Wednesday, April 22, 2009


At least 90 people enjoyed the first ever The Choice ~ Home School Co-op spring concert entitled How Beautiful is the Rain, Tuesday night, at the Holland Free Methodist Church. Stephanie Hulbert directed these home-school children in a variety program that included a 16-voice "Choice Choir" singing 2 part "partner songs," including an opening gospel number after they came down the aisle, Let Your Light Shine Before Men, followed by a spiritual, Chariot's A-comin.' (It was called the choice choir since the name of the co-op is The Choice; it was not a group selected by audition, but for any who wanted to be in it. They believe this first concert will result in more interest and a larger choir in the future.)

Most delightful was the smaller ensemble of children aged 7 and 8, performing a rain song with Orff instruments and All Things Bright and Beautiful with outstanding solo features. Also fun and entertaining was the whole choir doing a choreographed "show choir" style piece, I Can't Stand Still under those Raindrops. Two music classes, ages 7-10, performed America.

Mrs Hulbert, Mrs. Bell, and Mrs. Parmelee, sang Stormy Weather as a trio appropriate for the rain theme, followed by the Choice Choir, singing How Beautiful is the Rain.

The Choir finale was This Little Light of Mine, arr. by Jennings.

Piano students included Jacob Hulbert, accompanied by his brother Gabe on the conga drums, and Evalee, Wade and Jack Deily and Mikaela Bell.

Other students had vocal solos in the choir numbers and accompanied various numbers with the Orff instruments.

We also saw a stilts demonstration by Noah Claytor --who came down the church stairs on stilts, navigating the microphone stands as we held our breath.

The Anatomy class performed their entertaining spoof on the Macarena song, called "My Cranium, " which did enumerate all the major bones of the body.

The 3-6 years old class performed the Superman Blessing, to bless the refreshments shared afterwards by all the students.

All choirs sang with a lovely, very tuneful, true children's choir sound with excellent diction and no noticeable "droners." Their poise and stage presence were remarkable, such little ladies and gentlemen.

Mrs. Hulbert is Rob R's sister and she has her music education degree from the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music. Patty Parmalee (Sharon Brillhart's sister) was the accompaniest. Deb Claytor was in charge of a lovely reception afterwards.

The Choice Co-Op is a Friday gathering of home school students who have classes taught by the various teacher moms. 38 of the students were in the music classes. I don't know if that's all the students in the co-op or not.

The academic results of home schooling (and parochial schooling) prove that money is not the requirement for a good college preparation. (Patrick Henry College is a new college comprised of mostly former home school students. They beat Oxford U. at debate, winning international competition.)

I believe the co-op meets at the Epiphany Lutheran Church on No. Reynolds Rd. --on Fridays.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Monday, April 13, 2009

Reflections on Family Life at Easter-time

I listen to my young friend say "2 children only" in this day of family planning options. And I can recall when I might've said the same thing --as I couldn't imagine even being pregnant or being a mother --though I loved my dollies and playing "house" as a child. But I really wasn't around pregnant women much as I grew up. Birth control pills 40 years ago made me sick --and my first pregnancy was really difficult --nevertheless, four babies came to live with us --one after the other --until 2 C-sections in a row --the first because labor came early and preemie John nearly expired before he was born --so the next delivery was a planned C-section and in those days, they feared natural delivery after ONE C-section --and thought there was a limit to such surgeries. After the first one, I sure didn't want to keep having C-sections. I had the first one without anesthetic taking. Anyway, the 2nd one was reason for the OB to suggest tubal ligation--which is how we turned off the baby machine. And I've never felt guilty about it. However, each unexpected pregnancy brought a delightful person into our house --and I think bigger families are joyful ones --as are extended families with cousins and grandparents.

One wonders what we are doing to ourselves with all the abortions, late parenting plans and late marriages with their higher risk of infertility, and all the divorces and re-marriages. We have all this freedom and technology with which to do whatever we please, and the choices we make aren't necessarily good for us. God can redeem those blended family and step-parenting situations, late marriages, and single parenting, too, and make them all joyful, but there is a built-in sense of belonging that occurs when people commit to family life and work at obeying Christ in their homes, "striking the original match." We loved our children so much, and they, us, that divorce would have been very sad for all of us. How blessed they are by the father I chose for them! whom I believe God chose for us. How blessed WE were, to have them come into our home.

