March 25, 2020

Church in the Windshield 
First Congregational Russell, Kansas

March 1, 2020

It’s Sunday Morning, March 1, Sheron and I have not been able to travel for the “Church in the Windshield” for a while. So we decided that it might be a good time to feature a church . . . which
church should it be?  We decided that we had not been to the First Congregational Church in Russell and this would be our Sunday to visit. The First Congregational Church of Russell is believed to be the actual first church in Russell. The original church was organized when the rail- road came to Russell in the eighteen hundreds. Here was a church that began with services held in a box car at the railroad. It seems to us that it would have been fun to have attended some of those services. A sign in front reveals the church origin. Take a look.
Our journey to worship that morning, took an interesting twist. We arrived early as we usually do, parked our car in the designated parking place and began our trek to the building. We walked down the sidewalk around the corner and headed
for what we thought was the front door. Before we could get to the front door, a friendly voice greeted us from a side entrance. “Are you looking for the door of the church?” she asked. “Yes we are,” we responded. “That door is not being used anymore, come this way and Welcome,” she said.  We followed her instructions and made our way down the sidewalk toward door. Once we entered the sanctuary, we were greeted by the congregation. The congregation was older but certainly friendly enough. Pastor Ron Wedel (see picture later in the blog) came down from the front of the church, bid us a nice welcome and told us that the church had “Open Communion” (meaning any true believer can receive Holy Communion). The sanctuary was well kept and conducive to worship. Worship started with a responsive call to worship and a hymn “Wonderful Words of Life.” My mind drifted back to my growing up years where we often sang the lyrics; Sing them over again to me wonderful words of life, let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life . . . Words of life and beauty, teach me faith and duty . . . beautiful words . . . wonderful words of life. That song has
always given me lift and it gave a lift to the church as well. After the morning-prayer and the offering, something happened that gave my heart a pull.  Pastor Ron Wedel had laryngitis and it was very difficult for him to talk, but he stood bravely before the congregation to read the scriptures. However, before he could start reading the scripture and elderly man who had difficulty walking, stood up and said, “I am going to volunteer to read the scriptures for you this morning to take some of the stress off of you.” Needless to say, both Sheron and I were impressed with that type of caring for the pastor. Later, we found out that the pastor was relatively new to ministry and that made the event even more
special. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all share the love of Christ as did the elderly gentleman for the pastor?  Pastor Wedel’s message that morning “What you Eat, Give Life or Death” taken from Matthew 4:1-4. In this passage of scripture Jesus was tempted for forty day without food to turn stones into bread. Jesus of course, refused to do that. The message was a great message for the first Sunday in Lent. And by the way, Pastor Wedel gained his voice back during the sermon. God does work His wonders in mysterious ways!
Following the message that morning Holy Communion was served at the pews. The altar at the front of the church (though the picture was taken after the communion utensils were removed) enhanced the communion service. For us, a beautiful altar helps us remember our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The inscription on the altar
says, “In Remembrance of Me.” Perhaps that is why it is so special to us. Following the service that morning, we took some pictures of the outside of the church.
One of those pictures was that of the corner stone.  Corner stones of churches have always intrigued me and perhaps it is because some of them had metal boxes on the inside (time capsules). This church was built in 1951 . . . was there a time capsule or an infamous metal box hidden behind the corner stone?  It’s a mystery . . .  perhaps we shall never know.
And finally, there is a picture of the church marquee. Here is a church that would give you a warm welcome.
Until next time, God can be found in so many different places. Take time for Him in the church of your choice.
Ron & Sheron, Drivers behind the Windshield

January 14, 2020

Church in the Windshield
Boys Town
October 24, 2019
We have always been intrigued and fascinated with Boy’s Town and the kind of work that was being done. None the less, neither of us had ever been to Boys Town so when we were invited to see Boys Town and experience its history, we jumped at the chance. When we entered the Hall of History, we were amazed at the things we saw. We realized that Boys Town was far greater than expected and that we needed to write a blog about it. I asked the lady at the desk if we could take some pictures and she said, “Yes, but no flashes please.” We honored that request and took lots of pictures. Some of the pictures I will use in this blog. A couple of days ago, I received from Boys Town the written permission I needed to write the blog. Indeed, I was happy about that; reviewed the pictures that I had taken and once again reviewed the historical material that I found in their Boys Town a Century publication. Consequently, the historical information that we will be using came from that publication.

