I am in search of true Biblical guidance, from Pastors, Priests, Reverends or any knowledgable, believer in Jesus. I have recently been diagnosed, with severe situational social anxiety disorder and really worried about taking the perscribed medicine. Im struggling to not loose my job, from the stress. Iv reached out for help, but after 3 or 4 days of trying. I guess Iv learned where not to go again. Coping with my loss & isolation through, holidays has turned out to be more then I can bare. I am a devout believer, that Christ died for our sins so that we may have the choice to, be forgiven. Im far from iliterate, but my reading level, comprehension & retension, is a real problem for me. This makes it hard to gain acurate knowledge, in a timely way. To recognize the truth, from a lie. Im not computer savy, but I Googled my biblical concerns & the information below, is what I found. Ill try to include a link, to the site, if that may be of help. What Id need to know, is this Biblical truth. Or just one more of the many, distorted views. Im afraid this will be too large, to post on the Batavian. So if you have the time, @ the web address below, you can read the rest. Please, help…
THE 3 RS OF ACCOUNTABILITY: REPENTANCE, RESTITUTION, AND PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY By Rev. Renee Pittelli Being accountable for one’s behavior is part of growing up and being a mature adult. It is a fallacy that God is all forgiving, and when unrepentant offenders claim that "God forgives me", they are wrong. God does not forgive us until and unless we confess our sins and repent (change our ways). The Lord holds us accountable for our behavior, and he instructs us to hold each other accountable as well. Accountability consists of three parts, Repentance, Restitution, and Personal Responsibility: Repentance: REPENTANCE: Remorse, contrition, or self-reproach for what one has done or failed to do; making a change for the better as a result of remorse; a turning from one’s sinful ways; feeling of such regret for past conduct as to change one’s mind regarding it, atonement; forsaking of sin; the feeling or act in which one tries to right a wrong, it always includes the admission of guilt, and also at least one of: a solemn promise or resolve not to repeat the offense, or an attempt to make restitution for the wrong, or in some way to reverse the harmful effects of the wrong where possible. When we rebuke, set limits on, or break off our relationship with an unrepentant offender, she may shrug and tell us, "I know God forgives me", the implication being that the Lord forgives her even if we don’t. But guess what? She is WRONG. & The Lord NEVER forgives unrepentant evildoers. He REQUIRES that sinners humble themselves and come to him for forgiveness, and that they show remorse and change their ways.
First Presbyterian Church, 300 E. Main St., Batavia, is holding a special remembrance service at 6:30 p.m., Friday, to honor those who have passed in 2012 and also to pray for those touched by the recent tragedy in Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Pastor Roula Alkhouri holds a service annually for those who have lost loved ones during the year, but this year, there's greater sorrow for the nation following the massacre in Newtown, Conn.
"We are reminded once more that Christmas can be a painful time for some," Alkhouri said. "In the face of loss, we struggle to find joy in this season. For some this may be the first Christmas without a loved family member who has recently died."
Alkhouri said she is reaching out to pastors and congregations throughout the county to join in this year's service.
"This will be a quiet service of remembrance and hope," she said. "We will light candles for the loss of loved ones. We will also light special candles for the victims of violence of last Friday’s tragedy. We will hear through Scripture and music that God’s presence is (there) for those who struggle and mourn and how God’s Word offers us strength as a light shining into our brokenness."
Pink Flamingos. A total of 34 beautiful flamingos. Left in front of my rock garden, w/1 perched in a spruce tree? at the entrance of my Rose rd. residence, on Saturday the 4th of Feb. The people making the delivery were caught on tape & driving what appears to be the same GMC Yukon.Owned by a man named Steve, who goes to Discovery Chapel, in Batavia. I believe, they were left as a B-day prank. Intended for a previous resident. Who, for my own personal safety, could no longer live here. Not once but 3 times I was threatened, w/a loaded gun. Then tells me, Im demon posessed & trys to perform an exorcism via text, on my cell phone! Umm, It was time to wake up! BUT! Sorry it didnt work out for you though. It was quite a shocker, when I arrived home. Very clever too. I've never seen a pink flamingo, in a spruce tree, before! Lol! But just so you know. Your birds are safe & waiting to go home, or off on there next mission. Just let me know, the address of the house, were they were left & Ill know that they are yours. You can call 585-762-4020 Leave a message. My name is Lucy & we can come up with a time, so you can pick them up.
