2013: The Year in Review

January started with a bang! Kevin Yaryan plowed out the parking lot; John Bohlander and his able assistants fixed a collapsed ceiling in an upstairs classroom; and – after waiting for parts to arrive — we finally got some heat in the sanctuary. We celebrated with an all-church birthday party.

In February longtime members Roger and Ellen Doty moved to Indianapolis, taking with them our love and prayers.

Easter Sunday service was joyous and filled with family and friends who joined us for worship.

In May we celebrated the graduations of Brian Hazelrigg and Pam Ross.

In late June and early July we participated in the Connersville Bicentennial. Individual members contributed their talents to various activities, and the impact of the past was the subject of sermon and devotional time.

Also in July, after a thorough audit of the books, the Audit Committee commended Treasurer Larry Zumkeller for his excellent records.

Over the summer George Morris converted a former restroom into a music library.

The Pastor Nominating Committee was hopeful that a new pastor had been found, but things didn’t work out. Instead, our Church Information Form was rewritten and resubmitted to the PCUSA’s new database, and the committee continues its search.

Rally Day was well attended, with food and fun in the Fellowship Hall.

After an enthusiastic presentation by Susie Rogers, Session voted to support the Purdue Extension Office programs by allowing them to use our facilities for parenting and cooking classes.

Session approved a new policy regarding use of our Fellowship Hall. Many thanks to Elder Sarah Smith for her work in researching and proposing it.

Several members participated in an informal study of the book of Psalms in October and November.

More than 100 tickets were sold for Breakfast with the Christmas Angel December 7. Despite bad snow that weekend, the Fellowship Hall was filled with laughter and singing. Many thanks to Joyce Bohlander, who chaired the event; Sondra Miller and her kitchen team; Linda Ward, the Christmas Angel; Heavenly Choirmaster Robert Swope, and everyone else who contributed to another success!

Jill Yaryan organized the Giving Tree, ensuring that 25 children in the community received Christmas gifts who otherwise might not have.

Ann Kirschner spearheaded the Mission Committee’s efforts to deliver Thanksgiving and Christmas food boxes to more than 25 selected families in partnership with Family Video, who donated turkey and ham.

In December we said good-bye to Pastor Mitch, who accepted an interim call to a church in Bloomington within walking distance of his home. We wish him all the best!

In the candlelight of our Christmas Eve service, we remembered the birth of our Hope, Jesus Christ. With that hope, we move forward into the new year.

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May Grace and Peace Be With You All

To: Carla Beard, Clerk of Session, First Presbyterian, Connersville
Alan Thames, Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Whitewater Valley
Michael Whitfield, COM/PNC Liasion to First Presbyterian Connersville

Eddie Hammet, Congregational Coach with The Columbia Partnership writes in his book, “Making Shifts Without Making Waves,” “Change creates a storm crashing on the shorelines of our time.” Change and transition are consistent threads. There is never a perfect time for change, which is the situation as I inform you that I have accepted the position of Interim Pastor of the United Presbyterian Church, Bloomington, Indiana.

For 2 ½ years I have served as your Interim Pastor. You have cared for me and God’s church with great dedication. You have been faithful and, together, we have tacked the interim tasks with energy, intelligence, imagination and love. It is time for new leadership that can guide you into the continued days of discernment as you move closer to the pastor that God has in store for you. I feel that I have taken our church where God wanted me to take you. I now feel that God is leading me elsewhere – to Bloomington to serve as the Interim Pastor of the United Presbyterian Church (located only a mile from our house). The former pastor of United retired recently following a 20+ year tenure as pastor. There will be many challenges and demands over the next year as Bloomington United enters their first interim phase in over two decades. I am honored and humbled to have been chosen to lead that effort.

