Like many of you, I am surprised that we are still talking about COVID as we begin 2022, but indeed, we are. I think our church has returned to its “normal” services with Sunday School, Morning Worship and Wednesday evening Bible study. SONquest is back to normal on Sundays and Wednesdays. Small groups have mostly returned. We are still not holding fellowship meals and will evaluate resuming those monthly. After our deacons meet, I believe they will be in favor of holding a January business conference, but we will let you know about that as it develops. We ask that each person who attends our services, evaluate themselves to make sure they are not sick and dealing with symptoms of COVID infection prior to attending church. We are not currently requiring the use of masks in church, but you are welcomed to wear them if you wish. Let us know if you have any questions or suggestions as we continue to navigate the pandemic.
Like many of you who attended the Christmas candlelight and Treat Night service, I was thrilled not only with the attendance that evening but also with the performance of our children and students. They were great! A special thanks to Missy Moore and Lisa Ore who along with other key volunteers conceived the idea, organized the event, trained the “bell-ringers.” The whole service was a blessing to our church and added much to our Christmas celebration.
Our choir and music over Christmas was splendid and greatly enhanced our worship together. A special thanks to A.J. and all the music team that made that possible.
David Burroughs is in the final stages of getting an internet capable television installed at Walnut Ridge Assisted Living to allow residents there (especially those from our church) to watch and participate in Sunday morning worship services and Wednesday evening Bible studies. I am excited about the prospects of better connecting residents there with our church. We will let you know when this equipment is up and running.
Our worship service was joyfully enhanced on December 19 with the baptism of Lilly and Jack Quesenbury, acknowledging their public profession of Christ as Lord and Savior. Congratulations to their parents Jerry and Tammy, as well as their grandparents (Dwane, Becky, Gerald, and Barbara). It is a blessing to see these young people commit their life to Christ.
We are finishing our “God’s Unlikely Heroes of the Advent” sermon series, which looks at the role of key, but before that first Christmas, unknown people used greatly by God in the birth of Jesus. After this, we will cover the Book of Haggai for 2-3 weeks as we focus on giving in a series called “Whose House Are You Building?” When Haggai is finished, we return to Acts. On Wednesdays, we are finishing Romans and will then begin the Gospel of Matthew. Join us in person or on-line as you are able.
As we begin January, I begin my last quarter as pastor of our church, with my retirement scheduled for March 31, 2022. There is still much to do, and I plan to be fully engaged until the last day. I certainly have mixed feelings as my full-time ministry begins to close. I look forward to more time with Debbie, our children, and grandchildren, but will certainly miss the daily interaction, preaching and teaching with you. I believe our church is positioned well to grow and do well in the upcoming year. My desire is that we continue to develop our ability to minister to and reach our community with the Gospel of Christ. As always please know that Debbie and I love you and love our ministry here.
Rev. James A. Cohn