Pastoral Post 9.18.2020 | Scott Taylor "Donald and Eleanor Wetzel"

Donald and Eleanor Wetzel

Written by Scott Taylor

Chances are that you have never heard the name Donald Wetzel. Nevertheless, he is a part of your life. He is the American inventor of the Automated Teller Machine – the ATM. As the story goes, he was standing in line at a bank one day waiting to deposit his paycheck. It was his payday. It was everyone else’s payday too! And, the bank was about to close and everyone wanted to deposit their check before the weekend. Standing idly in that long line he stumbled upon a brilliant and inspired idea. He thought to himself, “What if there was a machine that could deposit and distribute money for people?” “What if there was a bank that never closed?” The rest is history!

And yet, this story raises an important question. Would Donald Wetzel have ever had his moment of inspiration had he not been idly standing in a long line waiting to deposit his check? A follow up question. What other great moments of inspiration never happen because we no longer have to wait for anything?


When they write the book on 2020, I hope that one of the chapters talks about worship. Churches have all had to pave their own way in worship in 2020. Churches have had to figure out what they believe about communion and how to administer it. Churches have had to welcome new members and celebrate confirmation. Churches, and ours, are having to figure out what stewardship means again. FUMC has risen, and continues to rise, to all these challenges and more.


FUMC has answered many questions about worship this year. But, there are some that we can’t satisfactorily answer.

  • We can’t give people the experience of struggling to find a parking space.
  • We can’t give people the experience of struggling to find a pew on Easter morning.
  • We can’t even make people impatient for the song to be over, because all you have to do is fast forward to the next part.
  • We can’t make people wait for the sermon to start.
  • We can’t make people wait for the sermon to be over (in fact, if you don’t like the sermon, just stop watching it and click on another video on YouTube).
  • We can’t make people wait for anything anymore.

For my part, 2020 has forced me to reimagine the way worship takes place and this has been so fruitful. But, the thing I look forward to the most about when we get back together, is sitting with you all and waiting. Waiting for the long hymn to be over. Waiting for communion to come. Waiting for the offering plate to come to my hands. Waiting for the Passing of the Peace. Waiting for the preacher to get to the point. Waiting for the choir to gather and for the prelude to start. Oh God, what I would give to wait with you! Waiting with this Body of Christ to catch a glimpse of God.


Donald’s wife is Eleanor and she too has an interesting story to tell. You see, even though her husband created the ATM and even though they have become rich because of the ATM, she has never used an ATM. I like that!

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