Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Faith Works 10-20

Faith Works 10-20-12

Jeff Gill


Speaking in public, dying, and other hazards of ministry



You've probably heard that for most Americans, according to surveys (and they're always right, aren't they?), death is preferable to having to speak in public.


Is this really what people say? Maybe so. I've been at meetings where the darndest people didn't speak, and the dad-drattedest people did.


In just a few more Sunday afternoons, I will have yet again the honor, for the fifth time (fifth time!), to walk out onto the stage of The Midland Theatre and be the master of ceremonies for the annual Coalition of Care Gospel Concert.


Another great lineup of college and church choirs, quartets, and soloists is being brought together by the desire of local faith communities to work together, to meet needs of those who need assistance with the necessities of life like rent and utilities and transportation. (Tickets are just $20 or $15 for a full program of joyful voices.)


So Sunday November 4th, in downtown Newark at 4:00 pm, I will walk out in front of a few hundred of my closest friends and talk and read and sing. Since I'm a pastor, this is no strange thing, right?


Welllllll . . . there's a story here. And it goes back to John Dean. You recall the Watergate fellow, the former White House counsel? In 1981 he was speaking at my university, in a vast cavernous hall built off of the blueprints of Radio City in NY, seating 6,000 when filled but leaving only a few thousand to rattle around inside like change in a pocket.


For years I had known all too well that if I went to an event where questions could be asked, and if I raised my hand and had even a few moments to wait expectantly for my turn to speak, things would not go well for me. My face would flush, my heart would race, and the world would start to spin. When I say "my heart would race," I mean something in the Formula One division, with a pounding in my ears like Gene Krupa or Keith Moon, and a shortness of breath that I was decades away from associating with heart attack. The longer I had to wait, knowing I would have to speak in front of a group, whether the size was a couple dozen, or a few thousand, the harder and faster my heart would pound. It was, to put not to fine a point on it, terrifying, and the smart man would just pull his hand down, back away from the microphone, and go back to his seat, where the symptoms would recede as quickly as they arose.


But I had a question, darn it, and when was I going to get to ask it of this fellow ever again? There was a certain insistence to my wish to hear what John Dean had to say in response to my particular question, and the fact that not long before I'd been through some fun and games with the United States Marine Corps, and I ended up saying to myself "Your heart is NOT going to beat itself out of your chest, and you can just stand here and be terrified, and still speak your piece."


And I did. In fact, I got invited to join Mr. Dean backstage in the green room afterwards, and spoke to him for quite some time, and received some wise counsel that has stood me in good stead for lo these many years, but that's a whole 'nother column.


But my point, such that I have one, is that it was only years later that I realized I was having panic attacks. In fact, I still often have them. And I am thankful that mine are mild, and manageable, and that I was able to get past them. But they've never gone away.


As I work with our local mental health service providers these days, it occurs to me that there are many folks who experience, even just on facing walking out the door of their house, a physical and mental experience akin to what I felt in class and in lecture halls and in the Elliott Hall of Music. And for some it's stronger, more debilitating, and they need to know it's not weakness, not just fear (which we all have from time to time), and it's okay to ask for help from others.


In fact, even a preacher can feel it on a Sunday morning, or afternoon, and we do. You even start to enjoy it, but the anxiety never quite goes away. But it's amazing what a prayer and a song can do to dispel the terrors.


"Tell Me Why" is especially effective.


Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and pastor in central Ohio; yes, he has panic attacks from time to time, but it makes sense at the time. Tell him your crazy anxieties at knapsack77@gmail.com.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Visitors' Guide 2013

LCCVB 2013 Visitors Guide

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An invitation to a different sort of downtown

Newark Metropolitan Hotel & The Midland Theatre


Ten years since the historic Midland Theatre re-opened to rave reviews and sell-out crowds, downtown Newark has been waiting for a hospitality showcase to match the welcome at the Midland.


Newark Metropolitan Hotel is the ideal counterpart to the classic experience of the 1928 theatre just up the block. Completely refurbished from top to bottom, from the exterior to the interior, what had welcomed guests at "The Place Off the Square" as a quality hotel is now a high-tech, contemporary lodging experience.


With 118 rooms and suites and over 5,000 square feet of infinitely adaptable meeting space, with all new furnishings and interior finishes, it is an entirely new hotel. The latest in exercise equipment in the fitness center overlooking the indoor pool for your down time, and state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment for when the work needs to get done.


For many, the Newark Metropolitan will be all play and no work, using it as a base to explore Licking County sights as well as nearby attractions like the Longaberger Homestead, just across the county line to our east. The staff of the Metropolitan will be delighted to help you plan anything from a long golf weekend to a family wedding, and make it all go well.


Easiest of all is the stroll around the block to The Midland Theatre. Over 1,200 seats and not a bad view in the house, The Midland hosts the biggest of names and fan favorites as easily as children's theatrical events like the holiday Nutcracker and interactive science programs. Entertainers like Arlo Guthrie, Switchback, Wynonna, Charlie Daniels, and comedian Bill Engvall are just a few of the upcoming shows, and there's always more to come.


With the clean, crisp modern lines of the Newark Metropolitan Hotel, and the classic terracotta exterior and opulent interior of The Midland Theatre, you might expect a contrast, but the two compliment each other on the northern corner of Courthouse Square. Between the two, the staff and management of each make sure that the focus is on you as the guest, and the quality of the experience for everyone.