Leaving Connersville is bittersweet. I embrace a new opportunity and call and am grateful for our time together. You have been patient with my commute and supportive of my physical struggles. I know, however the work here is not yet completed. The Pastor Nominating Committee has been diligent and faithful in doing everything within their power to secure new pastoral leadership. But God has not yet provided that person. I sincerely believe a new pastor will be with you sooner than you know or imagine. Please continue to pray for the work of the PNC and to be faithful to your church. For Linda and me, life and ministry will be together again. Linda will continue her final push in completing her dissertation and begin to apply for teaching jobs.

I have asked our Session to dissolve the interim pastor call. My last Sunday will be December 22. I will take the 8 days following as vacation making my last official day, December 31. Carla Beard has graciously agreed to lead the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service as I would never want the evening in which we celebrate our Lord’s birth to be about Pastor Mitch. I will begin my work at United on January 1. I ask that we use December to celebrate our work together. I hope you will reaffirm your commitment to the Lord as well as to First Presbyterian Church. First Presbyterian has much good ministry left to do!. Your love and prayers are during these days are critical and appreciated.

Wishing you God’s Peace,

Rev. Mitch Coggin

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Jeremiah 31:31-34
2 Timothy 3:14-17

Kahlil Gibran wrote The Prophet, said, “Speak to us of talking. And he answered saying, “You talk when you speak to be at peace with your thoughts. And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart, you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime. And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.”

Listening is not something for which Presbyterians are well-known. Rather than the old scripture, which says, “Speak Lord for thy servant is listening; we more often say, “Listen, Lord, for they servant is speaking.” As Columba Stewart explains, “Language can be used thoughtfully or thoughtlessly, humbly or proudly. Perhaps we fill our world with noise because we are really afraid to face ourselves.

In his book Beginning to Pray, Anthony Bloom writes, “If you watch carefully, you will discover that we hardly ever live from within ourselves; instead we respond to incitement, to excitement. In other words we live by reflection, by reaction. We are completely empty, we do not act from within ourselves but accept as our life a life which is fed in from the outside; we are used to things happening which compel us to do other things.”
The wise preacher of Ecclesiastes says that “there is a time to keep silent and a time to speak.” There is an old proverb to the effect that those who open their mouths, close their eyes.”
Michael Casey in Guide to Living observes, “One of the dangers of talking is that it restricts our capacity to listen, it banishes mindfulness and opens the door to distraction and escapism. Talking too much often convinces us of the correctness or our own conclusions and leads some into thinking they are wise. It can be a subtle exercise in arrogance and superiority.”

