New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 16, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
6A ■ Heraid-Zeitung ■ Friday, June 16,1905
■ To talk with Managing Editor Doug Loveday about Church Life, call 625-9144, ext. 21.
Assembly of Lutherans to meet in San Antonio
The ninth assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Southwestern Texas Synod will meet under the theme “Our Life Together in Christ” on June 22-24 at the Municipal Auditorium in San Antonio.
Keynote speaker for the assembly will be the Rev. Dr. Patrick Keifert, associate professor of systematic theology at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. He will address the assembly Friday morning and afternoon and again on Saturday morning.
Bishop James E. Bennett will preside for the first time during assembly business sessions, following tys election as bishop at the 1994 assembly.
The representative of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) church-wide office at the assembly will be the Rev. Dr. Mark Thomsen, executive director of the ELCA’s Division for Global Mission.
Registration for the assembly will open in the foyer of the auditorium at 3 D.m. on Thursday. A festival worship service will begin at 7 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church. Approximately 800 voting members, nonvoting members, and visitors are expected to attend the three-day assembly.
The 1995 assembly is hosted by the synod’s San Antonio Conference. The Rev. Dr.
John Braulick, senior pastor of Shepherd King Lutheran Church in San Antonio, has served as chair of the assembly planning committee.
Keifert joined the Luther Seminary faculty in 1980, and has also been an adjunct professor at the School of Law, Hamline University in St. Paul since 1984.
Thomsen has served as executive director of the Division for Global Mission since the formation of the ELCA in 1987. He was director of the Division for World Mission and Inter-Church Cooperation of the American Lutheran Church, one of the ELCA’s predecessor bodies, from 1981-87.
Headquartered in San Antonio, the Southwestern Texas Synod has a baptized membership of 71,513 persons.
Children gather in The Upper Room
Last Wednesday evening began the second year of the ecumenical teen summer program called The Upper Room. This program is designed to provide a Christian atmosphere for weekly Bible study, prayer, food and fellowship for the youth of New Braunfels grades 9 through 12. Five churches have pined together to sponsor the weekly program: Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic, St. John’s Episcopal, St. Paul Lutheran, First United Methodist, and First Protestant. The Upper Room will be held in the activity center at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 236 W. Bridge, from June 7 through July 5, after which time it will move to St. Paul Lutheran for the remaining of the summer, July 12 through Aug. 9. The Upper Room is held every Wednesday from 7 to 11 p.m.
Exploring God’s Kingdom at Vacation Bible School
St. John’s Episcopal Church will be holding a Vacation Bible School July 10-14, 9 to 11:45 a m. for all children in the New Braunfels area. “Exploring God’s Kingdom, An adventure in Prayer” will be taught to children ages 4 through (entering) fourth grade.
Pre-registration is being held now. Forms are available in the church office, 312 S. Guenther, or call 625-2532 for more information.
A Lifetime Of Service
Pastor of Sts. Peter & Paul Church logs 40 years in ministry
By DOUG LOVEDAY
He has served as shepherd of the Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church flock for more than IO years, but Monsignor Eugene O’Callaghan has been a servant of God and his fellow man for many more years.
Father O’Callaghan is celebrating 40 years in the ministry this year — 40 years in which the challenges have changed but the drive and will to serve have not.
“I think that call to help others is still there for me, even after 40 years,” O’Callaghan said. That perseverance and dedication is proof, he diinks, of the genuineness of his calling.
It was in Cork, a rural county in Ireland, that (^’Callaghan discovered the importance of family and Christian values, he said.
‘‘There, I was seeing a lot of the natural law of God. The values I grew up with were very strong,” he said.
And today, the 65-year-old pastor of Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church is even more convinced of the sacred and vital role families play in our lives.
‘‘When I came to Texas 40 years ago, die word divorce was not the normal thing to hear, or the happy thing to do at all,” he said. ‘‘Now we have
Monsignor Eugene O'Callaghan has served at Sts. Peter & Paul years.
a lot of single-parent families in the church. We have to train ourselves better to help them as much as possible.
“We are in a terrific journey through life, and
lurch for 10
everyone must be taken by the hand and helped along die journey, whether they are single parents or not.”
Father O’Callaghan attended seminary in Ire
land and accepted a call to ministry in San Anto- < mo in 1955.
He next served the Church in Victoria before' moving on to Palacios and the Portland-Port * Lavaca areas, he said.
He was pastor of a church in Schulenburg-, before returning to San Antonio. It was IO years * ago that he joined the Sts. Peter A Paul Catholic • Church family. - -t
“Ne benefitted from serving with the mufti-eth-.-mc groups in Texas. There’s a great richness no people's origins,” he said.
One of the things he's done is recruit Catholic' priests for the Archdiocese in San Antonio, but his service to his fellow man has been his most fulfilling work.
“I’ve seen people's lives change as a result of the Word of God. That's an exciting thing and is very rewarding to see.
“I have done nothing fantastic or extraordi-. nary in my life, but what talents God has given me, I hope I've used those satisfactorily,” he! said. ~
Father O’Callaghan has given 40 years of service to God, the Church and others, but he's not through just yet.
