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Showing posts with label church. Show all posts
Showing posts with label church. Show all posts

Happy Family Times--A Bible Presentation at Church

Have you done something fun and exciting with your family this week? Kelly from Happy Whimsical Hearts and I would love to hear about it. Please share below.

This week was a very special day at church. Hazel received her first children's Bible. This year they started a new Sunday School class for three to five-year-olds since we had a good number of kids in that group (based on baptisms) and we are trying to get more of these families to attend more regularly. As a result it was decided the families should receive a copy of the Bible story book being used in the class, so we can reenforce the lessons at home or help fill in gaps if they miss a week. Today was the day of the Bible Presentations. So the three-to five-year-olds received them with a parent, then the third graders got theirs and the ninth graders got their adult Bibles.

As with anything that happens at our church that involves Hazel, Steve's mother and Steve come to church with us. (They are Catholic and attend mass at their own church usually.) This of course excites Hazel. She loves having her Nonni at our church. Since it was a special day, Hazel got a new sweater dress and also wore her necklace I bought her for her Halloween costume. After the Bible Presentations, the children went to their Sunday School classes.
After church we went with Nonni to get lunch out. Hazel had a wonderful time!

Now it is your turn to share how your family has spent some quality time lately.


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Ok, now for our PARTY!! Please share your FUN Family Times!!

My Christian Values

Sharing Saturday is still open. Please stop by and share your child-oriented crafts and activities and/or be inspired but what has been shared already!

A little different type of post. One that is very personal and controversial. I have gone back and forth about whether I wanted to write/post it, but I have decided for me to stay true to my own beliefs I really need to. Don't worry I'll be back to my child-oriented crafts and activities tomorrow!

 I am going to start with a little history about me. In my undergraduate degree my major was Pure Mathematics. I experienced sexism in a few classes. I was one of the only women in classes and in one was the only one. The rest of my peers were fine (I knew them all from previous classes), but I had issues with the instructor or I should say the TA. I was brought up in a family where at least my immediate family (parents and sisters) believed in equal rights and was exposed to many different cultures as well as family friends who were gay and of different races. As a teacher I worked with kids to help fight for equal rights. At one point a friend of mine who is an Asian American singer asked me why I do it. Here I am a white girl with many privileges but I will go out there and be active for equal rights for others. My response is the same as it is now, I truly believe in equal rights for all and I believe it is everyone's responsibility to speak up for them when we see injustices toward a group. What is more I believe that equal rights are the only way we can honor God.

Lately I have felt bombarded with different issues mostly homophobic in nature with people using their Christian values as a reason for their hatred. There is the whole Chick-fil-A thing as well as an elected town official spewing homophobic comments at a public meeting. I would like to take the time to explain my own thoughts. I know this is a controversial issue and many of you may not have the same beliefs as me, but I ask that you respect me enough to read through this and think about what I have to say and if you want to discuss it further, please send me an email and do not make the comment section a place to spew hatred. I reserve the right as always to delete comments I find negative or hateful. I will also state as I have before, I am very active in my church (former deacon, Sunday School teacher, Parish Council Member), and when I taught in public high schools I advised diversity clubs as well as a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). I went through a good amount of diversity training as well as attending workshops on being a GSA adviser. Not that I need to justify my own beliefs, but would like people to know my background when I say them.

I truly believe in equal rights for everyone. I believe God created all of us and loves all of us. In the Bible God repeatedly asks us to love one another as He loves us.
Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. 1 Peter 1:22
 God has commanded we do not judge each other.
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you. Luke 6:35-38
Jesus was constantly befriending, helping and showing respect to people who were considered outcasts during his time. He was befriending, helping and showing respect to everyone and not just outcasts as well.
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at a tax booth; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him.
And as he sat a dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" Matthew 9:9-11
 He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today." So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner." Luke 19:1-8
To me these are the reasons why the  homophobia and any prejudice is wrong. God sent his only Son to earth to help us learn how to live more like Him. Jesus reached out to everyone. He helped everyone who believed and asked us to do the same. How can it be Christian to show hatred towards anyone due to a characteristic with which they are born?

