Roanoke Church of Christ

Bimonthly Bulletin


I don’t usually quote a scripture to start an article. It seems to some if a scripture is quoted it adds authenticity to what follows. That may or may not be true.
In Amos 7:12 it says: “Then Amaziah said to Amos, ‘Get out you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there.’”
It seems Amos was sticking his nose where some folks felt it didn’t belong. Jesus did that. During the last three years of his life, every time he entered Jerusalem for Passover, he was seen by the religious leaders as someone who should go back to Galilee and preach there. Why? Because he was being seen more and more as a potential Messiah.
Before I journey into the land of imagination, I need to point out that not only does Amaziah tell Amos to go back where he came from, but he accuses him of doing it for money. “Earn your bread there…”
Imagine the elders and the chief priests in Jerusalem getting together as Passover approaches. “The Nazarene is coming again this year. My friend in Galilee sent word that he and his followers are gaining in number. There is talk that he will make his move against the Romans this year.”
“What makes anyone in their right mind believe a divided kingdom such as ours can defeat the whole Roman world?”
“The scriptures say the Lord will give the anointed one the victory. He can call down heavenly angels.’”
“You mean like when the Maccabees’s drove out the Seleucids?”
“Well, you have to admit they changed things. They reestablished our religion back to as close to its original form as possible.”
“Right. So what’s the problem? The Romans may own the world, but they leave us alone as long as we pay the taxes and keep the peace.”
“The key word there is peace. If the Romans get wind of a possible revolution they will be on us like flies on a carcass. That’s why we need to do something if he comes to town and stirs up trouble.”
“I heard he snuck into town last Passover. What was that about?”
He could have been casing the place in order to decide on a plan of attack. We know he stays in Galilee the rest of the time.”
“It’s always someone from Galilee. Why doesn’t this Jesus fellow stay in Galilee? Why stick his nose in our business? We are the religious leaders”
“Well, he is seen as a faithful Jew and a rabbi as well. Coming to the temple for Passover is a sign of his devotion to God.”
“Not everyone who comes to Passover is devout. Look at your brother!”
“Let’s not get personal! We could talk about your daughter’s divorce. Our problem is the people. They have either seen him say and do things that are Messianic, or they have heard the rumors about what he appears to have done. They may force him to become a Messiah.”
One of the scholar/scribes piped up with a disturbing bit of history. “He is also called a prophet. Remember Amos? He tried to tell the king reforms needed to be put in place and Amaziah, the high priest told him to go back home and keep his nose out of their business. Do we want to be guilty of killing a prophet of God?”
“Anybody can say they are a prophet! And, by the way, when did anybody ever listen to a prophet? Read Amos again.”
“But what if they had listened to him? Wouldn’t things have been better?”
“We’ll never know. What we do know is we can’t beat Rome, even if we wanted to, and God never sent angels to help in any of the past wars.”
“So, what’s our plan. What if he comes in quietly, as he has in the past?”
“Even when he comes in quietly, when the people hear he is in town, it gets pretty noisy. All we can do is see what happens. If he stirs up any trouble we’ll have to take action.”
“What do you think would happen if we got the Romans to see him as a danger to the peace? Maybe they would crucify him for us.”
“I would rather sit down and talk with him and see what his plans are. If he’s planning a revolt, maybe we could convince him to stay in Galilee. If he starts a revolt there, we can keep our hands clean.”
I’ve taken you on this little imaginary journey to ask a question: How many times in history has a person, or persons, been told to keep their nose out of something and go back where they came from, who actually became the catalyst for meaningful change?
Looking at the life of Paul, how many times was he seen as a troublemaker by the Jews when he preached to the Gentiles?
How many of the great religious reformers were imprisoned or killed because they stuck their nose in where people said it didn’t belong.? The list is as long as history.
Are there people in every situation who have no agenda for good, but are simply trouble makers? Of course. On the other hand, think how many times in history it was the so-called trouble makers who stuck their nose in where they were told it didn’t belong, who changed the history of religion and human rights. You can almost be sure when you hear someone say, “Everything would be fine if he (or she) would just keep their nose out of it” that the issue is something which needs attention, and that it will take as many “nose stickers” as possible to resolve it in a meaningful way. .
Like Amaziah, the priest in Amos’ time, and those who saw Jesus as a threat, too often we Christians do not look like Amos, Jesus, Paul and the others. We look like the ones who saw them as intruders. You never can tell when a prophet of God may stick their nose in where it does belong.
CONCERNS: Jim Hunter was admitted to Roanoke Memorial on Monday. He had an episode similar to a mild stroke. He has recovered well from that, but had surgery on his foot on Thursday. Still on the concerns list are Debbie McRoy’s sister-in law, Ellen Tidwell, and Debbie and Buster’s daughter-in law, Deana. Her cancer has been in remission, but is a very aggressive kind. Bill Albert’s son, David, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Stephanie Ridney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum and Tim Elder. T.J. Hall is having health issues and will see another doctor soon. Both of the Phlegars have been under the weather since returning from their trip.

Monday: Matthew 18:10-20
Tuesday: Romans 14:1-18
Wednesday: II Thess. 3:1-16
Thursday: Genesis 45:4-28
Friday: Mark 10:17-31
Saturday Psalm 105:1-45
Monday: John 17:1-26
Tuesday: Revelation 19:1-16
Wednesday: Luke 16:19-31
Thursday: Matthew 19:16-30
Friday: I Corinthians 10:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 106:1-48

This year we have several levels of persons achieving graduate degrees. For some of them, these are steps along the way to possible other degrees. From Cave Spring High School is Garrett Lee Williams . Melisha Scruggs became a Certified Nursing Assistant. Laura Abbot (Branch) Hogan received an Associate of Arts Degree from Virginia Western. Stephanie Dixon received a Nursing Degree from the Jefferson Collage of Health Sciences.
We want to do our best to honor all these graduates at an upcoming date when they can all attend. As soon as it can be set we will announce it via the Sunday handout and email. It will be on a Sunday evening.
Today (May 17) is Super Sunday. These fellowship meals bring us together in ways our busy world makes harder and harder. Plan to stay and enjoy the fellowship.
The steering committee will meet in the library after the Super Sunday meal.
They will be looking at some ideas for improvements in areas of our worship together, such as reconditioning the baptistry.
One of the things the steering committee will discuss are possible dates for us to do trimming and brush clearing above the handicapped parking lot. That area has needed attention for a long time. Our hard work has made the annex yard look much better.
The shrubs in front and around the building also need attention. There is also a little bit of inside things to be done. A cabinet needs to be hung above the toilet in the upstairs restroom, and there is some work to be done on a pew or two.. This can be done in stages, but we need to get started.
Thanks to Holly Wagner, Jack Thompson and Mary Willa Foy for preparing the Sunday evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House.


I receive a journal of sorts, and when I read it I feel like I’m reading a foreign language. Its approach to understanding scripture is familiar, but so foreign than mine. A most recent one was filled with why women shouldn’t be seen as equals in church. I wasn’t surprised when I read that Jesus never appointed a woman apostle, as if that sealed the issue. Jesus never appointed a Gentile apostle either. So, what does that mean? Nothing.
Don’t think I’m going on a scripture quoting spree. I believe that is a waste of time. In every issue involving human rights, scripture shooters have held their lines and shot scriptures across the bow at each other. It is always serious, even getting some people killed.
One thing about getting old is that you have a history, it fact, you are history! Before I was born, scripture shooters fired barrages at each other about women’s suffrage, you know, the right for women to vote. What caused suffrage to happen? A force that has never been defeated, human progress and reason. Of course one scripture shooter’s side claimed victory, but the battle was not won there.
I can remember when the man was the divinely chosen head of the family. The wife, or even women, were to be in complete submission to the men around them. I can remember a wedding I attended where the officiant told the bride that her husband had been given authority over her by God, and that she should never correct him, that God would do it. I prayed the two, bright, intelligent couple wouldn’t listen to such drivel! Of course, there were scriptures to support it.
I remember when preachers preached that a woman’s place was in the home, and if she entered the workplace it was not God’s purpose for her and they had scriptures to prove it, In fact, they had more than did the opposition. But guess who won?
Anybody remember integration? Remember the scriptures used to support segregation? How about that “curse of Ham” thing? Throwing Bible bombs at each other didn’t solve it. What did? The greatest power known to man. Victor Hugo said it, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
I remember when Christian Barnard transplanted the first heart in the 1960s. In a chaplain’s seminar we were asked to debate the moral and religious implications. There was a lot more scriptures against it, than for it. You know, “As a man thinks in his heart” and how evil comes from the heart. And we even talked about the possibility of brain transplants. Talk about a moral dilemma! But when I talk about that seminar today, younger people laugh that it was even an issue.
In the 70’s the “role” of women in the church surfaced. It floundered for a while, and then took off. The scripture throwers are still at it, but most young folks see it as nonissue. Why? You know what I’m going to say. The quoting of scripture will not do it, anymore then it did the other issues of equality and human rights. Time thankfully marches on, and so does human development and understanding.
Today, the issue of marriage equality. Scripture is being thrown by both sides. Articles and books are written. Sermons are preached. A recent article in the local paper said since Jesus came to fulfil the Law, all of the Old Testament was still in effect. Problem solved!
Just as all the other human rights issues were not solved by tossing scriptural hand grenades, neither will this one. It will be settled one way or the other and the world will not end.
There are still people who think women are inferior, should stay in the kitchen, not do the same jobs as men and receive the same pay. There are still people who believe in discrimination, no interracial marriage, and all kinds of discrimination; and, scripture will still be tossed around. However, as the rolling tide of time goes on, we may learn better how to love each other and treat each other as we would want to be treated. We’ve done it before.

CONCERNS: Rich Crites is recovering from a broken arm. Jim Hunter is having cancer treatment and his diabetes is also an issue. Leena Bolin’s aunt’s husband has died. Keep “Aunt Betty” in your prayers. Debbie McRoy’s sister-in law, Ellen Tidwell, is being treated for heart problems. Bill Albert’s son, David remains about the same. Lee Nicklas, Leena Bolin’s aunt has leukemia. Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Ridney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder and Mary Smith. As you pray, remember all those in the Nepal earthquake.

Monday: John 1:1-18
Tuesday: Luke 18:1-4
Wednesday: I Corinthians 1:3-11
Thursday: II Corinthians 5:1-8
Friday II Corinthians 1:23-2:11
Saturday: Psalm 97:1-12
Monday: Mark 14:26-42
Tuesday: Acts 1:1-14
Wednesday: Psalm 43:1-11
Thursday: Acts 5:17-32
Friday: Hebrews 2:10-18
Saturday: Psalm 107:1-43

Those of you who have volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House are invited to a picnic and ball game at the Salem Red Sox Stadium on May 12th. The gates open at 6:00 PM. The number attending must be turned in by the 5th, so let Keith or Martha Albert know today. Also, don’t forget to save all the pull tabs from cans. These are a vital resource of funds for the house. Also: We have received a thank you card from the house for our volunteers.
Concerning Jenni Cullum’s move: Jenni has moved to Bliley Manor, which is a group home for adults with brain injuries. This enables her to be with people all the time who have experienced brain injuries. It allows her the freedom and independence she has wanted. Her phone # in the last bulletin was wrong. It should be 804-840-3724.
Stephanie Dixon will be “pinned” this Thursday at 4:00 PM at the Scottish Rite Masonic Lodge, 622 West Campbell Ave. The Graduation ceremony will be on Friday, May 8th, 9:30 AM at the Elmwood Amphitheater on Jefferson Ave. She would love to see anyone who can come.
Stephanie’s journey has been of interest to us because it was after a trip to the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala, she decide to start on a new path and become a nurse.
We also are thinking of other graduates and are planning a time together to honor all of the. More details later
Ben Robertson has moved into the house in the Glenvar area. His address, when all settled in, will be 3508 Gene St.,Salem, VA 24153. Several folks helped with the move yesterday.
The Halls have returned from several weeks in Texas, with some stops along the way. T.J. had a wisdom tooth removed when they got home and it has taken a toll on him.
We also learned that Wayne Phlegar fell while visiting their son. They will be home tomorrow.


If you read this, keep in mind that I am not rewriting the Bible. You might do it differently, but this is my story of Jesus, and about almost everything important.
Way back when time started, human beings saw strange lights in the area above them. They called that area many things, sky being one of them, as well as heaven, or, the heavens. From the sky came loud noises and flashes of light, as well as rain and hot air, all of which could cause pain, harm and death, as well as life. The mountains sometimes spit out hot liquid or shake and fall on them. The seas could swell up and cover them. So it was easy for them to believe the things they saw and experienced were caused by someone, or something. Finding themselves in such a situation, they tried to make contact with the powers that ruled their world by appeasing them. They sacrificed things they valued, even in some cases, their first born children, especially young girls.
They also tried to please these beings in the sky by building images which they hoped mirrored those they called “gods.” If they wanted good crops, they fashioned a crop god. If it was many sons, they fashioned a god representing fertility. Since there were so many different categories it kept them busy. Needless to say, it was a never-ending job.
However, there were some who thought the idea of a lot of gods was too much and impossible to live and die with. They decided to appease just a one and only god. Since there was only one, they wrote it with a capital letter. But there was still a problem. They knew what was good and what wasn’t. They knew there should be some punishment for what was bad and harmful. So it seemed reasonable that there should be a reward for doing good, which presented another problem. It didn’t seem to work that way no matter how hard they tried. They wrote about it and sang about it. They noticed that the life-giving sun and rain fell on the good and the bad. But at times their many-gods neighbors did better in certain areas then they did. So on occasion, just to cover all the bases, they built an idol or two. It wasn’t that they no longer believed in the one God, it was that it couldn’t hurt to be sure.
There were many who maintained the one-God belief, but one man stood out. He followed his beliefs and in time had two sons, each by a different woman. One went one way and the other went another. They both became leaders of great nations, each believing in the one God.
As time passed one son’s people faced hard times and ended up in a foreign country. They stayed there for four hundred years. During that time they became saturated with the culture and beliefs of that country. So much so that they forgot their past culture and lives. It was so bad they were to become known as the “No people.”
After four hundred years of that, a leader among them was born. He was saved from infant death and ended up being raised by the foreign king’s daughter. As he grew, he felt a deep connection to his own people, who had become seen as dangerous, and therefore, enslaved.
After several incidents, one caused this leader to run for his life. When he finally returned, it was with the almost forgotten belief in the power of the one God. He demanded that his people be allowed to go out into the countryside and worship the one God. His intent was not to come back. After several refusals and related tragedies, the king let them go. So they exited the land and headed to the land promised to their ancestor.
It was not an easy journey. Four hundred years in the country they were leaving had left its mark. At every problem they wanted to go back. When things didn’t go right, or they believed what they were doing was a mistake, they reverted to the ways of the old land and culture. Their leader, and those close to him, realized they had to do everything possible to separate the people from the past. So they banned everything that might remind the people of the culture they had left behind. It was not so much that the things were wrong in and of themselves, but they reminded the people of what they had left behind.
Over the years of their travel, rule after rule about things which took them backwards to what was no more, and blocked them from moving forward and becoming their own people, was banned. This was necessary for their freedom from the past.
When they reached the land of their ancestor, in time, as they became more and more independent of the past, the strict rules were softened. They married people who they were once forbidden to marry, and other customs changed as well. But there was one thing they still struggled with: What was the real nature of the one God who had brought them here? They were still surrounded by people who believed in multiple gods. Like those before them, they also tried to cover all the bases and played around with the “many-god” idea. They still felt if they did right they should not suffer, and asked why the evil people seemed to have it better. Maybe the other gods could do the trick.
Finally a man was born that was so different, he was seen as the one God appointed to reveal God’s true nature. He was so loving and kind people felt looking at him was to see the one God. The message he delivered was so powerful that when he was killed for it, they said God loved the world so much, that this son of his was given to show and save mankind from all the other false ideas about God. They saw in this man that God is love. They saw in this man that God was not against them, but on their side. They saw in this man that they did not have to sacrifice and worry to appease God. Because of that they realized the only sacrifice God wanted was that they lived like the one they called God’s son. Those who did, realized that kind of love cast out all the fears of history and they joyed in living in that amazing freedom.
CONCERNS: Jim Hunter has started chemotherapy. Debbie McRoy’s sister-in-law, Ellen Tidwell, is having heart problems. Del Bolin’s mother is also having heath issues. It’s good to see Bill Branch back after heart surgery. Betty Billings, Keith’s sister is in Raleigh Court Health Care Center, room 12A Bill Albert’s son, David, remains about the same as he awaits a liver transplant. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, has leukemia. Kim (Hall’s) friend Mary (MS), Sue Huels Betty Foy’s sister, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Rich Crites Deanna McRoy, Stephanie Ridney, Marge Greenwood, Tim Elder, Mary Smith and Jenni Cullum also need our prayers.

Monday: I Timothy 6:11-21
Tuesday: Psalm 119:89-112
Wednesday: Mark 2:15-3:6
Thursday: Acts 8:4-24
Friday: Luke 22:39-53
Saturday: I Corinthians 15:42-58
Monday: Exodus 3:1-15
Tuesday: Matthew 9:14-34
Wednesday: Ecclesiastes 12:1-14
Thursday: II Corinthians 5:11-21
Friday: II Samuel 11:1-27
Saturday: Psalm 121:1-8

Sunday, April 19 is Super Sunday. The rain should be over and all the spring colors should be at their peak, so what better way to enjoy it than a good meal after the service? Looking forward to being with you.
Has it been two years? We’ve all watched as Stephanie Dixon made a life-changing decision to become a nurse after going to the Ezell Clinic in Guatemala. Well, the time is near! Here’s the information for about her graduation.
The Baccalaureate Pinning Ceremony will be May 7th at 4:00 PM at the Scottish Rite Masonic Lodge, 622 West Campbell Ave. The graduation ceremony will be May 8th at the Elmwood park Amphitheater on S. Jefferson St. at 9:30 AM.
Stephanie would be honored to have anyone there if they can make it.
She can’t wait to get back to Guatemala, but will need to work awhile before going.
You may have noticed the bright and shiny section of the fence as you came today. Our thanks to Wayne Flora for getting the material and fixing it.
Former member Jenni Cullum wants us to know that she has moved into her own apartment. This is something she has hoped for and has now been able to do. Her address is 6117 Bliley, Richmond, Va 23225. She has a phone and the number is 804-840-3727.
The Phlegars plan to be gone for a few weeks visiting their son. The Halls will return near the end of the month after being in Texas.
The Sunday morning adult class is being taught for the next few weeks by Del Bolin, with Mike Branch filling in when Del is gone. The discussions have been both interesting and a valuable look at scripture. You’ll enjoy it if you come.


If you take the title of this article literally, don’t. I know a losing cause when I see one. However, it is important, I think, to have some sense of how to read the Bible and understand it. It’s called “hermeneutics” And one hot issue is usually how the Bible is inspired.
For most of us it has been divided into two main groups: Those who believe every word in the Bible was spoken and directed by God, via the Holy Spirit, and therefore, is literally true in all areas of science and history. Some may even include medicine as well.
The second group says God inspired the Bible’s human authors to deliver God’s message to the world, but the expression of the message was in their own words in the literary and cultural style of their own time; and that it is a spiritual book, not a scientific book. The purpose of the Bible is to reveal the nature of God to those who, by faith, seek to follow its teachings.
Obviously, those two groups are Jews and Christians, and therefore, what teachings are followed vary from the Old and New Testament.
For those who seek to understand the structure of the Bible’s inspiration, especially the New Testament, there is no better place to start than in Luke’s gospel. There he writes, “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”
Luke says his gospel came from eyewitnesses and his own research. That is in stark contrast to the idea that he somehow heard the Spirit of God telling him what to write.
In I Corinthians 7:12, Paul says, “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer, and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.” The same thought goes on for two more verses.
In v. 25 ff he says he has no command from the Lord about unmarried (virgin) women. But he says he believes his judgement is trustworthy.
Finally, my personal favorite. Hebrews 2:6. “But there is a place where someone has testified” and he quotes from Psalm 8. Wouldn’t God (the Holy Spirit) know where he wrote that?
So, what’s this all about? It’s about a lot of things, but mostly the younger generation.
We live in a time of amazing and rapidly changing technology and understanding. Humans, from the time they are born want answers about everything, and that’s a good thing. That’s how we grow. However, rapid scientific advances have created a whole new area of questions about God and the Bible. Something isn’t true simply someone says it is true. If it’s true, it has to meet certain tests. Those tests do not deny faith. Faith is something which is a realization, and we continue to make those leaps of faith based on the experience of others. That’s why Paul and the Old Testament say things like, “By faith so and so did something.” Those are examples of faith. However, each step of faith has its own unknown events and possibilities.
In this age of inquiry, not all questions can be answered. That’s not the problem. The problem is when the answer given will not hold up under examination,
such as the meaning of inspiration. Does “God’s word” mean the actual words spoken by God, or God’s word as presented by inspired Godly men and women?
Inspiration is not denied by understanding that those who wrote scripture, wrote it in the historical and cultural understanding of their time. So in order to receive the great truths of scripture, we have to separate them from the limits of the historical time in which they were written. We might keep in mind all those like Galileo Galilei, who were called heretics because they challenged a belief, based on scripture, such as that the earth was the center of the universe.

CONCERNS: Jim Hunter had tests on a lymph node last week and began chemotherapy on Thursday.. Bill Branch is doing well. Betty Billings remains in Raleigh Court Health Care Canter, room 112A. She is slowly regaining her strength. Bill Albert’s son, David, remains on a list to receive a liver transplant. He lives in New Jersey. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas has leukemia. Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary. (MS) Betty Foy’s sister, Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson and Gil Richardson. Rich Crites, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Ridney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder, Mary Smith and Mrs. Mataro. Wayne Flora’s postmaster, Todd Baumgardner is doing well after a kidney and pancreas transplant.

Monday: Psalm 119:1-24
Tuesday: Matthew 12:22-37
Wednesday: Revelation 3:14-22
Thursday: Galatians 2:11-21
Friday: John 15:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 112:1-10
Monday: Psalm 48:1-14
Tuesday: Romans 11:33-12:8
Wednesday: Matthew 15:29-39
Thursday: Luke 15:1-10
Friday: Galatians 6:1-10
Saturday: Psalm 19:1-14

There will be an Easter Egg Hunt after Sunday’s service for all the little children in the yard by the annex. Holly Wagner will meet with the children and get them started.
Since this is Easter Sunday, and often we get “decked out” a little more on Easter, it would be a great day to have your picture taken for the new directory. That’s true regardless of what you are wearing. See Erma if she hasn’t lined you up for a picture.
After spending forty days (minus weather related time off) the adult class has concluded the study and reading of the New Testament set in book style. For the next month or so, Del Bolin will be teaching the class. He will be asking us to examine the scriptures in relationship to who we are here at Roanoke. He started last Sunday and the discussion was very informative. It would be a good time to start coming if you haven’t been.
Several projects around the building can now be started easier since the weather is warming. These are things that involve the inside of the building, but are easier to do if they can be taken outside to do. We want to replace a front pew with one that was removed from the back when the handicapped restroom was built. It has a crack all the way down the middle where the boards have separated. We also want to trim down another pew so it can be put back in the back. We have those who will do most of these jobs, but may need a little man power to get them done. A time will be announced soon. Also, we may need to have a “spring cleaning day for outside the building before the weather gets hotter.
We all realize how hard it is to break something which is not a tradition, but the way it has been done for a long time. We’ve made several attempts to change the way the servers come forward. Please come forward during the last stanza of the communion song. It helps the one who presides at the table. It would also help if the song leader would remind those who are serving when the song is announced


Every time I reflect back on the events we know as the Civil Rights Movement, I think about how people with Bible in hand, coming from their respective Christian churches, went out to spew racial hatred. How does that happen?
We know how it happens. No child is born prejudiced. Prejudice is taught, either by the mouth or by actions. Sometimes unintentional (and intentional) standards are set. There can be subtle insinuations that one color is better than another. Is the white, driven snow actually pure? The idea that the bride wears white to represent her purity, according to research, started around the 20th century. Historically, in some countries, brides wore white as a sign of wealth.
Biblically speaking, “dark” or “black” is beautiful and mysterious. In the “Song of Songs” (The Song of Solomon, which is not about the church), the exotic lover is dark skinned. Likewise, the list of dark-skinned people in the Bible is notable, and there is no noticeable disparagement of them due to color. Anyone interested in such a list can find an abundance of material on the internet.
The various historical ideas about the origin of black being associated with evil are too involved to go into here. However, that there is discrimination based on feelings of superiority and inferiority based on culture or color, is deeply and insidiously imbedded in human history. It is still very much part of the present. Think the University of Oklahoma fraternity.
One of the troubling things about the history of segregation in the US is how long it took (and takes) to really work on it, as well as Christian (?) opposition to it. In 1954, President Eisenhower signed the bill to integrate the public school system. It would be three years before any action was taken in segregated areas. Then, in 1957, Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas saw, under federal protection, its first black students.
Meanwhile, in states like Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, to name the more notable ones, nothing was done. This, along with the general unrest among the black population of those states, led by such men as Martin Luther King Jr., caused a movement for to be born.
As I watched the memorial ceremony at the Edmund Pettus Bridge last week, I remembered one of the things I heard said during those years, while being many miles away.
If you happen to be in Selma, there is only one memorial to a person involved in the Civil Rights Movement there. It is to Viola Gregg Liuzzo. You can read her story on any internet encyclopedia. In short, she was a thirty-nine year old white woman who went to Selma to shuttle those who would take part in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March. While doing that, she was seen with a black marcher in her car by four members of the KKK. They chased her down and shot and killed her. She was married, and a mother of five children.
Here’s what I heard about her from those around me. She got what she deserved because she should have stayed in Detroit. She went there to sleep with black men. As a woman she had no business being a Civil Rights activist, especially since she was from the north. I never heard one good word about her from Christian and non-Christian alike. Her death was her own fault.
However, had she gone to Africa with a religious group and was murdered by the locals for interfering with their way of life by educating girls, she would have been considered by most, a martyr. Some, of course, would say she was not wise taking such a risk, especially if she were the mother of children. Such decisions made by those who are called to take such risks always causes the cautious to wonder. And I admit to being one of them. But I thank God for such people. They are the world changers.
At the Selma bridge, speeches were made about how far we have come since Bloody Sunday. Those advances are thankfully obvious. But even without the speeches saying the work is not finished, we see it on the news media every day. It is a sad truth, that the deaths of those of color, does not resonate the same in the world as do those considered white. (Let each one examine themselves.)
The stress I feel for history, is the place the religious of all kinds have had in it. It is easy to point the finger at any radical group. The problem is to me, that each one of them may be reading from the same (spiritual) guide book. For those of us from a Judo/Christian background, we see people reading the same words and arriving at different conclusions. The Jewish leaders who rejected Jesus’ teaching read from the same works as did he. In some ways, this may be expected, and even understood, at least in some areas. However, when the discussion evolves around the worth of the person or persons, there can be little room for differences. The Bible makes that very clear. Except for some, the clarity is still not the same as it is for others
How could the black race be tied to the curse of Ham? I heard that in my early life and I suspect that it is still around. A close look at the text from Genesis 9:25 shows that it was not Ham, but his son, Canaan, who was cursed. That did not keep an early body of Jewish writings from saying the black race was the cursed race. (See various internet sites)
The constant issue for followers of Jesus is to be as sure as we can, that what he taught is not lost in our own prejudices and presuppositions. Just take the Sermon on the Mount and discuss each teaching and see how easy it is to water them down to fit our own interests. At any time in any discussion about the ethics and teachings of Jesus, the explanations can be worlds apart. And yet, for most, Paul saying that everyone should submit to the governing authorities, (Rom. 13:1) is crystal clear. But that’s what the Selma marchers didn’t do, and those troopers who beat them did. Which do you think was doing the will of God?
CONCERNS: Betty Billings (Keith’s sister) is in Raleigh Court Health & Rehabilitation Center. She is in room 112, bed A. Bill Branch had successful heart surgery and is now home recovering. Bill Albert’s son, David, is now at home, and is on a kidney transplant list. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, (leukemia) Kim Hall’s friend, Mary (MS) Betty Foy’s sister, Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Rich Crites, Jim Hunter, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Ridney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder, Mary Smith, Mrs Mataro and Todd Baumgardner.

Monday: Jeremiah 31:23-34
Tuesday: I Corinthians 11:17-34
Wednesday: ACTS 6:1-7
Thursday: Matthew 5:21-48
Friday: Psalm 119:129-152
Saturday: Psalm 67:1-7
Monday: Psalm 40
Tuesday: John 8:48-59
Wednesday: Philippians 2:14-30
Thursday: Ephesians 2:1-22
Friday: John 19:1-16
Saturday: Colossians 1:3-20

Joel Pack will make a short presentation about the work of the Gideons International as they place Bible throughout the world. Those who wish to contribute to that may do so in the foyer after the service.
Today is also Super Sunday. This once a month fellowship meal brings us even closer together as a family. Plan to stay. A special invitation is extended if you are visiting with us today.
Occasionally we are told when people will be away for more than just a weekend. Vivian Dugan will be with her daughter on the coast for the rest of the month while Kathy and Jeff are in Italy.
Jeff Forsyth will be in Boone NC for the a few weeks as part of his training. Karissa is there this weekend.
We are nearing the end of reading the New Testament in book form and out of the traditional order. If you have not been part of it and have the book, come and share what you learned.
You may have noticed that someone took out a section of our fence. This was a dumb thing that had nothing to do with the snow.
Wayne Flora, who installed it way back when, says we can repair it ourselves. He can purchase the needed material when the weather warms and we will plan a day when it can be fixed.
With the approaching of warmer weather, Erma likes to use natural light for the directory pictures. She will be asking you on nice days if you will have your new picture taken. Once the process starts, if you want to wear something special for the picture, just know that from now on, on nice Sundays, you may have the directory picture taken.
ALSO: Erma needs some help with a program she is putting on here in the annex. If you can help see her for the date and details.


In 1961 or 1962, the Bering Drive Church of Christ was formed in Houston, TX. Its first minister, Pat Harrell, was my mentor. He died of cancer at fifty years old, after serving for several years as the Director of the Institute for Christian Studies. Now the Austin Graduate School of Theology. For years after his death I’d received the bulletin, “Bering Today”, with its catchy double-meaning title. I no longer do. However, over the years several ministers have served that church. One of them was Bill Love. Bill also died young from the result of a stroke.
In one of Bill’s bulletins (as I remember) he was talking about his daughter moving to Cincinnati. He was talking to her about churches. She said, “Remember dad, today it’s about relationship.”
I thought about that during these last weeks of freezing cold and snow. We had to cancel on the 15th due to the frigid cold, and then on the 22nd because of a late Saturday snow.
Like many of my age, my memories of church was not about relationship. That is not to say there were no relationships built at church. There were. But the main thrust of church was obedience to God. Attendance was checked, primarily so there would be no backsliding.
As an act of obedience, church attendance was to be endured, like it or not, and I don’t mean that from a child’s point of view. Church was just done. Period. Which is not to say it was bad. It wasn’t, at least most of the time. However, church fights always stand out more than the good things which happen.
What I’m talking about is, if we had to close due to the weather, (which was seldom because it was in the city of Cincinnati) it seemed to be more about either displeasing God, or not caring enough about God. As a child, neither of those things entered my mind, any more than when school was closed.
Neither do those feelings trouble me today. My first and second thoughts when we have to cancel church are not about God’s displeasure, or guilt that I’m slacking off. My first thought is about relationship. I miss being with the people who make up my faith fellowship. I’ve found, as have you, that there is a void in my life when I am not with those who worship together here. There is a sense of emptiness in the week that follows, like something is missing. Is it that God is not around? No. God is everywhere. It is that those I know who bring a special meaning to my life are not there in the same way as they are when we are together.
I am reminded of the title and opening line from one of John Donne’s poems, No man is an island. “No man is an island, Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
Since he was also awarded an honorary degree in Theology, one might assume the line and title was influenced by Paul’s statement in Romans 14:7. “For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.” Of course, Donne was reading that from the King James vernacular, which carries the meaning more toward his point in the poem.
I think Paul and Donne caught the flavor of life. It is lived in its fullest when it is shared with others in a mutual love and respect. Ideally, the Church should be the lighthouse which guides people to such a place.
I’m not playing “My church is better than your church” when I say I’m glad to be part of a church that shines a light of welcome to all people. A church who’s atmosphere is such that when we are not together, something is missing from our lives.
After the announcement that once again we were going to have to cancel the service, some of you emailed me about needing their ‘fix”. There was one who said we should develop skype, so we could all be together. Another talked about the sermon on video. The last one lacks the essential ingredient; being together. As Susan Jordan said a few years ago, “I know God loves me, but I need to feel some flesh.”

CONCERNS: Betty Billings, Keith Wagner’s sister, is in the Raleigh Court Health Care Center. She is in Room 112A She will be there at least three weeks. Roger Fisher got a good report from some tests. Bill Albert’s son, David, is still in very serious condition. Good news. Wayne Flora’s postmaster, Todd Baumgardner, received both a kidney and a pancreas transplant and is doing well. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas (leukemia), Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary (MS), Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Rich Crites, Jim Hunter Deana McRoy, Stephanie Ridney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, TimElder, Mary Smith and Mrs. Mataro.

Monday: John 10:1-18
Tuesday: Matthew 13:24-33
Wednesday: Psalm 90:1-17
Thursday: Luke 14:15-24
Friday: Amos 5:18-6:1
Saturday: Psalm 71:1-24
Monday: Matthew 7:7-11
Tuesday: Romans 3:21-31
Wednesday: James 2:1-12
Thursday: Mark 2:1-12
Friday: I Peter 1:3-12
Saturday: Psalm 105:1-45

Just a reminder since we have had to cancel services two weeks in a row due to the weather, if you are part of this Sunday morning study, read Matthew, and be prepared to discuss why Matthew uses the “Kingdom of Heaven” so many times, rather than the “Kingdom of God”. Coffee time is at 9:15 and the class starts at 9:30.
Melisha Scruggs is now with Richfield Wellness & Rehab in Salem. She will also be moving closer to her work there soon.
The weather has delayed the taking of new pictures for the directory. Neither has Erma been able to fact-check all the information to be sure we have it right. Hopefully she will be in touch with some more of you on Sunday. In the mean time, if a birthday or anniversary is missed in the bulletin please call attention to it.
Since we’ve been talking about how the weather has upset things, add the work to restructure the return air vent in the adult classroom. The heating and air conditioning folks have also been very busy helping people who lost their heat during this cold spell. So because their needs are more important than something we’ve put up with for maybe fifty years, work will start as soon as possible.
Our involvement with the Ronald McDonald House continues and several “new” folks from here have recently gone and helped prepare the Sunday evening meal, as well as interacting with the parents of the children who are in the hospital. Each person who goes who has not been there before should take a tour. It will make you feel good that such a modern and well equipped place is available to parents during a time when a child may just be hanging to life in the neonatal unit. Thanks for all of you who have helped and had the experience of what the Ronald McDonald House is all about. And if you haven’t gone, do so.


In a recently discovered document found in an ancient Greek church, there is a record of a council meeting among early church leaders concerning wrinkles in doctrine.
It appears to have taken place after the death of Paul and most, if not all, of the original twelve apostles. The date may have been near the end of the first century. The issue is the authentic message of Christianity. In a word: What was the gospel?
The first issue (at least in what was left of the original document) appears to be the introduction of Luke and Acts. A man named Festus is recorded as saying: “Does anyone know anything about this fellow named, “Luke”? He also recorded the writings called The Acts of The Apostles. Reading it makes one think he was influenced by both Peter and Paul. The problem is, he never once, in either writing, has Jesus or any preacher say Jesus died for our sins.”
Someone named Justus asked, “What about the place where Luke recorded the last supper? It says Jesus said about the Passover bread, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ And again with the cup; ‘This is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’ What do you do with that?”
“Jesus said the bread was his body, given for them. If he meant for their sins, why not say so? And the cup was to bind a new covenant. Nothing was said about his blood and sin. The covenant was like any other covenant ratified with a blood offering.
“When God made covenant with Abraham, the blood sacrifice had nothing to do with Abraham’s sin or lack there of. It was God’s promise to bless him and his decedents. Even the offering of Isaac was not about sin.
“The Passover lamb was not a sacrifice for Israel’s sins. It was the final sign of deliverance from Egypt.
“Even the blood sprinkled on the people by Moses to ratify the covenant at Sinai had nothing to do with their sin. It was about their promise to keep the law of God. So why are we to believe Jesus was talking about sin, but didn’t say it? ”
Justus interjected, “What about Matthew? He says Jesus said it was for the forgiveness of sins.”
“That’s right. But what about those who haven’t read Matthew? How many people died without connecting Jesus death to their sins? So, what about the Acts of the Apostles?”
“It covers about thirty years, and not once does it mention Jesus’ death as a sacrifice for sin. Twice he says that through Jesus forgiveness of sins comes, but nothing about through his blood.
“Even when Paul was in Athens, his sermon on Mars Hill said nothing about Jesus death and sin. He said Jesus was the one God had sent as judge of the world, and the proof of that was that God raised him from the dead.”
A third fellow named Petros asked, “What about Peter’s sermon to that Gentile named Cornelius? He never mentions death on the cross as a sacrifice for sin. He tells Cornelius that God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and appointed him to judge the living and the dead. He never says his death on the cross was a sacrifice for sin, even though he does say belief in Jesus brings forgiveness of sin, but does not say it was because of Jesus being a sacrifice.
“Then there’s the issue of God honoring Cornelius’ prayers and gifts to the poor. Does God honor anyone’s righteous prayers and gifts to the poor, or just Cornelius? If it’s just Cornelius, doesn’t that make God a respecter of persons, as Peter said he realized God was not, but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right? And when he talks about the forgiveness of sins, he says the prophets said it would be through his name, not his blood.”
“What about the letters of Paul?’ , said Justus. “He mentions that Jesus’ death was a ransom from death. He also says salvation comes through Jesus. In some letters he does speak of the sacrificial blood of Jesus. And most of the churches that are growing are those beyond the boarders of Judaism. Even we are Gentile converts. So it might be safely said that Paul’s teaching is accepted as authoritative for the church.”
“True, “said Petros. “I’m not worried about the teaching of atonement. My concern is being sure when we can get all these writings together, that the atoning act of Jesus does not become the definition of all Jesus was and did.
“The writings of Mark, Luke, Matthew and John tell the story of Jesus, and none of them center the story on Jesus’ as a sacrifice for sin.
“As I see it, They saw his death as the way God would fulfill the promise of the kingdom of God on earth, just as all the prophets had predicted. Of course, the prophets, and just about everyone else who spoke from the Spirit of God, said the Messiah would redeem Israel. They envisioned a society where the Messiah would bring about Justice and the end of oppression for the poor and all people. Even Jesus, in his first sermon, said he was the one Isaiah was talking about when he wrote, ‘The spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind and to release the oppressed.’ That was his purpose for coming.”
“But it didn’t happen”, said Festus.
“Yes it did,” said Petros. “He gave his life to bring about the kingdom of God, here on earth, as it is in Heaven. And if we look at the church we can see how it is to be done. It is a community where no one goes hungry or without clothing, and all are seen as equals. That’s the good news. And as I see it, we have to be sure, as the years pass, that Christians not forget Jesus’ purpose and end up throwing him out with the baptismal water.”

CONCERNS: Bill Albert’s son, David, is near death due to kidney and liver failure. He lives in New Jersey. Bill is dealing with a detached retina. Remember those who have lost loved ones recently. T. J. Hall is dealing with some heart issues. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas has leukemia. Teryn Gaynor’s sister’s tests came out well. Betty Foy’s sister, Sue Huels, Kim Hall’s friend, Mary has MS. Remember also Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Rich Crites, Jim Hunter’s toe is getting much better. Deana McRoy, Stephanie Ridney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder, Mary Smith, Mrs. Mataro, and Todd Baumgardner.

Monday: Acts 17:16-34
Tuesday: Colossians 3:1-17
Wednesday: John 11:17-44
Thursday: Romans 4:1-8;5:1-11
Friday: I Thess. 5:12-28
Saturday: Psalm 118:1-29
Monday: Psalm 46
Tuesday: John 14:1-11
Wednesday: Psalm 23
Thursday: Isaiah 26:1-4
Friday: Matthew 5:1-16
Saturday: I John 2:7-11, 15-17

Erma has the list and she’s checking it twice. She will be asking small groups of us to meet with her to verify the directory information you placed on the cards. Things like addresses, phone numbers and email can change in a matter of days. So we want to be sure we have the very latest information as we start the directory.
You will soon be asked to have your picture taken. The outdoors has been used, but due to the weather an alternate place is being sought. Have any ideas? See Erma.
This Sunday, Feb. 15, is Super Sunday. At this moment, it looks to be the coldest Sunday of the year. So you can be sure a nice roaring fire will be built in the fireplace, as well as good warm food on the table. Plan to stay and enjoy a warm place with warmhearted folks.
For a number of years we have been talking about having someone justify and verify our accounting system. Susan Jordan has been doing that, and has agreed to continue to do so. Thanks Susan.
As soon as we can be worked into the schedule, our heating and cooling and maintenance folks will start the improvement of the air flow in the large basement classroom. As it is, the noise from the air flow vent makes it very hard to hear during a class. It will be enclosed and vented into the hallway. This will not only stop the noise, but do a much better job circulating the air.
It is nice to see an increased number of folks attending Sunday School and getting involved in reading the New Testament as if it were written like a book. The discussions have been both interesting and beneficial.
Remember, 9:15 is a coffee/tea time. The class will start at 9:30.
If you enjoy inspirational movies, you might enjoy “McFarland USA”. It’s the true story of coach Jim White. Jim and his family are members of the Church of Christ.


In an amazing and unusual discovery, a small segment from the gospel of Luke was found stuffed in the face mask of a dead third century Pharaoh. It seems material for mummification is hard to come by, so any piece of parchment will do. In this case, it was a lost part of the gospel of Luke. Luckily, with my secret informant in Cairo, Abdul Bar Nero, I have been allowed to share it with my readers. It follows Jesus’ story of the Samaritan Jesus used as an example of someone who lived out the commandment to love one’s neighbor as oneself, as found in Luke 10. It is as follows.
As Jesus and his disciples made their way to Bethany, a discussion arose among them concerning the Samaritan. They were afraid to speak to Jesus about the matter, because Jesus had seemed so clear about his reason to tell the story. James was the first to speak. “I don’t know about you brothers, but I’m having trouble with that Samaritan story the Master told back there.”
“Tell me about it brother!” said John. “We just got tossed out of one of their villages, which is the highest social insult, and he says their kind can have eternal life! He wasn’t born yesterday! He knows they are heretics who are not part of the people of God. That was settled centuries ago!”
Peter said, “Look, maybe it was just one of those shock stories he uses to put somebody in their place. You know how those experts in the law are. You know he was just trying to make Jesus look bad. Don’t take it seriously. Once a Samaritan always a Samaritan.”
Matthew said, “Well, if I ever decide to tell about our adventure with the Master, I’m not going to tell about that guy! If we’re going to have any credibility as followers of the Messiah, we can’t be aligned with Samaritans! It would make Ezra and Nehemiah turn over in their graves! They wouldn’t even let the returning exiles keep the wives they married in Persia.”
“Forget all that,” said Judas. “What are we supposed to do if Jesus meant what he said? You let the camel stick his head in the tent and the next thing you know, you’ve got the whole camel! Do you know what this will do to the purity of Judaism? Okey, so you treat a Samaritan the way you’d want him to treat you. Then what if he invites you over for dinner? It’s one thing to treat them right, but it’s another to socialize with them. You’ve seen the signs on the hostels that say ‘Jews only’. And those Samaritan women! Would you want your son to marry one?”
Andrew said, “I know what you mean. The rabbi’s say the devil lives in Samaritan women.”
Peter said, “Quiet down! Jesus is starting to wonder why we are lagging behind. Let’s get something straight. Jesus just said we had to treat them right. He didn’t say anything about eating with them. He didn’t say we had to worship with them. All he said was if we found one beaten up, we should help. That’s all. You have to be careful not to see more in what the Master said than he actually said. When Jesus says something, don’t add to it. All we have to do is treat Samaritans right. We do not have to believe they are the same as us. You just let them know there is a line that can’t be crossed.”
Andrew said, “But what if Jesus means this is how it will be in the coming kingdom? What if he meant everybody? You know, Gentiles?”
“That will never happen,” said Peter. “And if that’s what Jesus meant, it will take centuries. You can’t make changes quickly.
Bartholomew was listening to the rest of them and finally spoke. “But what about the lawyer’s question? He asked what he could do to have eternal life. The Master said the Samaritan did what it takes to have eternal life. That was the question. Remember? It seems to me the Master is basing relationship with God on how we relate to others, not rules and teachings. I think he said the Samaritan did what it takes to have eternal life.”
James said, “Bart, you’ve been eating too many fermented grapes…”
The text broke off at that point.