Wayne Mueller in Sabbath says that one of our fears of quiet is that if we stop and listen, we hear our own emptiness. We quickly fill all the blanks on our calendar with tasks, accomplishments, errands, things to be done – anything to fill the time and the empty space. But this emptiness has nothing at all to do with our value or our worth. All life has emptiness at it’s core. Without that emptiness, we are clogged and unable to give birth to music, love or kindness. At a retreat a physician took him aside and confessed that for him and many of his colleagues in medicine, part of their rush and hurry is fear of terrible things they will feel in the quiet. They are so close to so much suffering and death, they are afraid that if they stop, even for a moment, the enormity of that loss will overwhelm them.
The tongue is like a thermometer; it gives us our spiritual temperature, It is also like a thermostat, it regulates our spiritual temperature. Control of the tongue can mean everything. St. Dominic is reported to have visited St. Francis and throughout the entire meeting neither spoke a single word. Only when we learn to be truly silent are we able to speak the word that is needed when it is needed.
*Use the early morning moments upon first awakening for moments of silence, solitude and listening.
*Find a quiet space and use it exclusively for solitude and prayer. One family has a special chair and whenever anyone sits there, it gives the signal “Please don’t bother me, I want to be alone.”
*Discipline yourself so that your words are few but full. Become known as the person who truly has something to say when you do speak. Try to live entire days without words, with moderating your noise, without reacting to noise and distractions.
Thomas Merton said, “it is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. The more solitary I am, the more affection I have for them.
Jeremiah spoke to people who had something to cry/even to complain about. How dare we espouse listening!!! Sometimes our faith – our lives are not about listening but rather about defending ourselves-our beliefs-our ideas-getting our point across.
Practice grief in a world of denial? Practice sacrament in world of technique? Practice generosity in a world of scarcity? Practice obedience in a world of indulgence? Practice hope in a world of despair? As Dr. Phil sometimes asks, “How’s that working for ya?”
But God gave Jeremiah a new approach, “I will put my law within you. I will write it on your heart. I will be your God and you will be my people.” Before, the people had scripture cards they wore on their foreheads and in pouches on their doors. But now God would install His words on their hearts. He would inscribe what he wanted them to know in their hearts so they would always have it near.
What he is talking about was described in the passage we used this morning as our Call to Worship – the 119th Psalm (the longest Psalm in the Bible). The Psalmist said, “I love your law. I meditate on it day and night.” I love your instruction, your direction, your wisdom and I focus upon it intently.” To what – to whom do we listen? We listen to TV. We listen to each other. This makes a case for listening to scripture.
On the Today Show, actor Ian McKellen said, “I have often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in front saying that it is fiction. The Bible is out of season. People do not know what it is and at best do not think it matters. The former Princeton scholar Emile Caillet after the horrors of WWI found that nothing he believed no longer made sense until he came to the Bible and found again the Beatitudes, Blessed are the poor in Spirit, Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted, and so on. He rediscovered that when we read the Bible – in essence the Bible reads us. The Bible does not need a disclaimer to say that it is fiction but a warning to those who read it. It should come with a warning not to read it alone for with the Bible you are outmatched. We are outmatched by the love and grace of God who has given us His love. But to it we must learn how to listen – to allow it to open us in ways we don’t open ourselves easily or often to anyone else. To what and to whom do you listen.
Henri Nouwen said “How can we listen in a world that does it’s best to distract us for seemingly more urgent matters? Choose a sacred text and just listen to a word or phrase. Repeat it over and over again and ask, “What is God saying to me now, in this time?” One of the early Christian writers describes the first stage of developing a more silent and prayerful life like a man, who after years of living with open doors, suddenly decides to shut them. The visitors who used to come continue to pound on the doors, wondering why they are not allowed to enter. Only when they realize they are no longer welcome do they gradually start coming. We can never develop a deeper space for listening to God – in prayer and through scripture – unless we begin to say “No” to the incessant voices that clamor around us, close out the distractions that come from all directions and shut up the noise that bubbles up from within us and seems to need our words in order to prove itself. Henri Nouwen continues, “Silence is that station where we can recharge our batteries, or the corner of the boxing ring where our wounds can be oiled, our muscles oiled and our courage restored.” In solitude I get rid of my scaffolding; no friends to talk with, no telephone calls to make, no meetings to attend, no music to entertain. Just me-naked, vulnerable, weak, sinful, broken where I have to face my nothingness. But when I stay in my silence, until all our seductive visitors get tired of pounding on the door of our lives and leave us alone. In their place come new voices that speak of peace, kindness, gentleness, hope, forgiveness and most of all, love. At first they seem small and insignificant but over time they grow stronger if we keep listening for them and to them. What we are doing is creating quiet cells where God can dwell.
The apostle Paul told the young preacher named Timothy that scripture was God’s way of speaking to us – to give us instruction, warning, wisdom and focus? How do we receive those things if we don’t listen carefully for those things? How do we hear God if we don’t create time and space to listen – to stop talking long enough to hear – to withdraw from the noise and distractions so that God voice can rise up within us and be heard?
I admit that it is not easy and I am the world’s worst. But I must ask myself and each of us…What is at stake if we don’t begin to listen, to stop talking long enough to hear, to learn to hear what God has been saying? What do we miss? What will become of us? Or greater yet – What can we become when we do learn to shut up long enough – to still the madness around/within us to hear what scripture may be saying (Just that one word or phrase a day that rises to the top?)
IN that stillness, we can learn to count on God to hear the ones around us who are weak, vulnerable, who have no voice.
In that quiet, we can count on God to hear those who have no where else to turn.
In that safe space, count on God to not always grant our requests but to hear the persistent prayers of our heart. LISTEN