Fr. Flanagan had a passion for the well-being of young homeless boys and his passion was certainly a special calling from God. It takes a special calling, insight, vision and compassion to do the mission work of Fr. Flanagan. But when God blesses a mission, it always does well and Boys Town was no exception. Fr. Flanagan started the mission for boys in 1917 with five boys and they lived in a drafty old boarding house at Dodge and 25th Street in Omaha. This ninety-dollar borrowed investment started the first home for boys. Fr. Flanagan’s philosophy was “There are no bad boys.” So, all were welcome without regard to race or creed. By 1921 the program had out grown the boarding house and Fr. Flanagan borrowed money to purchase Overlook Farm outside of Omaha. It became known as “Village of Boys Town.”
As I began to tour around the museum, which was very well done, I might add. I began to notice that Boys’ town was so much more than an orphanage. It was the life blood of developing young men. It was a trade school that offered training for boys to learn how to support themselves in life. One of the first scenes that I witnessed was that of a boy with tattered clothes and worn
out shoes, sleeping in a box and that certainly gave my heart a tug. It must have given Fr. Flanagan’s heart a tug as well. So how do you help these young boys? When Fr. Flanagan purchased the farm, he started teaching the boys how to plant food, and take care of the farm. Much of the food for the boys came from the farm. Consequently, the boys learned the farming industry and most likely some of the boys became farmers. That in itself is a success story but it does not end there. I turned and saw the gas pump. It was so unique that I had to take a picture of it. The gas pump was just like the
one we had at a gas station in my home town ever so many years ago. I thought about that for a few moments and my mind drifted back to those “growing up days” of my child hood. And to this day, I can remember the station owner slowly moving the pump handle back and forth. With impatient eyes, I watched the giant glass tube fill with gasoline, seemed like an eternity. Finally, the ten gallon glass was full and we would place the hose in our tank and wait for the gas to drain. The glass was marked with numbers starting at the top of the glass. As the fuel drained, it would show how many gallons went into the gas tank . . . one . . . two . . . three and finally it would drain to ten. The old pump must have taught some of the boys to be filling station operators . . . most fascinating!
A dental chair and ex-ray machine came into view and I remember sitting in a dentist chair very similar to the one in the picture. For a time my mind placed me in the dental chair. I imagined seeing the two meters, one that told the strength of the x-ray and the other one . . . who knows? The machine would whir and then click, “All done now,” the dentist would say. Perhaps you can remember the dentist drill that had pulleys, belts and joints that would allow it to move in any
direction. Some of the boys may have become dentists. A telephone switchboard reminded me of times long ago when an operator would plug lines so that people could communicate. Each switchboard had a limited number of phone lines but there was always a line or two that could connect to other towns. Those towns in turn could connect to other towns, so to place a long distance call, one operator would connect to another . . . and another until the distant town would be connected. Some of the boys may have
turned out to be telephone operators. This certainly, was an opportunity for someone to learn the skills of a telephone operator.  Another form of communication was the printed word.
Boys Town had a printing press and the boys learned how to set it up and print publications. This was an excellent opportunity for them to learn a new life skill and prepare themselves for the future. I gazed at the old printing press for a while and wondered how it worked? 
A “cut away” of a John Deere tractor gave evidence of mechanical training. The boys could experience first-hand how the tractor worked. They learned how to repair and assemble the engine, transmission, differential and brakes. There is no doubt in my mind that some of the boys became well respected mechanics. Fr. Flanagan had such keen insight on teaching the boys’ life sustaining trade skills.I saw the Boys Town Flxible bus sitting across the room in all of its glory. The headlights were on

and the door was open. Flxible was made in America and was a very popular bus in its day. As I admired the bus, I couldn’t help but remember my early bus driving days. Although I never drove a Flxible, I did drive a refurbished Silver Eagle and a refurbished Scenic Cruiser (GMC double decker). But I digress to memories of years gone by. I must look inside. The inside was just as magnificent as the outside.

