Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 18th Message from the Phat Pastor - Make that Donation for the People of Haiti

Donations are running pretty slow, so here's video #1 as we head down the homestretch this year's Hands of Haiti 2 Half-Marathon/5k. Feel free to hit the donation button at your leisure.

Phat Pastor - Let's Get Those Donations Rolling! from Bryan Bucher on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Phat Pastor T-minus 9 Days: Official Phat Pastor Song Announced!!!!

As the day of the race nears to T-minus 9 days, I think it's time the Phat Pastor announces his official song for this year's race.

Eric the Buckeye and I like to joke about how our respective educational experiences are different even though we grew up in the same town, during the same era. EtB, being the son of a good Roman Catholic doctor attended the local catholic High School (Lima Central Catholic) while I, being the son of a good Protestant-public-school-educated civil engineer attended the large inner-city public high school (Lima Senior High School). There were lots of differences in our experience (like EtB wore nerdy uniforms to school, while I happily wore Hawaiian shirts just about every day of my senior year), but one of the biggest was music. Name any half-assed hair band or pop music sensation from the 80's and EtB knows who they are. When we travel in his car somewhere he even plays the "name the artist/band" game where he fires up a tune on his I-Pod, and everyone has to guess who did the recording. EtB can name every one-hit wonder who ever had their song played on 92ZOO. Probably had one of those ZOO bumper stickers on the Buckeyemobile he drove to school each day.

While I was not immune to Poison (which I never liked, not when they were popular and not now) or Tears for Fears (did like these guys.... too bad they only had one decent album in them), growing up in an urban public school did expose me at a young age to funk, R&B, hip hop, and rap. Some of those artists were popular in the mainstream. Others weren't. All I know was that I attached coat hangers to my stereo so I could pick up 107.7 in Dayton to hear Whoodini, LL Cool J, Parliament, Zapp, and other great music that at the time was not readily available on local radio or on MTV. So EtB plays some song by Aldo Nova and I'm clueless, but he fires a Kool and Gang or Earth, Wind and Fire or Slave (a personal favorite) tune at me, and I'm all over it.

So, this year's official tune of the Phat Pastor as he trains and runs this year's H2H4 5k race is "Victory" by Kool and the Gang. Victory not in the sense that I'll actually beat anyone in the race (heck, my associate pastor, Charlotte, has all but made it a personal vendetta to whip me that morning... she's been training like a maniac and looking great... got me a little nervous to be truthful) or even raise the cash I did last year ($3k, or $1000 per mile... that was pretty unbelievable).

I choose "Victory" because in this Christian life, defeat ultimately isn't an option. Defeat not even by death which ultimately has no power of us (not that I want to test that anytime soon, or anything, but yet I still believe). That's why while the odds in Haiti have always been long for any kind of improvement and growth over the long term, we don't give up. Eventually, recovery will come one way or another. We'd just rather be a part of the solution, however small or large that might be, of the provision of basic health care, clean water, and a decent education to Haitians who work hard every day just to survive.

Victory over hopelessness and helplessness by just giving people a chance. Chances make Champions, and Champions taste Victory, so here it is:

You can still sign up to run on May 22nd by clicking on our H4H2 link or click the donate button below to sponsor the Phat Pastor either with a flat donation, by the mile (3 total) or the kilometer (5 total). Every dollar goes to our humanitarian work conducted in an attitude of servanthood for the people of Haiti.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Phat Pastor Rides Again!!!!

I promised last fall that it would be a year before you heard from me again, The Phat Pastor, raising cash for the people of Haiti. But then they changed the date of the race to May...

SO NOW, HERE I AM AGAIN, READY TO RUMBLE IN THE 5K JUNGLE (and I promise not to bother you again until next year as May will now be our race's permanent home).

