Posted on Thu, Feb 1, 2018
A Word from Our Pastor
This is the month in which we celebrate Valentine’s Day. But while Christians still celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Roman Catholic Church removed St. Valentine’s Day from its list of approved feast days in the revision of its calendar in the wake of the Vatican II reforms.
The reason for this was that there is some confusion over who St. Valentine really was. There are three Valentines whose stories have been preserved, but some think two of these are actually the same person. St. Valentine of Terni and St. Valentine of Rome are thought to be the same person, because the legend of their lives and martyrdoms are very similar. St. Valentine of Rome is probably the bishop of Terni, in Italy, who was martyred in Rome.
In the early third century, Emperor Claudius of Rome was persecuting Christians. At the same time, he banned the marriage of young people because he believed that unmarried men made better soldiers. Married men were more likely to stop and consider the consequences of their actions, particularly the effects on their families if they should be killed. (There is some scientific evidence to back this up. During the Cold War, U.S. Air Force missile launch officers were exclusively single males because psychological studies had shown that, if called upon to launch Armageddon, women and married men might consider the consequences of their actions and hesitate, while single men were more likely to follow orders and push the button. There is a detailed discussion of this phenomenon in Michael Crichton’s novel The Andromeda Strain, if you can find a copy.)
Valentine defied the emperor’s orders and conducted marriage ceremonies for Christian couples. When the emperor found out, Valentine was imprisoned. While in prison, he attempted to convert his jailer. The jailer had a daughter who was blind. He told Valentine he would convert to Christianity if Valentine’s God would heal his daughter. Valentine prayed with the family, and the daughter was healed. The jailer and his family converted and were baptized. The young girl continued to visit Valentine in prison and they became quite fond of each other.
Claudius took a liking to Valentine, as well, but when Valentine tried to convert him to Christianity, he ordered Valentine to be executed by beating, stoning, and then beheading. One of Valentine’s last acts was to send a letter to the jailer’s daughter, which he signed, “From your Valentine.” The date of his martyrdom is given variously as February 14, 269, 270, or 273 AD.
The Romans celebrated the Lupercal Feast on February 15. This was a pagan fertility ritual. As part of the celebration, all the unmarried young women in the village would place their names in a large urn and all of the bachelors in the village would draw a name, and the woman whose name he drew would be his sexual partner for the following year. The Roman Catholic Church took a dim view of this practice, and in 496 Pope Gelasius changed the nature of the celebration. The people would draw names of saints from the urn, and they were urged to learn the story of that saint and to emulate the saint in the following year. He declared February 14 to be St. Valentine’s Day.
Because people in the Middle Ages thought that birds chose their mates in midFebruary, St. Valentine gradually became the patron of romantic love. On that day, lovers would exchange small gifts or notes. The first known Valentine note was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans, while imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415, to his wife. Today Valentine’s Day is the second most popular day to send cards, following Christmas.
Today the religious origins of the day are most forgotten and Valentine’s Day is a day dedicated to the candy makers and card shops, but let us not forget that it has its origins in a man who put duty to God ahead of obedience to an oppressive government. The Theological Declaration of Barmen, part of our Book of Confessions, is the statement of German Christians who faced a similar situation in Nazi Germany. Let us pray that we never have to face the same dilemma, but let us also pray that, if we do, we make the proper choice. Let us never forget who we are and Whose we are. Jesus trumps all earthly governments. Remember the most basic affirmation of the Christian faith: Jesus Christ is Lord.
At its meeting on January 14 the Session conducted the following business:
Rev. Nolen informed Session that communion was served to shutins in December; and one death—Margy Dye—had occurred with a memorial service held on January 13 at Westminster. Randy also met with COM in Carlsbad.
Chair Barbara McNallen of the Evangelism & Concern Committee advised Session that cards had been sent and a meal served for Margy’s memorial service.