A huge
steering wheel adorned with a chrome horn ring and red center caught my eye. The gear shift was still in place and I couldn’t resist shifting it though there was no transmission. Some may have become drivers.


A band wagon called “Father Flanagan’s Boys Shows,” was used to advertise Boys Town in the beginning years. Musical instruments inside the band wagon gave witness that some of them learned to play . . . to entertain . . . and to assist in raising money to support Boys Town. Perhaps some of the boys explored music careers. I have to admire Fr. Flanagan for following the Spirit of God . . . for his creative insight . . . and his compassion for homeless boys. He taught them skills and gave them a new lease on life.

I have a deep respect and great appreciation for Boys Town. I see and hear in my mind, all the billboard signs and the advertising that we heard over the years. 

Until next time, Let us remember Boy’s Town and give God thanks.
Ron & Sheron, drivers behind the windshield

January 7, 2020

Church in the Windshield
Grandma’s Soda Shop
December 25, 2019

It is Christmas morning. Sheron and I are as excited as children scurrying down a stair case to open Christmas packages. We are going to Grandma’s Soda Shop in Wilson, Kansas. Sheron has fashioned two white aprons with Christmas scenes sown smartly in front. We quickly put on our red shirts, dark slacks and shoes as we prepare to help serve the annual Christmas dinner to those that have no place to go for Christmas; families or singles, all are welcome. Although the soda shop provides the dinner as a way of giving back to the community, donations are accepted to help pay for food.  Since we didn’t have a sleigh or even snow, we just drove our red pickup to the soda shop.
Upon arrival to the soda shop, we were greeted with an exuberant “Good Morning” and Merry Christmas.” We are glad that you have come to help us serve today. A quick look around the soda shop revealed special Christmas decorations including two rows of tables that spanned the entire length of the shop. The tables covered with red striped table cloths enhanced the atmosphere of Christmas. Seasonal table decorations added a nice touch as well. And then there was “Sparky.” “Sparky” is a favorite stuffed animal attraction that resides at the soda shop. He is always dressed in seasonal attire and waits patiently for little children to come and give him a “hug.” “Sparky” is always happy and greets people with a big smile. His ears are soft and floppy; his fur inviting to the touch.
An old wooden telephone hangs on the wall giving the place a
feel of early fifties. I turned the crank and heard the bell ring. When I picked up the receiver I could imagine hearing the operator say, “Number please?” Now that’s going back to the good old days! I can even remember our phone number of ages past. Our number was 3303 . . . that meant line 33 and 3 short rings . . . not too bad for being on a seven party line huh! When the phone rang, all seven people on the party line would hear it . . . and listen . . . and listen. This in turn would drag down the power and no one could hear but . . . what fun!  It was like tying a string between two tomato cans and communicating by talking into the cans. Awe yes, those were the good old days . . . . A second look at the phone plays on the imagination. It has hair, (the flowers), two eyes (the bells), a nose (the transmitter), a mouth (the writing board); one ear up (the receiver) and one ear down (the crank).

