Posted on Mon, Jan 27, 2014
From the Pastor
This is the month in which we celebrate Valentine’s Day, a church holiday, which, like Christmas has been hijacked by the prevailing culture and robbed of its meaning. 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 mid-February, 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 mostly 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.
The Rev. Randy Nolen
I would like to give a big Thank You to everyone that helped to make a wonderful Christmas for the CASA family we adopted. It was truly appreciated.
Our next meeting is on February 10, at 9:30 am. We will be studying Lesson #5, “God Provides.” Our lesson leader will be Dixie Loy and our hostess will be Dorothy Straley. Hope to see you there.
Let us entertain you. Or perhaps you’d like to entertain someone else. The library has a couple of books that should aid in that endeavor.
1. Just for fun, look at Over 1,000 Squeaky Clean Jokes, “so funny you’ll laugh out loud! So clean you can tell ‘em in Sunday School.” No credit is given to author or editor, just copyrighted by Cliff Road Books and Sweetwater Press. It’s a huge collection of all kinds of jokes (544 pages), of different types, divided into chapters, entitled “Lawyers,” “Blondes,” “Love and Marriage,” “Animals,” “Sports,” “Religion,” “Business,” “Light Bulb Jokes,” “Politics,” “Kids,” “Old Age,” and “One Liners.” A joke for every occasion and for every audience.
2. Another gigantic one (755 pages) is The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes, general editor Clifton Fadiman, circa 1985. Envisioned as a companion volume to Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, this heavy tome is a major collection of well over 4,000 anecdotes about more than 2,000 famous people from around the world, past and present, in all fields of endeavor, from Hank Aaron to King Zog, from Aeschylus to Florenz Ziegfeld. Each follows a brief biography. The collection confines itself to “biographical incidents, hoping that they are interesting or amusing as well.” The subjects are predominantly 20th century and Western, but there are also many from classical times and distant regions, the familiar and traditional mixed with the odd and surprising. It provides several indices, name and subject.
Neither of these books has been cataloged yet, so if you are interested, ask the librarian for help. Check it out.
Anne, the Librarian
From the Choir Loft
The music staff heartily thanks the congregation for its generous Christmas presentation. We are happy to serve this appreciative and supportive body. Your comments and thanks are noticed on a weekly basis. Our music is not only a gift to God, but a gift to you. Thank you very much.
We extend our sympathy to the families of Larry Hall and Genie Lyons. They both joined the Church Triumphant in January 2014. Genie Lyon’s Celebration of Life was held on January 10, at the church. Over thirty people attended her service. A reception was held in the Fellowship Hall following the service.
Larry Hall’s family had a small graveside service for him on January 11. There was a reception held at the church after the service.
It’s time again to help out Hungry Harold. He says for February 2014, he is in need of Kool-Aid and/or Powdered Drink Mixes along with Pastas and Dried Pinto Beans. He gives thanks for the many blessings he has received from members and friends of Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Thank you, Westminster, for your donations to Community Kitchen via Hungry Harold! In 2013 we delivered a total 81 cans powdered drink mix, 171 lbs. pasta, 21 lbs instant mashed potatoes, 17 lbs. rice, 465 lbs. pinto beans, 11 gallon cans vegetables, 14 large boxes Jello, 76 rolls paper towels, 13 packages napkins, 14 jars spaghetti sauce and various other items. We'll continue our Hungry Harold project in 2014 so help us stock the larder. Sacks of groceries will be collected on February 2, Souper Bowl Sunday, and will be distributed to Community Kitchen or to St.Peter's Good Samaritan food distribution program. Powdered drink mix, pasta, and dried beans are always needed items.
The adult Sunday school class, which meets regularly at 10:45 after the service, launched in the first part of January one of the Uniform Series of International Bible Lessons, based on Great Themes of the Bible. The study presently occupying the class is a seven-session discussion of Called to be God’s People, by Kay E. Huggins, a Presbyterian minister and author. The lessons are thought-provoking and have engendered lively discussions by the class, consisting currently of about 10 people. Always room for more.
Thanks to everyone that helped decorate the Church in December. It seemed as though the whole season was out of whack due to the late Thanksgiving holiday. The December potluck was well attended and enjoyed by all. The caroling even went all right without the words written down for us! (My memory is shot!) Another thank you to everyone that helped take the decorations down.
The February potluck will be on the 16th so that we can make it all things "Valentine.” Start reviewing your trivia knowledge so you can take down the opposite sex in our annual "Battle of the Sexes.” I am going to start compiling the questions so that we have some good ones to stump everyone. Bring your favorite romantic dish for the potluck, which will be after Church (11:00 a.m.) in the Fellowship Hall.
