First Christian Church "E-news" for

JuLY 5 2018


New Issue of “The Pilot” Coming Soon!

Corrections Due by July 12th

Please review your information in the 2018-2019 Pilot and contact the church office by July 12th regarding any changes that need to be made to your address, phone numbers, or emails.  We will have a draft copy in the narthex if you could look it over and make changes or  initial if it is correct.

If you have adult children or other family members with a separate listing, please verify their information as well.

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Volunteers Needed at the Welcome Table!

Numbers increasing! Volunteers sparse!  We had 151 last week, as our guest numbers continue to rise.  If you can lend a couple hours any Tuesday, check with Dick, Linda, or Connie.  We especially need folk to wait on tables!  If you have friends, including those involved in other churches, willing to help out the community, we would likewise welcome the help!  Thank you!

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Interment of Dot Penn at Arlington

(July 6th)

On July 6th at noon, Dot Penn will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery beside her late husband.  If anyone is interested in attending, please let Bliss know and she will pass this to Denise & Kermit Ashby (Dot’s daughter).

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CWF Study Books (Order by July 15th)

First Christian CWF will use the Presbyterian Women’s study book for our 2018-2019 Bible study.  “God’s Promise: I Am with You,” by Amy Poling Sutherlun, traces God’s recurring promise of presence from Genesis through the Gospels.  God’s “I am with you” promise is spoken in varied circumstances and to many different people throughout scripture.  Some instances in the nine lessons may be quite familiar, while others might surprise us!  Regular print editions are $10, and large print, spiral bound editions are $15.  If you would like a personal copy, please contact Sylvia Winfrey (595-3001 or, by July 15.  Those ordering a copy, will pay the CWF Treasurer, Barbara Mathews, once the books are delivered.

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District VIII Men’s Meeting

(July 26th)

The men of District VIII will be gathering at nearby Hilton Christian Church in Newport News.  Head count due to Dick Garrett by the 19th.  Program will be a bit of railroad fun, with the president of the Lee Hall Train Station Foundation speaking about their restoration project of the depot and a WW2 hospital railroad car.  The meal will be catered, and the cost is $7.00 per person.

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School Supply Drive

Back to School Supplies Drive

Through August 26th   

Help children who don't have the financial ability to collect the required items for school.  A box in the narthex/greeting area will receive your donations through August 26th. The supplies will be donated to Tarrant Middle School across the street from the church.

Suggestions:  #2 pencils, pens, highlighters, loose-leaf (lined) paper, erasers, large glue sticks, colored pencils, crayons (boxes of 24), dry erase markers, index cards, composition books, spiral single-subject notebooks, 5-subject notebooks w/pocket dividers, pocket folders (with prongs and without prongs), binder with zipper pouch, flash drive/jump drive, bottles of glue, hand-held pencil sharpener (that catches shavings).

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Blanket Offering

We raised $771.00 on Blanket Sunday, enough to buy 77 blankets. Thanks be to God!

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Word from the Pastor

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.’

(II Timothy 3:16-17, NRSV)

     I grew up listening to sermons.  How could I not?  Dad was my pastor and there was NO missing church!  At some point, I got interested as a kid, in what Dad was saying, how he was saying it, whether it got my attention, but most of all – whether it made me think.  I remember how on Saturdays that Dad would pile all kinds of books on his bed, stretch out, and read for hours.  Then nap.  He would get up, scratch out his notes on 1 ½ inch wide strips of paper, tuck them in his Bible and Sunday would happen.   I’d probably sleep too long and while I can read my handwriting just as I could Dad’s, it takes a lot of effort!  I much prefer my notes with LARGE printed font and I’ve always written my sermons, as a way for me to both reflect upon every word… and to have copies that I can share with the deaf and those who want to do more study (which is why I post my sermons).  Nor do I preach in the same style as Dad, even though he usually held my interest (for the first 15 minutes).  Dad gave me something to think about, and I cherished that, along with his deep affinity for the Word, not clipping verses to fit an agenda (i.e. prooftexting), but ensuring that what was offered had integrity with the larger text and its context. 

     The Word is amazing, prophetic, healing… We don’t need to twist it and shouldn’t.  We just have to trust it, approaching it with awe and wonder.

     I’ve had some conversations about sermons of late.  I’ll be honest, my “style” has evolved over the decades, and where in my youth I thought of pronouncements, I made a major shift over the past 16-18 years.  Already moving that direction, in 2006-2007 I went through a year of clinical training and the spillover of that experience was to elevate my sense of curiosity as a central skill. 

     Curiosity holds no judgment.  It offers no conclusion.  It ponders.  It stays open, inviting discussion - for everyone who listens to a sermon is a theologian, even if not in formal training.  We each wrestle with the Word… its meaning… its application… its mystery.  In this encounter is the sharpening of mind and spirit.  It is also an experience of very intentional trust.  We’re all adults.  We are all Christians.  We are all invited to hold the Word, ponder, wrestle, even kindly argue about it with each other.  That’s how we stretch and grow, lest our spiritual muscles needed for life in this world – or they atrophy  I think this is one of the best things of our heritage as members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), as the founders insight and intent.

     At some point, back around 2002 or so, I started thinking about an old TV show, “Dragnet,” and how the two detectives had such different styles of getting a case solved – as a team.  Jack Webb would carefully align every single fact (“Just the facts, ma’am/sir” was his refrain!) while Harry Morgan would start telling a story in noticing some pattern – which drove Jack Webb crazy, but his intuition was often crucial.  Those two types sit in our pews and sermons somehow have to reach them both… engage us both.  As I have always been more of a “narrative” preacher, Harry Morgan made sense to me, but I weave in the concrete words that work for the Jack Webbs’ in the pews.  It is a finding a way to bring together the narrative writing style of the Gospel of John with the factually descriptive verse of the Gospel of Mark (read them side by side and you will see their difference).