Beside the telephone, stands a huge cabinet which is now being used for a show case. This antique cabinet displays craft items and other things like painted Czech eggs, coke bottles, a vintage radio, a Christmas tree and other items of interest. This massive solid wood cabinet stands at least eight feet tall and maybe ten feet wide. Its small doors unlatch and open with age old precision. The cabinet is certainly an eye catcher and a great conversation piece for locals and tourists alike, Are any of the items for sale . . . Yes, some of them are and some of them are for enhancement.
Well, it is almost 11:00 a.m. and Aunt Debbie, Uncle Terry, Brittany, Grandpa and Grandma have been in the kitchen cooking since early morning. The ham has been sliced, the turkey roasted, the salad tossed, potatoes mashed, corn creamed, gravy made, and rolls baked to perfection. Two kinds of pie, cherry and pumpkin, have been cut and placed on small plates. Coffee and ice tea has been made; water glasses filled and the silverware wrapped in festive napkins. And, oh did I mention . . . pie . . . two kinds . . . cherry and pumpkin? Grandpa takes one last temperature of the food to make sure it is correct and announces, “I think we are ready!” It’s a good thing too because people are at the front door waiting to get in.  Grandpa and Grandma pose for a quick picture (AKA: Jerry & Virginia Florian. The doors were opened and people began to stream in to the soda shop. There were five assisting that day. Jeanie was in the kitchen; Christopher, Sarah, Sheron and I were in the front. Each one had their own particular task of serving water, tea, coffee. Sheron and I were assigned as greeters and servers. Sheron would serve coffee, tea and meals at the table. I would greet people at the door and wish them welcome and a Merry Christmas. It’s a joy to serve people and especially at Christmas time. Christmas is the time when people put aside their differences; celebrate the birth of Jesus and just enjoy being together. Is that the Christmas spirit . . . we think so?
Some eighty people came that day to enjoy the Christmas dinner and it was fun to learn about them . . . where they came from and how they ended up at the soda shop. One family came from Nevada and had heard about the dinner at the soda shop . . . so they came. I couldn’t help but think about the three wise men . . . travelers from afar came because they had heard about the birth of Jesus. Well Nevada really isn’t the part of the world that the wise men came from . . . but it’s a start.
There was a family that came and spent some time visiting while they waited for others to join them for the Christmas dinner. I asked them if I could take a picture of them and put it in the blog and they graciously accepted.  All too soon the day was over . . . the tables cleared . . . the cloths removed and the chairs arranged in symmetrical order for the next day’s business. The dish washer in the kitchen rumbled, gurgled and emitted little puffs of steam as it washed the last of the cooking utensils. Sheron and I said our “good byes” and felt a little saddened that it was over but we also felt joy that we could help serve people at the Christmas dinner. As we left the soda shop we stopped to take one last look at the show window by the door. . . . Yes, this is what it
is all about. We paused for a moment . . . got in our pickup and drove away . . . .

Until next time, remember what we celebrate at Christmas and put December 25 on your calendar for a superb Christmas Dinner at Grandma’s Soda Shop.

