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

Monday, January 29, 2007


Hallelujah! The Church Conference led by our new District Superintendent, Rev. Jim Olney, appoved the plans snd financing for the construction of a new sanctuary last Sunday. Monday night the Building Committee met and agreed on the contract. The contractor, Thomas Hicks, Inc. of Abilene had proposed the contract and the committee made a few changes that we expect the contractor to accept. The next meeting is scheduled for February 1 to sign the contract, agree on some of the details of the construction and hopefully construction can start the first week of February preparing the site and starting the foundation. Also fabrication of the metal building can begin based on the preliminary plans. The final plans should be completed in the next two months to meet the building schedule.

Only 24 attended the Church Conference. If you want to know more about Rev. Olney I suggest you read the last Central Link where he has written an essay about the power of prayer. He tells how in the last 4 years he has had 12 surgeries in a battle against cancer and how due to prayers he is now in remission.

I hope everyone will continue to pray for our District Superintendent, our church and for the building committee as we build a new sanctuary, educational wing and fellowship hall. Pray also for the contractor and workmen who will be constructing the building.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


The bad news is the death of Dominick Goins, Marian's son and Linda Reed's grandson. The funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Higginbotham's Funeral Home. The loss of a very young child is one of the greatest tragedies in a family.

The good news is that we have received the letter from the District Board on Location and Buildings (I finally got the name right) approving our building plans. The final hurdle is the Church Conference this Sunday after services for the congregation to approve the plans and financing of the new church building. We will be spending most of our money, but do not anticipate going into debt to build the building.

Tonight the Administrative Council approved donating $1000 toward the monument for Dominic and our support of our youth who have animals in the Junior Stock Show at $50 each as we have done for years.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


It has been an interesting week. A week ago I was iced in and couldn't get to church, but 10 hardy souls came. The ice continued and cancelled meetings all week, so that Sunday was a very busy day. Sunday School, Church, pot-luck dinner, BridgeBuilders report by Dr. Breihan, a workshop on mission, vision and goals and for me a PPR meeting so that I got home after 6 p.m. I even missed my afternoon nap!

Monday was a successful day with Rev. Senkel, Curtis Cooper and me meeting with the new District Superintendent, Rev. Olney, at the District office in Brownwood where the District Board on Land and Buildings approved our plans for a new church building. We will have our postponed meeting of the Finance Committee and Administrative Council this Wednesday to prepare for the Church Conference on Sunday after services for the church members to approve the new building plans and financing.

Jean McWilliams has asked me to prepare a financial statement and budget that will show just where we stand in a way that is easy to understand. I doubt that I can please everyone, but will try really hard to explain how I see our situation. I have been looking at our financial reports and realized that we were not showing all the funds that we have received for the fire that we then distributed to others in CP and Kokomo. Rhonda will rework the accounts to better reflect what has occurred. She works harder than anyone I know for our church with all her service in worship and keeping the books. She is gaining many stars in her crown.

Please tell everyone who doesn't have a computer about the Church Conference and encourage everyone to pray about and participate.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Snow and ice has played havoc with our schedule this week. Ten hardy persons came to Church services Sunday, but meetings that afternoon were cancelled. ice storm. I know I couldn't get off the Hill because of the The Administrative Council and Finance committee meetings scheduled for Wednesday were cancelled and the Pastor Parish Relations committee for Thursday was also postponed to Sunday. I hope the weather cooperates then. I asked Beard with Hicks Construction to email a copy of his proposed contract so that we can edit it to fit us. He Faxed a copy to me that Wes said looked good, but I can't email that one to the committee. We are supposed to meet with the District Board on Monday night in Early. I hope the weather permits that meeting also. Sunday is supposed to be a nice day, weather-wise.

