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2013 August Current - Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The ...

2013 August Current - Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The ...

Christian ConversationsA

Christian ConversationsA job well doneEditor, The Current:“Bravo Zulu” for the conference issue of The Current (July2013 issue). It clearly outlined people, schedules andissues and is the best I have seen in this or any of theother seven annual conferences with which I was ated while a Navy chaplain.Thanks to the entire communications team for a greataffilijob(and you can print this!)Bob Phillips, Pastor, Peoria First, Illinois River DistrictMISSOURI BOARD OF MINISTRY:Social media guidelines set By Paul BlackTHE CHURCH AND TECHNOLOGY:‘Both/and’ not ‘either/or’By Mark HarrisI have always felt that we do ministry in a very odd "inbetween" time. Every generation FEELS this way, but weliterally have folks sitting in our pews on Sunday morningswho wouldn't know Facebook or Twitter if it bit them, haveNO interest in owning a computer and think a screen inthe sanctuary is nothing short of blasphemy. And they sitRIGHT NEXT to the next generation, who have laptops andiPads, have a Facebook account (that drives their kids crazy)and have adjusted to the screen in the sanctuary. And THEYsit right next to the NEXT generation who don't know ANYlife without wi-fi. They couldn't write a letter if their lifedepended on it...and wouldn't want to. They are constantlyinvolved in multiple conversations with multiple peopleacross multiple platforms. And they struggle with crosseson the walls of the sanctuary...let alone a screen!The American Christian Church of 2013 is NOT, and willnever again be, the church it once was. It is also, however,not yet what it is going to be. We are in the "in between"time.I find it interesting and more than a bit "secular" thatthe Missouri Conference felt the need to draft that set ofguidelines. Don't get me wrong -- they are perfectly goodguidelines. I didn't find one that I disagreed with. But theymade me cringe a bit from the perspective that they feltthey NEEDED to draft such a document. The unspokenunderstanding behind the creation of the document is thatthey fear/feel their clergy wouldn't model that behaviorwithout such a document. Frankly, the guidelines are NOTgoing to keep any clergy from being stupid on the internet-- it will just give the Conference a greater ability to sanctionthem if and when they do. Clergy should KNOW howto behave, and if they don't...all the guidelines in the worldwon't change that.The bottom line about social media and the ministry isthis: denominations/churches/clergy who find a way toembrace it and incorporate it into their overall ministry planin a healthy, productive way will continue to survive and...hopefully...flourish. Denominations/churches/clergy whoDON'T...won't. It's that simple.It amazes me that, when I arrived at my second appointmentnine years ago, they weren't even going to put amodem in the pastor's computer. "Why would you need toget on the internet?" they asked. Fast forward a short nineyears and I do a LOT of electronic ministry, through thechurch website, Facebook, Twitter, email and texting, notto mention my own website, which now averages about40,000 hits/day and just passed the 10,000,000 hit mark. Iminister to more people in a day online than I will in a yearin-person. That fact does NOT lessen the importance andpower of face-to-face ministry - it simply magnifies theimportance of electronic ministry.The Church, if it is to continue to connect people to JesusChrist, has to insist on making it a "both/and" as opposed toan "either/or".(The Rev. Mark Harris is pastor of Aledo UMC, Spoon River District.Rev. Harris’ blog is Stick With Jesus: A Daily Look at Life from a ShavedHeaded, Earring-Wearing, Rock-Drumming United Methodist Minister,www.stickwithjesus.com)One of the most commonly requested items bychurches are sample policies dealing with social media.The request is understandable. Social media, particularlyFacebook and Twitter, have exploded on the scene creatingall sorts of situations about which traditional personnelpolicies and guidelines are silent. In fact, the IllinoisGreat Rivers Personnel Committee tackled that issue lastyear, inserting a new section in the Conference EmployeeHandbook.Last fall, the Missouri Conference’s Board of OrdainedMinistry adopted a set of guidelines aimed atassisting clergy with this new territory and given thenumber of pastors and churches that are going throughtransitions this season, it might be a good opportunity totake a look at the Missouri guidelines:“With the quick rise of social media in human society,businesses, sports organizations and other entities havebegun creating guidelines for the responsible use of socialmedia by their constituents. The reason for these guidelinesis to assist their members in the appropriate use ofsocial networks in an effort to prevent people within theorganization from being abusive or abused through socialmedia.