Saturday, December 22, 2007

Pilgrimage to WDW

Joanne and I went to Walt Disney World the second week in December. We usually go at least once a year. Most often its by ourselves. Most folks think we're a little odd, to say the least. For us its a needed break and a major destressor from the day to day stuff. When we get there we're just two of the thousands of kids already there. We leave the adults outside and just have a blast. We stand in line to get our pictures taken with characters, along side all the kids with their parents watching. We watch the shows and fireworks and get just as excited as any child there.
We spent a day in each park; Animal Kingdom, Epcot, MGM Studios, and the finally the Magic Kingdom. Jo's favorite is Magic Kingdom, with MGM a close second. I guess my favorite is Epcot, but I would never think of going and not visit one of the parks. I love seeing the animals roaming lose at Animal Kingdom. I've been to too many zoos and seen the animals enclosed. At Animal Kingdom it seems that you're the one behind the enclosure. The gorillas are a great example. The gorilla house at a normal zoo has plexiglas windows to view the gorillas and usually smell of excrement. In Animal Kingdom they seem to roam through the tall grass, sitting and sleeping wherever they please. The was one huge Silverback male that was sitting with his feet dangling in the stream, he had a long blade of grass poking it between his teeth, just watching us as if we were the curiosity.
Now, Joanne doesn't do roller coasters, so we have to split up if I go ride. My favorite one is the Rockin' Roller Coater at MGM. I rode it twice the day we were there. I also like the Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom. What makes Disney roller coasters a step above is how there is a story that goes with the ride. Actually all of Disney rides tell a story, which makes it more than just a ride. At the Rockin' Roller Coaster you're going to se Aerosmith in their studio, but they have to leave for a concert. You and all your group get invited to the concert and a stretch limo is ordered for you all. When you load for the ride you're getting into what appears to be a long vehicle and the ride is through the dark with florescent road signs as you fly down the expressway.
Another thing we love at WDW is the dining. Some of our most loved restaurants are in the parks. There is the Yak & Yeti at Animal Kingdom, the SciFi at MGM, Liberty Tree at the Magic Kingdom, and Epcot has an excellent sit down restaurant in each country with the cuisine of the country. If you have a day off you can also dine at some of the excellent restaurants at the various resorts. This is not a place to lose weight.
We always enjoy our time at WDW. I went to a pastor's meeting and they asked about what we each did to refresh our lives. I told them how Joanne and I went to Disney every year. We may go from opening to closing, but in the end it is refreshing. When we walk through the gates we leave the adult outside, maybe that's what we should do every once in awhile. I believe that maturity can be highly over rated. The child helps us remember when we believed anything was possible and we were invinceable. Doesn't Jesus tell that we must be like a child. I know that's a theological leap, but is it really.

Friday, December 7, 2007


St. Andrews UMC has a really nice Chrismon Tree at the very front of the sanctuary, covered with symbols representing Jesus, Christendom, Biblical and Theological concepts.
Shirley Wyatt explained the meaning of the Chrismons to those of us who weren't familiar with them. I tended to keep my hands down. A tendency I developed in elementary school when my teachers carried big sticks like Shirley uses. Protect your knuckles!
I don't know if you can tell with my picture, but all the Chrismons are made with buttons. Virtually every member of St. Andrews has been involved in the making of the Chrismons, from the children and youth to the senior members.
If you would be interested in learning more about Chrismons, check this site.

The Reason for the Season

Thanksgiving Services

We had two Community Thanksgiving Services on the Charge. Republican Grove UMC joined with Republican Grove Baptist Church and had an evening service on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. We met at the Baptist church this year and next year will be at the Mthodist church. When they meet at the Baptist church the Methodist pastor delivers the message. So, my first year I was the speaker.

St. Andrews UMC gets together with 3 Baptist churches for their Thanksgiving service; Piney Grove Baptist Church, Straightstone Baptist Church, and Eastbrook Baptist Church. Each of the church's choirs sang two numbers during the service. The music was varied and enthusiastic. The message was delivered by Rev. Sam Caldwell, representing Eastbrook Baptist, since they are currently without a pastor. After services there were refreshments.

They have been having these community services for over 40 years. It was wonderful watching folks arrive and greet each other. Everyone knew everybody. There were no church rivalries or denominational feuding. It was simply believers getting together to celebrate their thankfulness to God and to fellowship with one another. It wasn't about theology, it went beyond that. It was an incredible thing to behold.