St. Mary's Church, of Batavia, got a visit from the Blessed Virgin Mary Monday night. The church at 20 Ellicott St. was one of her last stops in Genesee County as she tours the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.
The International Pilgrimage Statue of Our Lady of Fatima has been crisscrossing the Western Hemisphere for the past 64 years (there is another statue made for pilgrimages in the Eastern Hemisphere). It was sculpted in 1947 by Portuguese sculptor Jose Thedim, who based it on descriptions provided by one of the children who received visions of the Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal, in the summer of 1917.
According to Carl Malburg, one of the statue's custodians, the Bishop of Fatima commissioned the Pilgrimage Statue 30 years after the three children -- Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco -- received the visions.
"The idea came from the message," Malburg said. "It was meant for all the world, not just the people of Fatima."
"Fatima is not over," said Malburg's fellow custodian Patrick Sabat (pictured below), referencing Pope Benedict XVI. "There is a continued need for prayer and penance."
Addressing the people who attended Monday's service, he added: "Pope John Paul II said the message of Fatima is more urgent and more relevant now than it was in 1917."
Much of the content of the Fatima visions -- which began on May 13 and occurred on the 13th of every month until October -- deals with the harm that human sins do to the world, leading to war and destruction. The Virgin Mary reportedly told the children that if enough people carried out her instructions, there would be peace on Earth.
"Pope Benedict XV (who was Pope at the time of the Fatima visions) called Mary the Queen of Peace," Sabat said, adding that her intercession would work "when all human efforts at peace had failed."
Malburg, of Indiana, and Sabat, of the Philippines, escort the Pilgrimage Statue in its travels on behalf of the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue Foundation, which is based in Munster, Ind. With permission from Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, they are making a 21-day trip through the Buffalo diocese.
Interestingly, the Buffalo diocese was the first place the statue visited in the U.S. on her very first pilgrimage in 1947. One of her stops was Our Lady of Fatima Church in Elba.
"And we thought, 'Why not bring her back?'" said Sally Ross, Ph.D, a member of St. Padre Pio Parish (which includes Our Lady of Fatima in Elba and St. Cecilia's Church in Oakfield).
Ross was the one who came up with the idea of bringing the statue back to Western New York for a pilgrimage. It all started when she, as a member of Our Lady of Fatima, did some research into how her church got its name. She learned three interesting facts about the Elba church:
1. The Pilgrimage Statue's visit in 1947.
2. It is the oldest church in the U.S. to bear that name.
3. The knoll in front of the church on which the Fatima Shrine is now located was once used by the Ku Klux Klan as a place to burn crosses.
Fact number three is especially interesting if you think about the Fatima message.
"Our Lady wants all her children to live together in peace and harmony," Malburg said. "She said that if we follow her instructions, there will be peace."
To that end, Sabat called everyone to be "Prayer Warriors."
"This is a different kind of war," he said. "It's a war of reparation for the sins of the world."
According to a pamphlet from the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue Foundation, fighting this war includes making each of one's daily sufferings a sacrifice in atonement for sin, praying the Rosary every day, and wearing the brown scapular as a sign of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Miracles and favors have been reported in areas the statue has visited over the years. One of the most famous of these miracles is the "Miracle of Tears," which refers to reports of the statue crying human tears in more than 30 instances.
While there may not have been any tears in Western New York so far, people have been affected by the statue. The pilgrimage isn't over yet, and Ross has already gotten some follow-up calls.
"I wish I could have recorded them, (as they talked about the message)," she said. "Even just the timbre of their voices...it's just incredible."
As much of an impact as the statue has had, Sabat and Malburg were both very clear that Catholics do not worship Mary or statues.
