What Do We Know?

The Eclipse event is over.  The next time a solar event of this magnitude will occur in a path across North America will be April 8, 2024, even though it will not be the same path as the one this year. The last solar eclipse that crossed the contiguous United States was in 1979.   With all the advancements in science, technology, space exploration, and computer modeling we still marvel at the wonders of creation that were set in motion at the moment this universe came into being.  The “universal constant” in the ever changing and constantly evolving nature of living systems is they all have life spans. According to Planetary Science website – “A star like the Sun which is classified Gv2, yellow dwarf, has a life span of about 10 to 12 billion years. The Sun is now @ 4.6 billion years old, which makes the Sun middle aged.    Alpha Centauri B is an Orange Dwarf about the same size as our sun, but is a Kv5 Star, has a life span of 15 to 30 billion years.”

The more we discover and learn about things in life to add to our knowledge and understanding, the more we discover and learn what we do not know!  It is almost unfathomable to think that we “humanity” once believed that the earth was flat. The earliest reliably documented mention of the spherical Earth concept dates from around the 6th century BC when it appeared in ancient Greek philosophy, but remained a matter of speculation until the 3rd century BC, when Hellenistic astronomy established the spherical shape of the Earth as a physical given. The paradigm was gradually adopted throughout the Old World during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. A practical demonstration of Earth's spherical shape was achieved by Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastián Elcano's expedition's circumnavigation (1519−1522).

The concept of a spherical Earth displaced earlier beliefs in a flat Earth: In early Mesopotamian mythology, the world was portrayed as a flat disk floating in the ocean and surrounded by a spherical sky, and this forms the premise for early world maps like those of Anaximander and Hecataeus of Miletus.

Galileo and Copernicus got in trouble with the Roman Catholic Church for setting forth a heliocentric theory that was in direct contradiction to the geocentric teachings of the church.

The More we learn, the more we learn what we do not know…So, what do we know???

We know of God’s Great Love for the World! (John 3:16) –““For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life”

We know of God’s Promise to be with us! (Isaiah 41:10)- “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

We Know God’s instruction for us! (Matthew 28:19-20) – “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

There is nothing that can eclipse God’s Love for us! Romans 8:38-39 (NIV) –“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Here are a few things you may or may not know:

At the last One Board meeting on August 8 the Hospitality Ad Hoc Team which was appointed by the One Board on May 9, 2017, gave their report concerning Accessibility, Facilities usage (specifically the use of the Courtyard), Hospitality, and Policies. (For a complete record of the proceedings of the August 8 One Board Meeting see the minutes of the meeting on the website

#1 – Approval and Authorization for the expenditure of up to $2,000 were given for Architect Robert Noble to develop preliminary drawings, engineering diagrams and a preliminary proposed budget for the covered connector between the existing elevator in the Wilder Center and the Sanctuary. It is hoped that most of the funding for this project will come from the last Capital Campaign Fund.

#2 – Approval was granted for permission to contact two monument companies to request proposals and site specific information regarding the possibility of installing a columbarium in the courtyard.  The monument companies will prepare their proposals, and once the proposals are ready, congregation wide information sessions will be scheduled to answer questions, and seek a preliminary commitment from interested individuals.

#3 –The Safe Sanctuary Policy for Rome First was reviewed and approved by One Board.  There will be updated training opportunities in September when we will feature “Safe September” where all volunteers and staff will have the opportunity to renew their safe sanctuary training. (Watch for announcements in the Weekly Bulletin and on the website for dates and times).

4-It was announced that the First Christian Church located immediately behind Rome First and adjacent to our lower parking lot had made a congregational decision to sell their facility. The First Christian Governing Board announced it would receive “bids” for the purchase of the property by a deadline of August 10.  After discussion concerning the report of the JOEL COMMITTEE, and realizing that the processes and procedures outlined in the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church would not allow us to meet the deadline of August 10, a motion was made to draft a letter to the Governing Board of First Christian expressing our interest in the opportunity to “initiate the prescribed process as outlined in the United Methodist Discipline to give due consideration for the possibility of making an offer to purchase the property for up to the appraised value of the property”.  The first step in the prescribed process is to appoint a “STUDY COMMITTEE” to assemble the required information to be reviewed and voted on by the ONE BOARD. After approval by ONE BOARD a CHURCH CONFERENCE must be held to approve the “go ahead”. If the CHURCH CONFERENCE approves the proposal, the plan must be taken to the Rome Carrollton District Board of Church Location and Buildings for review and approval. Assuming all of the aforementioned groups affirm the proposal, ONE BOARD must name a “building committee” to assemble all the required documentation necessary for the purchase of the property, including a proposal for funding of the purchase, a building use plan and a ministry assessment.  ALL of these items must be assembled and reviewed to present to the ONE BOARD.  If ONE BOARD approves and endorses the building committee plan/proposal, the plans must be submitted to the Rome Carrollton District Board of Location and Buildings and a second CHURCH CONFERENCE must be held.  IF the CHURCH CONFERENCE approves the proposal, the building team is authorized to begin raising the necessary funds to secure the purchase of the property. Before any offer can be made, there must be a final meeting of the ONE BOARD to approve the plan and authorize the purchase. If ONE BOARD approves and ratifies the plan, the plan must be taken for approval by the Rome Carrollton District Board of Location and Building for their review and endorsement. Following the approval by the District Board of Location, a CHURCH CONFERENCE must be called and a vote to proceed taken. 

Seems like a lot to do in a little time…and it is …but it is all possible. Just as a solar eclipse over the continental United States is a rare occasion the offering for sale of property adjoining Rome First is an even “rarer” occasion. When the JOEL COMMITTEE did their work in 2006, it was not imagined that any adjacent contiguous property would become available, and yet that group of folks was faithful to examine all the future outcomes and possibilities and in their wisdom urged any and all future governing boards of Rome First to strongly consider acquisition and purchase of “any and all” adjacent parcels of land and buildings.  So, now that such an opportunity has presented itself, ONE BOARD authorized the draft and transmission of a letter expressing our interest in the property and explaining our required denominational process to the Governing Board of First Christian.  The letter requested a (90) ninety-day “extension” to their deadline for submission of bids to allow Rome First to complete our denominationally required process.  The letter stipulates that if a successful completion of the denominational process is accomplished, we may exercise an option to extend an offer for consideration by their governing board or its successors. 

         Stay tuned and watch for updates on all of these things you now know!  The next meeting of the ONE BOARD is scheduled for October 10.  See you in worship and small groups this Sunday – where we will bask in the light of God’s Love through His Son JESUS CHRIST

Robert ><>

P.S. -(If you would like to see the complete JOEL COMMITTEE report, please visit the Rome First Website