Posted on Thu, Feb 21, 2013
Here is a story from the internet, from Brigid Ryan at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX:
The day is over. You are driving home. You tune in your radio. You hear a little blurb about a little village in India where some villagers have died suddenly, strangely, of a flu that has never been seen before. It’s not influenza, but three or four fellows are dead, and it’s kind of interesting, and they are sending some doctors over there to investigate it.
You don’t think much about it, but on Sunday, coming home from church, you hear another radio spot. Only they say it’s not three villagers, its 30,000 villagers in the back hills of this particular area of India. And it’s on TV that night. CNN runs a little blurb; people are heading there from the CDC in Atlanta because the disease strain has never been seen before.
By Monday morning when you get up, it’s the lead story. For it’s not just India: it’s Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran. Before you know it, you’re hearing this story everywhere and they have coined a name for it now: the “Mystery Flu.”
The president has made some comment that he and everyone are praying and hoping that it will go well over there. But everyone is wondering, “How are we going to contain it?”
That’s when the president of France makes an announcement that shocks Europe. He is closing their borders. No flights from India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where this thing has been seen. And that’s why that night you are watching a little of CNN before going to bed.
Your jaw hits your chest when a weeping woman is translated from a French news program into English: “There’s a young man lying in a hospital in Paris dying of the ‘Mystery Flu’.” It has come to Europe. Panic strikes. As best they can tell, once you get it, you have it for a week and you don’t know it. Then you have four days of unbelievable symptoms. And then you die.
Britain closes its borders, but it’s too late. Southampton, Liverpool, Northampton. And it’s Tuesday morning when the President of the United States makes the following announcement: “Due to a national security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been canceled. If your loved ones are overseas, I am sorry. They cannot come back until we find a cure for this thing.”
Within four days our nation has been plunged into an unbelievable fear. People are selling little masks for your face. People are talking about what if it comes to this country. And preachers on Tuesday are saying, “It is the scourge of God.”
It’s Wednesday night and you are at a church prayer meeting when somebody runs in from the parking lot and says, “Turn on a radio, turn on a radio.” And while the church listens to a little transistor radio with a microphone stuck up to it, the announcement is made. “Two women are lying in a Long Island hospital dying from the ‘Mystery Flu’.”
Within hours, it seems, this thing just sweeps across the country. People are working around the clock to find an antidote. Nothing is working. California, Oregon, Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts. It’s as though it’s just sweeping in from the borders.
And then, all of a sudden, the news comes out. The code has been broken. A cure can be found. A vaccine can be made. It’s going to take the blood of somebody who hasn’t been infected, and so, sure enough, all throughout the Midwest, through all those channels of emergency broadcasting, everyone is asked to do one simple thing: “Go to your downtown hospital and have your blood type taken. That’s all we ask of you. And when you hear the sirens go off in your neighborhood, please make your way quickly, quietly, and safely to the hospitals.”
Sure enough, when you and your family get down there late on that Friday night, there is a long line, and they’ve got nurses and doctors coming out and pricking fingers and taking blood and putting labels on it. Your wife and kids are out there, and they take your blood and they say, “Wait here in the parking lot and if we call your name, you can be dismissed and go home.” You stand around scared with your neighbors wondering what in the world is going on, and if this is the end of the world.
Suddenly a young man comes running out of the hospital screaming. He’s yelling a name and waving a clipboard. What? He yells it again. And your son tugs on your jacket and says, “Daddy, that’s me.” Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy. “Wait a minute, hold it.”
And they say, “It’s Okay; his blood is clean. His blood is pure. We want to make sure he doesn’t have the disease. We think he has the right type.”
Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses, crying and hugging one another. Some are even laughing. It’s the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week, and an old doctor walks up to you and says, “Thank you, sir. Your son’s blood type is perfect. It’s clean, it’s pure, and we can make the vaccine.”
As the word begins to spread all across that parking lot full of folks, people are screaming and praying and laughing and crying. But then the gray-haired doctor pulls you and your wife aside and says, “May we see you for a moment? We didn’t realize that the donor would be a minor and we need…we need you to sign a consent form.”
You begin to sign and then you see that the number of pints of blood to be taken is blank. “H-h-h-how many pints?”
And that is when the old doctor’s smile fades and he says, “We had no idea it would be a small child. We weren’t prepared. We need it all.”
“You don’t understand. We are talking about the world here. Please sign. We…we need all of it. We need it all.”
“But can’t you give him a transfusion?”
“If we had clean blood, we would. Can you sign? Would you sign?” In numb silence you do.
Then they say, “Would you like to have a moment with him before we begin?”
Can you walk back? Can you walk back to that room where he sits on a table saying, “Daddy, Mommy? What’s going on?”
Can you take his hands and say, “Son, your mommy and I love you, and we would never let anything happen to you that didn’t just have to be. Do you understand that?”
