It was a cold and snowy weekend! I hope you enjoyed some down time by the fire, or maybe some chilly play time in the snow! I love a good snow or two in the winter—it does us good to slow down from the ordinary routine and rush. This time it hit us on a Sunday. I missed being with you and celebrating the Baptism of the Lord and what baptism means to us. We’ll revisit that theme the last Sunday in January. Susan and I did enjoy watching the broadcast of the service from January 1 on Charter 188, where a recording of the service from the prior week can be viewed each Sunday at 10:00 a.m.
Susan and I will be away the next two Sundays with our group in the Holy Land. I look forward to this, my third trip, and to a few places we are scheduled to visit that I have not seen. We will visit, of course, the Sea of Galilee and places on the shore where Jesus taught and healed. We’ll visit Jesus’ traditional birthplace in the Church of the Nativity in Bethelehem, and we’ll visit the traditional site of his death and resurrection in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. We’ll visit Masada, where nearly 1000 Jews committed suicide rather than be captured by Roman soldiers, and we’ll visit Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum. It will be an amazing pilgrimage to these and other key sites. Some of us will spend two final days in Jordan visiting Mt. Nebo, where Moses viewed the promised land, and Petra, where the Nabatean Kingdom carved their city from stone.
You will be privileged to hear two outstanding Christian preachers and leaders while we are away. This Sunday, January 15, retired Bishop Charlene Kammerer will preach at all services. A native of Florida, Bishop Kammerer served as a pastor and district superintendent in Florida until her election as bishop in 1996. From 1996-2004 she served as our bishop in the Western NC Conference, and from 2004 until her retirement in 2012 she served as Bishop in the Virginia Conference. She and her husband Leigh live at Lake Junaluska and worship with us regularly. Leigh is known as an outstanding Disciple Bible Study teacher. Hardy Tippett will serve as worship leader on January 15 at 8:30 and 11:00.
On January 22 Pastor Emeritus Dr. Garland Young will preach for you. Garland is a native of North Carolina and served a number of churches and as a district superintendent in the Western NC Conference for 41 years of active ministry. He served as Senior Pastor of First Church 1983-1987, and served as a retired part-time associate after his retirement from full-time ministry in 2001. Garland and his wife Jane live at Lake Junaluska, but plan to move to the Elon area this spring. They will be sorely missed! Wilson Strickhausen will serve as worship leader on January 22 at 8:30 and 11:00.
There are retired pastors on call while we are away, so if you have pastoral needs, hospitalizations, etc., please call the church office and they will be happy to put you in touch with the pastor on call.
Please pray for us on our pilgrimage. We will remember and pray for you along the way.