"A statue's just a piece of wood," Malburg said. "And the person it represents (Mary) is not divine. But we do talk to her and ask her to pray for us."
He also said that he sometimes meets fundamentalists who object to giving this type of honor to Mary. To this he replies, "You have a guardian angel, don't you?" His point is that Catholics talk to Mary the same way most Christians might talk to their guardian angels.
"Mary is still the greatest catechist (teacher of the faith)," Sabat said. "She's a role model for all Christians, and we continue to imitate her virtues. Our goal is to be as close to Christ as possible, and she was the closest person to Christ there ever was."
St. Joseph's Church welcomed the Pilgrimage Statue at Mass this morning. It is heading to Orleans County today, but will return for a visit to the New York State Veterans' Home on Aug. 19. All total, it will make seven more stops throughout the region before the pilgrimage concludes on Aug. 22.
Pictured above is a recent mission trip in which Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists and Non-Denominationalists helped out the residents of a small Peruvian village suffering from severe poverty.
This missionary group included Fr. Gus Calvo -- second from left in front -- the pastor of Batavia's Anglican Community Church (see January article on his first service).
Having recently returned from this trip, Calvo was happy to share the experience with The Batavian and extend information about the program to anyone in the area who might be interested in next year's trip.
Calvo has been going on these missionary trips -- most of which last about 12 to 14 days -- on an annual basis for the past seven years. It all started when he was working in Honduras under the supervision of another missionary leader.
"My friend and ministry colleague Jeff Miller and I met in Honduras," Calvo said. "Our leader later left that area, so we got together and decided to put together a team each year for mission trips."
They then contacted SAMS -- the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders -- an organization that sponsors various projects in needful areas. All of the missions Calvo has been involved in these last seven years have been acquired through them.
Some of our readers had questions about the Bell Tower Restoration project at St. James Episcopal Church.
After the Aug. 25 article, church officials and committee members were kind enough to answer some additional questions about the nature of the tower's condition, the cost of the project, and other issues addressed by our readers.
They submitted the following information via e-mail:
The deterioration that we’re trying to address is structural in nature. This stems from water infiltration and the use of an overly hard mortar when the Church was re-pointed in the 1950s-1960s. As you can see if you look at the Bell Tower façade, some sections of the stonework have actually fallen off and we have had to rope off the front of the building.
We believe that the first phase of the Bell Tower reconstruction project, which includes rebuilding the top 10 feet of the tower and the roof, will cost no more than $500,000.
After completion of this first phase, we will attempt to address the additional issues relating to the stonework façade of the Bell Tower and the remainder of the Church in a multi-phase process. While the additional costs relating to the façade repair may run twice the cost of the original phase, the additional phases will no doubt take many years to complete.
The reason the cost is so high is that the project is very labor intensive, involves heavy materials and the work involving the first phase must be done at a height of 70 to 80 feet above the ground.
Neither the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, nor the Episcopal Church of the United States are directly involved in the project. Nor under our form of church governance would we expect them to be directly involved.
Even though the building is a source of concern, it does not diminish our desire to reach out to the community to fulfill our missions. St. James’ outreach to the community comes in many forms:
- George Rupprecht Fund: This summer, over 150 girls from 84 families have received school clothing, footwear and school supplies. At Christmas, we will again help the same number of girls with Christmas gifts. Year round, we help pay for extra-curricular activities and work to assure that each girl has a comfortable bed in which to sleep at night. This year, our budget is $72,000.
- Thrift Shop: St. James expanded its shop hours in 2010 to serve the community. Apart from clothing, we sell household items, books, toys, small furniture and lots of bric-a-brac. Persons coming to the George Rupprecht Fund are often given bags of clothing and household items for free. Four times a year, we host clothing giveaways.
- Episcopal Community Services: Serves the underprivileged in the Diocese of WNY.
- Bishop Masereka Christian Foundation: Sponsors children in Uganda to assist with schooling and medical needs.
- Comfort Food Dinners: Two dinners were held at St. James this past winter. All proceeds went to local charities.
