Yesterday I received a special gift from Dr. Michael Patison, chair of the Central Texas Conference’s History Book Committee. Fresh off the press, Michael handed me a copy of The Central Texas Annual Conference 1866-2010: At the Center of Texas Methodism. Dr. Patison (as Editor) and the whole Committee writing team did a wonderful job! I wrote in the preface that this “is a work that encompasses more than history. It encompasses an Act of God – the birth and life of the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church.” It is almost fashionable these days to believe that one can be spiritual without being a part of a local church. It is not true. The old phrasing comes to mind – “the church is of God and will be preserved to the end of time.” The other phrase which comes to mind is the one from Santayana, “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” In the special gift of this history few have lessons that may guide into the future God is even now preparing for us. The Central Texas Annual Conference 1866-2010: At the Center of Texas Methodism will be sold at Annual Conference this coming June in Waco. Those who would like to purchase a copy earlier may do so either at the Conference Service Center through Nancy Schusler or by contacting directly Michael Patison (email@example.com) or Rev. Nancy Bennett (firstname.lastname@example.org). The cost is $25 for pick up; $28.50 for shipped.