Friday, November 30, 2012

Church honors veterans’ stories of valor

On Oct. 15, 2009, Diane Styer became a member of a club no mother wants to join.
That was the day her 19-year-old son Brandon was killed when the truck he was driving in an Army convoy in Afghanistan struck an IED, an improvised explosive device. At his funeral, a woman slipped a card in her hand about the American Gold Star Mothers Organization for mothers who have lost a child in the war.
She didn’t know on that day how much it would help her to be part of a community that really did understand her grief.
First United Methodist Church of Lancaster, Pa., was also a source of support and comfort in those difficult first days and years.
“The night we found out Brandon was killed … the minister from this church, even though we weren’t members at the time, called me,” she said. The church also opened its doors for Brandon’s funeral, and more than 800 people attended.
“They just showed us Christ’s love through their actions,” she said.
Three years later, when Veterans Day landed on a Sunday, Styer wanted to share her pride in her son with her church family. The Rev. J. William Lentz Jr. agreed, and Lou Riedlinger — a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, and the leader of the church’s Armed Services Support Ministry — took charge.
Riedlinger, Styer and others in the church started organizing and announced there was to be a large display in the church on Nov. 11 with photos from anyone who was or had been in the military.
During the worship service, the Red Rose Honor Guard performed the ceremony of the folding of the flag and presented it to the Styers.

84 stories of valor

Karen Senkowski, a part-time church staff member who helped organize the event, said the congregation was asked to submit pictures and stories of themselves or family members in military service.  “So, we collected all the stories, typed them up and we put them up for display today,” she said.
First United Methodist Church was founded in 1803, so it has a long history of ministering to veterans who served the military dating back to the Revolutionary War, Riedlinger said. People brought in 84 photos that represented veterans from the Civil War to the Afghanistan war.


WEEK OF PRAYER: BE His hands, His voice

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) -- Nepalese pastors brave threats and bombs to see Christ's name glorified in the Himalayas. Believers in West Africa bury a Christian woman, uniting in a strong witness to the Songhai community that refused her a proper burial.


53% of Democrats Have a Positive View of Socialism, Gallup Poll Claims

A Gallup survey released this week is sure to spark some partisan debate. The post-election study found that more than half of Democrats and left-leaning Americans (53 percent) have a positive view of socialism. This is almost identical to the proportion of left-of-center individuals who respond favorably to capitalism (55 percent).
These findings are particularly striking, especially when compared to Republicans’ views on these economic systems. While 72 percent of right-of-center Americans have a favorable opinion of capitalism, only 23 percent share similar sentiments when it comes to socialism.
Many Republicans have dubbed modern-day Democrats “socialists,” a title that is often-times rejected by liberal Americans. While 53 percent certainly doesn’t constitute the entire party, it’s likely that these results will ignite further controversy and renewed claims that liberal Americans have a greater penchant for embracing income redistribution and socialistic tendencies.



Gallup: More Than Half of Democrats Have Positive View of Socialism

School Forces Child to Remove ‘God’ From Veteran’s Day Poem: ‘Separation of Church & State’

West Marion Elementary School in Marion, North Carolina, is at the center of controversy after educators ordered a six-year-old girl to remove the word “God” from a poem she was slated to deliver at a Veteran’s Day event. The first grader intended to use the opportunity to honor her two grandfathers who fought during the Vietnam War.
The contentious line that led the school to take action was, “He prayed to God for peace, he prayed to God for strength” — clearly a reference to her relatives’ personal, wartime invocations. After a parent allegedly heard of the inclusion of a higher power, he or she complained. The school, apparently working diligently to balance church versus state concerns, then decided to tell the child to remove the line.
“The discussion [about the poem] occurred between myself, the principal and the assistant principal at West Marion,” Superintendent Gerri Martin told McDowell News. “We wanted to make sure we were upholding the school district’s responsibility of separation of church and state from the Establishment Clause.”


Top 10 High & Low Unemployment Cities in America

Here are the 10 cities with the highest unemployment as of Oct. 2012:
  1. Yuma, Ariz. 29.8
  2. El Centro, Calif. 28.1
  3. Yuba City, Calif. 15.3
  4. Merced, Calif. 14.7
  5. Visalia-Porterville, Calif. 14.4
  6. Modesto, Calif. 13.9
  7. Fresno, Calif. 13.9
  8. Hanford-Corcoran, Calif. 13.9
  9. Stockton, Calif. 13.6
  10. Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, N.J. 13.3
Lowest unemployment rates as of Oct. 2012:
  1. Bismarck, N.D. 2.2
  2. Fargo, N.D. 2.8
  3. Grand Forks, N.D. 3.1
  4. Lincoln, Neb. 3.2
  5. Midland, Texas 3.3
  6. Iowa City, Iowa 3.4
  7. Ames, Iowa 3.4
  8. Sioux Falls, S.D. 3.7
  9. Burlington-South Burlington, Vt. 3.8
  10. Logan, Utah 3.8

French Socialist on Business Move: What’s the Big Deal? We’re Just Doing What Obama Does