Ron & Sheron, Drivers behind the windshield

Grandma’s Soda Shop is located at 2425 Avenue F in Wilson, Kansas

December 31, 2019

Church in the Windshield
Christmas Eve Service at Lucas
December 24, 2019
Christmas is such a special time of the year and we always look forward to visiting a different church each year for Christmas Eve.  This year, we visited the Lucas United Methodist Church and the church was so beautifully decorated. Sometimes it is hard to express in words or pictures a Christmas Eve Service. The Advent candles in the above picture indicate the four Sundays of the season. The first candle of the Advent season represents Hope, the second candle represents Faith, the third represents Joy and the fourth candle represents Peace.
A white candle in the center of the wreath represents the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
The flickering candles alongside the isle were so inviting that even before the service started there was a sense of the spirit and presence of God. Perhaps that is one of the reasons people are so drawn to the service. Certainly, people seem to be friendlier and more tolerant of each other during the Advent and Christmas season. It is a time of mending relationships healing wounded feelings and gifts of great generosity.
I should think this might be
another reason for people to appreciate the Christmas Eve Service. But then there is something about the flickering flames that causes us to look deep within ourselves and connect with God in unforgettable ways. Like staring into a campfire we experience physical warmth. Staring into the candle light, we perceive spiritual warmth. The isle candles in clusters of three represent the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
As we look around the sanctuary we see beautiful red poinsettias placed on either side of the altar, so appropriate for the season. We pause for a moment and remind ourselves of the meaning of the poinsettias. Poinsettias are the December flowers that represent good cheer and success. Poinsettias come from a Mexican tradition of a boy gathering flowers along the side of the road to place on the altar. The
flowers turned into poinsettias. I borrowed this information from the internet and you can read the actual article by clicking on the following Link:
Have you ever wondered how many traditions of other countries, religions and traditions are incorporated into our Christmas celebration?
The Lucas United Methodist Church has the most glorious Christmas tree and it’s such a nice touch to the seasonal sanctuary adornment. Sheron and I really enjoy seeing Christmas trees all decked out in gala apparel.
This Christmas tree with sparkly lights and
Chrisman’s of angels, doves of peace, hearts and fish help us focus on Christian thoughts. The tradition of Christmas trees started in America in approximately 1870 although the exact year depends on the writer. Christmas trees were originally decorated with paper chains, strings of popcorn or strings of berries. It was not until the 1900’s that trees were decorated with lights and other trimmings but, I digress. Sheron and I really enjoyed seeing the beautiful Christmas tree at the Lucas church. Soon it was time for the service to begin and it started with the traditional Christmas carol, “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” Other Christmas carols were sung throughout the service . . . “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’ . . . “O Holy Night” . . . “Away in a Manger” . . . “The First Noel” and “Joy to the World.”  We love those old hymns and it would not seem like Christmas without singing them. Although the hymns were from modern times more than from the time of Jesus’ birth, they have become such a part of our Christmas tradition.
The Christmas scriptures were read throughout the service including prophesy of Jesus birth from Isaiah 9:2-7; an angel appearing to Joseph in a dream, Matthew 1:18-23. Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear a child in Luke 1:26-38 and the child was born in Luke 2:1-7. Shepherd came in Luke 2:8-18 and wise men followed a star in Matthew 2:1-12. At the close of the service, the lights were dimmed and candles were lit . . . “Silent Night” so beautifully sung by the congregation. 
The most joyous symbol of all . . . The Holy family on the altar . . . The reason for the season!

Until next time, “Remember the Reason for the Season!

Ron & Sheron, drivers behind the windshield

December 25, 2019

Gabriel “Man of God”
Every year, I enjoy and appreciate the story of Jesus’ birth as we all do. The story for me is something very special and each year, I imagine myself as one of the characters of the story so that I can absorb more of the meaning, like a sponge soaking up water. This year is no exception as I consider the angel Gabriel. I am not an angel by any means but I always wonder . . . what if? Perhaps it would be like this.

Lord, it is such a joy and blessing for me to serve you and I lift your name on high. Why only today, I was thinking back over the times that you have sent me to deliver a message to someone on earth. You sent me to the prophet Daniel to interpret a dream. I was a bit frightening to Daniel though because I didn’t appear as an angel but as a person. Daniel in his fright bowed down to he ground.

Then you sent me to Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist with this message: Luke 1:19-22 NIV)

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old . . . .

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

How old am I you might ask? The earthlings mark time by days, weeks, months and years, but we stand outside the realm of time, don’t we? We stand in the very edifice of time itself and watch the earth spin . . . and the universe orbit in perfect harmony. So when someone asks how old I am . . .  I smile and gently move my wings as if to say . . . eons my friend . . . eons. Today though, you ask me to do the most awesome thing I have ever done in all my history. You have asked me to announce to Mary that she will give birth to a child who will be the savior of the world. But first, I must tell Joseph, her fiancĂ© that it is OK to marry her, because he has some serious doubts and wants to do the honorable thing. So I will be on my way Lord, to speak to Joseph. . . . The encounter with Joseph went well Lord, and now I am ready to share the good news with Mary. I feel awesome responsibility in delivering this message Lord.