Come enjoy the hospitality of both on your next visit to Licking County.

[Let me know if you need phone, email, address, or GPS for these; I've got 'em all, just didn't know how you wanted to format pages.]


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Cool times in four seasons

Lou and Gib Reese Ice Arena


You don't think much about ice rinks in August, do you?


In central Ohio, it's time to open up and prepare for hockey teams, beginner's lessons, and the all around fun that is skating!


This is especially the case if you're off of Sharon Valley Road in Newark, and you host the Ohio state champion Newark Generals, a high school club team. Ice is serious business in hockey, let alone for any sort of skating activity.


Along with the growth of popularity of the National Hockey League, spurred in central Ohio by the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets, interest in hockey has, well "caught fire" in this area, and with the support of local benefactors Lou & Gib Reese, Licking County has a centrally located ice arena that is open nine months of the year, from August to April.


During those three "down" months, the ice making equipment is being renewed and updated for another long season ahead: meanwhile, the arena area is air conditioned, allowing for rental to groups needing a large, indoor space for car shows, conventions, even indoor soccer. The arena never sleeps, even if the ice has to take a summer break.


Another plus of the long season is the opportunity to serve not only hockey teams from young to old, of men and women, but also the growing figure skating community in central Ohio. Add in plenty of free skate sessions for those just wanting to try out a few laps on shaky legs, and you have a major recreational facility, with plenty of parking as well.


If you're interested in casual skating, lessons, or joining a hockey league, just check out the website or give them a call: www.newarkicearena.com, (740) 349-6784.


Lou and Gib Reese Ice Arena

936 Sharon Valley Road

Newark OH 43055


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The secret ingredient of Licking County


Manufacturing and business have long been vital parts of the Licking County landscape. We make things here, all sorts of things, and we're proud of the ingenuity and quality that goes into what we send from this wonderful place to waiting customers around the world.


There are the old, old elements of trade that still color our image across the continent: Flint Ridge flint, a useful mineral for ancient hunters whose rainbow color is utterly unique, is found in the archaeological record all across North America, and the trade goods of the ancient world, such as mica, obsidian, copper, and sea shells, are found here in millennia old ruins just as our flint has been identified there. The quarry pits used by Native Americans can still be seen up at Flint Ridge State Memorial.


More recent engineering took everyday elements of the earth, like glass, and added skill, chemicals and dyes to create works of beauty, such as at the Heisey  Glass Company, whose artistic and collectible products can be seen at the National Heisey Glass Museum in downtown Newark – also in all the colors of the rainbow!


More practically, research engineer Games Slayter and a product team at Owens Corning worked on how to make, and use "glass fibers." They came up with a practical method of manufacture that is still largely in use today, not only making fiberglass insulation possible, but also distinctively pink.


Trade secrets and proprietary methods can be found in large factories, or even in small shops down quiet streets. In Licking County, there are two branches of a single family, both of whom make chocolate and candies according to recipes brought over from "the old country." Each branch of the family asserts that theirs is the true mix, the proper blend, the real sweet deal.


But both have up on the walls of their respective shops an image of the same old, handwritten recipe used by their father. That list is out in the open for anyone to see, because the elements, the ingredients, they would tell you, are not the most important part.


And in a way, their dispute tells the story of all of Licking County's business and industry: the difference is in the people. What makes our products unique is the care our friends and family and neighbors put into everything that goes from Licking County to around the world.

Newark Central – Notes From My Knapsack 10-17-12

Newark Central – Notes From My Knapsack 10-17-12

Jeff Gill


Dick Hamm, our Disciples of Christ former General Minister and President, once pointed out that it's kind of odd that we insist on having an "Installation" service for pastors.


It does sound a bit like putting a new appliance into your kitchen; hook up the test meters, run some current, say no to the delivery guy making one last pitch for the extended warranty.


The fact of the matter is that your new preacher is already ordained, already had their trial sermon, already has had a whole series of "first" usually, and then there's this thing, this event, this "installation," which we will hold at Newark Central on Oct. 28th.


One reason we do this is because it is an occasion to affirm and celebrate connections as much or more than it is an installing sort of event.


Rev. Stephen Bentley, our longest serving regional staff member, will offer a special prayer and responsive reading that connects us as a church, in all our servant roles, to each other, and his presence reminds us of our connection to the Christian Church in Ohio. The message on Oct. 28th will be from Ann Updegraff-Spleth, who has served in the general church through a variety of roles, with Homeland Ministries and at Christian Theological Seminary, while she now is in a "ministry" to help stamp out maternal tetanus as head of the Kiwanis International Foundation.


Meanwhile, the regular work of mission and ministry goes on: we're looking at making November a "month of membership," talking about what it means to "belong" to a congregation, and inviting people who may be wondering what that involves to come and join, starting with Nov. 4th.


And for our youth, with the co-ordination of our youth director, Samantha Frizzell, the senior high youth will meet with me after worship on Nov. 11th for another installment (!) of our ongoing series "God, and stuff." Why "stuff"? Because as any parent of a high schooler knows, if you ask what they did today, the invariable answer is "stuff." So we will converse together over lunch about "stuff," and how God relates to it.


So what's an installation service, really? It's God, and stuff, and how we all are connected in sorting our stuff out. Plus, it's another reason to have a dinner after church!


In grace and peace,

Pastor Jeff