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“LITTLE THINGS” (All Saint’s Sunday)

Luke 19:1-10
Ephesians 1:15-23

Rarely have I spoken on any subject on which I have considered myself such an expert. Little things must be at the top of my knowledge base. I’ve often said that the part of heaven for which I look forward the most is never having to have something out of reach ever again. The tallest shelves – no problem! Today’s lesson deals with “little things”. We visit Jericho, near Jerusalem to find a person known as “a wee little man”. I’m sure you remember the song, “Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he…” The elements of his story are simple and straightforward. A hated tax collector, hears about the visit of the Messiah through his town. Royalty of that sort usually looked down on someone like him thinking him to be nothing but a crook (which he was). The parade route was packed (naturally), making any view of Jesus impossible for someone his size so he did the next best thing, he climbed a tree from which to view the festivities. Imagine how his heart must have skipped a beat when Jesus eyed him in the tree, then made his way over, then had the audacity to speak to Zacchaeus (something no decent citizen did willingly). Unbelievably Jesus invited himself home to have lunch with Zacchaeus! We know that story like we know the back of our hand but maybe it’s been a while since we reflected what, if anything, this strange tale has anything at all to do with us. After all when the tax man cometh, we certainly don’t think of breaking open the coffee cake in his honor.
Perhaps we can find a couple of lessons worth writing in our hearts to take home with us today. The first was taught be this strange, unlikely hero of sorts and here it is – Zacchaeus isn’t really a small man who does something big, rather he is a big man who does something small. Think about it. Have you ever arrived late to a parade? All the front row seats are taken. People line the streets and those with toddlers have them stuck on their shoulders. Who can see over or around that kind of obstruction! Even Lebron James would be no match for a dad holding a toddler at a parade. But whether Zacchaeus was 5’3” or 5’11”, the reason he was shielded from the festivities was because of people who hated him and thought he had no business being on the same street as one so characterized by love and generosity. Perhaps you could identify with Zacchaeus – to constantly feel slighted by others – to be belittled by people who think you have no business in the same social circle as yourself. How do you capture a corner of acceptance? Maybe like Zacchaeus you find a place where there aren’t any barriers between you and the love and acceptance that you and I need. It seems that life stays busy with our repeated attempts to work through and around the barricades keeping us from the love that we so desperately seek. Of course Zacchaeus was no saint himself. Although his name means “pure” or “righteous”, he was far from either of those characterizations. He was certainly no bastion of integrity or honesty. In fact the hatred he generated from the crowd was in some way merited by the scandalous overcollection of the people’s taxes. In modern language, Zacchaeus had painted himself into an anti-relationship corner, had built a wall between himself and others to the degree that he needed something drastic to break out of the hopeless life he now lived. Catching sight of Jesus might just spur him out of the chasm that he now found himself in. Sometimes all you need is one small new act to break the negative patterns in which we find ourselves. Climb the tree…see the man and go home. Surely that’s all he expected.
What small acts have changed your life? Jackson Brown has achieved fame by writing small books that have captured the significance of the Little Things. The first, entitled Life’s Little Instruction Book contain over 1000 bits of advice that he put into his son’s hand as his son left for college. He suggests “Always leave the toilet in the down position, Never give anyone a fruitcake, When moving a piano, don’t reach for the stool first, Never refuse homemade brownies. Even so often, go where you can hear a screen door slam shut. Do you think Jackson Brown learned the simple but valuable lesson that Zacchaeus learned – that the small acts are the ones that really count? Today we celebrate All Saint’s Day which derives from the men and women canonized by the Catholic church as persons who in the church’s estimation have embodied the good news of this life of faith. In other words, they have either the ability or the commitment to do the important things in life. St. Terese of Lisieux was a Carmelite nun who died prematurely at the age of 24 from tuberculosis. She wrote in her book “the Story of the Soul”, (published two years after her death) “One best serves God by his/her own willingness to follow what she called (the Little Way) doing what one could do in a given set of circumstances with an utmost love for God. She never expected to be a saint but she would say to you and me, “To be a saint stop waiting for more time…for the perfect moment…for enough money or power…for better health or for the perfect circumstances because none of those things will be likely to come about.
