Feb 2013: Mary Todd Lincoln

As several of you know, the past few weeks, I have been reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, Team of Rivals. It chronicles Abraham Lincoln’s path to the presidency and how he formed a team of leaders who helped him preserve the nation during the critical days of the Civil War. While it is a massive book at 916 pages, I am enjoying reading the insights of history that Goodwin details. (Those who know me, read that sentence again!) In one section, Goodwin describes the efforts of Mary Lincoln in the summer of 1862 to begin making daily visits to the casualties who were brought to Washington, DC. Hundreds of men from a nearby battle scene were brought in by boat each morning to makeshift hospitals made from converted hotels, churches, school buildings and even private homes. Mrs. Lincoln went about her work in a humble manner and brought food, fruit and fresh flowers to many injured soldiers who did not know that the kindly woman was the first lady.

In noticing Mary’s efforts, William Stoddard, Secretary to the President, wondered why she didn’t publicize her efforts, carrying around a number of newspaper correspondents to take notes of what she said to the sick soldiers and what they said to her. If she were to do this, Stoddard suggested, the reports would give Mary credit for providing comfort to the injured men and in the process counter prior reports which criticized the first lady’s White House receptions and expensive renovation projects.

Even though she might gain from her actions, Mary did not seek credit. Instead, Goodwin says that “she found something more gratifying than public acknowledgement.” Where we Christians might respond to the soldiers’ need out of compassion or the love of Christ, in her work, Mrs. Lincoln sensed the soldiers’ deep belief in her husband and in the country for which they fought. That buoyed the first lady’s spirits who was just coming out of a depression over the death of her son, Willie.

Although our approach to service is through a faith perspective, our situation is comparable to Mary Lincoln’s. Our faith calls us to be about acts of service and love. Our response to God’s work in our life invites us to serve our fellow human beings acting as Christ’s hands and feet.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been encouraging those in worship to make a list of how they use their God-given skills and talents in serving the church and the community. This is not bragging on our part nor is it letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing. More, it is taking an informal stock of how we work together as the body of Christ to serve others. Several persons have already made a list and dropped it in the box in the church lobby. As the lists are compiled, we are seeing the reach of our church and how God is using us to meet the need in Fort Collins and the world. My hope is that as we see the variety of ministries that we are involved in and consider their impact, some of us will be encouraged and moved by the Spirit to join in these activities or discover new opportunities.

So, if you haven’t had a chance to get your list in the lobby box, I encourage you to do so in the next few weeks. If you serve as an usher or contribute school supplies, list those things. If you have a prayer ministry you’re involved in or you participate in worship, list those things too. As we see how God is using our church, we can be very thankful that God has gifted us, individually and corporately to be about his work in helping to serve those in need and establish God’s reign.

— Pastor Bill

Donations to Dunn IB World School

The Missional Education Team would like to thank everyone for the wonderful response to our call for school supplies to be donated to our neighborhood school, Dunn IB World School.

We were able to put together 11 backpacks with items from the 3rd grade supply list.  In addition, there was an entire box of extra supplies and materials including many things that classroom teachers will want and that the art program will enjoy.  We delivered approximately 2 cases of copy paper as well.  Materials were delivered to the school on Monday, August 20.  The principal and office staff at Dunn were extremely appreciative.  A few additional items were delivered on the following Friday, and the office manager said that all of our backpacks had already been claimed.  (She told me they were the first to go!)  She also said that most of the copy paper had already been used and how glad they were for our support.  The copy paper is an ongoing need for all of the schools in our district and would be a welcome donation at any time.

We will keep a blue tub in the narthex for school donations and will take them over to Dunn when appropriate.


Weekend VBS

Vacation Bible School this year was held on June 29 through July 1 (Friday-Saturday-Sunday).  The weekend VBS format was new for us.  We didn’t have as many kids as usual, but it did allow some adults to help out that usually can’t because of work schedules.  And the whole congregation had a blast participating in the final day of VBS during worship service on Sunday!


Vacation Bible School: 6/29 – 7/1

We will be doing a weekend Vacation Bible School this year!
Rocky Point Lighthouse: Where Kids Shine God’s Light

At Rocky Point Lighthouse VBS, kids learn to shine God’s light through incredible Bible-learning experiences that kids see, hear, and touch. There will be team building games, cool Bible songs, and active Bible adventures! We will also be participating in an outreach project for our community. For children 3 years old through 5th grade.

Please join us on:

  • Friday, June 29th, from 5:30pm to 8:00pm (kids only)
  • Saturday, June 30th, from 1:00pm to 3:30pm (kids only)
  • Sunday, July 1st, from 9:30am to 10:30am (everyone during Sunday morning Worship!)

For more information, and to register, please call the church office at 970-482-2173 or email office@abcfortcollins.org.

Please register by Monday, June 25th, and include $5 to help with the community project. Thanks!

Church Picnic

Despite the warm day, we had a good turnout for our church picnic on June 3. It was held across the street at the Elderhaus picnic shelter.

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Infant Dedication

We welcome Annika Kaufman to our church family! She was dedicated on June 3.

75th Colorado ABW Conference

Our local American Baptist Women hosted the 75th annual conference of the Colorado American Baptist Women. The theme for the conference was “In the Potter’s Hand”, and it was held at the ABC Fort Collins church on June 8-9-10.

As a service project, women attending brought tubs of hygiene products and made 17 fleece blankets for The Matthews House here in Fort Collins.