Friday, September 29, 2006

King of Kings Comes To Town

Here's the latest from the religious front in Houston: Jose Luis DeJesus Miranda has come to town and opened a branch of his "learning center" Creciendo En Gracia. Miranda is not just another non-denominational Christian preacher. No! He claims that Christ "entered and integrated in him" so that he is now Christ and can teach all the mysteries of the Bible. News Flash: There is no more sin or devil! Here's the report from a local TV news station that tipped me off to this development.

Your humble correspondent will add Miranda (a/k/a King of Kings) to her local watch list that currently includes The Oasis of Love and the home of the Birthday Party.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Last Staff Meeting

Excuse me for feeling a bit blue and nostalgic this afternoon. This morning I attended the last staff meeting at church since my resignation is effective October 1. The group took me out to lunch (Tex-Mex of course!) at a local restaurant and we got to sit outside in the beautiful fall weather and eat chips, salsa and green sauce. They gave me a beautiful Mariner's cross (our school's mascot is the Mariners) and a card filled with more than enough love, good wishes and praise to choke me up.

As I took a box full of folders containing outlines and handouts from classes I created and taught over the last five years I remembered them all: The Ten Commandments, Revelation: Unlocking the Code; Exploring the Old and New Testaments; The Bible From Scratch; The DaVinci Code; Early Christians; and Bible in 90 Days. Although I am confident that I needed to leave the DCE position in order to responsibly take on the Moderator-Elect position at presbytery, I sure will miss teaching regularly and miss the regular interaction with my friends on the staff. But we can still go to lunch!

Our Business Manager is already measuring my office to see if his furniture will fit in it. That's fair. He works full-time, but his position was created after mine (which was part-time) and he doesn't have an office, but must work out of the reception area. That is not good when you are handling all the confidential financial information of the church. So, God bless, Jack, enjoy the space!

This weekend I'll need to revise the personal description on the blog so that DCE becomes another of my "former" occupations. I wonder how many more God has in store?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Random Monday Notes

~ We had a very interesting Sunday School class discussion yesterday about the Pope Benedict's controversial remarks about Islam. Our class is using the online curriculum The Wired Word which delivers a current events based topic with supporting scripture references to our inboxes each week. We used it last May and then picked it up again this fall. Almost all of the lesson outlines have been very interesting and sparked good, thoughtful discussion. It's very affordable, too, so check it out if you are looking for new adult CE materials. We've found it a very valuable addition to our program.

~ Last night Portia and DK invited us to dinner in their new home. We got to use their new silver, china and crystal! What fun to be entertained by our kids! Even better was the conversation which continued discussion of the Pope and his speech. DK had downloaded and read the entire speech and analyzed it thoroughly. He and Portia were interested in the theme of our Sunday School class which examined the importance/intersection of faith and reason. They agreed with most members of our class that the Pope knew exactly what he was doing when he made that speech and anticipated the reaction from some Muslims that made his point for him.

~ Today at lunch I went to lunch with a good friend. The fall weather was spectacular so we got to eat our Tex-Mex outside by a sparkling lake and solve all the problems of the church and the world.

~ I got $110 from Half Price Books this afternoon from the sale of the books I culled from our downstairs collection this weekend, thus making room for the books I brought home from my church office. If you've ever sold books to Half Price you have some idea of how many books it takes to get a check like that! And no, I didn't make El Jefe part with his precious Civil War collection--just some old law school and economics texts. Now maybe next week I'll cull the upstairs shelves....

How was your day?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Next in the "Christian Faith" Series...

LEGAL WARNING: Put down that coffee or coke before reading. QG is not responsible for liquid spewed on your monitor.
Michael Kruse previews the next controversial book from the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation:

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Call To Spin Off the PPC

Kudos to Michael Kruse ( blogger at Kruse Kronicle and member of the General Assembly Council of the PCUSA) who demonstrated strength of character and fair-mindedness this week when he posted a thorough review of the controversial book Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11 by David Ray Griffin recently published by Westminster John Knox press. It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to actually read this book and write an objective analysis of it when you are already critical of the decision to publish it. I confess that I have no intention of reading this irresponsible polemic and so am grateful to Mike for his willingness to engage the book and the issues it raises in a responsible and restrained way.