The stories of saints in our day raises for our consideration person after person who like Zacchaeus grasped the opportunity of the moment in doing something small but profoundly significant. And is that not the promise of the Master of Small Things who says, “In so much as you have done these acts of kindness to the little ones – the least of these – you have done them for me. As Zacchaeus climbed the tree that day, he did so as a statement of his determination and his desperation that somehow the deep chasm of his life might be made whole. In the process Christ got a meal and Zacchaeus learned what it was to give back what he had taken. He later became the Bishop of Caesarea as his life came to be influenced forever by seemingly minor thing he did that day on the Jericho Road. We are called to be the saints who do the small things. Pray. Write a letter. Make the call. Tell him you appreciate him. Invite her to church. Take her out to eat. Apologize. Give back what you took. Thank them. Believe it or not we have a few saints around here who have lived their life among you – doing their things you might not have noticed – but over the years have added up considerably.
Will and Nan Rose came to us in April – 63 years ago. In no time Will became Church Treasurer – serving 6 years, then Chair of Finance Committee, Sesquicentennial Committee, Christian Education, Scout Leader, Presbytery Commissioner, Elder. But the entire Rose family applied their gifts, Nan as organist, in Youth Fellowship and Women’s Association among others and Cindy ordained as a deacon for the year’s 70-72.
But the oldest member of our church (at least the one who has been a member longer than any other at First Presbyterian Connersville, is Bob Hurst who joined on July 1, 1930. 15 years later, Margaret joined and she tried us out 8 months before she said “I do” to Bob. So combined Bob and Margaret Hurst have been members of this church 151 years. Bob served as an elder when the church dealt with a situation in which Rev. Aelick was the subject of undue criticism. The Session report from July 1970 addressed it when it said, “The situation in church should be corrected. The attitude toward the minister should be improved. The Staff Relations committee feels that We have a fine pastor. The church is expecting more than one man can accomplish and members should carry their full share of the load. A Christian spirit of love and compassion is lacking. The report was moved by Chair of Staff Relations Committee – Fritz Claerbout and 2nd by Robert Hurst. That next year, (1971) that same committee moved the hiring of Robert Swope as Choir Director on January 1, 1971 (Claerbout moved the report and Hurst made the 2nd,)
Roger and Ellen Doty moved to Connersville and became members in 1966. Ellen served on Session. Roger was in on the discussion about remodeling the basement in 1968 in which it the advantages to remodeling were that the church school would have more space, more
pleasant surroundings could be enjoyed, a suspended ceiling would provide necessary lighting and the Mariners could do the work. But the called Session meeting in June, 1974 described the flooded basement with a damage of at least 3K. The General Assembly letter about the Vietnam War, the Open Housing problem which denied blacks affordable and appropriate housing and the Memorial for Dr. King, held at Central Christian were all addressed.
At the time perhaps small things in their own right, but looking back each saint who has served often did the small thing with really significant results. One of my favorite prayers, a blessing, was offered for a church (perhaps at the close of worship) that says, “Now to Him who by the Power at work within us is able to accomplish far more than might ever ask or imagine.” What a powerful prayer and yet the other half of the secret which makes this sainthood thing work – a power and strength at work behind – within – sometimes in spite of us. The prayer before the pinnacle of his prayer talks about being strengthened within, being rooted and grounded, and to be in touch with enough knowledge as well. These things were promised to a church – weak, finite, questionable at times, but still the family of faith. One more admonition in Jackson Browne’s book says, “Love someone who doesn’t deserve it.” Thus is the motivation behind it all – none of us really deserve it. God’s love that is. But it’s there. And it’s significant. And it’s real, And it’s powerful beyond all measure. The tiny piece of bread and this small cup that we are about to receive are the little things but they symbolize a big, big love that none of us deserve. Oh when the saints, go marching in..oh, when the saints go marching in…Oh Lord, I want to be in that number, when the saints go marching in, oh, when the saints go marching in. They’ll be doing the little things – one at a time. Thank you St. Zacchaeus for showing us their importance.

