From: William Gibbons Jr
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2019
To: 'william's email list 2018'
Subject: St Valentine Day

Greetings to each of you,

When I was young, before commerce became king, this day was referred to as Saint Valentine's Day. You rarely see that anymore. I will share some information at the below link about it.  

I have been super busy lately. Besides all the normal stuff, with the organization now owning the Sharing in Christ building (the Center), a decision to move the audio visual library materials into a separate room created a whole slew of additional tasks. I am still the primary work force, although Donna helped build some shelves, and Mormon Missionaries came by the other day to process the new children's books. The books had been stacked for weeks on the library table waiting for me to find some time to type checkout cards, etc. Thank you to both. All of this is to say, I had no intention of taking time for an email, or newsletter, anytime soon.

However, as is my habit, whenever I wake up enough not to be falling back asleep, before I get out of bed, I take time to pray, meditate (pause and think) a little, and read at least one Scripture passage. To my great surprise, when I was ready to start this morning, the first thing that came into my mind was sending an email for Saint Valentine's Day. Things snowballed from there. 

Unfortunately, I keep a 5x7 pad of paper, 3x3 sticky notes, and several pencils in my nightstand, in case I am reminded during my prayer time to remember something for later in the day. Well, once the sheet of paper was filled on both sides, including writing around the edges when I ran out of space, and I had attached four sticky notes composed in a similar fashion, I realized this was going to become a newsletter. It needed to be started and finished in half a day if I did not want you to be receiving it at midnight. Here is the link if you want to see how it turned out . . .

God's peace,




Thank you for joining me on my website, rather than just deleting the email. I thought there were a number of things relating to the T&SC organization which should be mentioned in the email, but then it dawned on me, if someone was not interested enough to click on the link, it probably was not all that important to share the information with them. 

One item, before I forget, or it gets lost in my notes, is that a friend explained to me the easiest tool needed to make shelves similar to the others that hold books in our library is a router. I do not own one, nor was ever very good at using one. Basically, grooves in the vertical boards interlock with grooves cut into the horizontal boards. So, if any of you live close enough to do just the basics of cutting the grooves, and own a router, your help would be greatly appreciated. Donna and I have already purchased the lumber and donated it to the Teaching & Sharing Centers for the library.   


When I started responding "why not" to the idea of an email this morning, part of the reason was some of the cute graphics/clipart I had downloaded for future use the last time I was working on a newsletter. I happen to be a big fan of Pooh, so I was very happy when I discovered as a free online source. 

While I like most of the Hundred Acre Wood characters, I bear a particular affinity for Eeyore. I try not to emulate the demeanor, but the negative default thinking coming automatically has been a real challenge for me through most of my life. 

Guess what I discovered in our by-laws several months ago while I was entering the changes our members approved in 2018? We have term limits. Since I am the one who put together the by-laws (with a lot of copy and pasting from other sources), read and rewrote them specific to our current and anticipated needs, you would think I would have remembered that. But I did not.  

It takes three incorporators to set up a non-profit in Michigan. As you might guess, Rick and I, the two still living incorporators, have been on the board of trustees since the beginning. The lack of willing volunteers has been an issue before, but now it could reach crisis status. Between term limits and trustees moving, we might be in need of four new trustees just to meet the minimum. You might ask, why not change the by-laws to eliminate term limits? Members could do that, but I am one member who would vote against it. I obviously thought it was a good idea in 2004. I still think it is a bad idea to get into the habit of letting the same group of people make all the decisions in an organization that ultimately belongs to God. 

If you would like to be a voice and hands in God's work as He develops the growth and direction of the Teaching & Sharing Centers organization, now would be a very good time to step forward. 

Elections take place in June at the Annual Membership Meeting. Please let us know before then if you are willing. If not, please endeavor to think of the people you know who would rather our culture embrace a teach and share model, rather than the compete and compare philosophy which has created the conditions I hear so many people complain about. See if any of them would like to be a part of helping that happen. 

In a quick preparation for putting together this newsletter, I happened to open a file containing the above header and opening line. From the entering side of any endeavor, fourteen years seems like a long time. Not so much when you are looking back. Let alone the twenty-four years plus some since the Teaching & Sharing Center (of Grand Ledge) began as a sole-proprietorship. It is time to move forward yet again. We have a sound foundation. But we need to hear new voices, and see new faces joining in whatever God has in mind for our future. Maybe we also need to see some of you from our past, who found other endeavors too time consuming to stay, get re-involved. A good mix involves both. The T&SC has only been around for a single generation. Cherokee wisdom says a true leader must look back seven generations to see where you have come from, and ahead seven generations to see how something will affect those yet to come, before you decide on a path. In her writings, Peace Pilgrim indicated we are mostly too busy dealing with symptoms, rather than facing the tougher issues of causes. Until we do, little will change. It can be done though. I believed it enough to commit twenty-four years of my life to it, and most likely until the day I die. How much are you willing to commit for real change? 

