News and views of the First United Methodist Church in Cross Plains, Texas

Friday, December 29, 2006


The Advent season closed with a great service Sunday night Christmas Eve with over 100 participating in the communion, candle-lighting, and choir cantata service. I was attending the service at Aledo FUMC, but can not believe it was as good as our CP choir.

It looks like the church building will be firmed up the first of the year. David Beard with Thomas Hicks Construction is working with Barry Gilbreath with Pro-Cad Plus to get the plans corrected. There is still some work to be done on the dimensions to get it all correct. Remember that this is a complex structure with a lot of important dimensions. David was waiting for the cost estimate from the site contractor, who is skiing somewhere and it will be after January 1 before he can get the final numbers to meet with us. I know it is frustrating, but we want to do it right.

We can look forward to a New Year with special meaning for our church. I wish a healthy and Happy New Year to everyone.


Thursday, December 21, 2006


The best news is that the choir will perform their contata at the special Christmas Eve communion service starting at 5:30 Sunday night. More good news is the announcement that an anonymous gift has been received to honor Terry Jane Wyatt in the amount of $5,000 to add to the $200 that is to be used to purchase a set of hand bells to form a hand bell choir. This will let members who can't sing contribute to the great sounds that our choir has been providing us. Rhonda hopes this will involve more members in the musical program.

We are still waiting for the parsonage to be finished. It is close to completion. A set of final plans and specifications for the church building have been sent to our Abilene contractor, but Rev. Senkel found a few small errors to be corrected. The contractor received them late Tuesday and is revising his estimates to see if we can come close to our funds for the building. It will be a close call.

The Administrative Council heard a report that the NY Fire Department is looking for a construction project in this part of the country for a trip in September 2007 and we will put our names in the pot for their assistance. This should be about the time we can use volunteer help for completing the church. This could be bread on the water returning because one of our members, Vicki Dillard, led the effort to raise more than $12,000 to send to the NYFD relief after 9/11.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


December 12 was a day of sorrow for our church and for Cross Plains. Hollis Shults, Sr. and Jack Tunnell both died on that day. Hollis was a true saint in our church and Jack was a great contributor to Cross Plains. Hollis was a member of my Sunday School class and had the best attendance record of anyone. He was always at all the important meetings of the church, but never caused any problems with his quiet demeanor. He and Lyda were serving as treasurer of the church when I got that position many years ago. They were both great church members.

I talked to Dr. Richard Chaffin this morning and he will be conducting Jack Tunnell's funeral and plans to come in for Hollis' funeral. He said Hollis and Lyda were most welcoming when he first came to the church. I believe Lyda was chair of the parsonage committee at that time.

Jack Tunnell was the bank president and he and Katherine were great supporters of the Library. Jack built most of the shelves for the books that we used until we remodeled and replaced all of them this year thanks to a Tocker Foundation grant. So those who purchased the old shelves have a real treasure.

Friday, December 01, 2006


After losing all their personal belongings in the parsonage fire, our pastor and his wife have just made another huge sacrifice in order to better serve our congregation. Rev. Senkel told me that he has sold his oil company that he has operated with his father most of his life. I consider this a great sacrifice to serve God by being our pastor. I think he felt like it was taking too much of his time to make trips to Graham to take care of all the problems related to producing oil. I think we should thank him and Janice for putting us first in their lives and reducing their income to what we pay him, which isn't exactly oil executive pay.