Posted on Fri, Jan 28, 2011
Westminster Chimes – February 2011
Much has been said about the level of violence and vitriol that abounds in our country in the aftermath of the shooting in Tucson last month. In the last issue of The Christian Century before that tragic event the editor, John Buchanan, who is also the pastor of the Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, wrote a lead article, entitled Violent America. He begins by describing a recent incident in which a twenty-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, a husband and father of four, was killed during a routine investigation, along with a former officer for the Chicago Housing Authority. A nineteen-year-old parolee was charged with the crime of shooting both men multiple times.
In my home town of Baltimore, two police officers were killed in the week past I am writing this. In my other hometown of El Paso (which, quite ironically, has been cited as the safest city in the USA with a population of over 500,000) we receive, along with the rest of the nation, almost daily news of the carnage that has become a way of life in our “sister city” of Juarez, where thousands of people have been shot dead over the past decade as the unwilling victims of drug wars, and much of that violence finds its source on this side of the border in our culture’s insatiable desire for those drugs for which these people are dying.
And, as Buchanan observes it, there is a deepening sense of collective anxiety about the level of public safety and civic responsibility in our society, as in “are the Barbarians going to take over?” And, as I think we all observe it now, there is an accompanying sense of increasing frustration and well-placed outrage at our current level of civic and political irresponsibility as it contributes to the polarization and divisiveness of the American populace.
Buchanan goes on to quote from a recently published book, entitled American Homicide, by Randall Roth, in which the author notes that in the nineteenth century our country was among the least homicidal societies in the western world. Within the last hundred years, however, ours is two and one-half to eight times more homicidal than any other affluent democracy in the entire world.
There are a whole host of possible candidates to account for how this has happened. Chalk it up to John Calvin’s view of human nature, or the rampant availability of guns in society, or the glorification of violence in our media. There are just as many reasons to explain why Jared Loughner shot and killed so many innocent people on a typical Saturday shopping day last month in Tucson. He is mentally deranged. He was politically or personally obsessed with Congresswoman Giffords. Or, he is a victim of our gun-crazed society itself by virtue of the fact that someone like him could be allowed to buy a gun in our country to begin with and then use it. These are some of the reasons I have heard. Take your choice, or think of some of your own.
Buchanan ends his article with reference to another possible cause for the rising tide of violence in our nation. He cites the recently resigned head of the Chicago Public School system, who argues that it can be attributed to the corresponding rise in school dropout rates. If a child cannot read or has never been read to or been asked the question, “Did you do your homework?”, that child faces certain humiliation and failure in his own peer group and the world at large and will have to fight to survive, and the chances are against him that he will for very long.
These have been hard times for our nation what with the long-term recession, our intemperate political atmosphere, and far too many incidents of senseless carnage such as we have witnessed in Tucson. These are also hard times for the thoughtful Christian. What are we to discern and pray about, and what action do we take in the midst of the growing divisiveness of people of good will and intentions in our society and in the aftermath of yet another tragedy of national proportions?
May I offer a suggestion: that we begin the process by doing our homework. This requires that we reserve the time to take a very sober look at our own evaluations, prejudices, and informed opinions about those whose political opinions and religious beliefs may differ from ours. It requires that we make an extra effort to study what we don’t understand or agree with. It forces us to learn about what we do not know. That is what homework really is—to do more than is normally expected, to learn more than we normally would. Ignorance is not bliss. We embrace it at our own peril.
On a true, interpersonal level doing our homework calls upon us to care for and even love one another to the point that we can say that we are actually living our faith as Christians. We are doing what Jesus did—perhaps not saving the whole world, or turning water into wine—but doing our part to lower the temperature of our political discourse, to take the time to listen to a disgruntled young person, or to reconcile yourself to someone who is in your crosshairs.
Do your homework…
Our Westminster PW meeting will continue on the second Monday of the month, February 14, at 9:30 a.m. Our study this month is entitled Witness to Hope: The Woman, the Dragon, and Earth’s Daring Rescue. We will focus on Chapter 12 in the book of Revelation. Peggy Stokes will be the hostess for this meeting and Dorothy Straley will present the lesson. All women of Westminster and guests are invited to join us.
The Worship Committee met on January 7 and would like to thank all for helping during Advent, beginning with all who bought poinsettias, to Tina and Dixie for the Advent bulletins, to Fran, Bill, Connie, Tom, Abel, Julia, Annette, Anne, Tom, Phyllis, Lee, Dorothy, Larry, Dixie, Marno, Patti, Aurora, and to those unnamed who helped during the Advent Season and with the votive display lining the walkways for our Christmas Eve service. We are also indebted to the Rev. Cathy Anderson, who led an inspirational Christmas Eve service. If you weren’t able to attend, you missed a wonderful service.
The next meeting of the Worship Committee will be on Friday, February 4.