CONCERNS: Teryn Thompson as asked prayers for her sister as she has tests. Judy Hall hurt her back, and T. J.’s heart has been monitored. Remember those who have had to deal with recent losses. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, (leukemia) Kim Hall’s friend, Mary (MS) Betty Foy’s sister, Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson and Gil Richardson. Jim Hunter is making some progress. Rich Crites, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood. Remember also Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder, Mary Smith, and Mrs Mataro, and Wayne Flora’s postmaster, Todd Baumgardner, who is awaiting a kidney transplant.

Monday: Joshua 4:14-18
Tuesday: Acts 9:1-9
Wednesday: James 5:1-18
Thursday: I John 5-2:6
Friday: Hebrews 12:1-14
Saturday: Psalm 38:1-18

Monday: Job 38:1-18
Tuesday: Isaiah 25:1-5
Wednesday: Psalm 37:1-17
Thursday: Luke 18:35-19:10
Friday: John 18:1-14
Saturday: Hebrews 13:1-21

The new directory is being formulated. If you have not turned in an information card, the information about you will be taken from the old copy.
Pictures for the new one will be scheduled soon.
We’ve learned that Nathan Beach got married. He and his new bride live in Spain. Joni was able to fly over for the wedding. We wish them the very best.
Dear Roanoke Family
Where do I begin? First, thank you for the spectacular floral arrangement you sent to Oakey’s. Mom would have loved it! Flowers were such an integral part of her life; such a lovely arrangement was truly a fitting tribute.
Thanks also to everyone who provided all the delicious food after the funeral. We were reminded of your love for us with every bite.
Finally, words cannot express the depth of my gratitude for the ongoing love and support you have shown me and my family throughout our journey with mom, most especially during these last difficult months. Your prayers buoyed us, your words encouraged us, your offers of help warmed our hearts and your hugs reminded us we were not alone. We remain forever grateful.
Love you all, Leena and family
For years the adult classroom has been plagued with noise from a recirculating air vent in the back wall. No one is sure why it was placed there. In the coming weeks it will be vented along the wall and out into the hallway. This will take away the noise as well as provide better and more efficient air circulation.
We are in the third week of the adult class where we are reading the New Testament as if it were written in book form, with Luke and Acts being read first. If you want to take part and need a book see Mike Branch or Susan Jordan.


Some of you reading this do not know Sheila Robertson. Hopefully you will know her a little better if you read this.
The picture in her obituary said it all, and if you saw it, you would understand. There she was, in her red tinted wig, the one she wore to the Christmas party. What it said was, “Here is a free spirit.” And that’s what Sheila was. Both she and Ben had their own motorcycles. Her’s was one of those beauties with two wheels on the front.
She was not about frills and things like that. She was, first of all, about people, or as Ben said, “Fellowship.” If you said “Party” Sheila said, “Where?” She introduced more than a few people to Tai food restaurants, which was one of her favorite foods.
She drew people out of their shells and made them feel valued. She accepted people for what they were. That did not mean she didn’t want to help them grow into a better person, but she loved them as they were.
She had a strong conviction about right and wrong, but it was primarily on the level of how people judged and prejudged others. If you were hurting, she was there to help, not judge. I never heard her even get close to making a judgmental, or prejudiced remark about someone based on color, sexuality, nationality, race, ethnicity, religion or politics. Did she have opinions? Yes. But if you disagreed, she let you, even if down deep inside she thought she was right. What was known was that her feelings were based on what she really believed was best for you. But if you didn’t agree, that didn’t cause her to not care about you. I don’t think there was much of anything she wouldn’t do to help man or beast.
I first met her and Ben at Camp Alta Mons. Their daughter, Darci, was attending with some other young folks from Blacksburg, where the Robertsons were worshiping at the time. One night during the week was skit, or talent night, and parents were invited.
In a skit developed by some kids from one of the attending congregations, a girl was selected from the group to participate. At some point she was asked to get down on her hands and knees and simulate a dog, and obey the commands of her master, the boy who developed the skit. I was uneasy with what I saw developing, but I was not the director that year, and, in situations like that, we sometimes foolishly expect someone else to do what we should do ourselves. So I watched, hoping it would end quickly. But it didn’t.
Sheila and Ben were there, and Sheila called out the youth minister from Blacksburg and we could hear her doing what we should have done, except she was doing it louder. Needless to say, from that point on every skit had to be approved and meet certain standards.
If I needed something to describe Sheila, I’d say she was gold, coated with brass. She was up front with everything she did. She’d toss her head and gave a wave of the hand, and said what she thought. It might have been seen as flippant, but it wasn’t. It was her way of expressing her thinking and letting you know it was not going to be a serious problem if you didn’t agree.
I’m not sure how, or even why, but she found a favorite pew. Don’t we all? But the end cap on this one, again, I don’t know how or why, was not glued down. So on Sunday mornings when I stopped by to greet her, I always lifted the cap, and she would smile and look at me as if to say, “Of course.”
She died on Saturday afternoon, January 10. The next day, Sunday, we spent time remembering her and mourning together. The pew end cap was removed as a symbol of her absence. After a period of reflection and memory, it will be permanently attached.
Sheila had a sense about who needed her help. Her ability to do that came from her accepting attitude for the person. She and Ben believed that everyone should be welcomed regardless of where they were, or who they were on life’s journey, and she had a keen sense about the underdog, the left-outs and the overlooked. They were her people.
An avid reader, about four years ago she volunteered at the Williamson Road Branch of the Public Library. The first thing I was told when I talked to them was that she brought them so much joy and laughter. There was no doubt about how loved she was, because each thing I was told was told holding back tears.
They said Sheila always brought treats. (Remember her nickname was the “Cookie lady.) She prepared the story-time materials and crafts. She loved preparing the children’s programs and the Halloween Party. She helped with what is called the “Send List,” which involved sending materials to other libraries. She hated it. But she did it, allowing her dislike for it to become a source of laughter.
She arrived early so she could sit around talk and have fun before the library opened. It was a joke, one accidently repeated and soundly reminded, that they would lock her out. It seems that sometimes they would forget to unlock the back door so she could come in. Of course, she let them know about how they didn’t want her.
All of those who worked with her at the library said she was so much fun, so helpful and so willing to do whatever they asked, and that the children’s program was her favorite thing to do, other than bringing them treats. For those of you who know Sheila, I was also told she introduced them to exotic food places in Roanoke.
In all years the Robertsons have been with us I don’t think they missed a fellowship meal. Sheila loved being with people . She and Ben were part of the Peaks of Otter hike and picnic each October. No matter how cold, they were there.
One of the symbols of heaven is a party, a feast with all the others who are there. Sheila will be a grand addition to that and will bring both joy and laughter.

CONCERNS: Keep Ben Robertson in your prayers as he deals with Sheila’s death. Helen Nicklas’ health is rapidly failing. Keep the Bolin’s in your prayers. Leena’s aunt, Lee Nicklas is also being treated for leukemia. Remember also, Roger Fisher, Betty Foy’s sister, Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson and Rich Crites. Jim Hunter is having diabetes related issues and is hopeful for good medical results. Keep Deana McRoy in your prayers that her aggressive cancer does not return. Kim Hall’s friend, Mary, who has MS. Also Stephanie Ridney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder, Mary Smith, Mrs Matara and Tom Baumgardner, as he awaits a kidney transplant.