“I hope I'll be able to stay here and help the people at Sts. Peter A Paul,” he said.
A stranger in the house
\ 4 J %
Isla Giefer Daniels
By ISLA GIEFER DANIELS
Special to the Heraid-Zeitung
(Note: I am the mother of five children, 4 of which are girls. We had a happy, sane, almost a storybook family until our oldest daughter became a teen-ager. / began to talk to God quite a bit but He never seemed to answer me until the day / sat down with pen and paper. The need arose for me to write a speech for a speech contest. I was at my lowest point as a mother— the mother of a child I no longer knew. As the words began to flow into the paper, / knew this was God’s way cfi answering my questions. This is my gift to you— you who have a stranger in your \ house.)
A cool, damp morning in February, clad in
nightgown and robe, thinking I heard a noise, I quietly opened her bedroom
There, covered in blankets up to her chin, lay a lovely looking 15-year-old girl. I don’t know her well, although she has been living here about three years. She seems to have this strange plower over us! We find ourselves running errands for her, taking her where she wants to go, waiting up for her when she comes in late. We feed her, clothe her and give her money. We listen to her deafening music, her bad grammar and boisterous voice.
Who is this stranger with such powers?
I checked up on her recently. Her birth certificate shows she belongs to us SOMETHING IS WRONG!
Yes, we did have a daughter—sweet, canng, quiet talking, proper grammar, appreciated good music and polite. But she left three years ago, about the time this stranger moved in.
As I look at her lying there, I think back, trying to remember the day she came and our little girl left.
Perhaps her room will give mc a clue as to what happened to our little girl. The waterbed! Maybe we accidentally tossed our little girl out with the old bed and this one came with the waterbed! Or did it happen when the rock star posters were tacked on the wall, or the “Do Not Enter” sign was put on the door. That was it! She did a switch on us when we put the telephone in the room and the “Do Not Enter” sign was put on the door!
This saddens me. What happened to our little girl and why did this granger have to move in? I miss my little girl.
I don’t know how I missed it, but there on her pillow lay an envelope. As I looked closer it read, “A MESSAGE FROM HEAVEN.” Oh, it couldn’t be! How did it get there? Was that the noise I heard? Carefully I picked it up and quietly left the room, closing the door behind me. I walked downstairs, sat on the sofa and with trembling hands I opened the envelope. In it was a letter, A LETTER FROM GOD!
It is time you knew—that stranger you are keeping is My child. Yes, she is that same little girt you held in your arms when she was bom. She has changed, hasn’t she!
Don’t be foolish. You never lost your daughter, for how can you lose something that isn’t yours to begin with? She belongs to Me, as you belong to Me. You are her parents because that was part of My plan, not yours! I know there are times you wonder why you chose to be parents—I am here to tell you, I am the Almighty and you had no choice! I may sound firm but I do all out of love. Everything I give is a miracle. You are a miracle and your child is a miracle, both bom out of love—My love.
There comes a time I have to claim My children—prepare them for what is ahead. This is what is done in what you call the teen-age years. I know it is confusing but it has to be that way. Their struggle makes them stronger and all you have to do is have faith in Me.
lf you look in the Book I had written, it is in Luke, chapters 2-4. There it shows how even Jesus pulled away from His earthly parents and they did not understand either. He was 12 years old when they took a trip to the temple and Jesus stayed. His parents searched for Him and His mother said, ‘Son, why have you done this to us? I have been searching for you in sorrow.’ He said, ‘Why did you search for me? Did you not know I had to be in My Father’s house?" But they did not grasp what He said. Your child is pulling away f?om you also. She does not understand, as Jesus did, but how can she belong to Me is she is still clinging to you?
There will come a time when I will let her know I am her Father, just as I did when Jesus was baptized. (I came down and announced, ‘You are My beloved Son—on You my favor rests.’)
Let me warn you, times will not be easy for her, but I don’t ask anything of her that I didn’t ask of Jesus. Before He could do My will, I set temptations before Him. I sent the greatest of temptations, Satan, to tempt Him, but as I did this, I never once left His side as I will never leave your daughter’s. The Holy Spirit was with Him while He was in the desert and he was tested to the greatest lengths but He chose Me over evil. At that point, I knew He was ready. So do not fret about temptations that lay ahead for her. I will be there and she will choose for herself. You cannot make the decision for her but you can have faith in Me. I am the Almighty who loves you and her. I know what I am doing.
Now that I have spoken to you, I ask but one more thing. Keep loving her as I take her hands in mine, for through love she will know I am her Father.”
Carefully I put the letter down. I walked upstairs, opened the door which said “Do Not Enter.” I looked at her lying there. She didn’t look like a stranger anymore. I bent over, kissed her warm cheek and said, “Wake up, Princess.”
Life passes quickly and lives are changed in an instant
This past Saturday, the sirens of summer were beginning with a vengeance in our neighborhood located on the banks of the Guadalupe River.