Mike followed this review up with a call to spin off the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation from the PCUSA and require it to change its name so that it will no longer be seen as a denominational publishing house. He cites not only to the 9/11 book but to another controversial book published in 2005 by the PPC, The Wide, Wide Circle of Divine Love by Eugene Marsh. I heard Marsh's presentation of this book at an APCE meeting where it was being actively promoted at a breakfast gathering. Although the Marsh book has not received the noteriety of the Griffin book, it is a refutation of the orthodox Christian belief that salvation comes only by the grace of God through faith in Christ. I was appalled at the time that the PPC would choose to publish and thereby seem to endorse the positions March advocated.

The connection between the PPC and the PCUSA is that the PCUSA appoints the board of directors of the PPC, as Mike explains in this post. The PCUSA does not have any day-to-day control over the operations and publishing decisions of the corporation.

Mike observed:
"... this book (Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11) decimates the good will between the denominational national offices and the members of our denomination.The PPC likes to draw distinctions about the various missions of their imprints and about their carefully delineated status within the denomination. That is irrelevant in the life of the church. The typical PCUSA member, much less those outside the denomination, makes no such delicate distinctions. All they know is that the PCUSA published a book calling their president a mass murderer."
This is the crux of the problem. Publishing this book has real consequences for the life of the local church. This week we learned that one of our members is transferring to a near-by PCA church because the publication of this book by the denomination's publishing house was the "last straw". Since the PPC shows no regard for the destructive effects of its choice of publications on the denomination, then it should become in fact what it is in practice: an independent publishing company which does not represent the PCUSA.

Thank you, Mike Kruse.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Looking for Shelf Space

Yesterday I was surveying the rows of books in my office at church. There are about 6 bookshelves full of my personal books--concordances, parallel Bibles, books I used for reference and classes. I was trying to make a plan for transferring all those books back home next week, but then I realized that I don't have any spare bookshelf space at home.

I gave Portia and DK the bookshelves from her bedroom, so I don't have those anymore. Babs brought home two shopping bags full of books she read this summer for me to read and I don't have room to shelve them either. El Jefe's ever-growing collection of Civil War related books continues to expand like an amoeba throughout the house. Something has to give.

I don't want to buy another set of bookshelves for Portia's former bedroom--I think the answer is that it's time for some serious weeding out of old books. Guess that will be our project for the weekend, but it's hard to get El Jefe to agree to part with books. He has a friend who built a two-story library, complete with a rolling ladder to reach the second floor. I'm worried that he'll want to borrow his friend's building plans...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Kickin' the Refomed Gangsta Rap

This one's for my Presbyblogger Posse out there: The Reformed Gangsta Rap.

And remember, "no Arminians were ACTUALLY harmed in the recording of this rap--just their theology!"

Geneva, Baby!

Hat tip: John at Locusts and Honey.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Another Jewish Good Shepherd?

The campaign for the Texas Governor's race gets curiouser and curiouser. Right-wing born-again Republican Governor Rick Perry threatens to be one-upped in the "I'm more faithful than you" sweepstakes by independent candidate Kinky

The Kinkster is a Jew. Remember the 70's era country western band Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys? Well, I do, but maybe a lot of you don't. One of the band's more memorable songs was "They Don't Make Jews Like Jesus Anymore." Kinky's political viewpoint is more libertarian than anything else, so his latest political ad in which he quotes the Gospel of John and says he wants to be the Good Shepherd is...well...unique.

Click here to view it.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Seeing With Tourist Eyes

It's an eerie feeling. Seeing your old hometown through the eyes of a tourist.

After I married El Jefe and moved from San Antonio to the Houston area, I returned several times a year with Portia and Babs in tow to visit my parents and siblings. We always stayed with my parents, and after my Dad died, with my mother, in the close in suburban city where I grew up. Because we had so many family obligations, and the girls were so young, we seldom saw ventured outside this area when we came to town.

This weekend, I returned to San Antonio, staying in a hotel downtown with a group of friends for the Aggie/West Point game. My friends expected me to be the expert on the local area, because I used to work downtown as a young lawyer. But so much has changed in the intervening years that I found myself seeing the town through the eyes of a tourist rather than the eyes of a native.

Sure there were a few of the old familiar places: Schilo's Deli on the river and the Gunter Hotel next to the Alamo where I used to meet my Dad for lunch when I worked in the DA's office and later at a law firm; the Crockett Hotel next to the Alamo which used to contain Rosengren's Book Store is still there but Rosengren's is not; the large timepiece that was outside Hertzberg's Jewlery Store where El Jefe and I bought our wedding rings remains but the store is now a bank; the Majestic Building where my father's first business office was located has been restored; the buildings across from the Alamo that used to have Woolworth's and other businesses are now turned over to tacky tourist attractions; and then there's the Alamo Dome that wasn't there when I grew up.