And when that old doctor comes back in and says, “I’m sorry, we’ve got to get started. People all over the world are dying,” can you leave? Can you walk out while your son is saying, “Dad? Mom? Dad? Why have you forsaken me?”
And then next week, when they have the ceremony to honor your son, and some folks sleep through it, and some folks don’t even come because they go to the lake, and some folks come with a pretentious smile and just pretend to care, would you want to jump up and say, “My son died? Don’t you care?”
Is that what God wants to say? “My Son died? Don’t you care? Don’t you know how much I care?”
Father, seeing it from your eyes breaks our hearts. Maybe now we can begin to comprehend the great love you have for us.
Have a blessed Easter.
The Rev. Randy Nolen
PW Women last met on February 11 for our monthly meeting. Our next meeting will be on March 11, at 9:30 am. We will be studying Lesson #7, “The Children.” Our lesson leader and hostess will be Harriet Pinkerton. Hope to see you there.
It’s that time again; time to help out Hungry Harold. He says for February 2013, he is in need of Powdered Kool-Aid and/or Drink Mixes along with Canned Fruit, Napkins and Rolls of Paper Towels.
He gives thanks for the many blessings he has received from members and friends of Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Thanks to all for your Souper Bowl Sunday contributions. We delivered to Community Kitchen and to Good Samaritan 22 sacks of groceries, 8 gallon cans of fruit and vegetables, 12 gallon-sized cans of Kool-Aid, 10 large bags of assorted pasta and $120.00. And the Ravens won.
With the sponsorship of the Worship Committee, we will be purchasing Easter Lilies this year. There will be inserts in the bulletins for February 24, March 3 and March 10, and this issue of the Chimes. We are asking those who wish to purchase a lily to contribute $10 for each lily you purchase. On the insert be sure to mark whether you want to take the lily home or not.
Additionally, if you wish, you can indicate whether it will be in memory of or in honor of a loved one. We would like to have at least ten lilies for the sanctuary which would include the one(s) you want to take home.
You can give your $10 to Dorothy Straley, place it in the collection plate, or mail it with the attached order form. Just be sure to include your order form with the information filled out. We need these forms with payment sent back to the church offices before March 18.
At its meeting on Sunday 10 February 2013 the Session conducted the following business:
Voted to receive Marilyn Nolen by letter of transfer.
Communications: 2013 Church Directory is ready.
Fellowship: Potluck dinners will be held after church services on Feb 17, March 17, March 31 (Easter), May 12 and Jun 16.
On January 25 and 26, 2013, the Presbytery of Sierra Blanca met at the First Presbyterian Church of Alamogordo, New Mexico. Representing Westminster were Rev. Randy Nolen, minister, and Ann Dye, Elder and Commissioner. Also attending was Ruling Elder Adam Soliz, pastor of the Spanish service that is held at Westminster every Sunday at 11:15 AM. Moderator of the Presbytery meetings was Larry Loy, who was installed on Friday evening. His wife, Dixie, a voting member of Presbytery and Moderator of Presbyterian Women in Presbytery of Sierra Blanca, reported on their adopted project: Human Trafficking—Modern Slavery and the resources available on www.pcusa.org/humantrafficking to help our church combat this evil.
Sierra Blanca is divided into four “clusters”, grouping the Presbytery into four geographic groups that will work closely together on future projects. The southeast cluster is comprised of Hobbs, Lovington, Carlsbad, and Roswell. These four communities met to discuss possible missions that would appeal to the membership of our churches and would give us the opportunity to travel to our “sister” communities and help one another in the project that city had chosen. The first city to be visited is Hobbs, on (date to be announced), and their project is to help Habitat for Humanity in the effort to build a new home. Further information will be sent out to the churches, but we would like for Westminster to send a couple of car loads of volunteers down for the day, as will the other churches in our cluster.
Not everyone is expected to wield a hammer, but there are other duties that we can help meet, such as providing food to the workers, watching children as their parents work on the home, whatever the imagination can figure out. Personally, I like the idea that we help our local Habitat, and I’m sure that Bob Williams could use the helping hands of workers from the other three clusters. This would be at some future date not yet determined. The goal of these projects is to foster friendships with members of other Presbyterian churches in our area.
The Alamogordo Presbyterian Church women were most gracious in their hospitality, and attendees were fed a delicious dinner Friday night, continental breakfast Saturday morning, and a farewell lunch Saturday before we headed back to our homes.
On Friday an opening worship service and Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was held after dinner. The service also included the installation of the Moderator and Stated Clerk and the reading of the Necrology report. Saturday began with morning worship at 9:00 AM followed by various meetings, the most interesting being a discussion of the 2013 budget. I was most impressed with the passion, but politeness, that the budget engendered; however discussion is to be expected whenever money (or the lack thereof) is involved. Final action on this issue tabled the approval of the budget until the April meeting.