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“Quilted In Stone and Story”

Connersville 1980 VBS Quilt and a few of the G's, Y's and Z's.

Connersville 1980 VBS Quilt and a few of the G’s, Y’s, and Z’s!

Galatians 6:1-10

As we’ve seen over the last week, some history is balanced and beneficial…
Two hundred anniversaries don’t come around very often. I don’t believe any of you have enjoyed that milestone yet. That has exactly been the focus during these Bicentennial days celebrating the 200 anniversary of Connersville. John Conner was but a young man when he first set up a trading post around these parts. An Ohio boy, born in a Moravian settlement around Moravian missionaries, he was one of two of the 5 Conner children who made it to Indiana as fur trappers and traders. His younger brother William would settle around Indy and build the first brick house in the early 1800’s in what is now known as Conner Prairie. But John, stopped and stayed here, establishing a city on the river 3 years even before Indiana would file for statehood. He was only 38, married to an Native American woman from the Delaware tribe. When Connersville came into being. His wife would die leaving him with 2 sons although the first would die as an infant. John remarried the same year that Connersville was settled. 3 years later he would become the first State Senator to the first Indiana Congress and would serve for 6 years, then as the first sheriff of Fayette County during the middle of his term as Senator, followed by a year as a state Representative. While serving as Senator, John was elected to the commission that helped select Indianapolis as the site of the state Capital (in 1820.) John would move his family to Indy, and died a young man of 50 (only 13 years after founding Connersville and only 2 years after leaving the State Legislature as representative. He was buried in Greenlawn Cemetery, but when erosion threatened to wash it totally away, remains of those buried there were moved to Crown Hill, but the body of John Conner was gone, a pioneer and a settler washed away by that erosion. History tells us that Conner had been buried with Masonic rites befitting the first man to establish a Masonic order in Indiana. John Conner’s body had washed away and the only known picture of him, made at his son’s house had burned in a fire but the contributions of John Conner would benefit 1000’s – even 200 years later as his town is heralded.
The first newspaper in Connersville was begun by Abraham Van Fleet, known as the Indiana Statesman, and started in 1824 followed 2 years later by the Fayette Observer. Van Fleet is also known as one of the 1st 3 elders of this church when …
*1st in 1824 – Cincinnati Presbytery sent Rev Daniel Hayden to preach, October 22, Saturday, with Van Fleet, Adam Smeltser, John Boyd elders.

