From: William Gibbons Jr
Sent: Friday, December 31, 2020 2:13 PM
To: william's email list 2018
Cc: T&SC Board of Trustees
Subject: New Year Changes

On September 20, 2019 an email from Network for Good to the Teaching & Sharing Centers started out with . . .

We don't mean to startle you, but . . .

Average email open rate = 20%
Average text message open rate = 98%

That was well over a year ago, but I saved the email because the disparity was indeed eye opening. It was enough to start me rethinking that I should get out of the email/newsletter business. Yet, I was not set up for other alternatives. Sending text messages is not really an option on flip phones. Anyone who has tried, knows the slow, cumbersome, process involved in composing even a single sentence pressing keys once, twice, three, or four times for individual letters. It has been my choice. I have not had the slightest desire to switch to a larger smart phone. It was also my decision, many years ago, not to get involved in social media like Facebook, or Twitter. I have never regretted that particular choice. I kind of miss the days of creating, and sending paper newsletters, even though I could not do it very often because of the time commitment it took, and the prohibitively high cost of printing, and mailing them. I wonder what percent of readership they had? Or, still do for those with big enough budgets to afford them, and staff to produce them? But, all of this has placed me behind the times in the modern electronic communication methods of keeping in touch . . . a very crowded field from my perspective. Lives seem so cluttered now, how do we find time for any of it? 

"Let go, let God."

That little saying has been around for some time. I did just that in 2017 with a year moratorium on originating outgoing emails. I suspect my decision to do so again in 2021 will become a permanent choice. If the work God has started at the Teaching & Sharing Centers is to continue beyond my lifetime, and there is every indication that was His design from the start, then the organization must increase, while I must decrease as I come closer to the end of my earthly journey. Others in the T&SC are more in tune with all of today's options than I have any desire to be. I am of the impression that the board will be endeavoring to re-establish some form of regular communication with those interested in 2021. I do not know if it will involve regular mail, email, text messaging, social media, video conferencing, or other options on the horizon. As a branch of the T&SC, any broad scope contact would most likely include updates on my continued endeavors through william's works also. I encourage you to respond to the board if you would like to remain connected. Let them know your desire, and also your thoughts of the best ways to do that. I have put my T&SC Board of Trustees mailing list in the Cc section of this email, to make it easy for you to show your interest in being kept informed by simply clicking "reply to all" and stating so. Plus, absolutely, if you are in any way willing to help with this, let them know that, too. 

I have to smile, and wonder how old you need to be to know what the above clipart is a picture of, let alone how to use it. Communication methods is not the only thing influencing my decision to pull back some from emails, and other technologies. I am finally at a place where I do not feel the need to engage in the many arguments of our culture. I am on the side of Truth. I do not claim to know the Truth. I do believe there is a Truth beyond our many little truths. The real Truth always triumphs. Whether we all begin to seek it, and live it, or if we ultimately have to surrender to it after much heartache, and disaster . . . Truth always triumphs, simply because it is the Truth. When I started this journey twenty-six years ago, all of my early brochures, and flyers, had the slogan "Truth is Truth" at the top of them. Years later, after often seeing it, someone asked me what in the world does that mean? Well, if you ever wondered, now you know. 

Speaking of Truth, the Bible tells us that God visited plagues on Egypt when they would not listen. He sent His chosen people, Israel, into captivity and exile when they turned away from Him. I very sincerely hope we are not entering into one of those periods of correction for all of our sins, and our culture's growing rejection of the idea of a Creator. Hopefully, Covid-19 is an isolated challenge, like one hundred years ago with the Spanish flu. For God does not even need to do anything to us. All He has to do is pull back a little, and leave us to our own devices. We are entirely capable of, and getting very good at, bringing destruction upon ourselves. It does not matter if we claim to be liberal, or conservative, or any other distinctions. We are all playing a part in this unfolding drama titled "doing it our own way." The IHS "what would Jesus have me do" program is not just the latest cutesy thing to come along. It is the beginning of the way out of the hole we have dug ourselves into. I pray, and hope, it will become seen as such. Serious times demand serious solutions beyond just vaccines. Real solutions require real change. Christians can play a big part in that. 

