Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Shiloh UMC VBS 2012

 Shiloh UMC has, for quite awhile, been doing their Vacation Bible School on a one day, Saturday, format. We had ours this past Saturday and our theme this year was "Expedition Everest". The teachings were about persistence and perserverance.
 Our guest speaker was Dr. Robert Sullivan, a pediatrician from F. Read Hopkins Pediatrics. Which just happens to be where I am employed. Yeah, that's right he's my boss. Some of the folks in attendance told him to give me a raise, so they wouldn't have to.

 Dr. Bob came to share with the kids and adults about his experience climbing and reaching the summit of Mt. Everest in May of this year.

 He had about 190 pictures from his time in Nepal and his climb. We had a little glitch when they took longer than we expected to load for the program. Neither of us being very tech savvy, we just had to stare at the laptop until it loaded. We were about 15 minutes late getting started.
 It was a fascinating account and the hour went by way to fast. Several people commented that they would have evjoyed another hour. He did a great job sharing about the spiritual nature that his experience had for him.

 He told us something that I don't think I'll forget. When speaking about his preparations for the trip, he listed "making things right". How he would go to family, friends, and even enemies and make things right, get things settled. He said it is because you don't know if you're coming back.
 Afterwards, he took time to talk with folks attending and answer questions. One lady told me, afer he left, that she had a hundred questions come to her once he was gone. Thanks Bob, for taking time to come to a small Methodist church and sharing an experience that is beyond most of our imaginations.

 Next on the agenda for the morning was crafts. We tried to find crafts that would fit with the theme of Mt. Everest. The first craft they made a paper lantern that you could put a battery tea light inside.

 We thought we little goats or sheep for the kids to make, but they turned out to be possums. Now I know you're wondering how we made that fit the theme. We said that when you climb you would get so hungry that you would eat one one of these.
When Dr. Bob was showing his pictures we kept seeing lines of little flags. He expalined that these were prayer flags and how when the blew in the breeze, it was believed that the prayers went up. So the kids made their own prayer flags and which we hung at the front of the church.

 The older kids would help the younger ones with their crafts.

 The next thing was music. Everyone came into the sanctuary to sing. I was advised by the music leader, my wife Joanne, that I should probably not actively participate in this part of the morning. She was afraid that I might scare the younger children and we would have to call their parents.
We did have a guest join us during the singing.

 Buzz, from El Paso Texas, joined in the singing and dancing.

 Buzz, made quick friends with the kids and the adults.

We closed the day with a hot dog picnic lunch in the Pavilion.

It was a fun day for all.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Quinceanera for Lynda Palacios at Shiloh UMC

On July the 7th, I had the priviledge of officiating the Quinceanera for Lynda Palacios. Lynda's mother, Minnie May, works with me at the doctor's office and had asked me to do this over a year ago. I have been blessed to be able to serve in a pastoral role prior to this and have worked with Minnie in ministry.

To say that I didn't know much about it would be a vast understatement. And, just in case you aren't too familiar with a Quinceanera, let me share some information with you. (The bold print is some of the liturgy from the service.)

The exact origin of the 15th birthday celebration/QUINCEANERA is unknown but it probably goes back more than 400 years and has its roots in the pre-Columbian rites of passage of some native tribes in Mexico, specifically the Maya, Aztec, and Toltec Tribes.

When a young man reached his 15thbirthday, he was given a shield and sword and he became a warrior. Consequently, he was considered a full member of the society. A young woman, as well, upon reaching her 15th birthday, was ready for adulthood and was presented to the community as a vital part of society. In her capacity for motherhood, she could provide the community with warriors. The ceremony for the young lady included thanksgiving for the future wife and mother, and her commitment to carry out her responsibilities in the community.

The missionaries eventually put the rite for the young woman into a Christian context, at which time she could reaffirm and consecrate her life to the service of the church and the community. This rite for the young woman has remained in our Christian worship and increasingly continues to be celebrated in Hispanic congregations.

 For youth who have been baptized, this may be an occasion of gratitude and remembrance of the covenant of water and the word declared at an earlier time.

Traditionally, several symbols are used in this celebration. Some of these include the candle and the Bible.

The Candle – The lighted candle is a symbol of Christ’s presence, the Light of the world, and who invites us so to shine as to be light for others.

The Bible – The Bible represents the primary norm of Christian conduct for the believer. At the same time, it reminds us of the centrality of the Word of God for our lives.

The service as a whole seeks to praise God with a genuine spirit of thanks giving for the special gift of life for the young woman.

The Flower Girl and Escort, Azelyah Hernandez and Charles May (Lynda's brother).

Lynda escorted by her two Dads; Jaime A. Palacios Sr. and Brian D. May.
 God calls us to celebrate life. We gather today as followers of Jesus Christ to celebrate fifteen years in the life of Lynda Palacios.  As we offer thanks to God for Lynda, we join with her in this act of dedication to discipleship in Jesus Christ and service to his kingdom. Welcome! Let us celebrate and praise joyfully.
 O Creator, God of the universe, we praise your holy name for the life of Lynda Palacios. We rejoice that she has come to that time in her life when she assumes new and greater responsibilities.  We affirm Lynda at this time of joy and celebration. This is a time of thanksgiving for the past and visions and challenges for the future.  We acknowledge that this is a time of commitment, not only to the highest ideals of life but also to the saving grace and sovereignty of Christ in her life. Accept her life in true commitment and fill her heart with joy, and grant that your peace may come to abide in her heart for ever, through Jesus Christ, our Sovereign and Savior.  Amen.

Receive the light of Christ, since Christ said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never  walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 1:8-12)

I give you thanks, O God, for this special celebration. I offer you my youth so that you might use it. Guide my thoughts, my heart, my lips and my feet that, in the future, I may always do your will, and not my own.  In the powerful name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

Celebrating Holy Communion

Gracious God, grant your guidance, strength and protection to Lynda Palacios.  Confirm by your Holy Spirit, her desire to grow in faith, in hope, and in love. Let her life be an able instrument to serve her neighbor, that your name may be praised. Along with Lynda, help us to love and serve you more faithfully each day until your kingdom comes and your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.  Through Jesus, your Son and our Savior, we pray. Amen.

Family Pictures

The folks from F. Read Hopkins Pediatrics.

Signing the Guest Book

Lynda with her brother, Jaime A Palacios Jr.

A Quinceanera tradition is the removing of the shoes of childhood and putting on the shoes of adulthood. The honor was performed by her two Dads.

Lynda received her last doll, her Quinceanera doll.
The Quinceanera Cake

Cutting the Cake
A great day of Friends and Family