Some history is balanced and beneficial but some history is just bad…
The Session notes from Feb 28, 1829 reads as follows, “Thomas Moffatt appears before the session of his own accord and made a confession of having been intoxicated about seven weeks previously. As this was not the first offense of the kind nor the first time of his having made an acknowledgement of it. The Session resolved that Moffatt be suspended from the communion of the church until after this time next communion and that he be required to appear before them at a future meeting of which he shall have due notice. Voted to give Mr Moffatt the result of Session deliberation on his case.
May 25, 1829 – Session met at Mr Samples. Present Rev Maynard, Moderator. Adam Smeltser and John boyd , elders. Constituted with prayer. Public fame having accused John Huston, a member of this church of intemperance, the Session cited him to appear before them. He came forewith. He frankly acknowledged the charge. The Session conversed with him at length on the great evils of this sin and of his peculiar liability to it’s communion. He appeared penitent and acknowledged it to be his duty to abstain entirely from the use of ardent spirits. Whereupon Session resolved to continue him in the communion of the church provided he make a public acknowledgement of his fault and promise reformation. Otherwise he shall be suspended from the communion of the church.
The case of Mr. Thomas Moffatt was taken up whereupon it was resolved the same be required of him as of Mr Huston otherwise his suspension is to continue.
Resolved also as a standing rule of this Session that any member of the church offending by intemperance and being convicted of the same shall be indefinitely suspended except they promise entire abstinence from ardent spirits except when ordered as a medicine and that by a temperate physician. June 20, 1829
At the time Thomas Moffatt and John Huston made a public confession of their sin of intemperance and promised total abstinence in future.
From August 15, 1829 – John Gamble – sin of intemperance – source of deep distress. Session solemly admonished it on him the duty of making a public confession. This he refused to do as in his opinion unreasonable. Session postponed the final decision of his case till another time.
Session was then called to take up the case of Thomas Moffatt against whom common fame again referred the charge of intemperance. Also charges were brought forward by on the elders of profane swearing and abusing the good name of one of the members of session. A citation was sent him to appear before session at the house of Dr. Haynes in Connersville and answer to the charges about named then and there to be brought against him. Closed with prayer.
August 30, 1829 – Received a communication from Mr Moffatt containing a refusal to obey the citation of session and wishing no longer to be a member of the church. Session appointed Rev Maynard and A Smeltser to visit Mr Moffatt and obtain all the information in relation to the charges against him and report thereon in two weeks. Session also cited Mr Moffatt to appear before them at that time. Mr. Gambles case was then taken up whereupon it was resolved that he be suspended from the communion of the church for the term of 6 months and that in the meantime members of session take all proper measures to bring him to repentance. The reasons of the above were that he treated session with contempt when before them. That he refused to refrain from the use of ardent spirits. That he refused to make a public confession, Agreed to meet again in two weeks. Concluded with prayer.
September 12, 1829 – Session then called for the report of the committee appointed to visit Mr Moffatt and make inquiries concerning reports of charges against him. Mr Moffatt was not present. Committee reported that Mr Moffatt acknowledged to them that he came to Connersville on the Sabbath on which there was no preaching to obtain a letter from the Post Office. That he went to a public house with a company of profane drunkards that he drank ardent spirits too freely and contrary to his promise to the church. That he drank spirits at the celebration of independence which circumstance he at first denied but when he found it could be proved he acknowledged then he drank freely in his harvest field. In relation to the charge of profane swearing, they reported that Mr. Moffatt at first denied it but when requested to accompany the committee to see the man who circulated the report, he said he did not remember swearing so he might have sworn. Was reluctant to see his accuser and when in his presence and the charge was affirmed against him, and the expressions were repeated which were too horrible to be written, Mr Moffatt still admitted that he might have uttered such words but did not remember uttering them and said if he did he must have been intoxicated and had been in his harvest field and had been drinking very freely. But one o fthe committee saw Mr Moffatt a few minutes after the time when it was said he uttered the profane expressions and did not discover that he was very much intoxicated = at least not so as to impair his memory nor did his accuser think he was much intoxicated. As to the charge of abusing the good name of a member of session, Mr Moffatt acknowledged that charge to the committee and said he was entirely inexcusable for it and was sorry for it. Whereupon as Mr. Moffatt had refused to obey the citations of session and the crimes of intemperance, profane swearing, Sabbath breaking and abusing the good name of a member of session were satisfactorily proven for which he gave no evidence of repentance, resolved that he be as he hereby is excommunicated from this church and that his sentence be read publicly with the reason thereof after sermon on the next Sabbath.