- St. James is the local meeting place for other churches in the Deanery.
- St. James donates to the local food pantry, collects school supplies for children and, each Christmas, selects a local charity to support.
- We host many programs in the church so that the community can enjoy the ambience and the musical acoustics of the building, such as the Genesee Symphony, Genesee Chorale, Go-Art! and Crossroads House.
We have made the hard decision to stay at this location because of its viability to the community. St. James would exist and function without the building, but the building needs a caretaker and we have chosen to take on that role.
The alternative would be to leave a large untended building on Main Street. If we did not try to take care of the building, we would not be very good stewards of the building or good members of the community.
For more information, please call the church at 343-6802 or visit its website.
Some of our readers will remember that line from the 1985 movie, "Back to the Future." Well, Batavia's St. James Episcopal Church has its own version of that plea:
"Save the bell tower! Save the bell tower!"
The tower, pictured above, was built in 1908 and has been showing signs of wear in the last 10 years.
"Especially in the last couple of years, we've noticed deterioration," said Cathy Judkins, a member of St. James who is also on the committee for the tower's restoration.
St. James Vicar Steven Metcalfe said there has been a "real push" since 2008 toward preserving the tower, which is very important to the religious heritage of St. James Church -- not only because of its historical significance (St. James is one of the oldest religious communities in Batavia and makes use of the old, awe-inspiring cathedral architecture -- see the April 12 article on the stained-glass tour), but also because of what it means to St. James as a family in faith.
"We have a very vibrant, caring and faithful worship community," Metcalfe said. "We want our building to reflect that."
To that end, he also offered this defense of the importance of restoration: "It's like what they say about a house turning into a home: it becomes more than just a building when it's been lived in."
The church and the various fundraising committees dedicated to preserving and restoring the tower have worked hard over the last couple of years. They have hired architects and consulted stonemasons; they have organized fundraising events -- including concerts, a calendar sale during the Christmas season, and fish fries every Friday during Lent; they are starting a Captial Campaign next month, and have applied for four grants -- three from private organizations and one from New York State.
According to Judkins, they have divided the overall project into six phases in order to make it more "financially manageable."
"The first phase is the most expensive," she said. "We're trying to raise about $500,000. We hope to have at least a fail-safe project by fall, something that can hold us together until we've reached our goal."
The church will accept monetary donations from anyone who would like to help out. People can also assist their efforts by supporting and/or attending their fundraisers, which are well-publicized.
Upcoming fundraisers include the second annual "Pedal to Save the Church", which starts at the church -- at 405 E. Main St. in Batavia -- around 8 a.m. (check-in) on Sept. 11, and a theatrical performance of "Tuesdays with Morrie," starring Batavia Players' Norm Argulsky as Morrie, on Oct. 16-17. All are invited to attend.
Additionally, Metcalfe invited anyone interested in lending a hand to come to the congregation and "get to know us."
Marcia Gann, another member of St. James and the preservation committee, said that this project has garnered "great community support." She gratefully cited the support of the churches involved in the stained-glass tour, Adam Miller's Toys & Bicycles, and Present Tense Books as examples.
For more information on the bell tower restoration project and related fundraisers, please call the church at 343-6802 or visit their website.
It's a little hard to imagine stained-glass art still having a place in American churches, with modern renovations such as movie theater set-ups, overhead projectors contemporary band music taking over the worship scene. But on Sunday, a tour sponsored by the Landmark Society of Genesee County took Batavia residents to five local churches where stained glass windows still have an important place.
The "Stained Glass Window Tour" was created in 1990. According to Landmark Society President Laurie Oltremari, this is the first time the tour has been revived in almost 20 years. This time around, it was done in order to raise money for the restoration efforts of St. James Episcopal Church.
"We thought it would be good exposure for the churches and their artwork," Oltremari said. "We hope we can make it an annual event."
The tour started at 1 p.m. and ended at 4 p.m., and tourists could visit the churches in any order they wanted. The five churches spanned several denominations, and the quantity and style of stained-glass art in each location reflected that.