Respectfully submitted, Phil Zollars
Worship Committee Chair
WPC has a need for a Chimes editor beginning with the July, 2011, issue (or before). If you consider this your ministry, please contact our Head of Staff (Dr. Cole) or a member of session.
Responsibilities include reviewing/editing the newsletter before it goes to the printers, affixing labels, taking the Chimes to the Bulk Mail Office (hours are noon to 4pm, Monday - Friday), and seeing that the webmaster receives the Chimes as a doc in order to post to the website.
The latest house built by the Roswell Habitat for Humanity at 1206 E Beech was dedicated December 9, 2010. The next build at 1208 E Beech will begin either in late March or early April. Mark your calendars if this is your calling to ministry. Our new partner family is Angela Lael and her three children. Habitat maintains a website (hfhr.org) for the latest news, and there is a slide show showing building in progress. They can also be accessed on Facebook where you can view or input comments.
The Fellowship Committee met at 2 pm on Tuesday, January 11. We wanted to express thanks to those who continue to serve as coffee hosts and to Bill & Tom Berckes who prepare the coffee urn each Sunday for our after-worship, fellowship time.
There will be no Sunday pot luck in either January or March. We are preparing a Valentine get-together to be held after Valentine’s Day on February 20, following worship. Patti Mitcham and your Fellowship Committee will be hosts for this event. There is a signup sheet in the narthex and the menu is posted on the bulletin board. We will have our traditional Easter luncheon on April 24. Mark your calendars for these dates.
Our thanks go out to Abel and Annette Esquibel for their help in taking down the Christmas trees and other decorations as well as storing them.
The Fellowship Committee had purchased a board game entitled “Battle of the Sexes.” After this one disappeared, a second one was purchased. This one is missing as well. If you know where we might find either game, please contact a member of your Fellowship Committee (Marno Talbott – chair, Joe or Goldene Mondragon, or Julia Esquibel). Thank you!
The adult class meets each Sunday for an hour in the library after the church service, beginning at 10:45, sometimes interspersed with Dr. Cole’s Healthier Church Seminar in Fellowship Hall. There is no set series of lessons; we are inspired by different materials, such as articles from Presbyterians Today magazine or a book from the church library, or maybe that day’s sermon. About half of the hour consists of no-rules, free-for-all discussion of the topic, which we find fun to take part in. You are cordially invited to join us!
It seems a reasonable assumption that many of us are curious about religions—age-old and new—other than our own and how they compare with ours. Your library has a shelf dedicated to that proposition. If we had the labels up yet, it would be labeled COMPARATIVE RELIGIONS, Dewey Decimal System 291.
There is a time-honored, six-volume set, Great Religions of Modern Man, each containing an extensive selection of important writings of the religious tradition, coherent and meaningful accounts from the testimony of their beliefs and practices. Available are Buddhism, edited by Richard A. Gard; Judaism, Arthur Hertzberg; Protestantism and Catholicism, J. Leslie Dunstan; Islam, John Alden Williams; and Hinduism, Louis Renou. These books lead us through the principles and practices, ideals and philosophy, and cultural life.
We have several collections featuring world religions:
The Story of Religion as Told in the Lives of its Leaders, by Charles Francis Potter. Chapters are entitled Akhenaten, Moses, Zoroaster, Jeremiah, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, Paul, Augustine, Patrick, Muhammad, Aquinas, Nanak, Nicon, Wesley, and American Apostles.
Erdmans’ Handbook to the World Religions, with contributions by 52 scholars, the parts labeled The Development of Religion, Ancient Religions, The Primal Religions, Living Religions of the East, People of a Book, and Religion: or the Fulfillment of Religion?
World Religions, a paperback by Lewis M. Hopfe, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism with cross references to Christianity for comparison.
A Guide to the World’s Religions, another paperback by David G. Bradley. This is a guide to twelve main faiths, their underlying concepts, philosophy, history, and influence.
And a couple of small volumes comparing other religions with Christianity:
Arabs, Christians, and Jews, by James and Marti Hefley, nationally known journalists who specialize in Vietnam, Bangladesh, and the Middle East, bring together the sociological, historical, and religious strands of these three, divergent groups.
Christianity and World Religions--Wrestling With Questions People Ask, by Adam Hamilton. He compares Christianity with the four other major world religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism, dealing with the questions: Why are there so many different religions? How should Christians view other religions? How is God at work in other religions? What is the fate of those who earnestly pursue God through other religions?
And, finally, Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions, by John Ankerberg and John Weldon. This research team provides comprehensive information on major religious groups from both Western and Eastern traditions as well as occult and spiritualist sects—Baha’i, Oneness, Prentecostalism, Masonry, Science of Mind, Unity, and Zen.
All are fascinating, educational, interesting reading. Check it out!