Chair Marno Talbott of the Mission & Stewardship Committee reported that the missionary presentation is ready to be given at the Presbytery Meeting on January 27 after breakfast. It was also noted that the February 4 food drive is to be given to Community Kitchen.
Chair Phil Zollars of the Nominating Committee needs to find 3 congregational members for Nominating Committee and 1 congregational member for Endowment Committee Class of 2021.
Chair Jim Monteith of the Property Committee informed Session that the new toilet for the nursery had been donated. MSP to have the Men’s Prayer Breakfast money ($1,582.12) deposited in general funds, especially for repairs.
Chair Margaret Johnson reported to Session that Randy will call Trinity in hopes we can consolidate Ash Wednesday services.
MSP for the “Gifts of Women” Sunday to be held on March 11.
MSP for New Life Church to rent the fellowship hall for Sunday afternoon on February 4, 2018.
MSP for Margaret Johnson to draft a change to the ByLaws regarding the limits to the terms of the Treasurer and Financial Secretary.
A Called Session Meeting was held on January 21 to consider a bid from Cable One to add our phone service to our internet service, to include fax service for a two year period in the amount of $1,683 per year. MSP to amend to $1,651 per year for 3 years—MSP to accept the amended bid.
Thought for the Day
The outward characteristic of a Christian is JOY.
Feb. 4 Bill Briney
Feb. 11 Bill Shue
Feb. 18 Dorinne Lykins
Feb. 25 Phil Zollars
Our next meeting will be held in the library on February 12, 2018 at 9:30 AM.
The topic of discussion will be Lesson 6—In Community with The Reality of the Present.
The Lesson Leader will be Jeanette Shaffer and Margaret Johnson will be hostess.
Hope to see you all at the meeting!
The 2018 Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women will be held August 25 in Louisville, Kentucky. There is one scholarship available to attend, and for further information contact Dixie Loy. A registration form is available in the narthex.
Food for Thought
“Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words.”
St. Francis of Assisi
From the Music Makers
I think I have finally figured out…Why music?. I have had this thought for many years but it just finally came home to me. Music will unite the world. Music is the only thing everyone responds to. It has no sex. It has no color. It has no preferred religion. It has no day of the week. It has no preferred holiday. It has no appointed job. It has no wages. It has no caste. It has no bias. It is the only thing that is free to everyone on the face of the earth. Everyone is free to make of it what they will. What a wonderful thing is music! Music is soothing or stirring. Music is healing. Music is everything.
The music makers take their role of bringing music to you very seriously. We have a couple of weeks and then it is Lent..already. Even the somber music we do during Lent gets a break on Palm Sunday, and again on Easter, two Sundays when we celebrate winning the game of life, because of Jesus.
I didn’t realize this, but our esteemed pastor told us that the oratorio “The Messiah” was written for Easter. Sometime during the season the choir will sing a unison version of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from “The Messiah”. Any of you who would like to join the choir for that are welcome. I have sung all the parts of “The Messiah” except the bass, but it will be fun to sing it all whether it was written for sopranos, altos or tenors. I know you all have been in the habit of standing for the “Hallelujah Chorus”. I am asking you to NOT do that. “The Messiah” was first performed for King George. Sometime into the oratorio he got tired of sitting and stood up. When the king stands, everyone stands. It just happened to be at the beginning of the “Hallelujah Chorus”. So please resist the temptation, unless, of course, you happen to be singing with the choir.
The choir will be singing appropriate music leading up to Palm Sunday; it won’t be happy music, but it will be lovely and touching to the occasion, I hope.
God bless the music makers. God bless us all.
The best use of life is to invest in something that will outlive life.
Remember Westminster in your will.
Some of you may not have a clear idea of what the Outreach ministry does. I am putting together a small report for the Presbytery meetings at the end of January, and decided to take a portion of the report and put it in the newsletter to clarify the ministry to our local congregation.