Having God's will be made manifest in my life is my top priority, and has been the "bottom line" of my daily morning prayer for a long time. Even so, my current intention is to try to get back to the basics I started with, found in the a touch of william and Cherokee Bill's Teaching & Trade Center mission statements. I will continue to be available to the christian life programs branch, its mission statement, and programs, when requested. It actually already permeates everything I do. I would like my focus to return to sharing information, and my creative endeavors, through my website. I am currently working on getting a "secured" designation, so people are not dissuaded from visiting it if they do not understand that "not secured" is just fine if no personal information is collected on the site. It is costly. But, as I have said a number of times, perception is everything in our culture. I will also still help with the Michigan Living History Encounters once a year encampment, and displays, during Fall Color Cruise & Island Festival if the Grand Ledge Chamber of Commerce brings it back after we get beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, and our board decides to participate again. 

I would like to emphasize, I am not eliminating email completely. I will use email as an option particularly if I feel the need for a written record of a communication. I will also, of course, reply to any emails you send to me. Feel free to contact me by email, or otherwise. In my a touch of william mission statement there is a reference to one on one teaching. I am still happy to share my ideas, and experience, about photography, philosophy, the struggles of a faith journey, a relationship with God, following your heart, and a host of other things. There has never been an area I considered off limits for genuine questions from fellow seekers of Truth. Plus, my website is full of information showing the evolution of my journey, and development of my opinions. Unlike much of our modern business world, my contact-feedback page lets you know how to reach me by regular mail, email, and by phone. If you ever have trouble with a past email address, it is a good place to look. 

Speaking of which, I am going to be restructuring, and consolidating, to cut back on the number of email addresses I have, and monitor for others. The first step will be to redirect some addresses to reduce the number coming into the Outlook program in my computer from thirteen to five. I will see how that goes, then later decide whether to just delete some addresses. As stated above, if you have an address for me that stops working, you can always check the website. 


As the ways of holding meetings are changing, especially due to Covid-19, I would like to remind you that all meetings of the Teaching & Sharing Centers are open meetings. This means the public can be there, even if only as an observer. Often, in the past, there has been a place for public comment at the end of a meeting agenda. Members are particularly encouraged to attend. After God, this is your organization. If anyone would like to be notified of when, and how, meetings will take place, let the board know of that desire as well. 


Newsletter #14

I ran across this when I was preparing the Christmas email. An "oldie but goodie" so to speak. It was most likely written in pieces starting in April 2001, almost twenty years ago. However, it was not sent until June of 2002. Except for a couple of very basic graphics, the excerpt is only text from the newsletter. The original version had my poetry and other articles in it. Nonetheless, it is a nice bit of nostalgia describing some of the early history of the T&SC. I was still a sole-proprietorship at the time. It was the last solely paper newsletter I sent. The next one, about nine months later, was after I had the website, and the new (to me) tool of email at my disposal.    

#014  June 2002  "Headline: "September 11, 2001"


Excerpt from #15


"You may have noticed the slightly different look to this newsletter and the name change from 'Sharing' to 'wsharing.' This is to try and be consistent with the Teaching & Sharing Center website which is now up and running. As things have worked out, I also found it necessary to connect to the Internet in order to manage the site myself. First a cute anecdote about that. 

This whole process has required me to obtain a new computer (Dell), learn a new operating system (Windows XP), a new website program (FrontPage 2002), and all about being connected to and navigating the Internet. 

AT&T connected me to the Internet the morning of 11/25/02 (Monday). By Tuesday night, as I was walking in the cold crisp darkness back to the garage to take the garbage out to the curb, I was clearly already plenty frustrated, for I looked up and exclaimed, "wow, this is a lot more fun than the Internet!" That is pretty bad when taking out the garbage becomes more fun than anything. Things have settled down some since then as my knowledge and skills have increased, but I am not entirely certain that my opinion has." 

#015 February 2003 "Christian Environmentalist Should Be Redundant"

I am not exactly sure where taking out the garbage would fit on my list today, but I can say without a doubt that even splitting wood, or almost any outdoor activity, still ranks higher than the Internet based on how much fun something is to do, or not. None of this is to say, however, that I am against the Internet, or technology. Both have wonderful benefits. Balance is still needed though. 


Godís peace,

Acts 5:29

P.S. As I was looking in my files for clipart for this email, I ran across the "a new day" graphic below. For whatever reason, that reminded me of my 12:04 poem from years ago. So, I thought as long as I just "wrapped up" 2020, this might be a nice way of ushering in 2021. 


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