To me the ultimate goal (although unattainable) is love as God loves. This means we treat others as we would want to be treated--with respect. We should all have the right to love who we would like. We all should have the right to have a family--both legally as well as socially. I know many gay people who have been in relationships longer than most of my straight friends. I know children of gay couples. I have seen better family values in these families often than the traditional families. I am also proud to live in the first state to legalize same sex marriages.

And I know many gay people and can honestly say that being gay is not a choice for them. They would not choose to be put into the situations so many GLBT people must face every day. No one would. Who would want to feel the need to hide one of the most important parts of themselves from some parts of their lives? Who would want to be put in the danger so many of our GLBT people face with the hate crimes? And this is not even going into all the issues with gay teenagers--getting kicked out of their homes, not accepted by friends and family, drugs, depression, suicide, not feeling safe at school/be bullied (all higher rates than their straight peers).

I have had very serious discussions with several lesbians about when they knew they were gay. For one, I remember it was in the same way I knew I was definitely not gay. It was upon reading the book Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown. If you have not read this book, it is an eye opener. It is a coming of age book where a young woman realizes she is a lesbian. As I read it my thoughts were "Wow, this is not me." (Yes, this book was that strong to have me even think this even though I really knew I wasn't already.) However, for the lesbian I mentioned her thoughts were opposite of mine. (This book was on a reading list for one of my graduate classes to be able to teach high school.)

So when I hear that people have Christian Family Morals/Values and do not believe in equal rights for gays (or anyone), I question where they are getting these morals/values. Everything I have read from God (the Bible) says to love one another and take care of one another even your enemy. So I will end this post with a prayer for all to have their eyes opened to the love of God and may we all walk closer with Jesus by loving all in our world and fighting for equal rights for everyone. Amen.

Many Hands Cookies for Church

This year I was asked to chair the Stewardship Ministries at my church. I turned it down several times, but they kept asking so I caved. I know our church like most is really hurting for money and kept thinking who will do this if I don't. After talking to Steve about it, we decided I needed to do it. Then of course I gathered people to be on my committee. Luckily I found four willing people who have been wonderful, and we have had the full support and help of our minister. Well the church motto is Many hands, many beliefs, one journey. As I was thinking about it I came up with our theme which is Many hands, many stories, one church. Then as I was thinking about it at church I looked and saw:
on the pulpit and came up with our logo (above in black and white).

Today I kicked off our Stewardship Celebration/Campaign with a speech introducing all of this and sharing why the church is important to me. My committee also provided the coffee hour and to go with our theme, Hazel and I made cookies shaped as hands. You may remember that I have mentioned previously that I have not had luck making sugar cookies from scratch, however I decided to try again. I decided to try the recipe I saw at Christmas time over at April's Homemaking. And we had success!!
Cracking Eggs

We followed the recipe for the cookies completely. Then for the frosting I used bags of mix I had from the gingerbread house kits.
Hazel was in charge of the mixer. Oh, and since I was taking pictures, she needed to as well. However I wasn't quick enough to get her actually taking the picture.

She helped with the cutting out the first batch, but then just wanted to eat the cookie dough, so I sent her off to play with Daddy. This is what they looked like out of the oven.
This morning we frosted them. Hazel was more in to telling me stories then actually getting much done, so Steve came and helped us. We made about 7 to 8 dozen. And they were all gone after coffee hour!!

We put them on two platters--one for the juice table and one for the coffee and tea table. One of the other members of my committee brought grapes. And the children at our church during Lent always sell muffins that they bake for donations for Heifer, so we didn't want to compete with their sales.
My speech went well. Many people came up and let me know they enjoyed it and thought I did a great job. And everyone loved the cookies and got the connection with the many hands!! Overall a successful day at church. Tomorrow I'll share how we spent the rest of this beautiful day!! (It was sunny and in the low 70's here. The heat wave finally made it to the Boston area!)

Hope you had a great weekend!!