I always loved downtown San Antonio. I still do, but of course it is different from my memories of many years ago. You can go home again--but sometimes you feel more like a tourist than a native.

And there are memories around every bend in the Riverwalk.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Brushes With Greatness Friday Five

Today's RevGals Friday Five meme is titled "Brushes With Greatness". Which in my case should be renamed "Brushes With Bushes". Well, that's what happens when you've lived in Texas a long time.

1. Tell us about a time you met someone famous.

I've met President George W. Bush twice --both times before he ran for President. The first time was during his first campaign for governor of Texas when he visited Sugar Land. I was just thinking about this yesterday when I heard that former Governor Ann Richards died. W defeated her in that race. We played the "do you know" game because El Jefe was at Yale at the same time he was and knew him slightly back then. W asked me if I also had gone to Yale then stopped himself and said, "no, too old"! Which was exactly right--I entered college just before Yale went coed.

A few years later I met him again when he ran for his second term at a campaign gathering at a home down the street. This time El Jefe was with me and he asked W about one of his cousins who was also a Yale classmate that El Jefe had known pretty well. It was a somber conversation because that young man had a tragic life.

I've also been introduced to Barbara Bush, senior, and President George H.W. Bush at functions in Houston.

Portia was acquainted with Barbara Bush, junior, at Yale, but didn't know her well.

Our connection with the greater Bush family continued with Babs at Sewanee. One of her good friends there was the granddaughter of the Bush 41's brother.

2. Tell us about a celebrity you'd like to meet.

I'd like to meet Condoleeza Rice. She is the daughter of a Presbyterian minister and I have read several of her statements about her faith and growing up in Birmingham Alabama during the time of the civil rights movement.

3. Tell us about someone great who's *not* famous that you think everyone oughta have a chance to meet.

Dr. Weston Fields. He is the director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation, an ordained minister, the owner/operator of a salmon canning business in Alaska, fluent in ancient Hebrew and Greek and has the most fascinating stories of anyone I ever met.

4. Do you have any autographs of famous people?

No, we don't collect autographs.

5. If you were to become famous, what would you want to become famous for?


Bonus: Whose 15 minutes of fame was up long, long ago ?

Too easy--Paris Hilton. Arrggghhh.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

If It's Saturday There Must Be Football Somewhere

Right after Portia and DK announced their engagement in January, good neighbors and friends The Old Marine and Saint Betty arranged for us to join their family and some other friends for a weekend in San Antonio, my hometown. The Old Marine said that we would NEED to get away after the wedding festivities. They were so right!

So we're off tomorrow to attend the Texas A&M vs. West Point game there, among other things. The Old Marine is a very dedicated alum of A&M.Apparently West Point sees San Antonio as home field. And with good reason since the city has long been known as "the mother-in-law of the army"! The son of friends is on the Aggie team, so we'll be watching for his number on the field. Then Sunday it's on to Austin to visit Babs and check out her new apartment which is next door to Austin Presbyterian Seminary. (Think it'll rub off???)

Coincidentally, my high school class is having a reunion the same weekend--but it conflicts with these plans which we made first so I won't be attending. Which is ok, because unlike El Jefe I'm not really very interested in reunions. Ask me about the mini-reunion for his West Texas class that we're hosting at our house in October. But I digress.

Saint Betty and I will be a sight to behold tomorrow morning as we load up my mini-van with a labrador, a Boston bull terrier, and Gretel The Noble Dog who will be spending their weekend in style at The Animal Inn. Gretel whines the ENTIRE way there (about 10 miles) and then as soon as she sees the man who works there starts wagging her tail, kissing him and goes off without a backward glance. Bye Mom!

So I've packed my Aggie polo shirt that I wear to these games and a festive San Antonio style skirt to wear to dinner. El Jefe, who rarely travels with his laptop, is bringing it this time because he hopes to catch part of the Yale vs. Whoever They're Playing game on the internet. Give me strength, Lord. Well, better to see it with streaming video on the internet than to listen to it on the telephone for several hours. Oh, yes, he's been known to do that. "Fan", remember, is short for "fanatic", after all.

