability: thank you! I am, as so many cards, flowers, and ominously hovering balloons command, obeying the order to “Get Well Soon!”
HMOs, I’ll get to you soon.

Jeff Gill is the fractured pastor of Hebron Christian Church and veteran of many hospital visits, usually on other people. If you have tales of healing and hope to share, or scores to settle with HMOs, call 928-4066 or e-mail