Another amazing, thrilling, successful Pancake Day is in the history books of FUMC! From early morning until evening they came, hungry and anxious for those favorite buttermilks or buckwheats. And they were served by hundreds of smiling FUMC folk.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m thinking it broke some kind of attendance record. At the peak, around 6:00 or a bit later, I’m told the line went all the way down the hall, then up the hall past my office. That’s a long line! I wish we had some way of knowing a number.

I was pleased to read in Wednesday’s Mountaineer that Pancake Day is next Tuesday! We had an ad, but also got a nice write up and picture of some of our expert chefs at their grills. If you are new to the church and haven’t yet experienced a Pancake Day, I will tell you there is nothing else like it. Every year I am amazed at the numbers of people that come, and also at the number of volunteers who cook, and serve, and clean with smiles on their faces. It is an amazing day, not to be missed.

It’s a frosty morning as I write this, but the sun is coming up and the promise is for a warm, spring-like day. The jonquils are blooming, too, and we are reminded that, while we may yet have some winter to go, these warm days are at least a hint of what is to come. Spring is my favorite time of the year!

I struggle to know what to write in this continuing contemptuous, divisive time in our nation’s history. The obvious thing to say is that I am deeply mourning this brokenness, as are many of you. I can also say, as can many of you, that I am praying for our country and for our leaders. I hope we can all say that we are praying not only for those of our own party or persuasion, but for all concerned. Jesus taught that. We can do no less.

Greetings from Jerusalem! Susan and I are here with 11 others from our church and 13 from Clemmons UMC. After the long flight over, we have spent time in the Galilee, Jesus' home region and location of most of his ministry.

After several days, we traveled south through the Jordan Valley to Jericho and the traditional site of Jesus' baptism. We visited Masada and spent a night in a hotel on the Dead Sea, at 1350' below sea level, the lowest place on earth.

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.

We had a wonderful Advent-Christmas season at First Church, with so many special services. On Christmas Eve we had nearly 1000 people worship with us in the 4 services. On Christmas morning we had 227 for a joint service, and on New Year’s Day we were back to a regular Sunday Schedule to celebrate Epiphany with the story of the wise men. About 400 made it out of bed and to church to begin the New Year! Below our average, but admirable for a holiday.


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