It's fall and football time. Have a great weekend whatever you're doing!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

One More Time for BIND

Thinking over the last five years I have spent as DCE at my church, I would have to say that the most significant thing we did, next to convincing the session to establish a dedicated Sunday School period, was the Bible in 90 Days program that we did last fall as part of the 20th anniversary celebration of the church.

It was a very exciting time. More than 125 people bought Bibles and joined one of the many groups that committed to the program. Although Hurricane Rita disrupted our schedule, about 70 finished reading the Bible in 90 (well, 97) days.

Last spring we offered BIND again and had a group of about 12 begin, with more than half of them finishing. So this fall we are offering it again. I wish that we had the money in the church's budget to do some advertising locally, because I don't think other churches in our area are offering BIND. But we don't, so this time I have a very small group--only 3--committed to meeting on Wednesday nights. I decided I missed the discipline of the daily readings so I'm leading the group myself. I also wanted to see the new videos that are part of the package Zondervan published, and so far I think they are more helpful than the "beta" version that we used last fall.

My hardy little band must make their way through Leviticus, Numbers and most of Deuteronomy this week. That's one of the tougher, less accessible parts of the Bible for most of us today. I'll find out tomorrow night how well they fared.

There's a different dynamic with a group this small. Our experience last fall was that the smaller the group, the more people successfully finished their reading. On the other hand, having just three people limits the opportunity for wide ranging discussions.

Wish us luck!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Explanation of the Audio Post Below

This belongs in the Department of Inner Geekdom, RevGalPals division.

Thanks to Little David, who started this audio blogging meme. I can't figure out how to put this explanation on the post below, so I had to write a separate entry. It's cool technology, but I'm not sure how useful it is. But it is really easy. If you'd like to play go to and follow the instructions to post to your blog.

Because Mindy, Rach and Cheese Did It

this is an audio post - click to play

Marking 9/11

Providentially, there is a blood drive at my church this afternoon. My appointment is at 4:45. That's how I'm remembering the events of 9/11.

Peace, friends.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Synod PJC Deadlock on Candidacy Dispute

Toby Brown (A Classical Presbyterian) reports:
"In a 5-5 tie, the Synod of the Sun PJC has refused to correct Mission Presbytery for admitting an openly lesbian woman to candidacy for ordination to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament.

After repeated deadlocked votes by the PJC that could not break the tie, the complaint against the presbytery was not upheld."
Toby first reported this controversy in Mission Presbytery on July 31, here.

What possible reason can there be for refusing to tell Mission Presbytery that a woman who admits living in a sexual relationship with another woman should not be admitted to candidacy for ordination under the current provisions of the Book of Order? How can the Synod PJC be deadlocked on this issue?

Meanwhile Presbyweb reported over the weekend that Cliff Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk of the PCUSA, sent a letter to the Stated Clerk of each presbytery expressing his concern about potential resolutions pending in some presbyteries relating to PUP, Per Capita and Property in which he reminded them of his recent Opinions and Musing. (Link is to Presbyweb which requires subscription or trial registration.) Apparently that letter is prompted by rumblings from Sacramento Presbytery.

Since Kirkpatrick is busy divesting himself of opinions, he should also address this case and publicly encourage presbyteries to uphold the ordination requirements of the Book of Order which he says are not changed by the passage of the PUP recommendations. How about an Idle Thought, Stream of Conciousness or even a mere Random Brain Wave of the Stated Clerk in response to this situation in Mission Presbytery?

The withdrawal of the Kirk of the Hills church in Tulsa, the recent move by First Presbyterian Church of Baton Rouge to sue the presbytery of South Louisiana and the PCUSA to remove the "trust" cloud on the title of its property, and the Sacramento resolutions are responses to the perceived denominational failure and lack of will to enforce the ordination standards. If that issue is not addressed, Kirkpatrick can expect more resolutions, overtures and lawsuits and less Per Capita and Property for the denomination.

UPDATE: Will Spotts reports that the Sacramento Presbytery passed the four resolutions that prompted Kirkpatrick's letter to the stated clerks. There may be an appeal to the Synod of the Pacific by dissenters.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Mr. Way-Too-Proud-of-Texas-Guy


My non-Texan readers no doubt have not had the chance to hear the Bud Light commercial, "Mr Way-Too-Proud-Of-Texas-Guy" which currently graces our airwaves. It's part of the "Real Men of Genius" series.

Click here to listen.