Anne, the Librarian
Harriet Pinkerton and Veva Byrd have been working diligently updating records of our church history. You may find their work on a bookshelf in the library. These records date from the early beginnings of Westminster including records of home mortgages which made this facility a reality. Included in the records are memorial and honorarium gifts. As these are the only consolidated records of Westminster, they ask that you TOUCH but not TAKE these out of the church. We thank you, Veva and Harriet, for your work of love.
Special thanks to Westminster for agreeing to facilitate the publication of PWSSW's (Presbyterian Women in the Synod of the Southwest) newsletter: Loaves and Fishes.
In the past, Loaves and Fishes has only been available in a hard copy (printed) edition. However due to budget cuts it was suggested at the October 2010 PWS Gathering that publication be provided in an electronic version. This will save PWSSW hundreds of dollars per year, which can better be used. Mailing lists for hard copy edition, via the U.S. Postal service, are being updated.
Loaves and Fishes is now available on-line. Robin Thomas, Administrative Assistant of the Synod of the Southwest, was instrumental in getting this accomplished for PWS. There is no required registration to view general information on the synod website. Also thanks to Westminster’s Com Com for suggesting pursuing the electronic publication on the synod website.
You may read the 4th quarter issue by going to the link http://www.synodsw.org. The PW stained glass logo is in the left margin of the page and then go to "click here" to open the newsletter. The newsletter is a PDF which requires Adobe Acrobat Reader 8 or higher to view or print the file. Adobe Acrobat Reader is a "free" program available through the internet.
Yours in Christ, Dixie Loy
PWS-Loaves and Fishes editor
It’s time again to feed Hungry Harold. He will need more Jello® for February as well as spaghetti sauce and any kind of spaghetti pasta. He continues his thanks for the many blessings he has received from members and friends of Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Don M. West, who passed away on January 12, joined Westminster Presbyterian Church on May 31, 1998, and enjoyed fellowship of the men’s breakfast. Upon graduation from the Missouri School of Mines in Rolla, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and served in the Pacific Theater during WWII. He and wife Jan came to Roswell in 1992. Our heartfelt sympathies extend to Jan, their two sons and daughter, grandchildren, and a great grandchild.
LaVerne W Gross passed away January 18, 2011, at the age of 95. In 1974 she and her husband retired to Roswell, NM, where they enjoyed friends, outdoor activities, and their church. She was a member of Westminster Presbyterian until moving to Cordova, Tennessee in 2005. A Memorial Service at Cordova Presbyterian Church was held January 22. Condolences may be offered on line: www.MemorialParkOnline.com.
Harold F. Wright Obituary - A Life Well Lived
Jo Ann Havens Wright has written to tell us that her husband Harold has died in Kennewick General Hospital, WA., January 2, 2011.
Harold and Jo Ann were frequent attendees at Westminster until they moved to Washington and sometimes attended Bible class after Sunday services. They came to regular potlucks, too, even though Jo Ann had to bring her own food because of her severe allergies. Harold loved to cook and spent time reading all his cookbooks to find special recipes for potlucks. There were more than 200 of those books in his collection, dating from the 1900s to now.
Harold had served in the US Army for 20 years, from 1945 until 1965. He taught ROTC classes at Pullman College, WA., several years. He had lived in Korea and spoke Korean. He was always taking college classes and trying to learn more. He was interested in community as well. On one occasion, while on leave from the military, he rode along with the local sheriff or his deputies to observe for a month.
Harold was a builder, a realtor, and a collector and repairer of antique, windup watches. He and Jo Ann bought, repaired, and sold houses, and he belonged to the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors and other watch, clock, antique and barber associations. He was also a member of the NRA and a collector of pistols, rifles, shotguns, and all weapon-related items. He was an avid fisherman and collector of fishing items. He was a past member of the Seattle Mycological Society.
He and Jo Ann owned antique shops, did shows, sold real estate daily, and repaired their own antiques.
Harold became a Mason and joined Can Hill Masonic Lodge, AR., that his grandfather helped organize. He remembered his grandfather riding a mule down the mountain to get to meetings. He was a lifetime member of the Cane Hill Masonic Lodge in Kansas and a past master of the Masonic Lodge in Roswell, NM. He was a member also of Westminster Presbyterian in Roswell and First Presbyterian Church in Kennewick, WA.
January 2 54
January 9 53
January 16 48
January 23 52
February 1, 7 pm, Property Committee Meeting
February 2, 2 pm, Evangelism & Concern Committee Meeting
February 3, 9:30 am, Community Kitchen
February 4, 2 pm, Worship Committee Meeting
February 6, Souper Bowl Sunday
February 8, 7 pm, Session Meeting
February 10, 9:30 am, Community Kitchen
February 14, 9:30 am, PW Meeting
February 14, 2 pm, Mission & Stewardship Meeting
February 20, Brunch after worship
February 24, 9:30 am, Community Kitchen
February 27, Cents-ability
February 28, 9 am, Piece Makers
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Dr. Harry A. Cole
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