The Outreach predominantly assists people to pay a utility bill, especially disconnect notices, while also offering spiritual help in the form of prayer and scriptural encouragement. Being that the ministry is located at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, clients are always invited to church services, but the invitation and offer for prayer and spiritual encouragement are given only after help is provided, so that people do not mistakenly think that help is only conditionally given.
There are very many people in this country living in poverty and struggling with their living conditions. Many people live hand to mouth and vital needs such as water, electricity and gas are sometimes difficult for them to pay for. Such basic needs are essential for survival so keeping services on may help someone persist for that time period. According to Wikipedia.org, a 2014 national study shows that New Mexico is at the top of the list in poverty rates. The state ranks 50 out of the 56 states and U.S. territories, with almost 21 percent of the population living at or beneath poverty levels. So it is ideal for the ministry to be located in New Mexico.
Often some people coming in for help may not have traditionally been in poverty conditions, but due to unexpected health problems, divorce, spousal abuse, and many other reasons suddenly find themselves without a job or income. In the transition of finding another job or obtaining social security or disability, they find that they are unable to pay their current bills. The Outreach ministry assists by helping them pay an emergency expense, and normally preventing a utility bill from being disconnected. As small as paying one bill may seem, it could prevent a service from being cut off, and could actually save or prolong a life. Having heat in the winter and cool in the summer is vital, especially for the ill, elderly and very young.
The intent of the ministry is to help people who are facing a short term dire economic condition with a relatively small emergency assistance amount, and as stated before normally a utility disconnect. In partnering with other local agencies it is hoped that the dollar amount given provides a combined amount that enables the people being helped to pull themselves out of a temporary hardship. People with long term hardship circumstances are directed to and encouraged to find longer term solutions.
Have a blessed month,
It’s time again to help out Hungry Harold. He says for February 2018, he is in need of KoolAid and/or Drink Mixes along with Pastas and Dried Pinto Beans. Many thanks are given for the blessings he has received from members and friends of Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Hungry Harold received the following in January:
40 lbs. beans
3 cans drink mix
16 lbs. pasta
5 lbs. rice
1 gal. hominy
Way to go Westminsterites!
“You were saved to serve, not sit and sour.”
So many Christians behave and look like they are under the constant wrath of God—not a smile or bit of joy behind their eyes. How wonderful it is to hear true laughter and lightness of Spirit among God’s people! It’s contagious, and it makes others wonder what our secret is.
This is what God intended for us: that through our salvation, others would see and desire that same Spirit.
Hymn of the Month
“Blessed Calvary” will be the hymn of the month for February.
The tune for this hymn was composed by Lance B. Latham, 1894-1985.
Avis B. Christiansen wrote the text for the hymn.
Avis Marguerite Burgeson was born in 1895 and lived in Chicago all her life. She attended the Moody Church, pastored for many years by Dr. Harry Ironside. In 1917, Avis Burgeson married Ernest Christiansen who later became a vice president of Moody Bible Institute. She was a modest and retiring woman, and sometimes used pen names: Avis Burgesson, Christian B. Anson and Constance B. Reid. She began writing poems in childhood, and before her death had written thousands of them. She died in 1985.
Food for Thought
And leave everything else
Letter to Congregation
I have been a member of WPC since 1997. I know most of you and most of you know me. I have been sitting in the back row of the choir loft for all church services for 20 years. For mobility I have to walk behind a walker. This has been necessary due to severely arthritic knees.
I became crippled mostly as the result of my old age which later this year will be 99. My physical condition was partially contributed to by wounds resulting from WWII combat resulting in a long hospitalization for which I received the Purple Heart, evidenced by the license plate on my car.
I am writing this letter to inform you that our church’s membership has decreased to 49. This makes me wonder—for one thing—how our church managers have been able to make payments this last year on a budget of over $140,000.
At the rate our membership is decreasing—from over 140 or thereabouts when I joined, my beloved church will soon cease to exist.
I can think of one quick cure to our downfall: Every one of the 49 members tithe, beginning at once on the day you see this letter. Tithing means you award the church with ten percent (or more) of your annual income (or more), beginning now by making monthly payments, or—if you can afford it—by paying a year’s tithe in advance.
