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In July we’ll be hearing messages from the following leaders:
July 7 – Rev. Jim Cagle
July 14 – Pastor Karen Johnson
July 21 – Pastor Karen Johnson (reception following)
July 28 – Pastor Clay Self


Having Fun

Yes, yes, yes. Last month was my last newsletter article. But somehow it is time for another one. Ya know, I’ve written well over 300 newsletter articles in my career as a pastor. Wow! Here’s one of my very favorites. It’s from August 2002, and I remember and laugh just like it was yesterday. I hope it leaves you with a smile! – Pastor Karen

There is funny, and then there is funny. Adult humor, sophomoric humor, junior high humor. Sick humor, hysterical humor, and that strange child humor that you play along with when little ones are just learning to tell jokes. Three Stooges, Monty Python and Saturday Night Live humor. Blonde jokes, Kentucky jokes, men jokes, women jokes and that one about the priest, the rabbi, and the Baptist minister (no, I do not fish, that joke is not about me!).

We all have a different sense of humor. We all have separate sensibilities when it comes to telling, understanding and appreciating jokes and riddles and funny stuff.

Here’s mine. At First Baptist in Middletown, where I was ordained, there is a day care center for little ones. The church parking lot is large, and has four levels. On hot summer days the kids come out for recreation on the lawn and in the lot. The last time I was there some kids were in a wading pool, some kids were running around the lawn pell-mell and some kids were driving cars.

That’s the funny part. I’ve witnessed it several times. It is truly hysterical to watch. The adult teachers block off the lowest level of the parking lot. They get out all the large plastic red and yellow cars with wheels.

Then they get out the wagons and after that come the kids out from the inside. These kids are old enough to walk, and old enough to operate the cars with their feet, and occasionally pull their buddies in the wagon. But they are nowhere near real cars, insurance payments and nervous parents.

And so, they drive around the parking lot. Sometimes they park between the lines on the pavement. Sometimes they careen off into the grass on either side. Sometimes they play nicely and pull stuff or people in the wagon. Sometimes the wagon turns over.

The humor is in watching the tiny cars with tiny people in a lot meant for big cars with big people. For those moments of play, the parking lot is their world, and they control the roads, the highways and the grassy verge. Unaware of traffic laws and the difficulties of parallel parking, they have the time of their lives in blissful driving and pulling and riding.

When was the last time you had fun like that? When was the last time you did something so fun that others had to stop and watch and laugh? When was the last time your playtime was so absorbing that you forgot about your problems? Has it been a long time? Or was it yesterday?

Here’s my advice, friends. Get out there and have some fun. In Ecclesiastes 12:12 we read, “of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.” That seems like an encouragement for getting out and playing. And Psalm 37:4 advises us to “delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Delighting ourselves in the Lord comes in many forms, among them play. See what you can come up with, and enjoy

In the interim,
Pastor Karen Johnson



Dear church family,
As you know, I was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) in February of 2020. Since then, it has been my blessing and privilege to continue serving as your Pastor despite my increasing physical difficulties and the weakness and fatigue that come with this disease.

However, after much consideration and in consultation with my doctor, Darby and I believe it is time for me to step away from working and take care of my health, so I will be taking a Medical Leave of Absence beginning Monday, July 25, 2022. We anticipate that the leave of absence will run for three months, during which time we will be working on getting the necessary approvals for long-term disability.

We have already discussed this with the church leadership, and the Search Committee is exploring options for bringing in an interim pastor. I know you will be in good hands and that God will lead all of us in these decisions.

Going forward, Darby and I hope to continue worshipping with you on a regular basis, and Darby to continue working part-time for the church, at least as long as these arrangements seem appropriate to our needs and those of the church.

Please know that I am deeply grateful for your prayers, your love, your gifts, and the many ways members of this congregation have helped us. You have shown us extraordinary grace through this difficult period, and we thank you all.

God bless you!
Pastor Ken