You know I just returned from a United Methodist Volunteer in Mission medical conference on Haiti and the teams heading to Port Au Prince to do the rebuilding are getting into full swing. More than 91 of them from around the country will begin traveling this summer to clear debris and begin rebuilding churches, schools, and clinics that are providing needed services to those in need in what is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. As a part of this ongoing rebuilding effort we will be working with the new Medical Director of the Methodist Church of Haiti, Dr. Elie Nicolas, to help establish an ongoing medical component to the ministry offered by the Methodist Church of Haiti through their local congregations and existing clinics.

This will be a HUGE challenge. Nothing in Haiti was easy before earthquake. But helping, in conjunction with other non-profits, churches, and NGO's, a framework for basic medical care IS DOABLE!!

So the Phat Pastor, who raised $3k last fall for this most important work, is at it again. May 22nd I'll be up and at 'em, ready to lumber through the 5k portion of our second annual Hands For Haiti Half-Marathon/5k which you can still sign up for (although t-shirts at this juncture are not guaranteed.... hit the link and sign up online ASAP to get the technical T). You can hit the PayPal button on this blog and make a donation (which is a great write-off in terms of your taxes... might as well send it to us as opposed Uncle Sam), all of which (minus the PayPal percentage, which is very small) goes to our humanitarian work in Haiti. Or you can mail a check to...

Shawnee United Methodist Church
c/o The Phat Pastor
2600 Zurmehly Rd.
Lima OH. 45806

Make all checks out to "Shawnee UMC" and put "Phat Pastor" in the memo.

Keep watching this blog and Facebook for additional Phat Pastor info as we near the day of the race.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Once Upon A Time Your Daddy Lived in West Virginia (a triumphant return of the blog)

Not one post in all of April. How terrible is that? Well, after getting an earful from the The Great One and Uncle Fred, we'll see if we can't do a little better here and make a post more than once a month.

In any event, last week was a killer. We went from the Blessing of the Bikes, straight to New Church Start Boot Camp (Fayetteville, Arkansas), back home for less than 24 hours, and then off to Des Moines, Iowa for a jurisdictional conference on the future of work teams in Haiti. Then back very early on Sunday morning. Lots and lots of miles in the old Excursion.

Even two days later I'm still experiencing plenty of "truck lag".

So yesterday I'm killing time, trying to stay focused, when on a whim I put a name into the search engine for Facebook I hadn't thought of in many, many years: Beth Powelson. I've known Beth since I was two. When we moved to Charleston, my mother who stayed home with me started watching Beth, who was a year older, while her mother worked at an office in the city. A couple of years later we ended moving down the street from the Powelsons on Crede Drive. At one time in my life not a day would go by that I wouldn't see Beth or her parents.

That day was more than 30 years ago.

We moved from Charleston when I was 10 years old. Looking back on it now my memory of that time has mellowed, but all those years ago this was the most traumatic event I'd ever experienced. I was so small when we moved to West Virginia that I really didn't know any other home. My entire world was pretty much tied up in those mountains. But as I said, that was a long time ago. You make new friends. You sink new roots. You move on.

But I never forgot, that's why I took a chance and searched Beth's name. Imagine my surprise when I found her, married with children in suburban Columbus.

When you find someone on Facebook, often they'll give you leads to find other people who might remember. As I searched Beth's friends I started turning up other names and places I hadn't thought of in a long, long time. Marty Lewis lives in Nashville. Chris Stone sells Porsches in Virginia. Lori Sargent is married and living in Fort Wayne. Robert Stigall is apparently a huge Marshall fan (prepare to get thumped this fall by the mighty Buckeyes my friend). Sara Estep never left the Elk River Valley. Her mother still lives down the street from where we lived. Kristi Waldeck is Vice-President of her family's clothing store (Kelley's Men Shop, former employer of famous Charlestonian Jennifer Garner) I found a fan page for Shoals Elementary School (where I went through the fourth grade) and Elkland Pool.

Soon, the memories began running pretty thick.