     That time I spent in clinical training that I mentioned, sharpened this style, and deepened me in the process.  I began to see things I had not seen before, even as I drew in the “exegesis” into that narrative – the word meanings, historical and religious context, allied texts, and what others wiser than me have lifted up in their commentaries.  It’s hard sometimes, because there can be so much that I end up setting aside – both in the interest of time and to keep the sermon focused.  Sometimes, I find sermons painful… as the Word drags me into places I would not choose, leaves me ambivalent when I want an A-B-C answer, and wears me out while I seek clarity of what it has to say “now.”  But, I imagine the disciples of Jesus must have felt that way at times as they learned in his presence!

     Now you may have noticed, there usually is some type of story leading off.  Usually the whole thing is not told at that point, but rather it runs parallel to the text, giving it a relatable feel, pulling us into the text, before I go into why I am raising a particular point.  No, I don’t do the 2-point sermons I was taught in seminary by Dr. Dick White, nor classic 3-point sermons.  Mine are 1-point, with a lot of elaboration in the main body.  Then I move into a “so what” portion.  If you notice, often there are questions, an incomplete story, something that lingers….  This is intentional, because at this point the listener is invited to become a theologian in the days ahead... to wrestle with what has been heard… to mingle it with one’s own life story and observations… and to hopefully walk out with something that is “portable” enough to chew on over coming days.  Sunday worship should travel with us, after all.

     What I am saying is that sermons are our partnership.  A meeting place between pastor, listeners, the Holy Spirit, and our sacred texts.  We stand in the same place, at the same level.  We are all students in this meeting place of curiosity, of wrestling, of personal application – be it one’s own life, our congregation, our community, and/or our nation.  This seems to be, after all, what it is to be a disciple following in the steps of Jesus.  It is how, ultimately, we are each blessed with far more than we can ask or think!

Blessings, Vinson

Rev. Vinson Miller, Pastor

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 Sermon Copies & Lectionary Readings

Vinson not only publishes his sermons online, via his blog Printed copies are available outside the church office in the rotating literature rack.  Also, Vinson generally preaches from the “lectionary” so if you are a reader or not and want to read ahead for the Sunday, go to the link below.  Readings are in the New Revised Standard Version.

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Church on the Web!

The church website has gone through major changes to make it a “one-stop shop” for church members and those interested in what we may have to offer.  It is meant as a resource to you and to our community.  The “Welcome” page has links to all our social media sites, the scriptures for each Sunday, and the pastor’s sermons.  Other pages provide links to daily meditations, helpful resources, and more.  Make it a “favorite” for yourself and others!

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Comfort Bags for Cancer Patients

We all know someone who has gone through chemotherapy for cancer treatment.  It can be a tough experience.  The Salty Christians Sunday School class is organizing “comfort bags” for patients who are receiving chemotherapy at Riverside.  To date we have delivered 40 bags and 20 crocheted hats.  Each bag contains items that hopefully make the treatment day a little easier - hand sanitizer, wipes, lip balm, hard candies, gum, hand lotion, pencil and sharpener and eraser, pen, crossword or Sudoku activity book, note pad and nail file.  If you would like to donate any of these items (many of which can be found at the local Dollar Tree stores), please place them in the basket on the table in the Narthex.  If you like to knit or crochet and want to make hats, we know they will be a treat for those in need.  Thank you for your help!

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Got Clothes? (You Don’t Want)

Spring cleaning and those great clothes don’t fit anymore (one way or the other)?  Bring CLEAN clothes in good repair to the Girl Scouts’ clothes closet at the church.  It is open during Welcome table hours and gets a lot of much-appreciated use!  Clean clothes, shoes, hats, etc. – are all needed.

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H.E.L.P. Donations

HELP will gladly accept walkers, wheelchairs, adults “Depends” and children’s diapers, for use in their medical clinic.  As to their pantry, please remember that HELP does not accept expired items to their pantry, nor will they accept ANY soft drinks.

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Box Tops for Education

Bring in your "Box Tops" and drop in the basket in Narthex.

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Welcome Table Wish List

* To check before buying, call Linda K. or Connie H. *

Butter or Margarine

Canned vegetables (except green peas)

Canned baked beans

Canned peaches or apples

Canned sweet potatoes

Instant Mashed Potatoes

Creamed soups (chicken, mushroom, celery)


Dates to Remember!


July 6

    Interment of Dot Penn, 12 pm

July 11

Business Cabinet, 6:00 pm

July 12

Pilot Ballgame, 7pm

 July 15

Elders & Deacons Meeting, 6:00 pm

FCC Board Meeting, 7:00 pm

July 26

District 8 CMF Meeting, 6:30 pm, Hilton Christian Church


Welcome Table Teams

   Cooking        Shopping

   July 10   Day/Miller & Kuster

   July 17   Herring & Cuthrell

   July 24   Kuster  & Raiford

   July 31   O'Brien & Kuster


Bulletin & eNews Inputs

Bulletins.  If you have calendar items for the Sunday bulletins, please let Tiffani know by close of business on Mondays, so there is plenty of time to get everything right in them and on the announcement roller before worship.

ENews.  Same thing, please send or drop off with Tiffani on Mondays, every other week.  Because that can be hard to keep up with, just call Tiffani.  She keeps us all straight!

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First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

1458 Todds Lane

Hampton, VA  23666

Office:  757-826-0711

Church Office:


Welcome Table:



Pastor's Blog: