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The Truth About St. Patrick’s Day

shutterstock_1053467St. Patrick’s Day historically celebrates the Roman Catholic feast day of the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, who died on March 17, 461. Though originally it was Catholic holy day, St. Patrick’s Day in current times has evolved into more of a secular holiday. It has been adopted by many as ‘be Irish Day ‘ and it has become a holiday in celebration of the Irish and their colorful culture.

     Five things you probably did not know about St. Patrick and the holiday that bears his name.

     1.     St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland wasn’t even Irish.

He was actually born in Roman Britain around A.D. 390 to an aristocratic Christian family. His father was a deacon in the  Christian church but Patrick professed no interest in Christianity as a young boy At age 16, his life was forever changed when he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken to “Gaelic Ireland” to be a slave. Patrick spent his days in slavery shepherding over his master’s flocks and it was during this difficult six-year period in his life that he came to know God.  In his autobiography entitled Declaration, Patrick states that one day God gave him a vision to flee to the coast, where a ship would be waiting to take him home. Patrick in faith obeyed and after making his way home aboard a pirate ship he was reunited with his family

     2.     St. Patrick did not actually drive the snakes out of Ireland

There are many legends that surround St. Patrick and one of the most familiar includes the claim that he banished the snakes from Ireland. While it is true that no snakes exist on the island today, they never did. Icy ocean waters—much too cold to allow snakes to migrate from Britain or anywhere else, surround Ireland. Snakes are found in deserts, grasslands, forests and mountains virtually everywhere in the world. Everywhere, that is, except New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland, Antarctica and, of course, Ireland.

The myth was written about St. Patrick to give a common explanation of the “no snakes in the land” phenomenon. Snakes represent “the devil” and “evil” in the Bible and other forms of literature so when Patrick drives the snakes out of Ireland, it is symbolically saying he drove the old, evil, pagan ways out of Ireland and brought in a new age.

     3.     St. Patrick’s Day as we know it was really a holiday

             “made in America”!

It was not until the 1970s that St Patrick’s Day even caught on in Ireland as a popular holiday. St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland was always a minor religious holiday. A priest would acknowledge the feast day, and families would celebrate with a big meal, but that was about it. It is because of this history of the holiday that it is universally realized that basically Irish-Americans re-invented St. Patrick’s Day in America and it became a highly popularized secular holiday.

Eighteenth-century Irish soldiers fighting with the British in the U.S. Revolutionary War held the first St. Patrick’s Day parades. Some soldiers, for example, marched through New York City in 1762 to reconnect with their Irish roots. Other parades followed in the years and decades after, including well-known celebrations in Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago, primarily in flourishing Irish immigrant communities. St. Patrick’s Day celebrations became a way to honor the saint but also to confirm the Irish ethnic identity and to create bonds of solidarity with other American ethnic groups.

     4.     St. Patrick would not have approved of the holiday bearing his

     name becoming popularly celebrated by drinking and partying.

This is because of the fact that he spent the majority of his life as a priest who lived his life in “holy” consecration to God.

After St. Patrick’s conversion as a young man and his miraculous redemption from slavery, he felt the “call of God” on his life and responded by receiving priestly training in a monastery in France. After many years he received his ordination as a priest and then returned to Ireland because by his own confession he received a divine call from God to do so.

Patrick returned to Ireland with one aim to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. The Declaration says that he spent many years evangelizing and converted “thousands” to the Christian faith. He was first and foremost a “holy” man and followed all the dictates of the Catholic Church to the letter.

The feast day in his honor was placed on the universal liturgical calendaar in the Catholic Church in the early 1600s and Saint Patrick’s Day then became a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics throughout Ireland and the rest of the world. On Sundays and all other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass and they are to abstain from those works and affairs which hinder worship that is to be rendered to God. It is therefore doubtful that St. Patrick would have approved of many of the “main stays” of celebration such as the guzzling of green beer and pub hopping that has become widely associated with his holiday.

     5.     St. Patrick deserves to be recognized for his outstanding

             Christian ministry

St. Patrick was a highly adept missionary and he was very successful at winning pagan converts. It is also historically accepted that he made important converts among the royal an aristocratic families of the time. Both of these facts deeply upset the Celtic Druids who held sought to control Ireland at the time and it is known that Patrick was arrested several times. Each time however, although many times he was beaten and scourged he would manage to successfully escape with God’s help.

For 20 years he traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries schools and churches, which would in turn aid him in his goal of the conversion of the Irish people. He successfully developed a native clergy and fostered the growth of monasticism throughout Ireland. There are many Christian legends associated with St Patrick and among them it is predominantly believed that he used the three-leaf shamrock to explain the concept of the Trinity to his pagan audiences. We will never know with certainty if this is true, but it certainly fits the character of this beloved Christian man.




