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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 28, 1996, New Braunfels, Texas ^AC^emld-Zejtung^ 'WH'- Church LH* ta To talk with Managing Editor Doug Loveday * about Church Life, call -^625-9144, ext. 21. H o r a I d I7 o it Church PageThe Unbroken Circle Of Jesus’ Love ■' Turn the alarm off. Air conditioners on. Unlock the doors and turn on die lights. In an hgur they will all be here. " 'It was Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. and I had gotten to the church to prepare for what was about to take place. In one hour, IO months of ^infill planning would finally come to a close. The little baby, so tender and beautiful, had been bom. The decision to allow adoption had bren made. The parents selected. And yet, what shbuld have brought closure was instead a lead weight on my heart, pressing for pain. Burning deep. - The young girl is like a daughter to us. We counseled, chol, instructed and prayed through these past months. The delivery was hard and long and the adoption was not ready for almost a month after the birth. And now as I walked through the sanctuary ... my safe little world where no one can hurt me ... I didn’t know how not to feel the heartache. I call it numbing up. Checking out. Going on auto pilot. When I have to be “pastoral” at tough times it is the way I keep my mouth shut, eyes dry, and emotions controlled. But already the tears were pressing hard against my eyes. I’ll never get through this, I thought. ITI never make it. The door opened. First Jan, a welcome sight, poked her head into my office. Soon, beyond Dennis Gallaher my closed door, I could hear the sound of others. The adoptive parents. Friends and relatives. Heidi, the “angel” God sent us from the Methodist Mission Home. All the papers signed, the small band of believers gathered for the ceremony. The baby would be blessed. The mother would place the child in die arms of her new parents. And the months of painful release would come to a close. It was then that I noticed it The other world sense in the midst of all this was God. On one side of our little group was a young mother, wholly in love with her tiny baby, and on the other a family of four, about to receive one of die greatest gifts of their lives. On one side, grief and tears. On the other, great joy and laughter. On one side, a love that gives all. On the other, a love that receives with rejoicing. On one side, the empty ing of a heart On the other, the filling of home. And all of it was somehow blessed by God. Two different worlds were being pushed together. But instead of disaster, they merged into a great circle, endless displaying the love of God. May the circle be unbroken, by and by, Lord, by and by. My eyes were hot. My heart hurt because of the loss we would feel. But the new parents were overflowing with joy and gratitude. How could these two reside in the same houses? How could these two be family? Only in the family of God. Only in the house of the Lord. Only in die mystery that is known as the Body of Christ. In every meeting that takes place, in every worship service or fellowship hall or youth camp, the mystery is how all of this — this agony and joy and all that is in between — is experienced at once. And never more than in that Sanctuary that day. Made holy by the joy and the grief that only God can bless. One little baby, loved so differendy by so many, used as an instrument of instruction by the Lord. And even now I cry and feel the loss. But also the joy of knowing that all is well. For the circle, that wonderful link of Jesus’ love, will never be unbroken in her life. Nor in any of die rest of us who gathered that day. Janeece Chamite Hope was adopted on June 22,1996. My she follow the Lord Jesus Christ all the days of her life. (Dennis Gallaher is pastor of Freedom Fellowship Church in New Braunfels and writes a weekly column for the Herald-Zeitung.) Church of Unity strives to be inclusive ! After three years of feeling guided to begin a {ministry in New Braunfels, the Rev. Jim Dawson, {a licensed and ordained Unity minister since •1974, established the Church of Unity in New {Braunfels in November. He chose the name 'Church of Unity over Unity Church “because •we are the only New Thought Church in this {vicinity. We want to be all inclusive,*r Dawson {said. “Some people might not be from a Unity {background, they may come dom Religious Sci-•ence or Divine Science, or some other indepen-•dent metaphysical church.” He also identified {those interested in the church as individuals {studying “A Course in Miracles” or die “Celestine Prophecies.” » “The Church of Unity is more than Unity and {is meant to include all people of a like-minded {nature who know, in some degree, that the Spirit of God, the Christ Spirit, flows from the very •essence of their being,” Dawson said. » He sect die composition of New Braunfels as {very inviting to such an inclusive center of wor-|ship. According to the minister, areas made up of ►those of German descent, such as Cincinnati, {Milwaukee and St. Louis, strongly lean toward {thinking in terms of metaphysics. | Dawson said he and his wife Joyce have felt ►very welcomed by the congregation that has .