In the Kitchen at Whiz Kids

Each and every week, 28 weeks in all, about 50 mostly Servant volunteers, meet at Wesley UMC. They are volunteer drivers, tutors, cooks, staff and administrators. Each one is committed to mentoring at-risk children identified at Edgemere Elementary School. Whiz Kids vision is “Future Success, Powered by Education and a Strong Moral Compass.”

Allison, Guy (who is usually smiling), Sharon & Margy

Not only do the tutors spend an hour and a half reading, playing reading games and other activities with the children, but a full meal is cooked and served to the children as they arrive after school. Guy Ramsey, is the chief cook and bottle-washer, although he delegates very well! Guy has such a heart for feeding the bodies of people so that they can then feed their minds. It’s always fun to arrive at 2pm and find out what nutritious meal Guy has planned. Recently he prepared spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic toast, mixed green salad and bananas. Other weeks Guy will prepare a  “breakfast” for dinner meal: pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs and fruit. Or a baked potato bar. The children also receive a freshly baked cookie as they leave after tutoring. From 2-3:00, volunteers prepare the food so that it’s ready about 3:15 when the children arrive and are met at the bus by their tutors. Although the kitchen volunteers only come into contact with the children for about 15 minutes, we have come to recognize the smiling faces who shyly say, please, thank you and may I!

Every couple of weeks, Carolyn Hays (coordinator along with Shirley Rolston), asks the kitchen crew to come out and be thanked by the children. It might be a “thunder clap” – one by one the tables of kids and tutors pound their table so that when all 15 tables are included, it does indeed sound like thunder! Or sometimes it’s a mini football stadium ‘wave’.

One can’t help but leave with a smile even though we’ve helped cook for 40 and cleaned up for 40 in about 2 hours! In the coming weeks, the other roles at Whiz Kids will be highlighted. Stay tuned!


October Orange

No, it’s not OSU orange, but UMCOR bucket orange! During the month of October, all FISH donations will be used to purchase supplies to fill the buckets. Wait, I don’t get to buy the supplies myself?  Nope, just donate the money, and the items will be purchased for us. But it was fun buying all the goodies! It will be even more fun as we gather on Sunday afternoon, January 13 and fill them together as a congregation.

UMCOR and its network of “fast in and last out” volunteers responded to 44 disasters in 2017. These disasters included Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as floods and wildfires. An interesting side note is that UMCOR is discontinuing shipment of kits outside of the US.  UMCOR will continue to work with disasters outside the US through a grant process of its International Disaster Response Unit.

UMCOR has realized that:

  • local purchase of items after a disaster helps stimulate the local economy
  • using funds locally helps increase employment
  • providing funds for local purchase helps ensure kits are culturally appropriate.

(the UMCOR info above was taken from

Earthglow is Bursting with Beautiful New Items

October 10, 2018. With the holiday season just around the corner, Earthglow is filled with seasonal items to make Halloween and Thanksgiving a decorating delight. There are lovely new serving pieces made from Melamine and Melaboo (an interesting combination of Melamine and bamboo) to make your entertaining festive. There are assorted placemats, decorator towels, candles, and much more to add to the ambience of your holiday scenes. And the shop is scheduled to come alive with Christmas items before you know it.

Many of you purchased the Church of the Servant commemorative tee shirts on the morning of our 50th anniversary celebration, but for those of you that missed out, they are available for only $10 each in Earthglow. We are sure to have opportunities to dress in “church attire” in the future, and you’ll want to have one of these terrific tees in your wardrobe. You will note in the photo, that the tee looks really nice with one of the stylish and warm wraps that are a new item in the shop. Come by today and decorate you and your home while also helping Earthglow’s mission outreach – all profits are given to local missions!

2018 Earthglow Market

Earthglow Gift Shop sponsors a market each fall, which includes gifts, holiday and home décor, both handmade and commercial. This year, the Earthglow Market will be held on Saturday, November 3, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and will include the wares of over 100 vendors. Proceeds from booth and table rental, food/bake sales, as well as the profits from the Gift Shop, go to local missions. Over our 42-year history, Earthglow has donated over $817,000 to various missions in our community. Your participation in our Earthglow Market has made a valued contribution to this effort! Thank you for your continued patronage!

Mark this date on your calendar as an opportunity to kick-start your Christmas shopping, enjoy some down-home beans and cornbread and Texas sheet cake for lunch, and take home some great treasures, including delicious baked goodies for the family to enjoy.

There Are No Giants – A 2019 Stewardship Journey

On Sunday, October 28, our congregation will begin a new worship series entitled There Are No Giants. The series will focus on the journey, trials and tribulations of Moses, Joshua, and the people of Israel once they left Egypt and began to travel to the Promised Land. The foundational text for the series will be the same scripture I mentioned on Sunday, September 9, as Church of the Servant celebrated its 50th anniversary. On that special day, I referenced Joshua 4:1-8 when the Servant Cross was dedicated in honor of Rev. Dr. Norman and Mrs. Kipp Neaves. I believed then, and still believe now, that this scripture delivers an important message for all of us – to remember and share the great story of Church of the Servant! The series will culminate on Sunday, November 18 – Commitment Sunday. I hope that you will begin now to pray over what your household’s commitment will be in 2019 to support the general budget of our church.

The 2019 budget is being developed as I type, and I plan to share that budget with you during the worship series. I’am confident 2018 will end up as a tremendous year for Church of the Servant, and help to establish a new normal for future budgeting and planning.

In 2019, we hope to add a few key staff members to help expand and embolden key ministries. It is imperative that at least one new full-time staff member be added to the Worship Arts overall budget, as a Worship Leader/Director is critically needed to fully support the 9:30 and 11:00 modern services. While I am aware that this position will not impact everyone at Church of the Servant, I do believe adding the correct person will allow the modern worship services to begin to achieve a new level of engagement for many in our church family. Not only will this new position help the modern worship services become more creative, but by adding this position, John Gilstrap, Director of NextGen Ministries (Students and Children), will be able to focus more energy and attention on Servant Students and Servant Kids Ministries.

If you would like to get a jump on the scripture readings for the worship series, I suggest reading the Book of Joshua in its entirety. It would not hurt to read Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, if you have the time. Make note anytime you discover a reference to the Promised Land and the Giants living in the land.

Preparing for Christmas Season

The great staff of Church of the Servant is diligently preparing for the Christmas Season. I cannot believe Advent will begin in less than two months. As we all continue to plan and prepare I want you to save the date for two new events and one event many of you already know and love. Here is a breakdown of events you will not want to miss:

A SPECIAL EVENT – Sunday, November 25
It is going to be big!

I cannot say what we are up to, but it is going to be big! I am waiting on one more permit to be issued. Let’s just say if all the hurdles are passed, it is going to be so big that you will be able to see it for miles and miles. I bet I have your attention now. Read Matthew 5:14-16 and get ready. We are going to have some fun, and perhaps we will even make the news!

THE CHRISTMAS MUSIC FESTIVAL & Polar Express Party – Saturday, December 8 & Sunday, December 9

This year’s CHRISTMAS MUSIC FESTIVAL is jammed packed with great music. Our 100-voice choir is working hard with our 40-piece worship orchestra to create a special night of Christmas memories. While last year’s performance included some secular music, this year we focused completely around our Lord, the babe of Bethlehem. Jane Jayroe Gamble will be our hostess for this year’s festival. We are so excited to have Jane with us this year. In addition, we will have the Hill Irish Dance Troupe! We will elevate the center floor so you can get a good look at their award-winning step dancing! While the music is all sacred, it is at times very spirited, especially when the drum lines from Deer Creek and Santa Fe High schools join in on “Little Drummer Boy”. On the opposite side of the scale is “Mary Did You Know” with an original dance from choir member Shauna Gerlach. “O Holy Night” will take you to a splendid place of peace. The soulful voice of Lindsay Ballard will have you on your feet and clapping your hands. This Year, the music festival will be on Saturday, December 8 at 7:00 p.m. and again on Sunday, December 9 at 4:00 p.m.

The POLAR EXPRESS PARTY will be a special event for Children who may not want to sit through the Christmas Music Festival. Of course, all are welcome. However, sometimes children really want to have fun in their own special way. Servant Kids ministry is planning and preparing for a special showing of Polar Express during the music festival. Golden tickets, hot chocolate, and maybe even dancing waiters will be highlights of this special event. The event will only take place on Sunday afternoon during the music festival (NOT Saturday). Please plan accordingly.

A WALK THROUGH BETHLEHEM – Friday, December 14 through Sunday, December 16 (THREE DAYS ONLY!)

A new tradition where all hands will be on deck for three evenings of wonder and story, as the back lawn of the church property is turned into the streets of Bethlehem. Running from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, both children and adults will be able to experience the real reasons for this special season of the year. If you enjoy acting, dressing up, and getting into character, you will want to be on the lookout for a casting call this month, so
that you can help Church of the Servant begin a new ministry to help celebrate this most wonderful time of the year.

CHRISTMAS EVE – December 24

Need I say more? Christmas Eve service times will be 3:00 p.m. for our child-friendly service led by NextGen Ministries, and 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. for our Candlelight Communion services led by our Celebration Choir and Worship Orchestra. More information coming soon!

Now that I have your attention, I hope you will continue to be on the lookout for updates and more information in the days and weeks ahead. Remember to check your email inbox for Servant eNews. You will not want to miss out on what is in store for us this Christmas season at Church of the Servant!

Getting ready for a wonderful Advent & Christmas at Church of the Servant,


798 Knit Caps & Counting

Some time in 2016, I got a call from Servant and was told that someone’s mother knit baby hats for us to take to Kenya in 2017. Carolyn Hays picked up the hats and instead of a couple dozen, she picked up hundreds! In all, we took 798 hats in July, 2017. Seven hundred and ninety eight!

In January 2018, I received another call from Servant that Mrs. Witt, Carol Gifford’s Mother, had again been knitting and there was another sack of hats waiting at church. Mrs. Witt turned 100 in May and passed away in September. Last week, Carol brought the last black plastic garbage bag full of hats to church. Even in her last few weeks on earth, Mrs. Witt was thinking of others. I can visualize her hands which were probably aching with age, working at full speed with her knitting needles.

There are so many wonderful emotions that this story stirs in me! Sadness that we’ve lost our speed knitter, amazement at over 1,000 hats, incredulity that she was still knitting at 100, and the kindness of her daughter to think about putting her mom’s skills to work for people so far away. And most importantly, NEVER feel that age can keep us from sharing the talents God has given us.

– Ann Knutson