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Westminster Chimes, January 2011 Westminster Chimes, January 2011

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Westminster Chimes, January 2011

Posted on Sat, Jan 1, 2011

From the Pastor

It is the New Year. How did we get here so fast? What happened to the last one? Where did the time go?

Some years ago a church member who sold books for a living (now there is a job Anne Gravel might have liked) gave me a book of essays about time for Christmas. I have not been able to locate it in past years as it may have gotten lost along the way from one interim to another. But I recall one essay written about the futility of owning a watch. Its point was that all of us who are “watch watchers” are basically fooling ourselves because we live with the illusion that by telling time with the help of a time piece that we can control or use time to our own advantage. Look at your watch and you know what time it is and how much time you have to get something done or to be somewhere else. Aren’t watches wonderful - wrist watches, pocket watches, stop watches? Especially if they are “Swiss made,” which almost guarantees that we can tell time and control it down to the last millisecond, even if you are three hundred feet under water?

In my experience, it is often the case that I look at my watch (above sea level, thank you) and see how much time I have lost. It makes me want to “tell time” to slow down and wait up for me while I am taking the time to complete my agenda for the day. I have a constant “to do” list, a “to call” list, and a “to be somewhere” list that never seems to be finished within the time I have to do, call and to be.

It is almost a universal human trait to want to conserve time. You have heard the term, “time’s awastin;” which we in the western world associate with such deadly sins as sloth and general laziness. But those whose overall take on life in the East look at time differently. It is something to be received as a gift; it has its own inherent value, not to be used as a means to an end, but as an end itself. To be on time in our culture is a virtue. To be in time, however – to savor the mystery of life and learn to reflect on its source – is a luxury that most of us never afford ourselves. We do not wait well to let it unfold before us.

The great Eastern mystic, Lao-Tzu, wrote about what to do in times of trouble and distress:

Do you have the patience to wait till the mud settles and the water is clear?

Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?

May I suggest, if you still have room for one more New Year’s resolution, that you consider the meaning of these words. Stop looking at your watch on a regular basis. Stay away from your daily lists for a day or two. Do something that does not compute.

Somewhere in the Old Testament God says, Wait yet a little while longer, which means to me that we are to take the time to reaffirm our dependence on God to work out God’s purpose in our lives and in God’s church, including this one. May this coming year be a time for each of you to experience that rich and truly rewarding moment – when the way is clear and the right action arises.

Dr. Harry

PW Circle

Westminster’s Presbyterian Women met for their annual Christmas luncheon December 13. This year, in lieu of a potluck, we were blessed with the marvelous catering services of our own Patti Mitcham. She served Cornish hen with dressing, asparagus topped with cherries, a baby spinach salad and a yummy, Christmas-decorated cookie! Joining us were women from FPCR’s Lydia Circle.

It was nice to become better-acquainted with women from our sister church. Though we generally have no planned program at our December meeting, Dr. Harry willingly provided a brief comparison of the birth stories from Matthew and Luke. Afterwards, Patti Voorhees provided door prizes through a numbered drawing.

We will resume our usual format for our January 10 meeting, which will begin at 9:30 a.m. We are continuing our study in the book of Revelation from the Horizons Bible Study Series, in January studying Lesson 5, Singing Hymns of Hope. Our hostess for this meeting is Goldene Mondragon and our lesson leader will be Peggy Stokes. The scriptural reference is Revelation 7-8:5. If you’ve not been involved in PW, it is never too late to begin.

Comm. Comm.

Members of Evangelism & Concern and Communications Committees were given a proof copy of our 2011 Olan Mills directory to make comments and corrections. This was mailed back to Olan Mills on Monday, December 13. By the time you receive your Chimes, I hope we will have received your finished copy. Thank you all for your patience and coming for your photograph. Evangelism & Concern was given a copy of the disk with directory photos so our picture board can be updated. The Communications Committee, with many thanks to Fran Beason, presented an update to our Manual of Operations to session at our December meeting which session is currently reviewing for comments, changes and corrections. This should be available for the incoming Class of 2014 in June.

Margaret Johnson



Dear congregation,

Back in October, I was privileged to attend a three-day seminar entitled “Walk to Emmaus.” This is based on the story in Luke where Jesus is walking with 2 men from Jerusalem to Emmaus and later reveled himself to them. The event was truly life changing. I cannot tell you everything that happened there because you need to experience it for yourself, but I will say that there were 15 lessons taught by layman and clergy on the grace of Jesus and how we obtain it. This event is sponsored by the Methodist church but is open to all denominations. When you return from your walk, you are able to go to a reunion group that meets here once a month. You can also sponsor someone else to go on a walk. As a footnote the food that was served is worth the small price that one pays. The next walk will be in April 2011, and if you want information go to .

