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
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
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
"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
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."