These four people and their spouses and the grandkids are our social network and community --apart from church. We had all 12 of us, including two great-grandmothers in their late 80's, at our Easter table. And it is always a lot of fun. Amusing is my mother who "can't eat very much" --and eats and eats --and will say after leaving a restaurant and arriving home, "What's to eat?" And she's not overweight --yet. Since her knee surgery, she's on her feet all the time, pacing from one end of my house to the other --wondering where all the people are --and if she should go to the mailbox --and "where is Rob?" (her favorite --as he lived with her some and looked after her, when he was in college in her city.) She washes dishes for me without soap, just wiping them with a dirty dishcloth, and puts them in the drainer -- and I say, "Thanks, Mom, now we're going to sterilize them," and I put them in the dishwasher and she's fine with that. No offense. She fusses over her suitcase and purse a lot. But doesn't really beg to go home. Since she's come on her extended visit, since Feb. 14, she has been to Elmwood's musical, their pre-contest choir concert, choir practices, CLC, CLC talent show, Tenebrae Rehearsal, Tenebrae Service, visiting Stephanie's house and home-school co-op, stephanie's Easter weekend brunch last Saturday, EAster services, Fremont Alliance's Easter pageant, and Christ in the Passover presented by Jews for Jesus, etc. etc. And numerous restaurant outings.

The grandsons, 7 and 9, have heard a story about Grandpa and Grandma that they love to quote a line from, "You're weavin' all over the road, Barb!" My husband said this before he took over the driver's seat and was mocking my driving by demonstrating the weaving --and here came the police!!! And when the officer asked my husband if he knew he was weaving all over the road, our carload burst into laughter --and explained that hubby was only imitating wifey, so as to get her to drive better! Our son in law happened to be along on that car-ride to Chicago --back in the girls' college days. For awhile he called us "the Weavers."

Shared faith, shared memories, shared silliness, shared chocolates, shared holidays --all part of the rich fabric of family fun in a functional family. Our son came home from college, filled with new-found insights and wisdom, and announced we were a dysfunctional family -- and my husband said, "You haven't seen dysfunctional!!" I don't even remember why he said it. But we know that any stress we experience in our family is minor compared to the world's. We know that we are blessed --though far from perfect individuals --especially me. I am the one most blessed by a kind and generous, energetic hard-working and loving husband --and children who are kind to me --who want to come home and see us fairly often. Our daughter made a statement at her wedding, that she knew we loved her --and that her father loved her mother and that he always would. If he ever thought he wouldn't, that sure was a challenge to him! He has always believed that divorce is destructive to children --at any age. And so I have been secure in his love, through all the vicissitudes of life and body. His grandfather, especially, set such a pattern for him. And he believes in the Bible --that he is to love his wife as his own body --and so he does.

The CHURCH --when it teaches and preaches the Bible, making disciples, it still holds the keys to FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE --and the greatest of these is LOVE.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


Why Evangelicalism will not die
despite recent reports to the contrary in newspolls:

Four cars, driven by me, my husband, Rob and Chrissy, headed out to Spencer Twp into the Habitat for Humanity housing neighborhood --lovely homes on a cul de sac and neighboring street --to pick up 14 children and youth, ranging in age from 8 to 17. They all happened to be African-American plus one little blonde whose mother brought her to the church. We had Kayla, Earlkayla, Earlkia, D'Earl, Bobby, Kyle, Davon, Javon, Brittany, Ariss, Amon, Austen, Anthony, a "godsister" whose name had an apostrophe in it (a visitor to one of the families), and Breanna. Through this I had good conversations with several different parents who do not attend our church. My invitations had gone out to all my Trailblazers and their siblings, by phone.

Rob drove his grandmother and three girls. I drove 4 boys who acted as good as gold. Jon had 4 boys. Chrissy had 4 girls.

