June 15 eNote from Pastor Jeff

It has been great to reconnect this week after a couple of wonderful weeks of vacation time with family. Over the two weeks that I was gone my family and I covered a lot of miles (Topeka to Fort Collins to Boise to Seattle to Salt Lake City to Topeka to Salina to Topeka). During the journey we laughed together and played together and made memories together with both Heather’s and my extended family.
I am grateful for our wonderful staff team and the work they did in my absence and for Michael and Austin preaching on the Sundays I was gone. We are blessed to have a great team of people leading our congregation in mission and ministry!
Tuesday afternoon this week, I headed to Wichita for this year’s Great Plains Annual Conference. This annual gathering of pastors and lay representatives from each of the United Methodist Churches in Kansas and Nebraska will continue through noon tomorrow and I look forward to being back in worship with you all on Sunday!
In worship this weekend, we continue our “At the Movies” series (don’t forget tonight’s showing of The Incredibles with dinner at 5:30 and the movie and snacks at 6 p.m. in Fellowship Hall). Sunday we will be joined by a special guest preacher in worship. The Rev. Mike Chamberlain came to Topeka First as an Associate Pastor in 1996, was co-Senior Pastor from 1998 to 2000 and then our Senior Pastor from 2000 to 2007. Mike is officially retired as a UM Pastor, but is serving an 18 month interim appointment at National UMC in Washington DC. Mike is back in Kansas for annual conference and was gracious enough to accept the invitation to preach. I am excited to lead worship and to welcome Mike this Sunday. Whether you were a part of Topeka First UMC or not during the time that Mike served I believe you’ll be blessed by his message.
Finally, I have another staffing update to share. Jayna McFarland has accepted a position with the Great Plains Annual Conference and will soon begin working for them full time as their Social Media and Website Specialist. I am sad to see Jayna leave our staff team, but excited for this next step for her. Her last day with us will be next Thursday, June 21st. I invite you to join me in praying for her and her family during this time of transition and to join me in thanking her for her service to this congregations as our Publications Coordinator these last years.

I hope that you have had a great week and look forward to seeing you in worship on Sunday!