Posted in Avondale United Methodist Church, Church, Music

AUMC 100 — Musical Celebration

One of the things that really makes my family feel at home at AUMC is the commitment they have to quality music of a great variety, and using it in a truly integrated way in the worship  and family life of the church community.

Following the Worship Service and the Anniversary Dinner, the day’s events Sunday concluded with a Music Celebration service. The service showed off the breadth and depth of music at Avondale. Various vocals and instrumentals, performed by people from the youngest to the more mature were featured. Music is for everyone, and everyone can be a part of the music, and grow thereby, was the underlying message.

The children led the congregation in “This in the Day” and then sang “Building up the Temple.”

Next in age was the Chime Choir, made up of church youth — formed a little more than a month ago. The did “Fairest Lord Jesus.<

The 1990s/200 Reunion Group did a Medley of “Friend” “Joyful, Joyful and “Sanctuary”

Andrea Sheridan and her brother Blane Dutro did the classic “The Prayer”

The “Tell it Like it is” Reunion Group did “Pass it On”

A Bell Quartet was scheduled to do “The Old Rugged Cross”, but was unable to perform because Sandy Keeney came down with pneumonia.

Other numbers included “In This Very Room” by Ellen Garret and Carol Stewart, representing the choir.

Kim Heft did a clarinet medley of “This is My Father’s World and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”

Former organist Linda Prewitt returned for a harp solo — “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”

While current organist Matt Gender did a prelude — “Sinfonia from Cantata 29” and an Offertory “Medley of Hymns”

The closing was another former organist, David Aschutz, who played “Toccata” from Suite Gothique, Opus 2. That was the same postlude he played in 1979 when the church organ was new to the church.

As you can see, the variety, in age, style, experience, was extremely broad, but unified in the way it represented the life of the church, currently and through the years.


Posted in Avondale United Methodist Church, Church

Near to the Heart of God

In his greeting to the congregation Sunday,, the Rev. Kendall Waller, Heartland District Superintendent for the UMC of Missouri, welcomed everyone and expressed the wish that they would “come back next week for some real preaching.” His self defacement aside, he delivered a very good message to the 300 plus people assembled to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Avondale United Methodist Church.

The title of the sermon was “Near to the Heart of God,” and began with the hymn, “Near to the Heart of God.” But what he did was turn the song on its head, and ask a very pertinent question. We talk about being near to the heart of God, yet more often we are talking about God being near to us. His movement to us. The real question is if we move to Him, seek his heart.

In the middle of the sermon he tells a story from his life — a series of events that gets packed into a short 4 hours, and how that exemplifies the latter movement, and not the former.  It is well worth listening to again. So go ahead and play the above sound track.

Posted in Avondale United Methodist Church, Church, Music

Service Music — 100th Anniversary Celebration

The 100th Anniversary Service was preceded by a lot of musical practice. The musical ministries of the church chose large thematic numbers to practice and feature for the day. Today’s blog is an audio blog, featuring sound clips from the service.

The service started off, as always, with the prelude.  Matt Gender, organist, chose “Festive Trumpet Tune” by David German as his opening.

The next number I wanted to mention was that of the Jubilee Handbell Choir, that did a rendition of “It Is Well With My soul” by Bliss/Moklebust, that included the playing of an excellent violinist, Omari Abdul-Alim.

The choir did a rendition of “Now Thank We All Our God”, arranged by Mark Hayes, with soloist Ellen Garret and Jonathan Lightfoot.

Matt Gender finished with a postlude of “Carillon-Sortie by Henri Mulet.


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A modern Proverbs 31

This is quite a different column than Jonathan (not me) usually writes, but it is a very good meditation and praise of his wife. Well worth following the link and reading the original.


If I wrote Proverbs 31… | Ponder Anew
If I wrote Proverbs 31… October 27, 2014 worship Jonathan Opening Sentences We don’t get Proverbs 31 right. And it’s not fair to women everywhere. We keep telling them that it describes the ideal woman, the measuring stick by which a woman’s…
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AUMC 100th Celebration: Festivities


There was a lot of celebration during the 100th anniversary observance Sunday, October 26, 2014 — both in the formal, ceremonial type, the musical type, and the fellowship type. Writing on the music program, or the service, will take a lot of decompiling to bring out the pieces I want to feature. So today I am going to feature the “fun” stuff.

The “fun” stuff, the meal, was served to some 350 people by a serving staff that showed it had never done more finer. The family style serving of chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans was done at tables nicely decorated with centerpieces featuring anniversary boxes with the logo on top, M&Ms inside, and special anniversary mints that were so well done they were a shame to eat — until you tasted them. Dessert was pumpkin roll and cannoli. So here are a few pictures of the people, the event and the fun.

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Posted in Avondale United Methodist Church, Church

100th Anniversary Weekend — preview with Trunk or Treat



Avondale United Methodist Church has been celebrating its 100th anniversary this year with many events, culminating today in a reenactment of the “walk down the hill” from its original site to the location of its current facilities, followed by a celebratory service, celebratory meal, and afternoon musical program.

But the weekend festivities started Saturday afternoon with the annual Trunk or Treat in the parking lot. 4-5 p.m. Usually the day is cool and chill, and a nice hot apple cider is welcome, along with s’mores. This year neither was offered, and the lack was felt of neither it was so warm.