Thinking about my own childhood throws a lot of light on the world my children are growing up in, and how differently they are raised. We worry about our kids riding their bikes down to the woods at the end of our street. I mean, we can see those woods from our front yard. You can walk to them in five minutes, and yet we still worry.

When I was Xavier's age I used to ride my bike a couple of miles down the old abandoned railroad tracks to Olins Market to buy baseball cards (which are still at my parents.... I think) or snow cones. In the summer I'd leave my house in the morning, stop back in for a quick lunch, and then come back when I heard my parents call me for dinner. All day we'd be traipsing through the creek down at Ron Miller's house, picking apples at The Arnold's house (if the dog wasn't outside), or playing hide and seek in any or all the backyards up and down our street.

Good, good days!

I remember pushing our bikes up the hill to 119 and then riding down as fast as we could without using breaks. I remember sledding down the hill behind Powelson's house on a snow day and Lee Anne making us all hot chocolate. I remember Mr. Kelley making peach ice cream for the neighborhood kids and helping Mr. Greenlee pick strawberries (some even made it into the bucket). I remember fishing in the Elk River, looking for snakes down by the riverbank, Joe Burdette letting me take turns riding his little 50cc Honda (which he named "La Baron"), and the day Kirk Waldeck's family got an air hockey table.

I remember playing in the mud. (smiling)

We worshiped at a little church, Trinity UMC, that became part of the social fabric of our family. Pretty much any love I have in ministry can be traced back to that little church. I cared about children's ministry long before I had kids thanks to the prizes we could win memorizing scripture at "Junior Church". My love of youth ministry was ignited on those Sunday nights my parents helped lead the Youth Fellowship at the church (I'd either sneak downstairs to play pool, or go play out on the rocks behind the church). My first time speaking to a congregation occurred at Trinity in a Christmas play ("There's no room here at the inn.") The kind faces I remember - Joe and Weesy, Arthur and Louise, the Hersheys, the Kryzaks (especially Danny, who was a huge Reds fan), Pam and Harry.... the list goes on and on - are the faces that helped me fall in love with the church.

I am 41 now, a husband, a parent of four boys, a son, brother, uncle, friend, pastor, community leader, and denominational mover and shaker. My days are long and life full. It's a life where it's not out of the ordinary to work forty hours in a weekend, travel to the deep south Sunday night, and then a plains state on Thursday. A life where a book is about to be published and a dissertation finally wrapped up. It's a busy, busy pressure filled life.

But if there's one thing I'd like my sons to know when they go back someday and read this blog, it's that when I was a boy I lived an ideal boy's life. A life literally filled with digging in the dirt, climbing trees, crabapple wars, catching frogs, kickball games, and long days swimming at the pool begging mom for money for the snack bar.

Thanks Beth, Sara, Robert, Kristi, Lori and everyone else who's responded with an "add" to my friend request. You helped me remember lots of great memories (playing basketball in front of Governor Rockefeller at First Pres... sneaking around Temple Beth Israel with the rabbi's son during my parent's volleyball game... endless hours playing Gin Rummy with Jason... watching all those Houston Astros who made that team in 1979 so great come up through Charleston back when the Charlies played in Watt Powell Park...) these past couple of days. Thanks for being part of the foundation of what has been a great life.

May I pass on to my sons what was given to me: A childhood to fondly remember where they remember playing in the woods, catching frogs, chucking crabapples at one another, and faces at church that help them fall in love with Jesus too. No better gift could be given.

Blessing of the Bikes 2010

Here are the three Kawasaki commercials we made for this year's service. The running gag for those who don't ride is that my Kawasaki is an inferior ride to other makes (namely Harley and Honda). In any event, they got big laughs. Enjoy.

Kawasaki Commercial #1 from Bryan Bucher on Vimeo.

Kawasaki Commercial #2 from Bryan Bucher on Vimeo.

Kawasaki Commercial #3 from Bryan Bucher on Vimeo.