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Dear Church Family,               


You may not have expected contact today. It is happening because of a change in plans.


Sandi and I did not go to Arizona. Certain elements demanded that we delay this trip to some point in the future. You thought we'd gone. We actually have still been here working the last several days.


As a result, a previous calendar announcement needs to be changed. Because we aren't going to be flying across country that day our Recalibration gatherings for next Wednesday (January 20 at 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.) WILL take place as normal. We will be continuing our all-Text survey by heading into Isaiah.


Now, that won't change the fact that you have a big blessing awaiting tomorrow at services. Chaplain/Pastor Michaela will still be bringing you rich insights from the Text. I know you've been looking forward to that.


Still, Sandi and I actually won't be with you as we weren't going to be even before the Arizona trip got planned. 


There is a three-day Bible enrichment seminar that begins tonight which I had already been registered for and was going to have to miss because of the flight out west. Now that we're not in the desert this weekend we will keep our original appointment and go be blessed even as Michaela blesses you here.


I'm grateful for her service.


Some of you faithfully follow Facebook postings related to the church. I need to apologize for (once again) some gremlin seems to have created a complication and we've not been able to post anything this week at all.


We are working on it and hope to be "back in business" as soon as possible. And, when we do, we will share some photos of the good service done last Sabbath at our S-OU-L activities and the leadership gathering on Sunday. You'll enjoy seeing them when the Facebook wrinkles get ironed out.


Of course we want to remind the church family that next Thursday we will have our Finance Committee and Church Board meetings. 


It didn't make sense to quickly try to go back to the regular schedule when it became evident that we were going to be available here. We'd already asked folks to change their plans and didn't see the benefit in asking for another shift.  So we are still on for next Thursday.


Early this week (Sunday-Wednesday) we three pastors were at Georgia-Cumberland meetings at Cohutta Springs. Some of the meetings were really good and beneficial. Even better than that was the fellowship. 


We can be grateful for the benefits and blessings that are evident in this conference.


One thing that you can be very proud of- this last year the conference employees came in so far "under budget" on medical care expenses that our Executive Committee was able to be generous and multiply the policy's "Christmas Bonus" at the end of the year.


That's really wonderful, but there's something even better.  Your Executive Committee also wrote large checks to a cluster of entities just to support the efforts of others. 


They reached out to help some of the conferences who are struggling with a gift "just out of the blue." They also picked about three causes (like new evangelism in Cuba) and simply wrote a generous check to support the efforts.


This is a remarkable gesture and the very right thing to do with blessings- pass them on! How grateful we are for the wise and dedicated leadership that chooses to do the right thing like this. What an excellent modeling for the members!


That's enough for now. We trust you are looking forward to a wonderful Sabbath. I'm sure the Lord will deliver it!


'Lord Bless',


Don Pate

Knoxville First Church