We went to Fremont Alliance Church to see The Cross of Love, their annual Easter musical. We were not late, but the place was packed, and the boys were split up and we girls had corner seats --where they were able to stand to see better. The good part about our place was that our restless children didn't bother everybody --just those in close proximity. The two youngest were a little too immature for the event and occasionally made inappropriate noises and were quite the little busy bodies --though I had one on my lap half the time. (Yes, I have a lap!) When Jesus was crucified, I was asked, "IS THAT REAL BLOOD, MISS BARB!" And my little busybodies were into the faces of their friends to report back who was crying. "SHE's CRYING!" Most of us WERE moved --so effective was the portrayal.

The best thing about our seats was its location by an entrance for the actors. When Jesus entered for the first time he entered between our two rows and the girls literally squealed in delight, "IT'S JESUS! IT'S JESUS!" and to me, "Is it REALLY JESUS!???" They were so excited and became part of the drama --as he touched each one's hand or shoulder or head as if to bless them. I was almost convinced myself for just an electric moment!

The gentleman who plays the role these recent years was unchurched until he saw this production. It touched him profoundly to see the story of Jesus enacted, the healings, the crucifixion, the resurrection. He committed his life to Christ and started to attend the Alliance church and has been portraying Jesus beautifully, ever since. He gives his testimony after the program.

When a leprous girl passed by with bandaged face, our girls giggled and jeered, "O LOOK, LOOK AT HER!" And I was embarrassed --until it occured to me, that they had once again given a realistic portrayal of Bible-days children --this time being impolite to a leper --whom Jesus healed and the bandages came off as our son John sang the song, "Healing Rain." (It's his in-laws' church.)

This church goes all out, serving home-baked cookies and punch to nearly 500 people at each of 3 performances. One of the boys stacked up 7 cookies on his napkin and was admonished by the others," Put those back!"
After we were seated, the pastor asked for any of the regular church-goers there to consider giving up their seats for the visitors --which they did. We hear the church put up a remote screen in their gym for an over-flow crowd on their third and last night of performance.


Our Tenebrae was not nearly so well attended, just less than one hundred, but it, too, was a beautiful service causing solemn reflection on Christ's sacrifice for our souls' sake. We were pleased to be visited by several people we didn't know, probably due to newspaper publicity, and by some visitors we did know, like the administrator of The Toledo Clinic and his wife, and Pastor and Mrs. Merrin of Monclova Baptist.

Highlights of OUR service were Holy Communion (The Last Supper observance) the readings of the Holy Week events from scripture, by leader, narrators, and congregation, interspersed by the beautiful ensemble, "Remember Me," sung by Rob Rohrs, Andrea Conklin, Ashley Perez and Christine Rohrs; "How Beautiful is the Body of Christ" by Patty Bersinger (both songs during the Communion); and from the David Clydesdale Easter musical, How Great Thou Art: "What will you do with Jesus" by Christine Rohrs --a challenge to us, referring to Pilate's dilemma, and then a medley of the beautiful "When They Pierced Your Side --How could they Open up your Heart Anymore?" by Stephanie Hulbert and the choir, including "How Great Thou Art," "And Can it Be?", and concluding with "God so Loved the World."

Congregational songs included "The Old Rugged Cross" and "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded," and a contemporary arrangment of "Amazing Grace." Readers were Bob and MaryBeth DeMatteo and Courtney Lucas. Our sound tech who did a good job was Bob Perez. Kayla Perez extinguished the candles, accompanied by the tolling of a bell, as the sanctuary darkened more and more until there was just one chime and the last candle was carried out, and the thunderous earthquake sounded --signifying Christ's death. Then the candle was brought back and placed before the cross to signify the triumph of good over evil, and life over death. And Pastor Keith Simpson dismissed us to leave in reverent silence.

I believe the church is alive and well and on the march.

We hear that Lebanese celebrities participated in a SAT-7 Easter broadcast into the Middle-east.

I told you all before how the Free Methodist Church was given land by the Kurdish gov't to build a church in Iraq --last year. And there are some 50 pastors seeking ordination in the Free Methodist Church in Viet Nam organizing their congregations as Free Methodist Churches. We have children's hostels in India and schools and hospitals in Africa and many FM churches there.
Mega-churches in the USA are challenging those who have fallen away from their churches to rediscover the excitement of the Gospel message --and the reality of it.