{come to make up the Church of Unity New {Bpunfels, a church whose philosophy is “to *$ach, learn, practice and promote the Truth • Pnnciples’ as taught by Jesus Christ and to serve, ! support, assist and provide a safe haven of unconditional love for everyone.” f We offer a ministry of love, inspiration and healing with music, joy and laughter,” Dawson said. “Following die universal teaching of Jesus • Clvist, we empower people in all stages of life to ■ awaken and express their divine nature.” • { "While Dawson believes a lot of people are trined off by religion, he said it is the time period in the Earth’s evolution that humans stop {looking for others to save them and take care of {themselves through Christ within oneself. He . {said all people need to realize they are responsi--ble for their own life environments. This self-determination was given to humans in the beginning. J {*We are all spiritual beings living in a human {experience,” Dawson said, “and for the most Wit we live as though we are the experience, we {need to see ourselves as the ’experience’ and {not the experience itself. We need to step back {and realize that this is a drama we are living {through. This is a school It is trine to unfold {ipto our true spirituality.” { Of his own life experience, Dawson mid, “I •{have experienced different people and different • {days of life, and I’ve grown. They hare made life ■•richer. I’m grateful for every experience. Some {have been painful and some have been woodcraft*” ;• . Dawson has served in Unity and Dmne Sci-•epee churches for 14 years, hi 190 he left the .{ministry and moved to Atlanta, Ga. There be {{attended Emory University lo become certified as {{a clinical chaplain. H worked as a chaplain al the {? Athens Regional Medical Center on the general {-surgery and intensive care units. Later he worked {{at the Georgia Mental Health Institute in the {{drag and alcohol unit {• Dawson said be would like the church to ’ evdvp to a point where Sunday School services • arid youth activities are offered. •; In wrapping up his ideas about spirituality • today, Dawson said, “We better wake up on this planet to the reality that we are all part of the ane.” This belief is further promoted each Sunday •when the congregation orally makes the statement jot faith: “There is only on presence and one power in the universe and in my life. God the good, omnipotent.” * Those with different viewpoints are welcome 4o attend the Church of Unity, Dawson said, “if {they have an open mind and are searching for the * * The Church of Unity congregation first met in restaurant area of the Oakwood Inn, but the {church now has a mow permanent home; services {are brid m 10:30 am each Sunday al the Senior Citizens Center at 655 Lands Street. * * (Submitted by the Church cf Unity) First Protestant Youth First Protestant members and their guests (left) enjoyed a day at Fiesta Texas June 23. Pictured are Chad Seige, Ben Botchers, Carty Botchers, Coral Schroeder, Ross Seige, April Quaid, Angela Reinlnger, Bryndy Zaeske, Nick Skalomenos, Karen Row, Matt Lackey, Kim Hoheneee, Christi Lackey, Lauren Colley, Erin Boyd, Kayce Constance, Kenny Thompeon, Justin Harlow, Jacob Botchers and Allison Dieted. (Top) Ross Seige, Coral Schroeder and Melonle Steele took in an evening at the circue. Service continues for veterans in ranks of God’s army By ABE LEVY Staff Writer Through with active military duties, members of Veterans for Christ have enlisted in God’s army, finding a way to once again serve their community. Veterans for Christ, a group sponsored by Tree Of Life Fellowship in New Braunfels, began six years ago, its leader Matt Gonzales said. Then, the group was associated with Pointman, a veterans organization that is overseen by the Christian Broadcasting Network. The group changed itself to Veterans for Christ last month to reflect its direction of service to the local community. “A lot of veterans who need help them- Veterans for Christ V9terans for Christ is a community service organization open to all veterans. For more information, call Tree of Life Fellowship at 625-6375. selves, the community service takes their mind off the illnesses they still experience from the wars,” said Gonzales, 62, who worked in civil service most of his life. The group provides veterans and others transportation to hospitals, affordable housing and potential jobs through the network of Tree Of Life members. Made up of a grab-bag of backgrounds, members of the group include veterans of WW II, Vietnam, Desert Storm and other ser vice personnel, Gonzales said. The group, which meets once a month, organizes a variety of service-oriented outreaches to area nursing homes and a Christmas outreach to the homeless in San Antonio. “b’s a genuine show of camaraderie between men that are seeking to help the community,” Gonzales said. The group responds to needs of the local community such as fixing washing machines, air conditioners and plumbing problems. One woman they helped was single with three children. They fixed her air conditioner, which brought members a sense of accomplishment. Gonzales said the group is open to non-vet-erans and includes teen-agers and wives of members. The group has about nine active members but numbers about 50 when they conduct larger outreaches, Gonzales said. During the homeless outreach, members give blankets, food and other supplies. Visits to area nursing homes have brought particular satisfaction. “Those people are there by themselves. A lot of them are in wheelchairs. It’s sad to see them without anyone visiting them,” Gonzales said. The group is sponsoring a barbecue fundraiser from IO a.m. to 5 pm on July 6 at Tree of Life, 652 Loop 337. They plan to sell brisket, chicken, sausage and fajitas to raise money for their outreaches. Windswept outpost on California coast refuge for Tibetan By MICHELLE LOCKE Associated Press Writer STEWARTS POINT, Calif. (AP) — Like the pioneers who forged their way west to the darkling promise of the Pacific, Tibetan Buddhism has found a refuge on a windswept outpost of California’s North Coast. Perched on what was once an overgrazed meadow, the Odiyan Buddhist Center — billed as the largest Tibetan Buddhist Center in the Western Hemisphere — is a towering monument to the ancient religion, looking down over dark green firs to the endless sea. On a clear day, the colors are dazzling — copper-plated domes burnished under an azure sky, formal gardens glowing a vivid emerald and a 113-foot gold-leafed monument, brilliant as the midday sun. Sounds emphasize the stillness — the delicate chime of bells strung overhead, the snap of prayer flags billowing in the wind, the solitary cry of a bird wheeling its way to the sea. Those who helped create the fabulous temple see more than apiece of the Far East imported to the stunning vistas of the California “It’s the phoenix rising from the ashes of the destruction of Tibetan Buddhism,” says Sylvia Gretchen, who has been involved in the 21-year project since its inception. Odivan is the brainchild of exiled 'lf • the phoenix rising from tho ashes of tho destruction of Tibetan Buddhism.’ _—    Sylvia    Gretchen Tibetan lama Taithang Tulku, who also founded Berkeley’s Nyingma Institute for the study of Buddhism as well as Dharma Publishing and Dharma Press. Work began in 1975, with a crew of up to 50 full-time workers living on site. The crew was short on money, which mainly came from donors and from revenues of Tulku’s other projects, but long on effort and ingenuity. They needed lumber, so they learned to mill their own wood. They needed steel beams, so they negotiated with die state Department of Transportation for beams from a dismantled freeway. Marble flooring came from schools where it was being discarded as part of earthquake retrofitting. “This was calling every night to donors. This was starting a little bakery to provide funds. This was selling sandwiches,” says Gretchen. Organizers estimate they spent SIO million to $12 million on nwte-rials. They say they don’t have a coat estimate for the finished product, although with its unique architecture. religious meaning and rich furbishings they believe it is probably priceless. Numbers behind the finished product are colossal: Six major temples, a 113-foot gold stupa (a traditional Buddhist monument to enlightenment), four libraries with thousands of sacred texts, more than 800 prayer flags (brightly colored squares printed with prayers), 1,242 prayer wheels and 200,000 clay offerings. The prayer wheels, large copper cylinders, are a story in themselves. Inside are about a mile of printed mantras, or prayers. Turning the wheels is believed to activate the energy of the prayers. In a 20th-century touch, electric motors keep these prayer wheels moving, producing a smooth hum — and the occasional squeak. Another modem footnote: Some smaller prayer wheels carry microfilmed mantras. The grand total? About IOO billion prayers per minute, at least according to Sally Sorenson, an Odiyan student. The complex’s main building is the three-tiered Odiyan Temple built in the shape of a three-dimensional mandala, a geometric design that symbolizes balance and order. The copper-plated roofs tilt up at the comers (an architectural challenge) giving the temple a slightly flyaway look. To the west stands the 11-story Vaira Temple. Religion Briefs Congregation Oats Revenge on Clergyman HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP)—It was payback time for the prankster preacher. During his 30 years at Whitesburg Baptist Church, the Rev. Dick Thomassian has been jumping out from behind doors and calling church members using disguised voices. Revenge came on a recent Sunday in the form of Joe, a one-humped Arabian camel. Thomassian, the church’s associate pastor for missions, loves camels about as much as he does his schoolboy jokes. He has a 300-camel collection in his office: ceramic camels, wood camels, fabric camels, you name it. So the Rev. Jimmy Jackson, the church pastor, quiedy devised the plan to present Thomassian with a live camel on the night of his 30th anniversary of service. A handful of congregational conspirators located the 6-foot-tall camel in Cullman that they could rent for a night. Before they brought out the camel, they tried to disarm any suspicions of a practical joke in the works by giving Thomassian a large rocking-horse camel. Certainly, that seemed gift enough for his anniversary presentation. Then, in front of a crowd of 1,500, two youth interns, a church member and a camel handler marched into the Whitesburg chapel wearing mock-Ara-bian garb, and rolling out a white-paper runway. Following closely behind was shaggy, unkempt, I-year-old Joe. “And what you’ve always wanted, of course, was your own camel,” Jackson said from the pulpit as Thomassian rose from his seat on stage. “We hope that you’ll find something to do with this.” Spanish Architect Chosen to Doslgn Now Cathodral LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cardinal Roger Mahony is calling on Jose Rafael Moneo, the most recent winner of architecture’s highest honor, to take the diocese into “the third millennium of Christianity” with a new downtown cathedral. The 59-year-old Madrid-based architect was selected from three finalists fa* the controversial Cathedral Square development. The other finalists were Frank O. Gehry and Thom Mayne, both of Santa Monica. Moneo recently received the the $100,000 Pritzker Architecture Prize. The prize is considered the Nobel Prize of architecture. The downtown Cathedral Square project is envisioned to replace the earthquake-battered St. Vibiana’s Cathedral, which Mahony wants to teardown. “I am most confident that we have found, indeed, the right person to help realize our dream for an historic new cathedral with which to begin the third millennium of Christianity,” Mahony said at a ceremony introducing Moneo. “It came in a way that only the future will explain to me later,” the soft-spoken Moneo told the Los Angeles Times, speaking of his new commission. “I don’t know why it came to my hands. It is almost by fate.” The Roman Catholic cardinal is opposed by preservationists who believe the existing cathedral, which is more than a century old, should be saved. Some Catholics have also protested demolition of St. Vibiana’s. ;