The Pastor Challenge

The Pastor Challenge

The Assist Pregnancy Center's Walk-Run-Ride for Life is coming up in May and this year I am challenging myself in order to challenge all of you! I am challenging myself to ride a "Metric Century" (100 kilometers) in four hours, and if I can ride farther than I ever have at one time before, I challenge all of you to support me more than ever before. I set my goal this year at $5,000, and our team (Lutherans for Life) at $7,500! If I can do it, you can do it. Assist helps so many mothers and babies, and they are expanding their facility to help even more - and so need our help more than ever, especially coming out of this pandemic. So please help! CLICK HERE to go to my sponsor page to sponsor me, or you can sponsor anyone else who joins the team, or the team as a whole.

Will you step up to the challenge??

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Higher Things, Day 5

Repeat after me: It is important to pay attention where you are going while driving.

It is important to pay attention where you are going while driving.

So, okay, we took a short cut last night. A long cut. It's stupid when you're on one interstate and just by staying straight it magically turns into ANOTHER interstate and since you were having too much fun playing games in the car you didn't notice until you were almost in Tennessee and then had to turn around and go back and get into the hotel 2 hours late. #stupidinterstate

So yeah, it was a late night. Google says 6 hours of driving today, but probably a little longer since we'll be dropping off on the way. But at least I could turn around in the shower this morning! Did I tell you that? The dorm showers at Higher Things were kinda on the small side. Think: transporter pod and you kind of get the idea.

I think I am sleep deprived.

Anyway, yesterday was a good day. :-)  Our team officially lost the Tetramorph challenge, but we really won. Everyone knows it. The other team just got mercy. Here are the conference stats:

We made our traditional stop at Cracker Barrel for dinner. Here are some pictures:

Ever wonder what the pegs see while you're playing the game? #scary

Susan won! Yay!

So now breakfast and back on the road. Thank you all for your support of our youth and helping them attend the conference again this year. It really means a lot. The solid worship, the theological conversations, and the reinforcing teaching is important. 

Next year the theme is "Concordia."

Friday, July 13, 2018

Higher Things, Days 4

Thursday. The penultimate day. Always lots going on. And always the peak of the free time entertainment for the week. :-)

The morning is the regular routine: breakfast, Matins, announcements, and a plenary session, followed by lunch. The afternoon starts with Vespers, then two breakout sessions, followed by dinner. I taught my breakout for the second time on Thursday afternoon - they gave me the first and last sessions of the conference! But it went pretty well. Always smoother the second time around. I did also manage to get a little more other work done, squeezing it in here and there - but not enough. Next week's gonna be tough. :-(

After dinner was Evening Prayer and then free time. Kitty and I entered the "Chant Off" which is putting the lyrics to modern songs to chant tones - not to mock chanting, but to mock the words of modern songs, which sound so ridiculous when chanted. It's a lot of fun. We entered as a duet (a bit unusual) and got second place! :-)  We actually should have won, but that's another story . . .

So today, a normal morning, but then the closing Divine Service in the afternoon, and then the loooong drive home begins. (Did I mention it's going to be loooooong?)

And the pictures you've been waiting for . . .

Costume contest.

Kitty and I in Round 1 of the "Chant Off"
(Yes, I know the quality isn't very good. I'll post more when I get them.)

Waiting for Matins to begin.

Group photo . . . but all is not well . . . see any mischievous looks here?

Then this . . .

Then this!

And a few more friends . . .

Pastor Randy Blankschaen and Bob Myers from Pensacola, FL.

Pastor Ian Pacey, now in Texas, but who I first got to know when I was in NY and he was helping a parish in Greenwich, CT.

Pastor Steve Cholak from Roswell, NM, who helped interpret the conference for the deaf.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Higher Things, Day 3

Wednesday is in the books. The excitement started early as one of our young ladies got a little sick in the morning, as we were waiting for Matins to begin. Not sure if she just had an upset stomach or a little bug, but with a little TLC and rest, she was doing better by the end of the day. Hopefully, she won't miss anything today and if it was a bug, that the other ladies have been washing their hands lots so it doesn't spread around!

Things have been going well. It's hot (except in my room, which is like the arctic!), but all the prayer offices and preaching have been well done. I did not go to any of the smaller breakout sessions yesterday (there were three) opting instead to spend time in the library and try to get some work done. I have a writing deadline coming up that has me a bit concerned . . .

Today is another full day and lots of fun activities going on tonight. I'll be teaching my breakout again during the last session, late afternoon - a tough time! But we'll give it a go. :-)

Finally, some more pictures of friends I've seen here . . .

A friend and fellow Kantorei member who I probably haven't seen since Seminary! Tim Killian.

Fellow SELC District pastor John Gutz.
(I like him even though he said he voted for me at the District Convention!)

Mike and Sara Scudder. Mike was a classmate and fellow Kantorei member also.
I was the crucifer in their wedding.

And finally, David Scarborough, cousin of Sarah Fields. I met him at Higher Things last year, and then again at George's Ordination and George and Sarah's wedding. He is one of the college volunteers helping with the conference this year.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Higher Things, Days 1 and 2

Well, it has been an extremely busy summer for me thus far, so I haven't posted much. Now I am away with the youth at the Higher Things Conference at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. It is a nice campus, with our buildings not too far apart. The dorms are nice too - just very, very cold!

So, day 1 of Higher Things. This is what we did:

Drive. The we drove some more. Then we drove farther. Then we drove more, and more, and more. (I think you get the idea!)

We got to our stop for the night in Evansville, IN after midnight ET. A nice family there, relatives of some folks who go to our church, put us up for the night. It was crowded, but nice. Not enough sleep, though. :-)

All the young adults on Tuesday morning.

Got up early Tuesday morning to finish the drive here. It was only about 2 hours or so more - good! Got checked in and settled in, and then the Opening Service, the first Plenary session, dinner, Evening Prayer, the first Breakout session, and then a couple of hours of free time before Compline and bed. A very full day!

The service was well done (as usual) and the plenary speaker was engaging for the kids (not all are). They did have me slotted to teach during the first breakout session - for some reason they usually do! It's hard at the end of the first long day, but it went alright. I had about 30 come and we had a good time. My next slot is the last breakout slot on Thursday afternoon - that will be both easier and harder.

One of our young ladies participated in the talent show on Tuesday night during free time. The set-up wasn't too good for her (poor sound quality) so it didn't come across as well as it should have. So she didn't win, but she still had fun.

So all in all, a good and full day.

And a couple more pictures for you, with some friends I met . . .

Pastor Peter Ill from Illinois. I knew Pastor Ill when he was Vicar Ill in New Jersey.

Pastor Jim Leistico, now from Ontario, Canada. This is actually the first time I've met Jim in person! Every time before has been online.

I met a few more than I didn't get pictures with. I'll try to get them the next couple of days.