The Holy Spirit is still among us --as we tell the old, old story --still! passing it on....

And why will evangelicalism survive and thrive? Because we are still and again,
ever renewing our call to the poor, to children, to the unity and equality of
all races, Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free -- proclaiming
liberty to the captives and deliverance to the oppressed --and helping to make
it happen, so help us, Lord!

When we get more busy about the basic Good
News, and the basic commands of Christ, living the righteousness asked of us,
straining for the holiness commanded of us --ever discipling
(teaching/preaching) in the church to those we bring from outside the church
--as Jesus said,

"This is my Church and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail
against it."


"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Citizens Perform 4 Million Dollar Job in 8 Days.

I don't know if this says more about the power of citizens laboring for the common good or about the ineptitude of bureaucracy. But it testifies to both.

Residents and business owners around the Polihale State Park in Hawaii saw the writing on the wall when essential repairs for the park were delayed for two years or more at the expense of 4 million dollars to the taxpayers. Without the repairs, the park couldn't open and several businesses depending upon the park for their livelyhood would most likely have not survived.

Instead of waiting for the government to take care of them, the citizens and businesses gathered their resources together and made repairs themselves free of charge.

More details here.

Whatever the economy does in the future, we can't rest our hopes in the government. I hope Obama can turn it around (or even that things will turn around inspite of his efforts), but then again, we may end up with a worthless dollar. However things turn out, I expect that communities and neighbors will still have it within their power to band together and work things out as long as we are willing to give something to the community in unity without an expectation of immeadiate reward. If you think about it, what the above example amounts to is kind of a reverse welfare. In that, we can expect it to have the opposite effect, energizing the community for the common properity of all.

Easter Services --Good Friday Tenebrae at HFM Church

GOOD FRIDAY ~ April 10, 7 PM





INVITE OTHERS to reflect on the Last Supper (open communion for all believers,) and Christ’s atonement for our sin that we might have everlasting life.
Music includes the choir, and features singers in solos and ensembles: Patty Bersinger, Andrea Conklin, Ashley Perez, Courtney Lucas, Rob Rohrs, Stephanie Hulbert, and Christine Rohrs. DeMatteos will narrate.

Media release:


The Holland Free Methodist Church will present a Good Friday Tenebrae service on April 10 at 7:00 pm. Tenebrae is the Latin word for "darkness" or "shadows." As the candle-light service of music and scripture progresses, candles are gradually extinguished and chimes sounded until only a single candle, as a symbol of Christ remains. Toward the end of the service, the Christ candle is hidden, representing the apparent victory of evil over good. At the very end, a loud noise sounds, symbolizing the earthquake at the time of Christ's death. The hidden candle is then restored to its place, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil. By this single light, all depart in silence.
Music will include excerpts from the beautiful 1984 work, How Great Thou Art, a musical about the Lord’s Passion by David Clydesdale.
During the service, the Lord’s Supper will be observed, an open communion
for all followers of Christ.
Easter services are at 7am and 10:40 am, April 12.
The Free Methodist church was founded in 1860, and the three “frees” of this Weslyan, evangelical church were “freedom from slavery, free pews, and the freedom of the Spirit in worship.” The local Holland congregation was established in the year 1868.
The Holland Free Methodist Church, pastored by Keith Simpson, is located at 6605 Angola Road, Holland, Ohio, north of Spring Meadows Mall.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

6 Facts on Passover

I found this article interesting.

You can check out the rest but I thought 2 were particularly interesting. It turns out that Coca Cola makes a kosher brand (extra kosher for the stricter passover diet) which uses sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.

On a more profound note, it turns out Abraham Lincoln was assasinated during passover. This affected the celebrations taking place at Jewish synagogue.

According to the American Jewish Historical Society, many Jews were in synagogue for the holiday when the news of Lincoln's assassination broke. Altars in temples "were quickly draped in black and, instead of Passover melodies, the congregations chanted Yom Kippur hymns. Rabbis set aside their sermons and wept openly at their pulpits, as did their congregants." Sadly, a time that was supposed to be full of celebration became one of mourning.