Following the first ambulance scream came a second, then a third and a fourth. From the yard where we watched, it was obviously not your normal river accident. Something serious must have taken place. Something that required much attention.
It turned out to be another cliff jumper. Jumping off of the cliff into the water is quite a sport to the tourists who really don’t believe there is much, if any. real danger. Every year though, there is at least one paraplegic and often a death when someone hits the water wrong. There doesn’t seem to be any way to convince people to stop. They climb over fences, risk arrest, tear down signs and conquer all fear to jump from that stupid cliff.
And that is what he did...hit the water wrong, surfaced for a moment, and then slipped under the water and drowned. Twenty-two years old, married, too young for this to happen. But it did and now they searched for his body under the shadow of the cliff.
The scene was morbidly carnival-like. By now the homeowners’ park was filled with ambulances, emergency vehicles, water rescue personnel, newspeople, and onlookers who wanted to know what happened.
The search went on for some time while the truth slowly gnpped the man’s friends who huddled together comforting one another in shocked refusal. The anguish of it all entombed them with grief and unbelief. What had started out as a day on the river was now the worst day of their lives. How could this have happened?
But the rest of the people. They were mostly curious and just part of the scene. The professionals were detached. The rescue personnel simply doing their job. The funeral home people kindly resigned to the task. And the onlookers standing and stanng. Not connected to the fact that a person was now dead.
Those who were enjoying a nice day on the river watched as the lifeless figure was hauled into the rescue boat and carted to shore. And then, as if nothing had happened, the place in the river where the body had come from was almost instantly taken over by rafts and tubes from upstream. It was like looking for the hole after you throw a rock in the water. Within seconds, nothing lingers to suggest the event.
By now, hundreds have passed over the very place that he died. And yet there are no flowers, no white crosses, no memorials, no fear of interrupting a sacred place of death. Just another bend in the river.
That’s how quickly life passes. How abruptly it can end. How unfair and decisive death is. In a moment of time you are traveling along with hundreds of others looking for the good times and a little excitement The next moment' you are in eternity. Your only baggage being the response of your life to your Heavenly Maker. Naked you came and naked you will go. *
In an instant that young man tubing down the river with his friends came before God. In an instant he experienced more reality than in his entire lifetime. He saw God nose* to nose. Death did not wait for him to be prepared. It did not warn him. It did not steady his gaze. It never spoke before it took.
And so a family is in deep grief this week. A vacation to the Hill Country became a tragedy beyond belief. This week was filled with hastily made plans for a tragic funer-^ a1 for a man too young to die. Ongoing anguish.
But life just goes on for us. This weekend the Guadalupe will be filled with tourists. More than one will at least attempt a jump off the cliff. Thousands will pare over' the place of tragic death without even a thought that we are always just one breath way from eternity. But it doesn't have to be that way. No sir, not for a moment.
Somewhere in Indiana there is a tombstone over a hundred years old that bears this epitaph:
“Pause, Stranger, when you pass me by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be,
So prepare for death and follow me.”
An unknown passerby had read those words amt scratched this reply below them:
“To follow you I'm not content Until I know which way you went.”
Which way are you headed today? Are you just a part of the carnival of life, an onlooker to the tragedies who doesn’t know your own frailty? What would you My if your next breath was of celestial air? What would your first thought be if today you came face to face with your Maker?
Someone once said that a man cannot die will unless he’ has lived well and a man cannot live well unless he knows how to die well. To die well is to die already at peace with.
* God. To die well is to know the comfort of having a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is really no more corticated than that.
So think about it, won’t you? Because I really care about where you’re headed. Step out of the crowd of onlookers for a moment to really look where you are; headed. Now is the time to prepare for when you get;, there. Because once you are face to face with God, it’s toor late to get ready. i>\
(Dennis Gallaher is pastor af Freedom Fellowship'' Church in New Braunfeb.)
Austin church choir to lead local service
The Choir of Peace Lutheran Church of Austin will be leading “Songs of the Body of Christ” at Peace Lutheran Church here in New Braunfels on Saturday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m.
“Songs of the Body of Christ” is a worship service that will include a diverse selection of hymns, including hymns written in the past IO to 20 years.
The congregation will participate significantly in the service through hymn singing with the chon. The public is invited to attend this one hour celebration of music.
Poll Confirms Alabama's Doop Roots lit Rollglon
MOBILE, AU. (AP) — A survey found a majority of Alabama residents believe die Bible is the infallible word of God, and heaven and hell are real.
Results of polling by the Mobile Press Register and the University of South Alabama confirm the state's deep roots in religion.
Ninety-nine percent of those polled said they believe in some sort of heaven, 95 percent believe in some sort of hell, and 86 percent believe in Satan or an evil spirit.
According to the poll, 53 percent of
Alabama residents agree that “Every; word of the Bible comes straight; from God and is completely free oft error,” while 38 percent My “Tho Bible is inspired by God, but may! contain some historical and scientif-! ic errors.”
ST. PAUL, Mum. (AP) — Leaden of the Roman Catholic Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have signed a document intended to help interfaith couple} identify volatile matters that may come up in their marriages.