Our church is continuing to exist today “only” because of the great generosity of probably a small handful of our 49 members, plus the tithing minimum of several more members.
Please forgive me for presuming to preach to whomever I honestly believe are my betters.
With my respect and love,
New Mexico Facts
Do you know when the “Land of Enchantment” was admitted to the Union?
Congress admitted New Mexico as the 47th State in the Union on January 6, 1912. It has been inhabited by Native American populations and has been a part of the Imperial Spanish vice royalty. New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanic Americans and has the third largest percentage of Native Americans in the United States. Celebrate our state’s history by displaying the American flag and our state flag on Jan. 6th.
The flag flies day and night at certain locations by presidential proclamation, acts of Congress, customs and traditions. At Taos Plaza, where Kit Carson and his friends protected the flag during the Civil War, the flag has had 24/7 privileges since 1861.
Frontiersman Kit Carson and his friends nailed a U.S. flag to the tallest wooden pole they could find in Taos, NM. They guarded it with sharpshooters to keep Southern sympathizers from tearing it down, according to one Civil War era account. Taos was later declared as one of the earliest places officially allowed to fly the American flag any time of day or night, a rare privilege shared at the time with Fort McHenry in Baltimore.
FYI….A U.S. flag pin is to be worn on the left, above the heart, with stripes pointing left, as if the flag is flying. U.S. Flag Code addresses the proper wearing of pins specifically: “The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.”
The average number of people airborne over the U.S. in any given hour: 61,000.
The cost of raising a medium size dog to the age of eleven: $16,400.
The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.
Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:
Spades – King David
Hearts – Charlemagne
Clubs – Alexander the Great
Diamonds – Julius Caesar
111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers all have in common? All were invented by women.
What is the only food that doesn’t spoil? Honey.
Which day are there more collect calls than any other day of the year? Father’s Day.
In Shakespeare’s time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase….”goodnight, sleep tight”.
It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride’s father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.
In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts…So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them “Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down”. It’s where we get the phrase “mind your P’s and Q’s”.
Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. “Wet your whistle” is the phrase inspired by this practice.
Food for Thought
Man seems to be quite eager to discover what is on Mars—but he does not yet know what makes a leaf green, or why birds migrate, or how to cure a cold.
Gossip is something negative that is developed and then enlarged.
Each individual should realize the power of his or her life and never sell it short. The great use of his or her life should then be spent for something that outlasts it.
There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it with reluctance.
Mark Your Calendars!
Feb 1, 9:30 AM Community Kitchen
Feb 1, 5:00 PM CASA
Feb 4, Communion Sunday
Feb 7, 5:15 PM Chimes Practice
Feb 7, 6:30 PM Choir Practice
Feb 8, 5:00 PM CASA
Feb 11, Session Meeting
Feb 12, 9:30 AM PW Circle
Feb 14, 5:00 PM Ash Wednesday Service
Feb 15, 9:30 AM Community Kitchen
Feb 15, 5:00 PM CASA
Feb 16, CHIMES Deadline
Feb 18, 10:40 AM Worship Committee Meeting
Feb 21, 5:15 PM Chimes Practice
Feb 21, 6:30 PM Choir Practice
Feb 22, 5:00 PM CASA
Feb 25, Cents Ability Collection
Feb 26, 9:00 AM Piece Makers
Feb 26, 10:30 AM Mission & Stewardship Meeting
Feb 28, 5:15 PM Chimes Practice
Feb 28, 6:30 PM Choir Practice
December Treasurer’s Report
For the month of December:
Percent of Budget Received 92.72%
Percent of Budget Spent 89.86%
Percent of Year Elapsed 98.44%
Offerings YTD $139,080.81
Spent YTD $147,653.20
2017 Budget $150,000.00
We can learn to do most things that Jesus did!
is published monthly by
Westminster Presbyterian Church
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