New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 6, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas
Page SA — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, October 6, 2001Religion
Contact Features Editor Betty Taylor at 625-9144 ext. 222.
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Knowing the most trusted person in the church
Who is the most trusted person in your church?
Immediate responses would undoubtedly include the minister. Sadly, he is not the most trusted person, as he is under constant scrutiny and accountability by church boards and denominational bureaucracies.
If it’s not the minister, surely the most trusted person at church must be the treasurer. After all, the person who handles the money must have both the trust of the congregat ion and impeccable character. Unfortunately, not even the person with access to the purse is the most trusted person since they are regularly audited and monitored.
The most t rusted person in a church is the childrens’ Sunday School teacher.
To prove this, let me ask you a few questions: Do you know the name of any or all of your children’s Sunday School teachers?
Do you know what the teacher is currently teaching? Have you personally met with the teacher and inquired as to their qualifications to teach eternal truth to your child? Does the teacher know t hey are accountable to you?
Having spent many ministry years in Christian Education, it is my safe assumption that the answers to these quest ions reveals whom we t rust the most at church. We willingly and eagerly leave our most valued possessions, our children, in the hands of someone we apparently do not care to know, so that they can teach them any- ^ thing they want about the God of the universe!
Not only do we trust t he Sunday School teachers to give proper information about the greatest issue in our lifts Christianity, but we also trust that they areTim JUDKINS
themselves people of godly character equipped with gifts to do this awesome and eternal task.
Public school teachers and daycare centers endure background checks and thorough interviews when all that is at stake is babysitting and secular education. When it comes to matters of truth and godliness, we accept anyone who is willing to take on the job. We trust them like no one else.
Is anyone surprised at the incredible ignorance that people have in matters related to God? Nationwide interest in God is widespread, and it is my guess that most Americans have attended at least some Sunday School in their life. Perhaps its time to review how the educational system of Christianity is accomplishing, or shall I say, not accomplishing its God-given mission.
Within the last 20 years we have shifted from being intentionally educational in our churches to being aggressively musical. The Minister of Music is now the preferred staff supplement to the Minister of Education. Exciting worship is more marketable than poorly presented doctrine. Educational buildings yield to worship century in the ecclesiastical
God-centered worship, however, also must be God-informed worship.
(Tim Judkins discusses “Who in the World is God?” this Sunday at the Contemporary Service of First fVotestant Church.)
St. John's welcomes new rector
Church says thank you to Irish priestsSide with a name you can trust.
Born-again Texan welcomes new job
By Bill Frisbie
If you see the new St. John’s Episcopal Church rector, pinch him.
Although he is celebrating 20 years in ordained ministry, the Rev. Charles (Chuck) Thebeau is a California-native completing his first month as both the parish rector and born-again Texan.
The church’s warmth and enthusiasm is exciting, he said, while its central Texas location is, well, incredible.
“My family and I are regularly pinching ourselves and saying ‘We’re really in Texas! Who would have thought?”’ Thebeau said.
He served IO years as rector of St. Charles Episcopal Church in Poulsbo, Wash.
Thebeau’s “dating process” with the 300-member parish at 312 S. Guenther St. began this past summer when a fellow priest submitted his name to the church’s search committee.
After an initial interview, Thebeau discerned it was time to move halfway across the country to a place th which he had never lived.
“My wife and I both felt that we had accomplished what the Lord had called us to do in Washington,” he said. “This place (St.John’s) fit my dream in
K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-ZeitungThe Rev. Charles (Chuck) Thebeau is settling in at his new parish at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
that it wants to grow. These people are serious about reaching others for the Lord instead of just existing as a parish.” Evidence of the church’s push toward growth is its recent purchase of nine acres of land on Texas 46 near OakRun Sixth Grade Center.
“What impresses me is that they went out and bought the land without a rector,” he said. “Its like they’re ready and Teaswig to go.”
Although land development is at least two years down the road, a new facility could provide needed elbow room at the church’s two worship services and expand ministe
rial support in the community.
Parenting classes, marriage enrichment courses, financial and debt reduction counseling and helping fulfill the basic need for community are part of the shared vision of a growing parish, Thebeau said.
“We want to build facilities in order to reach more people, invite more people in and to serve God in various ways,” he said.
Thebeau said he had been called to “the nicest part of Texas” and yet his sense of calling clearly predated his 20 years in ministry.
“I grew up loving Jesus from before I can remember,” he said. “As a 3-year-
old, I remember telling the grocery clerk that Jesus loved him.”
Now, Thebeau said he simply wanted to share the same message with New Braunfels.
Thebeau is in the process of earning a doctorate of ministry degree from Trinity Episcopal School in Ministry in Pittsburgh. He received his master of divinity from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in 1981 and has a bachelor of arts in psychology from Point Loma College.
Thebeau has been married to Sandy for 23 years. They have four children: Andrew, Peter, Paul and Rachel.
His mother probably called her little boy “a limb ‘o Satan” when he got into trouble, as surely he must have.
He must have heard how, years and years ago, his homeland had been invaded, the women dishonored, t he people starved and their houses burned. He must have learned how they were forced to live in earthen shacks and their flocks confiscated. Even most of their meager potatoes were taken from them. A man was lucky indeed to manage to save a little pig from the litter by hiding it in his shack.
I had a t aste of home-baked Irish bread and butter and cream when our ship dropped anchor in Ireland during World War II, and nothing was ever finer than that Irish cream.Ray Kaufman
If, as the* Irish say, that just as cream settles on the top of white* milk, Tis the pick o’ t he* crop that settles to the top,” he must have been “the pick o’ seven counties.”
Pretty colleens must have* tossed their red heads at him invitingly. Blue eyes and brown must have gazed dreamily in his direction while be*gging St. Agnes to help them snare him.
A fine* father he would become, but not like they wished. He* became a priest and volunteered to minis
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ter in a foreign country, a country of heat and cold, of droughts and floods, a country almost the exact opposite of his dear home and one in desperate need of a St. Patrick to dive away the rattle snakes and water moccasins, but also in great need for someone to minister to their spiritual needs.
Do any of us realize the sacrifice he and so many other Irish priests made to leave that cool, green land to come to a land where there probably wasn’t another Irishman for many miles? His love of a good joke or trick helped him through those first years. It has been rumored that statues of saints and perhaps even the infant Jesus were known to disappear and then reappear in unex
pected places whenever he was near.
Instead of pretty young colleens yearning for him, the people of his Texas parishes yearn for his return when he goes to his dear Ireland to “get his rogue renewed.” His love of people, his love of the ministry, his special love for the little ones have endeared him to people in each of the parishes in which he ministered.
And the Father said: “Well done good and faithful servant. You left your father, mother, brothers, sisters, even your homeland to work in Texas.”
And we say: ‘Thank you, Monsignor (^Callaghan.” And thank God for all our Irish priests.
(Ray Kaufman is retired deacon at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church.)
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