Monday, January 15, 2007


Judy Porter called yesterday to tell me she was canceling the Pastor Parish Relations committee meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. I told her I appreciated it because we are iced in. Haven't been on the road since Saturday morning when I went for the mail and almost didn't get back up the hill on the icy caliche. Since then it has gotten worse for us in the hills. Judy told me that there were 10 faithful members in church yesterday. I couldn't believe it, but she said the streets and roads in CP are clear. They aren't out here. Power was off for 45 minutes in the morning in CP before church which probably kept a of people home. We didn't lose power until 2:12 this morning, but it was restored by Taylor Electric by 4:30 and my fireplace kept the house warm. I have used a lot of wood doing it. Our roads and walks are covered with a good 1/4" of ice and it has warmed up from 19 to 24 as of now.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I am still looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, but last night we got it turned on. The Building Committee agreed to the last change in the plans, agreed on who will represent us when we start building, agreed to present the plans to the District Board on Buildings, etc., set a date for a Church Charge Conference to approve the building and started working on a contract. This means that we could possibly (if the church agrees) start construction work by February 1. There are still some twists and turns in the tunnel, but I am again my optimistic self. I believe we can afford to build the church with enough paved parking to start and clear the lot for overflow parking on the grass(?) until we can pave a larger lot. We should have a beautiful new church with classrooms inside.


NOTE: If you click on the comment button, a pop-up screen will let you post a comment that will come to me to approve. I will approve them all. If you wish to post to the blog yourself, email me and I will authorize you. Currently, Rev. Senkel, Judy Porter, and Sharon Pope are authorized. Blogspot has been taken over by Google so you might have to create a Google user name to log on for your posts. Charles

Monday, January 08, 2007


I will report in a couple of days about the building progress, but I am curious if anyone is reading this blog. I am not getting any response.

I told my SS class that I have been praying for those who have left the church. My prayer list is divided into those who have health problems, our leaders, our troops, agnostics that I know and I have added a group of those who have left the congregation for their reasons. I read Guideposts (my daughter has given me a Christmas present of the book for years) and one recent devotional was a story by someone from Durango, CO who told about leaving his church for what he thought was a good reason, but coming back after the response of his old members when his father died. He was concerned about how he would be received but, as might be expected, he was welcomed.

My interpretation of Christ's teaching is that he has prepared a place for us IF we follow his commands. He said that everyone who said they know him will not be accepted IF they don't do what he said. His commands are summed up in simple terms that we should love God with all our being, and demonstrate that love by loving our brothers/sisters. We don't have to like or agree with our everyone. But we were told in the Lord's prayer and in other messages that we are to forgive anyone who has offended us, over and over again. So I don't understand how anyone can say they are leaving the fellowship until "the conflict is over". I think if we disagree we should stay and argue our side, but forgive anyone who is ugly about their position.

When I taught college courses, I was always surprised to find every class had students who really didn't like me. I always thought I was so likeable. But I didn't take offense and treated them equally the same on test evaluation. I know that in any group or family there are disagreements. But for families to break up due to those problems, where a little forgiveness would heal, always seemed unreasonable.

So every day I pray that we can all stay and express our viewpoints but remain family friends when the final decision goes in a direction we didn't approve of.

I feel like this blog is a place to express opinions and hope you will tell me where to get off. I love all of you!

Friday, January 05, 2007


We have a building committee meeting scheduled next Tuesday to get the final cost estimates. I talked to David Beard today and he told me the cost will be close to his last estimate of about $30,000 more than one million. We have about that much but will be close to taking all our funds to complete the building. Carol Bennett has challenged us to consider carrying a little debt. Our members have said they don't want to have debt. It is interesting that we visited Lou's cousin in a suburb north of Austin. We drove by the huge First Baptist Church on our way in and commented that they had a new building that looked like a school. Our relatives belong to the church and I asked about the building. It is a new $8 mil educational building. I asked about their finances and they have a $3 mil budget with a $12 mil debt.

We may have to take a more optimistic look at our building and have one we can grow in. Let me know what you think. This is a place for comment.