Thank you again from the Fellowship Committee for all the help you give us. We would not be able to do it all without you.
Pastor Randy Nolen conducted a memorial service for Genie Lyons on Friday, January 10, at the church, followed by a reception. On Saturday, January 11, a memorial service for Larry Hall was held at South Park Cemetery followed by a reception at the church. Pastor Randy plans to attend the Synod of the Southwest Preaching Event at First PC in Albuquerque February 10-12 (Monday-Wednesday).
Clerk of Session reported that all the year-end reports have been completed for Presbytery, therefore the Church Report for 2013 was approved by session. The Minutes and Record books were reviewed December 14 and were rated “very good.”
Margaret Johnson will represent Westminster at Hobbs for the January 24-25, 2014, annual meeting of the Presbytery of Sierra Blanca.
With December having been such a busy month for events held at the church, it was decided that our next potluck would be on February 16. More information to follow and signup sheets will be available in the narthex.
Feb. 2 - Tom Johnson
Feb. 9 - Barbara McNallen
Feb. 16 - Elaine Hanson
Feb. 23 - Julia Esquibel
One Man’s Hobby
Not everyone in Westminster’s congregation gets his/her aches and pains from the aging process. There is one young(er) man who gets his aches and pains from engaging in an active sport—bicycling. John Martinson bought a bicycle in 1984 while living in San Diego. He and Karen were not married until 1989 and he had the opportunity to play hockey with a team there and needed another exercise to keep those muscles moving! Soon he entered a couple of long distance rides in California before moving to Roswell.
After moving to Roswell in 1996, he joined up with a group of more dedicated riders. At that time our own Karl Travis was a participant and they became friends and John joined our church. Currently there is a Roswell Bike Club that rides at various convenient times during the week and its members will, from time to time, ride in competitions. Over the past ten years John has entered several triathlons and long road races. He averages around four to five competitions each year.
You may see him biking around the streets of Roswell, or in the countryside, for training. It requires biking a lot of miles to get ready for a one hundred (100) mile trek; however, he enjoys the exercise, being in the open air and seeing our beautiful scenery, and the companionship of his friends. As an added bonus, he placed second in his age group in a 100 mile competition held in the fall. He doesn’t intend to give up this hobby anytime soon. As long as the bike doesn’t break down, his legs hold up, and the horizon beckons, he’ll keep the wheels rolling. Our blessings to him on each and every outing.
December 2013 – January 2014
1). Electricians were called to fix lights in treasurer’s office and library.
2). Shed was broken into again, nothing taken. Appears someone wanted to get out of the cold.
3). Hired Sara Solas to clean church. She will be cleaning on Tuesdays.
4). Cleaning supplies were purchased.
NOTE: Inside the cleaning closet to the right as you enter, is a sheet to list cleaning supplies needed. Also, as I have asked before, if something needs to be fixed and it is not an emergency, leave a note in the Property Manager’s box in the copier room.
December 29 - 64
January 5 - 59
January 12 - 54
January 19 - 55
January 26 - 65
Mark Your Calendars!
Feb. 1, 8:00am. Men’s Breakfast
Feb. 2. Communion Sunday
Feb. 2, 10:45am. Evang. & Concern
Feb. 2, 11am. Worship Committee
Feb. 5, 4:00pm. Chimes Practice
Feb. 5, 6:30pm. Choir Practice
Feb. 6, 9:00am. Comm. Kitchen
Feb. 6, 5:00pm. CASA
Feb. 9, 11:00am. Session Meeting
Feb. 10, 9:30am. PW Circle
Feb. 12, 4:00pm. Chimes Practice
Feb. 12, 6:30pm. Choir Practice
Feb. 13, 5:00pm. CASA
Feb. 14. CHIMES Deadline
Feb. 15, 8:00am. Men’s Breakfast
Feb. 16, 11:00am. Potluck Luncheon
Feb. 19, 4:00pm. Chimes Practice
Feb. 19, 6:30pm. Choir Practice
Feb. 20, 9:00am. Comm. Kitchen
Feb. 20, 5:00pm. CASA
Feb. 22, 8:00am. Men’s Breakfast
Feb. 22, 9:00am. YPAC
Feb. 23. Cents-Ability collection
Feb. 24, 9:00am. Piece Maker’s Day
Feb. 26, 4:00pm. Chimes Practice
Feb. 27, 5:00pm. CASA
Feb. 26, 6:30pm. Choir Practice
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