Mary, I am Gabriel, and I have a message for you from God. Perhaps you ought to be seated as I share this message with you.
. . . “Do not be afraid, Mary, for eyou have found favor with God. 31 And behold, fyou will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and gyou shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of hthe Most High. And the Lord God iwill give to him the throne of jhis father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob kforever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to me, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”4
35 . . .  l“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of hthe Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born5 will be called mholy—nthe Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her owho was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”
God bless you Mary and He will always be with you. (Luke 1:5-38 NIV Paraphrased)

Things went well with Mary Lord and I think she understands the honor you have given her. It has been an honor to share your messages to the earthlings. I will wait for further instructions . . . .
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Ron & Sheron, Drivers behind the windshield





December 22, 2019

Church in the Windshield
Immanuel Lutheran Church
November 10, 2019

Our journey takes us to the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Wilson, Kansas. This stately church, made of native stone, has been a great source of encouragement to the Wilson community for many years. It’s an attractive church on the outside and an inviting church on the inside. We have been there a number of times over the years as the church participates in community church functions. So it was not any surprise that the people knew us when we arrived and gave us a very friendly and personable welcome.
As we entered the church we, once again, experienced the beautiful interior, altar and cross. The structure itself pointed our eyes toward the heavens; the light shining through the windows exemplified and enhanced the setting for worship. Sometimes, we take for granted all the different aids that help us focus on God and worship Him. At any rate we felt right at home in the service that day. “God is good all the time; all the time God is good.”
The high liturgical service with readings, hymns, scriptures and affirmations gave us a sense of the thread that ties all churches to the historical past, present and new hopes for the future. It’s always amazing to us how similar even different denominations are in their traditions of worship. Though each denomination has its own way of worship the under lying presence of God is still there. Here is a church that usually keeps a pastor for long periods of time and it is not uncommon for a pastor to baptize, marry and bury several generations of the same family. There is wisdom and continuity in that type of ministry. It’s that continuity that families relish during times of joy, celebration and grief. We can go to our pastor as he or she is the stabilizing factor that has always been there for us. There is a tremendous amount of spiritual comfort in that type of relationship. Thank God for pastors willing to serve their churches and communities with long commitments.
 Rev. Delvin Strecker is one of those dedicated pastors even though he has been here a relatively short time and is soon to retire from service. Rev. Strecker is very dedicated to the Lord’s work; very personable and friendly as he ministers to his congregation. The picture shows him standing on the left side of the altar in full Lutheran attire. Rev. Strecker can speak German fluently to the delight of this church with German roots. Assisting with the service is Brad Shiermeyer and is pictured on the ride side of the altar. The two of them make a great team as they lead their congregation in the worship service.
Five children came down for children’s time that morning. Each of them listened intently to the pastor’s message. Precious little cherubs they were and I was reminded of the responsibility that we have as churches, pastors and Christians to help guide and mold the lives of the little ones.

Matthew 19:14 New International Version (NIV) 14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." We give God thanks for churches that have little children . . . the church of tomorrow . . . God bless them each one.

The Immanuel Lutheran Church is notorious for their soup suppers. This popular event attracts and invites people from all the denominations to come to share in the joy and fellowship of the church. It’s heart-warming to see how many people from the other churches in town do come to partake of the soup supper. The church is also known for its participation in the local food bank program and it does a great job collecting food and donations.

There is a no frills sign out front that identifies the church, the pastor and the service times. We are all so used to seeing church signs with flashing colors, giving announcements and show-casing a crawl line giving additional information. And that’s all good mind you, but here is a church with a sign that gives the basics and that is good also.  If you would like to visit a church that teaches the word of God, Stop by the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Wilson. You will always be welcome and the will treat you well. The church is located at 2819 Avenue F in Wilson, Kansas. Worship Service starts at 9:00 a.m. and Sunday school starts at 10:45 a.m.

Until next time, keep on serving God and He will Bless you.