One of the most difficult things for me is eliminating the use of the word I. We are a we now, this T&SC. It is where God lead. We, the Teaching & Sharing Centers organization now own the building where we started almost 25 years ago. (Designated contributions toward the mortgage are most welcome by the way). Ownership brings with it opportunity, but also responsibility. Owning is more responsibility than a few hands can take care of, and more opportunity to develop outreach from what we own than only a few can take advantage of. 

OK. Time to get back to Saint Valentines Day . . . 

Valentine's Day, also called Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is a secular and religious holiday celebrated annually on February 14. It originated as a Western Christian feast day honoring one or two early saints named Valentinus. 



Feast of Lupercalia

Historians trace the origin of Valentine's Day to ancient Roman Empire. It is said that in the Rome of ancient times people observed a holiday on February 14th to honor Juno - the Queen of Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also regarded Juno as the Goddess of Women and Marriage. On the following day, February 15th began the fertility festival called 'Feast of Lupercalia'. The festival of Lupercalia was celebrated to honor the Gods Lupercus and Faunus - the Roman God of Agriculture besides the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.

An interesting custom was followed in the Feast of Lupercalia to bring together young boys and girls who otherwise were strictly separated. On the eve of the festival names of young Roman girls were written on a slip of paper and placed into jars. Each young man drew out a girl's name from the jar and was paired with the girl for the duration of Lupercalia. Sometime pairing lasted for a year until next year's celebration. Quite often, the couple would fall in love with each other and later marry. The custom lasted for a long time until people felt that the custom was un-Christian and that mates should be chosen by sight, not luck.

Defiance by Saint Valentine

The pairing of young boys and girls did set the mood of the Valentine's Day Festival as we know today. But it was actually due to the efforts and daring of a priest St Valentine that the festival got its name and clearer meaning. The story goes that during the reign of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in several bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius found it tough to get soldiers and felt the reason was men did not join army because they did not wish to leave their wives and families. As a result Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. A romantic at heart priest of Rome Saint Valentine defied Claudius's unjustified order. Along with Saint Marius, St Valentine secretly married couples. When his defiance was discovered, Valentine was brutally beaten and put to death on February 14, about 270 AD. After his death Valentine was named a Saint.

According to another version of legend Valentine was killed because he attempted to help Christians escape from the Roman prison as they were being tortured and beaten there. Yet another popular version of the legend states that while in prison Valentine or Valentinus fell in love with jailer's daughter who visited him during confinement. Before his death Valentine wrote a farewell letter to his sweetheart from the jail and signed ‘From your Valentine'. The expression became quite popular amongst love struck and is still very much in vogue.

By the Middle Ages, Valentine assumed the image of heroic and romantic figure amongst the masses in England and France. Later, when Christianity spread through Rome, the priests moved Lupercalia from February 15 to February 14. Around 498 AD, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as St. Valentine's Day to honor the martyr Valentinus and to end the pagan celebration.


As I said in a previous newsletter . . .

Though we have drifted far from the instructions of Jesus, I am thankful for the example shown by those early Christians who set the tone, and gave us something to look back to as we try to right our paths to a genuine response to Jesus, the Christ. 


St. Valentine, the Real Story

Flowers, candy, red hearts and romance. That's what Valentine's Day is all about, right? Well, maybe not.

The origin of this holiday for the expression of love really isn't romantic at all—at least not in the traditional sense. Father Frank O'Gara of Whitefriars Street Church in Dublin, Ireland, tells the real story of the man behind the holiday — St. Valentine.

"He was a Roman Priest at a time when there was an emperor called Claudias who persecuted the church at that particular time," Father O'Gara explains. " He also had an edict that prohibited the marriage of young people. This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died."

"I think we must bear in mind that it was a very permissive society in which Valentine lived," says Father O'Gara. "Polygamy would have been much more popular than just one woman and one man living together. And yet some of them seemed to be attracted to Christian faith. But obviously the church thought that marriage was very sacred between one man and one woman for their life and that it was to be encouraged. And so it immediately presented the problem to the Christian church of what to do about this."

"The idea of encouraging them to marry within the Christian church was what Valentine was about. And he secretly married them because of the edict."

Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against command of Emperor Claudius the second. There are legends surrounding Valentine's actions while in prison.

"One of the men who was to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius, whose daughter was blind. He was supposed to have prayed with and healed the young girl with such astonishing effect that Asterius himself became Christian as a result."

In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius' daughter. He inspired today's romantic missives by signing it, "from your Valentine."

"What Valentine means to me as a priest," explains Father O'Gara, "is that there comes a time where you have to lay your life upon the line for what you believe. And with the power of the Holy Spirit we can do that —even to the point of death."




“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

“No one can serve two masters . . . . You cannot serve both God and money.”

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. 

(Matthew 6:19-34 Excerpts)


The above passage appeared in my last two newsletters. As said, however, it is one of the reasons there is a william's works at all. I have already completed re-reading the In His Steps book, and have been re-reading the Peace Pilgrim book recently. Two other significant influences which started this journey. For my part, I am focusing on clearing out some clutter and backlogs of work (physical and electronic), and looking to returning to the basics. A solid foundation. That is enough for now. 




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