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Dear Church Family,      
Well, we're all anticipating the weekend. This week, of course, it's for more than Sabbath. (I think Sabbath would be enough, thank you!)

After having cancelled last night's Finance Committee and Church Board it's tempting to feel a little foolish. But, it still was the better act of valor it appears.

We had no agenda item that absolutely could not wait until February 11.  There were still patches of our parking lot and driveways that were almost impassible at 3:00 yesterday afternoon... I know because I struggled on one of them.  We were concerned that things might deteriorate after sundown and challenge our committee members in leaving.

We had members in some of the out-lying, shaded areas who still had challenges around their own homes.

So, discretion won out and it really was the right thing to do. But, what about this weekend?

It's a balancing act of a number of forces-

1)   None of us know, yet, exactly how challenging this is going to be.

2)   Hebrews 10:25 tells us it's high value to get together to worship.

3)   We don't want anyone to do anything to put themselves at risk.

As a result we just ask that you play it by ear. Unless the roads absolutely turn impassable and impossible (for someone used to driving in Massachusetts) I plan to be there. We will work with whatever contingent shows up.

If it's really much safer for many to stay home we'll downsize and have a solid time of worship and study for any who do venture out and make it safely.  If the possible challenges are much less than what the forecasters fear we'll move forward with business as usual. We will work with whatever/whoever gathers in the morning.

But please, don't in any way put yourself at risk. If you are (or should be) at all hesitant then please just stay home and spend some time in study and prayer knowing that others will make the same decision you have chosen. 

Now, what about other non-storm-related issues?

I had the privilege this week of spending some time with a formerly active member, Delena Akers. Her situation no longer allows her to join us for services but she misses the church and misses the members.

Those of you who remember her may wish to ask me about where she now resides. She assured me she'd be happy to have old friends come by if they are near Oak Ridge.

Burton Goodge had a bit of a procedure done on his hand.  I just talked to him and he's feeling positive about the outcome though he needs to be careful not to overdue the normal actions at this point.

Some of you have been disappointed that we've made no updates to our church Facebook presence in the last two weeks. There's a reason for that and it's to be blamed on some glitch that unexpectedly developed between Facebook and our account. We can't access it and they can't seem to find the barrier that disallows us to access it.

I do so appreciate that Stan Wolcott has been working diligently to try to get this resolved because it's a world I know very little about. We will keep you posted as this gets rectified.

Some of you have kidlets who are Kindergarten/Pre-school/nearing 1st Grade age and you may be on the fence about starting them at our KAS because of finances. If that's your situation are you aware of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference's generous assistance known as "The Little Disciples Scholarship" program?

It could mean $1,000 to assist you and we'd surely want you to take advantage of that. We have information on this at the church office or you can reach out to our Principal, Geoff White, for more details.

We want to remind you to have Sunday, January 31 on your calendar for the special Pathfinder supper and secret auction social. As we get closer you will be getting many more details on this fun event.

Next week will have a few small adjustments as I will be at Cohutta Springs for meetings from Monday evening through Wednesday afternoon. This, of course, will negate our Wednesday morning Recalibration group but our 7:00 gathering will still occur.

We'll tackle something of substance and then the following Wednesday, January 27, we'll pick up our studies with the Isaiah discussion that we missed two days ago because of the road conditions.

That's it for now. We'll see how the weather accommodates us for being together tomorrow for services.

Again, if it's safe we look forward to you sharing Sabbath with others.

If the best choice really is to stay off the roads please know that others, maybe if only scattered around the region, will be also be in the same situation and we can all mutually admire and turn to Christ together even if only from a distance.

'Lord Bless',
Don Pate
Knoxville First Church