Before Jeff Key started his annual State of the World address, the one he does annually for First Central Presbyterian Church, associate pastor Janice Six offered a different perspective.

Actually the perspective came from her daughter when she was a child. She wanted her mother to sing, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” but couldn’t quite remember the title.

“Mommy,” she said, “sing the one about Jesus has his hands full.”


Jeff Key

That misspeak could easily be the title of Key’s talk each year, too, as the world always seems to be in a mess. This year, though, Key offered a glimmer of hope.

“I think it’s going to be a better year,” he said, noting most problems in the world seem to be manageable.

Key originated his State of the World addresses for First Central Presbyterian, where he was a member when he taught political science at Hardin-Simmons University. He now is associate professor of government and international affairs at Sweet Briar College, located in Sweet Briar, Virginia. He addresses the audience at First Central via a visual telephone feed.

Among reasons to be optimistic, Key said, is that the upcoming Olympics in South Korea seem to be tamping down the tensions with North Korea. Key gave Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whose sister, Rae Ann Hamilton is an Abilene physician, good grades.

“He’s reassured our allies,” Key said, “and opened lines of communication with our adversaries.”

Key added that he thought better candidates were available to serve as secretary of state but that Tillerson has done a good job.

As part of his address each year, Key makes some political predictions. Some are noteworthy for how far off they are, such as predicting a President Romney in 2012 and a President Clinton in 2016. He believes he has 2020 nailed, though.

“I don’t think it’s going to be Oprah,” he said.

Key’s address was the first for the spring edition of the Wednesday evening programs at First Central Presbyterian Church. The programs begin at 6:30 p.m. and are open to the public.

Each program begins with a prayer for church members or friends who are ill. For the Jan. 17 program, Six, the associate pastor, offered reassurance in a troubled world.

“Lord,” she said, “we depend totally on you for protection and restoration of this world.”


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