“The church is no different. The Internet and rise ofsocial media offers the church both positive and negativeelements of human community and interaction.Throughout human history, new forms of communicationcontinuously develop as each one rises and falls fromone time to the next. The question becomes: “How doesthe Christian community adapt new communicationtools to the mission of the church?”“The following are guidelines, not rules or regulations,created in an effort to inform the Christian communityabout appropriate behavior online. These guidelines arenot about limiting what we can do through social media;rather, the question is as a member of the Reign of God,what is the best use of social media for Christian communityand outreach? Christians are called to remember thatin all interactions we are members of the body of Christ,and what is done in the physical world has an impact onthe mission of God in the world.“Clergy and laity are accountable to one another andhave a shared responsibility for living the gospel in allrelationships, including those online. While the reality ofhuman sinfulness is always a part of human life, guidelinesthat can help us remember the grace with whichGod has touched human life and transformed humanbehavior to reflect the presence of Christ.Social Media guidelines• Discern what the purpose of social media is for you.• Is social media a tool for ministry or your privatedomain?• Think before you post something always rememberingthat social media is a public forum.• Weigh whether a particular posting puts youreffectiveness as a pastor or Christian at risk.• Remember the Internet is instant communication,anything can be forwarded or saved.• Do not use commentary deemed to be defamatory,obscene, proprietary, or libelous. Exercise cautionwith regard to exaggeration, colorful language, guesswork, obscenity, copyrighted materials, legalconclusions, and derogatory remarks orcharacterizations.• Post only what you want the world to see. It is not likeposting something to your website or blog and thenrealizing that a story or photo should be taken down.On a social networking site, basically once you postsomething it may be available, even after it is removedfrom the site.• Do not discuss pastoral concerns or co-workers orpublicly criticize conference personnel or colleagues.• Know and follow the Discipline and biblicalunderstandings of community.• Be cognizant of your association with The UMC inonline social networks.• If you are United Methodist clergy or laity, ensureyour profile and related content is consistent with howyou wish to present yourself as a member of theChristian community.• Social media communication with previousparishoners and friending on Facebook or other socialmedia: For clergy, if a “friend” is not a member ofyour current congregation, remember you are friendsnot their pastor. Observe appropriate boundaries andexercise care to ensure you are not a hindrance for thepastor currently appointed to that congregation andthe ministry needs of that congregation.• Remember that people classified as “friends” havethe ability to download and share your informationwith others.• Be discerning on who you friend. Do not initiate oneon one friending with minors and, if a minor initiatessuch friending with you, carefully weigh theadvisability and potential risks of such an onlinerelationship.• Make sure privacy settings are set to allow only theonline content you want visible to show up on yourprofile.• When considering social media for yourself or a socialmedia strategy for the congregation, ask: What does social media mean for a faithcommunity? What is appropriate for the wall of the church? Who is allowed to post on the wall of the church? What does the local church community want onsocial media?• Regularly monitor your use of social media to ensurethat an inordinate amount of time and energy is notspent interacting on social media to the detriment ofyour effectiveness as a clergyperson or religiousprofessional.Security on social networking sites• Due to security risks, be cautious when installing theexternal applications that work with the social networking site. Examples of these applications arecalendar programs and games.• Run updated malware protection to avoid infectionsof spyware and adware that social networking sitesmight place on your computer.• Be careful not to fall for phishing scams that arrive viaemail or on your wall, providing a link for you toclick, leading to a fake login page.• Visit your profile’s security and privacy settings.At a minimum, all privacy settings set to “onlyfriends”. “Friends of friends” and “Networks andFriends” open your content to a large group of unknown people. Your privacy and that of your familymay be at risk. People you do not know may belooking at you, your home, your kids, your grandkids– your lives!”Approved 10/31/2012 by the Missouri ConferenceBoard of Ordained MinistrySo what do you think? Weigh in on either the IGRCFacebook page, post your comments below or drop anemail to me at pblack@igrc.org. We look forward to hearingfrom you!4 | August 2013 | The Current christian conversations