This was my first experience seeing the operation of the Presbytery of Sierra Blanca, and as your Commissioner I look forward to the April meeting to be held in Carlsbad. Our presbytery is in a transitional period of adjustment, and it is endeavoring to make the churches within its parameters able to reach out to our communities with more effectiveness. The more people we can involve in our missions, the more growth there will be for our churches.
The new 2013 Church Directory is now available. Be sure to pick up your copy from the table in the Narthex. If you can’t make it in to get one or are one of our out-of-town friends and would like one, you can email the office or call and request one.
The sympathy of the congregation is extended to the family of Edith Rottman, who joined the church triumphant on Friday, February 8, 2013. We are grateful for the memorial gifts given in her memory by Lee & Dorothy Straley and Joe & Mildred Powell. Others have also made memorial gifts but wish to remain anonymous.
The Rev. Majid Abel and Hina Abel conduct the Naulakha Ministries in Pakistan through the Naulakha Presbyterian Church in Lahore, Pakistan. The Mission Team of First Presbyterian Church, Roswell has been supportive of this ministry for many years.
Rev. Abel will be coming to Roswell around the time of the PC(USA) Youth Triennium this summer, prepared to bring a group of around 10-12 youth (ages 15-30).
As we have followed the news of the explosive events in Pakistan over the last year, you know that this is a dangerous place in our world. Rev. Abel hopes to expose the Pakistan youth to life outside their world. He believes that they deserve “the opportunity to explore the world and feel what it is like to be free.” And he believes that they can teach the youth of the US of their own life as they share their own stories, testimonies, and dances.
We look forward to seeing the Abels and the youth of Pakistan this summer. Please pray that all goes well with this effort.
December – January 2013
1). Water valve on West side of church burst, Jan. 1. Repaired on Jan 2.
2). Thanks to our secretary for ordering the new garbage can outside the fellowship hall.
3). Letter to Session (Property Committee) received from Grant Hunter regarding lights was received and responded to.
4). Fixed lock on Handicap bathroom door.
By the times this Chimes issue comes out, the humming in the furnace will have been fixed, the lights fixed and a new water heater installed. (As information, the ballasts for the lights are $175.00 each and there are 10 of them).
At the recent meeting held in the First Presbyterian Church of Alamogordo, an evening worship service was conducted on the first night. It began with the church members who were volunteers in the community coming to the front of the sanctuary, giving us their names and describing the nature of their service. We were impressed with the numerous and varied outreach programs in which this congregation participated. They are indeed a mission church!
Westminster is also a mission church. After a discussion among the members of our cluster, it was decided that it would be enlightening for the churches to receive feedback from their own members detailing the volunteer work done within the community where they live; therefore, I am requesting feedback from each of you informing me of work that you do for others living in Roswell. Some of you have found that your outreach is in some way related to your profession. Others are involved with charitable organizations, and many of you volunteer your time and energy with several different groups.
So, what I would appreciate your doing is this: email me or call me or leave a short write up in my box in the office. I shall compile a listing of the names and duties that our members participate in for a future column in the Chimes. I believe that we will be amazed by the generosity of time and talent that our members donate to our community. We were impressed with the mission work done by Alamogordo’s church. It was uplifting to learn of their work, and I am sure that we here at Westminster will be equally awed by the way our members quietly go about doing God’s work. My telephone number is 625.9607 and email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 3 Anne Gravel
March 10 Abel Esquibel
March 17 Tom Johnson
March 24 Loris DeKay
March 31 Phyllis Lester
February 3 ..... 55
February 10 .... 59
February 17 .... N/A
March 3, Communion Sunday
March 5, 6:30 pm. Choir Practice
March 7, 9:30 am. Comm. Kitchen
March 7, 5 pm. CASA
March 9, 8:00 am. Men’s Prayer Breakfast & Property Committee Meeting
March 10, 11 am. Session Meeting
March 11, 9:30 am. PW Circle
March 11, 2 pm. Mission & Stewardship Committee Meeting
March 13, 6:30 pm. Choir Practice
March 14, 5:00 pm. CASA
March 15. Chimes Deadline
March 16, 8:00 am. Men’s Breakfast
March 17, 10:45 am. Evangelism & Concern Committee Meeting
March 17, 11am. St. Patrick’s Day Potluck Luncheon
March 20, 6:30 pm. Choir Practice
March 21, 9:30 am. Comm. Kitchen
March 21, 5:00 pm. CASA
March 23, 8:00 am. Men’s Breakfast
March 25, 9:00 am. Piece Makers
March 27, 6:30 pm. Choir Practice
March 28, 5:00 pm. CASA
March 30, 8:00 am. Men’s Breakfast
March 31, Food Collection
March 31, 11am. Easter Potluck
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