Monday: Genesis 28:10-22
Tuesday: Matthew 18:1-14
Wednesday: Luke 5:1-12
Thursday: II Samuel 12:15-25
Friday: Acts 19:23-41
Saturday: Psalm91:1-16

Monday: Genesis 2:1-14
Tuesday: Matthew 3:1-17
Wednesday: I Thess. 3:1-13
Thursday: Matthew 2:28-44
Friday: II Peter 1:16-2:10
Saturday: Psalm 33:1-22

The congregation was shaken and saddened by the sudden death of Sheila Robertson, who died suddenly after non-life threatening surgery on Saturday.
Our hearts go out to Ben and all the family during this time of grief and loss. The funeral was Thursday. Much of her eulogy makes up the article in the bulletin. ALSO: To Jo Wagner, who’s brother-in-law, John Powell, died on the 7th in Florence, SC.
The Community Bible Study Class got off to a great start last Sunday. More chairs needed to be brought in, and several more are expected today.
The process is to read through the New Testament in forty days. The text is set in book form, without chapter and verse. The structure is to read in something of a chronological order, starting with the book of Luke, then Acts, and so on. It involves reading eleven pages a day, and then in the class discussing what was read, and concentrating on five questions about the text. If you haven’t started, you may come at any time, but the sooner the better. All materials are available. See Susan Jordan
Susan Jordan has agreed to come in each month to check and rectify the financial situation via QuickBooks. We have been wanting someone to do this for some time, so thanks, Susan
We have only one or two more directory cards that have not yet been turned in. So we can anticipate starting the new directory at least by the end of the month. At this point, Keith will contact those who have not yet turned in a card. Pictures will start soon.
Kevin Cornett and his wife are hosting a Pampered Chef party. If you are interested, a card is on the table in the foyer with the time and place.
Today 1/18 is Super Sunday. Hopefully there will be enough dry wood for us to have a nice warm fire in the fireplace. Plan to stay for the fellowship meal following the service..


“Okey you guys, come in and take a seat at the table.
“As you know, we’re putting a New Testament together. The four of you were chosen to each write an account of Jesus’ life. What you’ve turned in has been proofread, and today we want to do some final editing.
“Mark, were you late for a dinner date or something? No mention of Jesus’ birth or anything about his childhood? Just jump right in with John the baptizer?”
“I wanted to get to the point. The point is that Jesus came, tried to teach the will of God and he was killed for it. Right?”
“I suppose. But you’re not much on miracles either, or the sermon on the mount, or on the plain. I thought the one about Blind Bartimaeus was good. It had a lot more going for it than met the eye. At least you got the transfiguration in, but the crucifixion story was a little lean.”
“Well, the transfiguration story was big. Some of them almost didn’t believe it. But the crucifixion was more about the resurrection than his death, in my opinion.”
“One last point. What is it with all this ‘immediately” stuff? I counted at least thirty-nine of them”
“Well, as I saw it, Jesus only had three years, so I wanted to stress the need to get it done.”
“Right. Matthew, good job on the birth story. But you left out some of Jesus’ ancestors in the genealogy. Can you explain?”
“First, my audience are primarily Jews like me. Genealogy is important to us. Material for scrolls is hard to come by, so I arranged the important ancestors in groups of fourteen, to make it easier to remember.”
“Okey, but you never said why Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and that story about the three magicians, where did that come from?”
“I wanted to be sure Jesus was seen as the king that he was. So I started the bulk of the story when he was about two years old. I used the Egypt story to show that he had also been banished and was called out just as Moses was. Sorry about ‘stretching that passage about “Out of Egypt I have called my son’.”
“I noticed that. Well, a little poetic licence won’t hurt. By the way, the sermon on the mount was great, as was the prayer of Jesus for the disciples.
“Luke! Good work giving the poor and the women their proper place in the Kingdom. However, some of the other guys were a little put off by your introduction. What’s with this ‘It seemed good to me to write an orderly account’? And who’s Theophilus? You were asked to do this for the compiling of four stories about Jesus.”
“Sorry, but I tell it like I see it.”
There was a notable grunt from Matthew and Mark. John just smiled as if he knew something they didn’t. “Fine. I do like the story of the good Samaritan, and that prodigal son story will go down in history.
“You did a commendable job on the crucifixion. Good take on the two thieves, especially the one who asked Jesus to allow him to be in the kingdom. That will keep people talking til time ends.”
“John, John, John, John! John! What is this? ‘In the beginning was the word’? No birth story. No mention of miracles. Everything is a ‘sign’. No Lord’s supper?
“You rushed to the cross like it was all there is. You did pause long enough to tell us about Lazarus. The was a hoot. And the details of the crucifixion. Pretty gory, don’t you think?
“If your story makes it in, it will have an asterias beside it.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. This thing has to be seamless, not all this mismatched stuff. Nobody will believe it’s inspired the way it is. No one will believe one spirit wrote this through four different persons. You can’t have witnesses telling different stories.”
John decided it was time to speak.
“You may remember I wrote about the time Jesus said something like,’If you seek to do the will of God, you will know my teaching is from God.’ (Jn 7:16) It’s not in how it’s written. It’s in how it’s heard.”
And they all said, “Amen!”

CONCERNS: It’s good to see, as we start the new year, that the “Concerns” list is shorter than it has been in a while. So this issue will have a little more information in it about the folks listed. Keep they folks in your prayers. Roger Fisher has asked for our prayers as he deals with some depression during this time of the year. Call him and let him know you’re praying for him. It does help. Elizabeth (Marie) Barnett is still job hunting. Nathan Beach is nearing the end of the period he needs to take it easy due to a heart related issue. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, (leukemia) Also, her mother, Helen, is not doing well. Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary (MS) Sue Huels, Betty Foy’s sister. Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson and Rich Crites. Jim Hunter is having an issue with his big toe, due to diabetes. As of now things are looking better. Debbie McRoy asks that we keep her daughter-in-law, Deana in our prayers. She is cancer free, but it was an aggressive kind. Also Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder, Mary Smith, Mrs Matara, and Todd Baumgardner, who is awaiting a kidney transplant.

Monday: Exodus 1:15-2:10
Tuesday: Mark 1:16-34
Wednesday: Genesis 17:1:21
Thursday: Job 42:1-17
Friday: Luke 4:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 63:1-11
Monday: Psalm 16:1-11
Tuesday: Matthew 20:1-16
Wednesday: Amos 3:12-4:5
Thursday: Hebrew 10:19-39
Friday: Ephesians 5:3-20
Saturday: Psalm148:1-14

Next Sunday, January 11, will be the beginning of a new adult class. You have seen the notices in the foyer, and there will signs in the yard inviting the community to come and join us in a new approach to studying the New Testament.
The format will be similar to a book club, with each student reading a section of the NT at home and then discussing it in a casual setting on Sunday mornings.
Material for the class is in the adult classroom downstairs. You can also see updates on our web site, roanokechurchof
We were saddened to learn of the death of Mary Smith’s brother, Clarence. He died Christmas Eve in Chattanooga, TN
Stephanie Dixon passed al her finals as she takes one more step to becoming a registered nurse. She is in the home stretch. ALSO: The Wagner’s granddaughter,(and Megan Downing’s sister) Melanie, announced her engagement to Preston Thompson. No marriage date has been set.
Today we will adopt the poinsettas which have graced the building during the Christmas season. If you would like to have one, and promise to keep it alive for as long as you can, please take one. If you know someone who would give one a good home, feel free to deliver it to them. NOTE: Please leave the round trays they are in. They are used over and over each year.
We are about five people short in completing the information directory cards. These may seem insignificant, since once all the information is gathered it will be in the directory. However, these cards also contain information about what service you are willing to render, even beyond those of you who will participate in the Sunday worship service.
Once completed, they will be placed in a three-ring binder and will allow the office to let anyone who is looking for a particular talent to call and ask, such as teaching, cooking food, visiting shut-ins or other forms of service. If you are not sure if you’ve turned a card in see Keith.