Local Church NewsCITIZEN CANE:Dick Garabrant fears traditional craftsmanship may be doomedBy Dan Craft, Bloomington PantagraphBLOOMINGTON — As a Methodist pastor for threedecades, Dick Garabrant of Bloomington comforted many asoul in need.As a master of the art of caning, he’s offered salvation tomany a piece of furniture destined for the curbside.Re-caned chairs may not be as eternal as redeemed souls.But those saved by the healing hand of Rev. Garabrant aremeant to last as long as they are loved.We should all be so lucky.Alas, the future isn’t looking good as yet another traditionof painstaking human craftsmanship succumbs to a worldspinning away too fast to notice, or care.“We’re a throwaway society now,” he says with a clearlyfelt sense of impending loss. “People don’t want to take thetime, and they don’t want to spend the money.”Fast, cheap and then out to the curb when it breaks.But not in Garabrant’s home on Snyder Drive in Bloomington.“These chairs are still in use every day,” observes thecourtly Garabrant, seated in one of them in the living roomof his home on Bloomington’s east side.A beautifully restored rocking chair — with both an intricatelycaned back and seat — is nearby, beckoning.All told, 10 chairs with hand-woven cane seats are inactive use in the home he shares with his wife of nearly 67years, Irene.Each was rescued from a potentially dire fate.Until the past year of harrowing health issues took its toll,the 86-year-old Garabrant was caning the days away, just ashe had for more than half a century.“He’d never really been sick a day,” confirms Irene, aretired teacher and a still-active quilting devotee.And those days include a three year-hitch as a pilot in theSouth Pacific during World War II, as well as his 30-odd yearsas a pastor in churches around East Central Illinois, includingMcLean, Waynesville, Grand Ridge, Tolono, Magnolia andSidell.The reverend retired in 1991 … “allegedly” (he stillpastors at Westminster Village, home to around 20 of his recanedchairs, and presides over an occasional wedding).“I just don’t have the strength and stamina needed tocontinue,” rues Garabrant, a natural-born handyman whoalso taught caning classes and operated a caning businessout of his home, strictly through word of mouth, which wasnever far away.At its simplest, caning is the craft of weaving using therattan vine native to Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia.Purchased in bundles, or “hanks,” of varying grades ofthickness (his came out of St. Louis), the cane is soaked inwater to prepare it for its transformation into hand-wovensupport for human backs and bottoms.But not knees. Please not knees.“No, just don’t put your knee or foot through it,” advisesGarabrant, who speaks from experience as a grandfather withno short supply of rambunctious grandkids sporting activelimbs.“I’ve had to cane this rocker several times because ofthat,” he adds with understanding bemusement.Depending on the extent of the repair, caning a singlechair seat can take up to eight hours, while the back on aPantagraph photos by Steve Smedley.Boston rocker, such as the one in the Garabrant living room,can take up to 20 or more hours.A repair tab might come to around $80 or $90, “whichisn’t the cheapest thing … but when you figure the number ofhours involved, that isn’t really bad.”All told, seven steps are involved; in terms of humanendeavor, “it’s all in the thumbs,” says the man who knows— and who also knows that advancing age and joint-relatedinfirmities like arthritis can cramp a caner’s style.It all began at his first church, in Tolono, where “an oldshed in back” was going to burned, along with its contents,including seven vintage chairs.“Do you mind if I take the chairs?” asked the new ministerin town. Permission, after a special session of the trustees,was granted.To learn how to repair them, Garabrant enrolled in a caningclass in Urbana; the rest is well-woven history.Emphasis on the history, as he reluctantly calls it quits,having sold off most of his tools and materials.“There are just a few people around here I know of,” hesays, trying to come up with the short list off the top of hishead.Happily, several of his best pupils are taking the baton,including, closest to home, a grandson, Kendall, and a formerstudent from one of his classes, Claudia Frazee (see accompanyingstory).Generally, though, “very, very few are carrying it on … itreally is a dying art, I’m afraid.”(Reprinted with permission from the June 9 issue of the Pantagraph,©2013, www.pantagraph.com)West Eden UMC celebrates 200 years of ministry By Adam Testa, The SouthernCYPRESS — James Anderson remembers where he satduring West Eden United Methodist Church’s 150th anniversarycelebration. Twenty-five years later, he stood on the altarreading during the 175th anniversary service.On Sunday, June 23, Nick Richardson, who watched Anderson25 years ago, stood where he did, reading the churchhistory for another milestone, as the small-town church witha congregation of about 13 celebrated their church’s 200thyear of operation.“We talk about celebrating 200 years of the church, butwe’re really celebrating God,” said Anderson, the churchsuperintendent. “How far back does that go?”Anderson said God has taken care of the church for 200years, and he believes He will continue to do so.He expects that God’s cycle will continue, as well, andthat the person destined to do the reading at the 225th anniversarywas in the crowd Sunday.Friends and family gathered for the celebration, whichalso marked the church’s annual homecoming. Among thosecelebrating were members of four generations of one localfamily, who all call the church home.Anderson wasn’t raised in the Cypress church, but hiswife spent her childhood there, with her earlier memorieslocal church news(continued on pg. 7, see West Eden)James Anderson, superintendent of West Eden UMC in Cypress, sits in the pew he and his then-girlfriend sat in for the church's 150th anniversarycelebration. On Sunday, June 23, Anderson and his now-wife of 49 years were part of the church's 200th anniversary.Photo by Adam Testa, The Southern.The Current | August 2013 | 5

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