I went to Las Vegas in order to attend church. I know that may sound far-fetched to some. I’m certain many assume I only travel to this desert city in order to participate in tournaments. Others make the trip for shows, concerts, sporting events, corporate conventions, and bachelor/bachelorette parties, but it’s true – I actually went to Las Vegas for the purpose of attending church. (Full confession…I did play in a Texas Hold’em tournament and enjoy a Billy Idol concert while I was there…but my primary goal was to attend church.)

It was at least two years ago. Rev. Erin Spengeman Hutchison (affectionately known by many as “Spenge”) was serving as an Associate Minister at Christ Church Episcopal in Las Vegas. Erin is the daughter of Pam and K.C. Spengeman – beloved members of our church. Erin grew up at First Baptist, served as a ministry intern at First Baptist, was married at First Baptist, and…well…you get the picture. On prior trips to Las Vegas, I had the pleasure of sharing meals with Erin and her family. On this particular weekend, however, she was scheduled to preach at Christ Church Episcopal. I wanted to hear her preach, so I scheduled a flight. To my delight, I even got to wrap up in some Episcopalian vestments and participate in the service! It was a memorable sermon (few are), and I remember telling myself, “I need to invite her back to First Baptist to preach.”

It has taken a while to work out schedules, but Rev. Erin Spengeman Hutchison will be our proclaimer on Sunday, May 26. I know you will welcome her home with open arms, open ears, and open hearts. I have no doubt the sermon and worship hour will be memorable. After all, I did place 3rd in the tournament and Billy truly rocked the Rio, but what I remember most fondly about this prior trip to Las Vegas is listening to and worshiping with Rev. Spenge.

— Jim

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