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Dear Church Family,               

Have you seen the three snowflakes that blustered around this morning? It appears we are finally going to get to "normal" with some of the weather issues.
How grateful we can be that we have a new, viable, dependable heating system in the building. What a blessing!
And, we can be grateful, also, that we finished 2015 at just over $7,000 in the black for our Church Family Budget. Due to your generosity and faithfulness we have been able to fully fund the ministries as we intended at the beginning of the year and meet all of our obligations beyond that.
May this trend continue in 2016. And may we have many more joyful experiences as we did on Sabbath with Allyson's baptism!
Our week, though it starts off cold, will provide a number of chances for us to get together and to serve our community. Mommy & Me met this morning. Our Pathfinders and Adventurers will meet on Wednesday as will both of our Recalibration gatherings. (Those groups will be looking into Song of Solomon at 11:00 a.m. or 7:00 p.m.)
We have a couple of Refueling Stations meeting this week. We also have two added benefits for Sabbath afternoon. One is the Fellowship Meal that we can all share (let's bring a lot of good food!) and the afternoon S-OU-L activities that are planned following the meal.
The team (#3) that will host our meal is headed by Shirley Watson. (The folks asked to help out on this team are Margaret Cloud, the Dorans, Joe Ellison, John and Tami Geli, Charlotte Glass, the Hortons, Cindy Jeffers, Mark and Corrie Jones, the Kleins, Ronda Mostella, Juan Rebollo, Laurie Salmons, the Vence's, and Jeff and Kristy Williams. (Thank you to all who help us in this fashion!)
We are also looking forward to the imminent arrival of our new Advent House assistant Chaplain, Keila Carmona. She is on her way from Michigan and I know that Chaplain/Pastor Michaela and the whole team are looking forward to her ministry here. We look forward to introducing her to the church family and we want to pray for her safe journey and arrival.
This Sabbath, January 9, (as previously advertised) our Head Deacon (Randy Dobrowsky) will be ready to provide key cards for the transition of our church building access. Needless to say, there are some roles that just demand access to the building and we mostly know who you are.
We know that you wouldn't want us to be handing out keys to everyone who might wish to have one. With this fresh start we will have better control on the security of our building and that's a matter of stewardship.
If you have a position that requires a key see the Head Deacon this Sabbath or soon. If you think you need a key and are not on the list you may also discuss it with him as he serves as our Security Officer.
Our new keys will give us clear evidence as to who is accessing the building and will hold us all much more accountable for how we care for what we have been given. Thanks so much to Randy and to Ken Cobb for moving us in this very necessary direction!
This coming Sunday there will be a gathering of our Elders and department and ministry leaders. They will worship together and share a meal and vision and pray.
Those who are in place for this have already been contacted and we want to remind all of them of the importance of this event. If you're not carrying one of those roles we certainly solicit your prayers as your friends gather to seek the Lord's direction on into 2016 and beyond.
Let me close by sharing that as you scanned the fellowship meal team for this Sabbath you saw Juan's name. What a privilege it was for me to serve and to be served by this good man last Friday night at Communion.
We had a blessed, sweet time together. The room was full... we nearly had to move to another venue to service the attendance. That's a good problem to have!
I know that some have expressed that they wish we'd do Communion during the regular worship schedule "like the old days." We still do, about half the time, and it is our intention that our next opportunity for taking part in the Lord's Supper actually will be during the timing of our 11:00 worship, sometime in the next few months. When the date is set we'll give you plenty of advance notice so you can plan to be ready for the blessing.
So, that's it for this Monday. We trust your courage is good in the Lord and that you are seeking, every day, to be and become what He dreams for you... and for us all!

'Lord Bless',

Don Pate
Knoxville First Church