Skip forward 39 years to December 24, 1868 – The Session and, as far as it knows, the individual members of the church was not consulted in regard to the ringing of the bell and it was done without consent or authority.
The Session disapproves of the use of the church or any of it’s furniture for any demonstration of a political character, but believes that such proceedings tend to produce an unchristian feeling in the church and destroy the harmony necessary to it’s well=being and altogether improper and out of place. The Session regrets that such proceedings have taken place and that injury has been done to the feelings of any member. There is not to be any construction placed on this Deliverance of a political character or made to imply that the church will not publish the Truth again Throng from whatever source it may present itself, whether it be from individual or organizations. By order of the Session.
March 30, 1869 – Dr Garver offered the following resolution …
*Whereas There has been much occasion of disturbance in the church by some of the members engaging in dancing and revelry and
*Whereas such dissipation on the heart of the membership is a source of reproach to the cause of Christ and crucifies the Savior afresh and is moreover a stumbling block and rock of offense in the way of many who are weak. And
*Whereas such proceedings are contrary to the spirit and teachings of the Bible and are subversive to grow in grace and holiness in those who engage therein and are in direct conflict with true Christianity, therefore
*Resolved by the Session that henceforward any member engaging in such immoral practices shall be cited to appear before the Session of the church and dealt with in accordance with the laws of church discipline.

The Clerk was instructed to cite Dr. J Pepper to appear before the Session on Wednesday evening April 14 to answer to summons of charges of drunkenness and profanity. The Session met at the church and was opened with prayer. Present was moderator, Rev Shockley with elders Huston and Gilchrist. IN compliance with citation of Session appeared before them, Dr Pepper. And after conversation with and statements from him, the Session after cautioning him in regard to these matters deemed further action unnecessary and dismissed the case. Session adjourned with prayer. H M Shockly, Sometimes our history is just embarrassing when it has to do with the occasions we are caught in dealing with

As today’s scripture suggests, while history cannot in itself be remade, we as products of that history can certainly remake ourselves. Instead, too often we find ourselves victims of our history and still living it day after day. If we are not careful we can become,

Too often stuck in our history.
Too often we keep repeating our history
Or continue to live in our history because it was so terrible…

It becomes easy to keep asking ourselves and others…
Do you remember what they did?
Do you believe what they did!
How could they?
Do you remember how painful (how embarrassing) that was?

What if, instead of reliving our history, we moved toward using it as our teacher? Instead of wallowing in it’s pain, we actually chose to use it’s lessons and to learn from them? What if over the next couple of weeks, we watched our language to see how much of our history invades our current thoughts and conversations? Then decide instead to ask ourselves…
What did you learn?
What did you decide?
What will you do differently today and tomorrow?
How will you (and others) benefit from what happened to you?

…in 10 verses from Galatians 6:1-10, we find 7 directives (reminders) about the welfare of others.
…what is not there is a preoccupation on “do we look alike, dress alike, think alike, speak alike?” NO because unity does not mean conformity but diversity. (Jews, Gentiles, men, women, etc.)

…”if someone falls, restore him with gentleness…”
…”Look after your own affairs (not the affairs of others)…”
…”What you are planting is what you will be growing…”
*if you’re planting sorry stuff, sorry stuff will grow from your life
…”don’t get tired when you are doing well (Don’t give up when you are doing what you can and know you should.)”
…”do good to all…”

You are quilting a life that others will be able to view for a long, long time after you’re gone. Some of the things your life is putting into embroidery will vanish, others will still be there for all to see, while still more is carved in stone. Carve that which will last…that which matters, that which 200 years from now, there will be some who gather on a morning like this and say, “They did more than fuss about …

You do that by what you say, what you do and by how you act. Act Christlike. Like Christlike. Speak in a Christlike way for in doing so the story of your life in stone and story will be a hoot to tell and to read 200 years from now.

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