Also this past December, the choir and I held our Christmas cantata. We had the pleasure of joining with the Trinity Methodist choir and altogether there were about 17 of us. I was pleased to see the choir loft filled to capacity Soon we will begin practicing for our Easter cantata. If you are looking for a way to serve the church, this is a great way. We only ask that you make a joyful noise unto the Lord. We meet every Wed. night at 7 pm. and occasionally on a Sat. If you have any suggestions for anthems or have a favorite that you want to hear, let me know. Hope to see some new faces as we celebrate the New Year.

God bless.

Tom Berckes

Ex Libris

For anyone not familiar with him, let us introduce to you an extraordinary author, far and away my favorite theologian, Frederick Buechner. Buechner is a Presbyterian minister, author of more than thirty published books so far. His work encompasses different genres, fiction, autobiography, essays, and sermons, and his career has spanned six decades. His books have been translated into many languages for publication around the world. He has been a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, awarded eight honorary degrees from such institutions as Yale U. and the Virginia Theological Seminary, received the O. Henry Award, the Christianity and Literature Belles Lettres Prize, and been recognized by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Here are some of the comments others have expressed about him and his work:

If he subordinated his nature and chose to write on naughts and nothings, he would still exalt his readers. When he is in representative harmony and writes of the accessibility of God to humanity and of humanity’s agreement with its potential divinity, we, the readers, are lifted up, buoyed up, and promised wholeness.” MAYA ANGELOU 

An artist at work in the vineyard of theology, a wit with wisdom.” THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW.

Ultimate justice would mean that Buechner’s books will be found in virtually every literate and civilized household in the U.S. That is what he deserves as a writer…[writes] with that beauty of style that his readers have learned to expect…Pure delight.”  THE CHATANOOGA TIMES.

 “Combines an acute sensitivity to the Biblical word with a keen awareness for what is relevant for his contemporaries.”  CHOICE.

We are fortunate to have some of his books in our church library. Dewey Decimals on each to help you find them.

A famous trilogy:  Whistling in the Dark—A Doubter’s Dictionary—over 130 little essays under various titles to illustrate, as he says, “a kind of whistling in the dark because in much the same way it helps to give us courage and to hold the shadows at bay.”  DD 242. Wishful Thinking—A Seeker’s ABCa lexicon of words in the Christian vocabulary, gleaned from all over the place, aimed at doubters. DD 230.03.  And Peculiar Treasurers-A Biblical Who’s Who—over 150 hilarious thumbnail sketches of people in the Bible, beginning with Aaron and ending with Zaccheus, delightfully illustrated with funny line drawings by his daughter, Katherine. DD 220.92

Three of his novels grace our shelves:  Son of Laughter, the remarkable story of Jacob, son of Isaac and Rebekah, twin brother of Esau. “Dramatically dazzling… illuminates the archetypal truths in one of the Bible’s most compelling family sagas.” Brendan, the story of Brendan the Navigator, 5th Century founder of monasteries, and his lifelong, sea-going search

for the “Terrestrial Paradise.” Gary Jennings writes of it: “The Irish have a drink called stout. It is smooth and tart, sweet and bitter, and it is frothy. There is heart and spirit in it, and, at the bottom of the cup, some even find wisdom. This book is Irish stout.”  On the Road with the Archangel—inspired by events in the apocryphal book of Tobit, 2nd C. BC, the magical tale of two families brought together by the devilishly clever archangel, Raphael.  All fiction is shelved under F on the east wall.

We have two of the books of another trilogy, The Magnificent Defeat—meditations on three central themes: the challenge to surrender, the triumph of love, and the miracle of grace. And The Hungering Dark—meditations on biblical themes. “His style is ostensibly prose, yet so compressed are the ideas, and so vivid are the images that the writing often seems to be free verse.” PRESBYTERIAN LIFE.  Both under DD 242.

Listening to Your Life—Daily Meditations “Buechner surprises and delights (and very softly…teaches).” NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW.  DD 242.2

We have cards on a couple more, but can’t find the books—Telling the Truth, the Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale (Doesn’t that sound intriguing?) and Telling Secrets. Anyone have an idea where they may be?

