I began last Sunday early, attending the 7:45 a.m. worship service at Church of the Resurrection in Leawood. The Pastor gave a message on a baseball theme, explaining that if Jesus were in Kansas City today He would use the Royals to teach people about the gospel. He talked about "managing our failure," the importance of teamwork, and the development of the Royals from baseball's cellar-dwellers to one of the best teams in the American League.
Church of the Resurrection now houses my seminary. I graduated from Saint Paul School of Theology in 1995, back when it was on the old campus at Truman Road in east Kansas City. It was hard to see them move, but changing circumstances and cost issues necessitated it. I was glad to see this picture posted in the new student lounge, remembering the old campus grounds.
Since i got off to such an early start, I decided to also worship as I was going through Ottawa, Kansas. There I had an interesting conversation with an older church member in Sunday school...
her: "Now did you say your name is McKenzie?"
me: "No, McHenry. M-C-capital H-E-N-R-Y."
her: "Oh, McHenry. I knew a Jim McHenry from my days at Ottawa University."
me: "Did he marry Betty McHenry?"
me: "That's my grandfather."
We all smiled and marveled at what a small world it is. I think of my grandfather today on Fathers' Day. He was a great blessing in my life and in our whole family.
I thought of my grandfather also as I visited Phillipsburg, Kansas this past week. Phillipsburg was where by great-grandfather had his first pastorate, at First Baptist Church. He was only there for one year, but it was a significant one - as my grandfather was born in that year, in 1920. Today the congregation worships in this building, which was built in the 1960s. It seemed appropriate to begin my day at a place of great beginnings in my family.
From beginnings to endings...I also thought of my family when I was passing through Miami County, Kansas - visiting the courthouse in Paola. I was partially named for my great-great grandfather, Andrew Frank McHenry (1865-1941). He passed away at the courthouse in 1941 as he came out from a meeting there. He was a very involved citizen in his community and his church - an outspoken activist. Of course I never had the chance to meet him, but his impact carries over and I'm thankful for it.