Ron & Sheron, Drivers behind the windshield

November 18, 2019

Church in the Windshield
Mizpah United Methodist Church
October 13, 2019

Some of America’s finest churches are found on back roads; little churches, thriving, caring and witnessing to their church families. The Mizpah United Methodist Church is one of those wonderful churches. This church is located twelve miles south of Clay Center, Kansas on Highway 15 and a quarter of a mile east on sixth road. The church, sitting on the hilltop can be seen from the highway. This little church has weathered physical storms and given spiritual hope to its community since its establishment in 1905.
The Biblical meaning of Mizpah in Hebrew is “watchtower.” The mission of the church is to love God, help others and help others love God.
We arrived about thirty minutes ahead of the service so that we could take some pictures as per usual for us. Except for a car or two, the parking lot was empty but the sun shining on the eastern
side of building, the white fence and the winding ramp caught our attention. Here was a church that was well maintained and seemed to say “come on in.” In a little while, cars began entering the parking lot and parked along the white fence. We observed a good mix of young people, middle aged and “sun-setters” like ourselves. It was obvious that the Mizpah Church was a family church and everyone was a part of the family, including us.
Most of the congregation entered the church by way of a side door instead of the front door; perhaps it was because of the steps. We chose to climb the steps so we could get a straight in view of the sanctuary.
Our first view of the sanctuary revealed a nicely remodeled place of worship . . . warm, friendly and inviting. People greeted us with cheerful “good morning” and introduced themselves. Two of our cousins’ also members of the church saw us; came and gave us greeting. It was good to see them. There were more greetings, welcomes and pleasantries.
We found a pew near the front of the church and sat down. Pastors, even retired ones, often sit near the front of the church; guess it is because those seats are usually the vacant ones.
As we waited for the church service to start, my mind wondered back to earlier conversations with two of my aunts. Both of them related that they had attended the Mizpah Church early in their lives and I wondered how many years ago that had been. Before I could figure it out, the service started and jerked my thoughts back to the present day worship.
The service started with a Prelude, Welcome, Announcements and Greetings. That was followed by traditional worship including Songs, Prayers, Collects, and Affirmations. Pastor Debra read her scripture text from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 17 and Verses 11-19. Ten lepers, outcasts of the community, quarantined and forced to live within boundaries were healed from the dreaded contagious disease of leprosy. Jesus healed them and said to them, “Get up and Go . . . show yourselves to the priest.” And there were boundaries, even in the midst of good. Pastor Debra Tompsett-Welch did an excellent job focusing her congregation on the importance of boundaries. She framed the scripture with a keen refreshing new insight that differed from the well-worn perception of ten healed, and only one gave thanks. I must say that Sheron and I were very impressed and listened to every word spoken that morning. It’s amazing how we can read familiar passages of scripture many times throughout our lives and with each reading find a golden nugget of spiritual inspiration. Amen and Amen.
It was such a joy to experience first-hand the enthusiasm of people excited about fellowshipping together. “Come and join us,” they invited. We joined them and had a delightful time of CD&C (Coffee, Donuts and Conversation). Two adult Sunday school classes met in the educational wing of the church. One class was a young married peoples’ class and the other class was . . . well more nearly our age. Both classes were large especially for a country church and both classes warmly invited us to visit. On this day, we visited the “been married a long time” class. My cousin Dianna taught the class and did a beautiful job.
During our travels, we have found that each church has a custom or tradition that is special for that church. A special tradition for the Mizpah church is a closing exercise that is held in the sanctuary following Sunday school. Everybody gathers in the sanctuary and waits for other Sunday school classes to adjourn and join them. When everyone is together, announcements are made; sometimes a song is sung and people have encouraging words to lift up Jesus throughout the coming week.  In our view, this church really has it together . . . it’s a great church and they will be glad to have you.  Services start at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday.

Until next time, share the nuggets of faith and encourage each other.

Ron & Sheron, Drivers behind the Windshield