Can’t emphasize enough how delightful these books are. Check it out!

Anne, the Librarian

PW Spring Gathering 2011

Mark your 2011 Calendars for the annual Presbyterian Women of the Sierra Blanca Presbytery Spring Gathering on April 9. This will be held at FPC Roswell.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Joan Fenton, Justice and Peace PW/SSW.

Hostesses: PW of First and Westminster-Roswell.   

More information in February, 2011. PWP Spring Gathering contacts Nancy Armstrong, Dixie Loy, or Goldene Mondragon. 

Fellowship Report

The Fellowship Committee did not meet in December though plans were already in place for the Soup and Sandwich Supper on December 19 at 5 p.m. It was an evening of visiting and other entertainment.

Since in 2009 “Gifts for our Kitchen” was a success, the Fellowship Committee decided to repeat this for 2010. The December Chimes listed items such as coffee-filter packets, lemonade mix, Styrofoam cups and bowls, paper towels and aluminum foil which can always be used…or use your imagination!

Following the 7:00 p.m. Christmas Eve service, we had a time of fellowship with dozens of cookies donated by each of our attendees. We thank the Worship Committee for spearheading this reception.

Marno Talbott


Hungry Harold

It’s that time again. With the beginning of the New Year, Hungry Harold has gone in and done a inventory of his food pantry. He is asking this month for donations again of spaghetti sauce, instant potatoes and Jello®.

In Thanks..

Excerpt from letter received from the CASA program:

Dear Friends at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Thank you very much for sponsoring the CASA families this year. Your donation helped deserving families celebrate Christmas and provided gifts to children who may have never received a present before … As a sponsor for CASA children, your kindness truly shines and gives people hope that there is still good in our world. By giving to those less fortunate, you are paying forward a blessing to others. CASA wishes you and your loved ones a blessed Christmas season and Happy New Year! Thank you for making a difference.

Correction to December’s PW’s Article

The entire portion of the PWP CT meeting in the December Chimes should have read as follows:

The PWP -- CT will meet in Lincoln County sometime in February, 2011 for our annual planning.  This year the PWP – CT has much to plan as the gathering participants last spring voted to have two gatherings per year.  A quarterly newsletter is planned beginning in 2011, and a few other changes are ahead.  It is our hope and prayer that SBP churches continue with their PW groups, whether for bible study, prayer, fellowship, or mission as women of the church.  Our annual PWP Spring Gathering is planned for April 9, 2011.  Hostesses will be PW groups from Roswell.  Location of the gathering will be at FPC-Roswell.  We visited with Joan Fenton at the PWS gathering, and she is excited to come to PWP gathering as our keynote speaker.  Joan, who is Member-at-Large of  PW of Synod of the Southwest's Coordinating Team and also the PWS CT Justice and Peace Representative and a member of Presbyterians Against Domestic Violence Networking (PADVN, will be the keynote speaker on April 9, 2010,  and also the PWS CT Justice and Peace Representative and a member of Presbyterians Against Domestic Violence Networking (PADVN).  You can read more about this group on-line at

The best use of life is to invest in something that will outlive life.

Remember Westminster in your will.

Mark Your Calendars!


  • January 4, 7 PM. Property Committee Meeting

  • January 5, 2 PM. Evangelism & Concern Committee Meeting

  • January 6, 9:30 AM. Community Kitchen

  • January 7, 2 PM. Worship Committee Meeting

  • January 10, 9:30 AM. PW Circle

  • January 10, 2 PM. Mission & Stewardship Committee Meeting

  • January 11, 7 PM. Session

  • January 13, 9:30 AM. Community Kitchen

  • January 21. Chimes Deadline

  • January 23. Cents-Ability

  • January 24, 9:00 AM. Piece Maker’s Day

  • January 27, 9:30 AM. Community Kitchen

Westminster Chimes

is published monthly by

Westminster Presbyterian Church

(575) 622-2801 phone

Pastor’s email :

Office email:


Pastor’s office hours:

Dr. Harry A. Cole

Monday – Tuesday

9 a.m. - Noon

Admin. Asst. office hours:

Monday - Friday:

8:00 – 1:00

Contributions are kindly requested by the third Friday of each month.

Editor Margaret Johnson

Editorial Consultant Veva Byrd

Late November and December Visitors

D. Blossom, T. Gresham, J. Smith

Worship Attendance

December 5 49

December 12 70

December 19 58

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