The first time I heard it, I laughed so hard I nearly drove off the road. Must be a Texas thing. And by the way: Go Longhorns! Beat Ohio State!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Anything Goes, Indeed

The kerfuffle over the wretched David Ray Griffin book published by Westminster John Knox press continues with an article in today's Wall Street Journal titled Anything Goes. Presbyblogger Rev. Toby Brown (A Classical Presbyterian) is quoted in the piece. PCUSA Moderator Rev. Joan Gray is also quoted saying, "the idea that the United States government engineered the 9/11 attacks is too over the top to be taken seriously."

Toby noted in a comment to the previous post that maybe at last we have found an issue that unifies the whole church. Maybe we have, but will anything be done about it? Don't hold your breath.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Liberal Asks Why Publish This?

The September 5 edition of Christian Century magazine has an interesting review by David Heim of the now infamous book by David Ray Griffin, Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11, titled Whodunit?. Heim is no apologist for the administration. In fact he says,

" The disastrous overreach in Iraq was fueled by imperialist delusions about remaking the Middle East. But tying that critique of U.S. policy to an outlandish theory about U.S. complicity in 9/11 can only invite ridicule. The question arises: Why did a Presbyterian publishing house sign up this corrosive and monomaniacal book?"

Yeah, WJK press, WHY????? That question is still not answered satisfactorily, and now it's being asked by a liberal as well as conservatives!

P.S. On page 10 of this issue there is an article titled "RevGals Online" written by one of the members of the RevGalBlogPals webring which just happens to mention a certain " southern-lawyer-turned-Christian-educator."

As of the writing of this post the CC website did not provide any links to these articles or to this issue yet, but you can check back later and possibly they will be available.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Seeing "Churchianity" in the Church

Today I attended a workshop led by Reggie McNeal, based on his book The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church.

Our presbytery sponsored this seminar as part of our emphasis on helping our churches become more missional and transformational. (By the way, I really don't like turning nouns into adjectives like this, but those two terms have become standard ChurchSpeak, so I'm going along with it this time.) This summer the staff at my church did an overview of the book while the session and diaconate were asked to read it in preparation for their annual retreat. McNeal is a very entertaining speaker, which I never would have guessed from reading this book because I was put off by what I perceived as its angry tone. I can't remember laughing so much at a workshop.

As a Presbyterian, I had a few quarrels with the Baptist McNeal's analysis from a theological viewpoint. McNeal states in the book that he does not intend to give the reader a "blueprint" for addressing those issues, and he certainly didn't. I found that frustrating, and thought that if he had included some anecdotes that illustrated how these "tough questions" might be addressed it would have been helpful.

In the seminar, however, McNeal filled in that gap with a number of stories that made the ideas in his book much more understandable and palatable to me. The one that made the deepest impression on me relates to his point in the book that the church needs to move from being program driven to a focus on people development. We discussed this at length in one of our staff meetings because we shared a concern that the church had so many programs and committee meetings of various kinds scheduled that members had little time for mission and evangelism. We are not alone in struggling with finding a balance between doing "church work" and being missional.

McNeal told the story of a woman who wanted to help high school students in her neighborhood. She went to the principal of the high school and said that she wanted to volunteer to listen to any student who needed someone to talk to. The principal was thrilled and invited her to the next assembly. She rounded up four or five other women from her church to go with her. At the assembly she told the students that it was much harder to be a teenager today than when she was growing up. "Some of you don't know one of your parents, you don't have relatives close by, you may be having problems at home or school or with a girl friend or boyfriend." She then gave them the phone number of her church and said to call that number if they just wanted someone to talk to. The next day the church had over 300 phone calls from those kids.

McNeal then asked us to consider whether our church could answer all those phone calls if that woman had been one of our members. I don't like my answer, and neither did anyone else. Those calls would not fit neatly into any of our organizational and programmatic models for ministry, so we would not be prepared to respond as we should. McNeal is good at prodding those of us who are long-time members of churches to view "Churchianity" in a new way so that we can begin that shift from being internally to externally focused. Before we can make that shift, we need to learn how the unchurched see the church.

As Robert Burns wrote: " O wad some power the giftie gie us To see oursel's as ithers see us!"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Time For a Change

This is a copy of the cartoon our senior pastor gave me 5 years ago after I was hired as the part-time Director of Christian Education for our church. I framed it and hung it on the wall in my office. It pretty much says it all about my qualifications and experience at the time!