Here is a pictorial of the event.

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Current expectations are to have another blog or two later this week to report on the festivities of Sunday.

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Why do bicycle trails go to nowhere?

I wanted to get another 20 miles in on the bicycle today. I scheduled to take the bicycle in for its 1,000 mile and winterizing checkup on Tuesday, and I want to actually have 1,000 miles on the odometer. I only had 975. Yesterday I had plotted a course 10 miles east on the flattest course possible. Today I plotted a course 10 miles west on what I hoped was the flattest possible. For both I used Google — yesterday’s course came up “basically flat.” Today’s had something like 300 feet of uphills and 400 feet of downhills.

I noticed that the course Google plotted was more twisting than that for a car. There were segments of 4-lane road that it chose side roads for. The interesting thing was, I got about 5 miles into the course and ran into a closed road. They were pouring concrete and dividers over a quarter-mile segment, that blocked it off in both directions. It was the section that I needed to use to avoid the 4-lane. And yet Google had no idea that this construction, which must have been at least a couple of weeks or a month in progress, was there to chart my course around it.

The sidewalk was open, so I rode my bicycle down the (muddied) sidewalk until the road was usable again. But I got to thinking about whether I wanted to come back this way, and if so, where else would I go to come back? So when I went over a stream and discovered a path next to it, I decided to follow it. That took me, by twists and turns, from near the riverfront up to Vivion Road. I figured I would take Vivion Road back home, only to spot another trail, by another stream, about a quarter-mile along. So I took it. At first it seemed to end another block up, then I noticed where it made a twist around a small park. Suddenly there were miles of it. By the time I got done I was up by 68th street — 10 miles from home with what turned out to be 8 miles left to get home.

Which brings me to the title of this blog. This trail started nowhere and ended nowhere. Perhaps that isn’t true for the people who live along it, but I have to travel a long, unconnected distance to get to it and to get back. You pull up a Google map and ask for it to show bike trails and friendly roads, and you see the same thing. Most of the time when I see a bicycle trail sign, it is going opposite where I want to get to. They design these trails entirely as recreational paths to nowhere. No wonder people don’t use them for any “practical travel.”

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Ikea Merriam

Ikea Merriam opened a little over a month ago. Betsy and I waited until today to make our first visit.

We didn’t get any of the free merchandise offers, but we also didn’t have to wait in line.

We got there when the cafeteria opened at 9:30 a.m. to have the $0.99 breakfast. Two breakfasts plus beverages came up to $3.71. Betsy’s soda/juice was $1.49. My tea was $0.75 and then became free when I joined Ikea Family. So Betsy’s drink cost more than her meal.

It took us just over a half hour to eat, which meant we were ready to go when the store opened at 10 a.m. The whole top floor is a show room with model rooms in a winding pattern going through the various rooms of the house.  There were even a few example of entire houses: 550 sq ft., 390 sq ft, 270 sq ft. They were well done examples, and could be quite comfortable to live in. But we would have to dump a lot of stuff to get ourselves down to that size. For sure, once we got a house that size furnished, we wouldn’t be coming back to Ikea very often to get anything more — there just wouldn’t be room for it.

Besides going oh and ah over various ideas that would never work for our current way of living, or laughing at things that seemed just silly to us, we spent a lot of time testing out chairs. Betsy has tried to find a good chair that she can sit and work in. Everytime she has tried something out at a store, by the time she got it home and used it a week or so, the back support didn’t turn out to work as well as it seemed in the store.

We didn’t find many chairs that hit anywhere near where she needed her back support. One of those was a very plain white chair for $12.50. So I said let’s buy it. We did. It is assembled now.  If it doesn’t work out, we aren’t out that much, and we could even check out the store’s satisfaction policy and possibly get our money back.

After purchasing the chair, and a pack of cinnamon rolls for $4, we took them to the car and came back to the cafeteria for lunch. The day’s special was $3.99 for roasted chicken with vegetables and mashed potatoes. We got two of those, our drinks and a Swedish trio dessert.  Betsy split them in half and tried them first. I am not sure exactly what the trio items were called.  One looked like a bon-bon, but ended up being a chocolate and coconut covered coffee and chocolate flavored cake ball. Betsy had expected more chocolate that coffee.  I tried mine and said “It wasn’t as bad as I expected” (neither of us are coffee fans). The second one was a cookie which I think was a sort of butterscotch type cookie. And the third was what Betsy called a piece of fudge, but I think might have been a piece of chocolate truffle cake.

On the way out I spotted some Saft Blabar — a blueberry drink concentrate.  We picked up some to try — probably as flavoring for the soda stream. Then it was time to drive home, and assemble the chair, which went up easy with the simple instructions. Hasn’t been tried yet.

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Read now, discuss Nov. 8


This is a plug for our book club coming up on November 8, 2014. the Avondale United Methodist Church book club will be meeting at 10 a.m. to discuss Witchfinder, by Sarah Hoyt. We will also have the special pleasure of having the author present — via Skype — to discuss the book with us.

If you are interested in joining us for the discussion, we have a limited number of hard copies available to borrow and read, and some electronic (both Kindle and Nook versions) copies available to lend. Please check and the church library for more information.