Monday, May 19, 2008

Baby Girl

Our little girl, Kati Elizabeth Rowley was born last Tuesday, May 13th, 2008 at 6:16PM
She weighed 8lbs 3oz and was 20 inches long.

We wanted a home birth but ended up transferring to Wesley near the end because Kristen wasn't pushing hard enough to get that little girl out. (I think she may be stubborn like her parents.) So they put Kristen on some pitocin and about an hour and a half later we had Kati.

We came home Tuesday night around 11pm.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Waiting on Baby

We are still waiting on Baby to arrive. We are going to induce Kristen with casteroil again tomorrow and our midwife says our little girl should arrive sometime on Monday.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Our Senior Pastor is blogging

Jeff Gannon has started blogging. This is cool as I think most if not all pastors in American Churches should blog to better reach and communicate with people in this electronic society.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Job interview

I had a job interview this morning and it looks like they are going to hire me. This is a part time job to go along with my work at Chapel Hill. A big thank you to everyone who prayed for me or suggested job leads.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Video from one of my new favorite Bloggers

It is official, I am blogging about blogging, or at least about other people who blog. Still, check out this video from Tony Jones book "A New Kind of Christian" and here are links to the first two videos in this series.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Being Missional

I often wish Chapel Hill put more emphasis on being "missional", which to me means joining the "God of the Oppressed", in working for the redemption of this world by ministering to the poor, the friendless, and the needy. I personally am less concerned about witnessing to people in order to save their souls, and more concerned about loving "the least of these", and helping those in need. As a side benefit people WILL come to know Christ when they see our love in action.

One problem I face as a staff member of Chapel Hill is where to draw the line between actions taken as a staff member, and actions taken as a member of the body of Christ.

I did not grow up as a Methodist, and am in some ways I am still not one at heart. I strongly believe that there is no Ontological difference between the so called "clergy" and "laity" (terms which aren't even biblical as far as I know). I really believe in the "priesthood of all believers" something the UMC claims to believe but, in my opinion, denies by their actions in only letting certain people teach in Church, or give communion, or baptise, or even marry people.

Because of this belief I sometimes struggle with wondering what my role should be as a paid staff person at a Church, since I am not even sure I think churches should have paid clergy, let alone staff. The best answer I have found is that our role should be "to equip the people of God to do the work of the ministry." If this is true, as I believe it is, then the staff and ministers need to be very careful not to takeover doing the work of the ministry for the people of God. Hence my dilemma, in not knowing where to draw the line between doing ministry and empowering ministry.

Being on staff brings with it a fair bit of power, and the temptation would be to use that power to move the Church and the people in a direction I want them to go, instead of trusting God to move the Church and the people in the direction He wants them to go.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Solution to Calendar problem

I solved my calendar problem today and the calendar for the website is up and live at

One of the requirements I had for a calendar on the website was that the computer automatically do all the updating based on events from our current Shelby calendar. I struggled and struggled to be able to make this happen, and in the end it just wasn't going to be worth the time or effort to create this in order to not have to update the calendar every week or so. The final straw was that the start times in the second table I needed to export were not stored as a date time value. (see my previous post on this.) So I gave up and decided to use Google calendar for our website. Shelby has a feature that allows a person to export a calendar date range to Excel and I then modified the excel doc to have the correct column order and headers, saved as a csv file, and imported this into google calendar. From there adding the google calendar to our website was simple.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Exporting calendar data for the website

I have been struggling with a programming problem for work this week. For our church management system we use Shelby Systems V5. This is a powerful program but it is not very user friendly or overly easy to use. Also it is a server based software system that can only be accessed at the church by people with a user ID / password, and enough training to know how to use it. We have been using Shelby since before I came on staff and we still do not really have a true handle on it, mostly because with a system like Shelby you need one person to be full time dedicated to the software, learning it, updating it, training others on how to use it, etc... and we do not have that person.

My preference would be for Chapel Hill to move to a web based system that would be easy and intuitive to use, and would require very little training for volunteers to use, but we have a lot of money invested in Shelby, and that makes it hard to justify a change. So we deal with what we have.

Right now I am trying to bridge the gap between our Shelby calendar system which we use to schedule church events (and make sure we do not over schedule the building) and our website, which really needs to have a calendar of events for the church on it.

Shelby stores event data in a SQL server database in several tables. The ones I am interested in are a table to store the names of the different locations that events take place, a table for one time events, and a table for re-occurring events. It is this last table that is causing me the big problems, as each re-occurring event is only listed in the table once, along with info on the date it starts happening, the date it stops happening, and how often in happens.

What I need is a composite table of the tables containing one time events, and the table containing re-occurring events, only with each event instance listed as its own record. Shelby creates this composite table on the fly whenever it is needed using an SQL server stored procedure. I have looked at this solution, but my T-SQL is not good enough to figure out how to copy and modify it for what I need, and I am not sure this would not be a licence violation anyway. So I am left with either doing a manual export of the calendar data each week and then importing this into my website database, or figuring out some programmatic way of combing these two tables to get the data I need.