I’ve learned a lot these last 5 years. But now it is time for me to leave this position, which I will do as of October 1. It seems that Portia’s wedding is not the only change Chez Grace.

After being elected Moderator-Elect of New Covenant presbytery, I concluded that because of the many important issues confronting our presbytery and the PCUSA, the church needs a DCE whose focus is not distracted by responsibilities to the broader church, and the presbytery needs a Moderator-Elect who is not trying to run the educational ministry of one of its larger churches at the same time. I guess you could say that I think presbytery needs a full-time “Mom”!

It’s been an exciting and fulfilling 5 years in many ways. During this time the CE committee:

• Established a dedicated Sunday School period between our two Sunday morning services
• Expanded our Adult Sunday School classes
• Brought the Bible in 90 Days program to the church, resulting in more than 70 people successfully reading the entire Bible
• Created a midweek fellowship, worship and educational program

For everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.
--Ecclesiastes 3:1

It’s time for me to pack up my books, clear out my desk and follow God's call to serve the church in a different way. I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead, but will miss the daily interaction with our church staff and the members who faithfully work in the Christian Education ministry. We are blessed to have a capable and organized CE committee chair and dedicated members of the committee who can carry on our educational mission until a new DCE is selected. I’m grateful to both of our pastors for their constant encouragement and support and to the congregation and session for the opportunity to serve.

Thank you all!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Wedding Wrap-Up

The last of the wedding guests left town late yesterday afternoon. El Jefe, Babs and I crashed--tired, but very very happy. Here's a full report for those of you who have been kind enough to ask. If you're interested in seeing the wedding announcement in Sunday's Houston Chronicle (written by El Jefe) click here.

The bride was radiant and gorgeous. The groom was handsome and glowing. The bridesmaids and flower girls could have stepped out of the pages of Bride magazine (which I am proud to report, we NEVER consulted!). The ring-bearer was so adorable in his toddler tuxedo, but he didn't make it down the aisle due to typical two year old temperment. The MOB received many compliments on her appearance and dress as well.

The wedding music was glorious! We had a string quartet accompanied by Maestro (our wonderful church organist). I had chills down my back as they finished the Pastoral Symphony from Messiah and went into Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring, sung by my beloved neice, which was the opening anthem. Then the processionals followed--the bridesmaids came in to "Sheep May Safely Graze" and Portia and El Jefe entered with Trumpet Voluntary.

Our "presbyterian wedding committee" (thanks, Rev Dave!) were wonderful. The senior pastor welcomed the congregation and set the tone for the service. Then the officiating pastor gave a personal and inspiring reflection on the scriptures Portia and DK chose for the service: Isaiah 40: 6-8 and 1 John 4: 7-12, 16.

After the exchange of rings and vows, Portia's longtime friend sang "Jesus, Shepherd, Be Thou Near Them", an anthem set to the "Sheep May Safely Graze" tune. It was at this point that the bride, the sister of the bride and the mother of the bride lost it. Note to self: give the bride and the bridesmaids handkerchiefs to hold with their bouquets next time.

The third pastor, who married El Jefe and I 28 years ago, gave the charge and blessing to our couple, using the Celtic "Maker's Blessing." Then the congregation sang the hymn "Joyful, Joyful" as the strings and organ accompanied. The bridal party then recessed as the strings continued to play Beethoven's Hymn to Joy.

It could not have been a more beautiful, elegant and worshipful wedding service. The Holy Spirit was in the house. DK's parents, family and friends were very pleased and touched.

The reception was a lot of fun. I hear the food was wonderful, but neither El Jefe, Babs nor I ate enough to know. We never sat down! Portia and DK got to visit with all the guests at the beautiful Richmond House and then left in the glow of many sparklers for their wedding night. Bouquet Toss Report--Babs snagged it! As she said, "they set me up by making me be in the middle and then Portia threw it at my head!" As I said, "way to be tall, Babsy!"

Portia and DK were back Sunday morning for a brunch given by some family and friends for the out of town guests. That worked out wonderfully well as they had a chance to really visit some of these folks before they left. They are taking a delayed honeymoon trip the first week of October when DK has a week break from his graduate studies. When they return Portia begins work at the Big Law Firm Downtown.

So now it's back to everyday life. It will seem a bit strange not to be planning a wedding, after 9 months of living with it. It's been so much fun to share it with all of you who read the blog. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything!

Praise God!