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One Way to Leave the Troubles of 2014 Behind Us!


As I contemplate leaving 2014, a year which has not been without trials and tribulations for me and many others,

God is challenging me to remember the words of the psalmist in Psalm 34:6,

This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles.

Do we have not because we ask not?  I would encourage those who have experienced a difficult 2014 to cry out to God as we enter 2015 and ask for His rescue from our current dilemmas.

Are you poor financially–cry out to God!

Are you poor in spirit–cry out to God!

Are you poor in health–cry out to God!

Are you poor relationally–cry out to God!

Whatever your area of poverty or lacking is–as you sit contemplating the end of another year–admit that deficit, grieve that trouble and cry out to God for resolution of your distress.  He promises to hear you and He is the only One who holds the power to save you from all your difficulties.

I don’t know about you but I want a 2015 that is a much easier year than the past one.  I realize that the trials of life enrich our faith and bring character but I also know that the process is not meant be arduous, crushing or devoid of hope.

We are meant to feel His abiding love carrying us and saving us from our difficulties.

It is my prayer in these waning hours of 2014–that no matter what your area of distress might be–you would be able to call out to God and lay your troubles at His feet.  And I am confident that as we humble ourselves before Our Father–that just like the psalmist–we will know He hears us, we will feel His presence and we will be assured that Our ultimate rescue is on the way.

Reach out to Him and may your 2015 be a year of greater blessing than ever before!

Happy New Year!

Maryellen Stipe

Do you relate to this simple reminder to humble ourselves and cry out to God? So many times we forget the obvious, we know God sees but we neglect to communicate with Him and share our frustration or pain.  What is your “poor man’s” prayer for rescue as you enter 2015? Don’t be shy, please comment. We would love to pray with you!


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Thanksgiving–A Simple Holiday! Thank God!

The-First-ThanksgivingThis year, on the fourth Thursday of November, like every other year for the last 200 years–most families in our nation will hold a holiday gathering.

For many it is their favorite of all the holidays and why…because quite frankly–it lacks the PRESSURE.

It requires no presents like Christmas, no costumes like Halloween, no fireworks like the fourth, no baskets like Easter and not even a card like so many other of our special days.  It is a SIMPLE holiday and it is EASY to do. to  It takes food (some really good things to eat) and football watching (whoever happens to be playing that day) and with that most inhabitant of this country call it good.

Sadly however, the majority of Americans will not spend any time doing the simple activity for which the day was originally initiated.

No guilt  intended, but how do you spend this contemporary feast day?

Do you know the specifics of the origin of Thanksgiving?

During the reign of Elizabeth I, queen of England, a sect of Puritans separated from the new Protestant Church of England and after much persecution they took refuge in the Netherlands. They finally determined that the ultimate answer to their search for a peaceful residence for their families was to immigrate to America.  On September 16, 1620, these Separatist “pilgrims” became part of a group numbering 102 men, women, and children who left Plymouth, England, for America on the Mayflower. On November 21, the Mayflower dropped anchor in the sheltered harbor off the site of present-day Provincetown, Massachusetts.

It was in this vicinity that the Puritans met up with Squanto, a Patuxet Native American. Squanto was a unique individual who had encountered Europeans as early as 1614 in what is now Massachusetts and had aided the English in their early exploration of the American continent. He learned the English language and served as a ships guide and interpreter for expeditions from Britain.  He had even survived a kidnapping at the hands of rogue Englishmen who had attempted to sell him as a slave.  Upon meeting up with the British Puritans he taught them how to catch eel and grow corn.  He also served as an interpreter for them and it is thought that without Squanto’s help none of the Puritans would have survived their first year in the New World.

As it was the first winter took a demanding toll of life on the Pilgrims and between the time of the landing in November and March of 1621, only 47 colonists survived the diseases they contracted on the ship and the adversity of the new continent.  After the first harvest was completed by the Plymouth colonists in 1621, Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer shared by all the colonists and neighboring Native Americans.

The same Governor Bradford of Massachusetts made the first “Thanksgiving Proclamation” three years after the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth and declared.

“Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes and garden vegetables, and has made the forest to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.  Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th of the year of our Lord 1623 and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock there to listen to ye pastor and render thanks giving to ye Almighty God for all His blessing.”

This proclamation instituted what would come to be the first Thanksgiving festival celebrated in the New World.  It was this early celebration of Thanksgiving by the British Puritan founders of our country that began the tradition of a November Thankgiving feast.  These historical events represent the origins of our current national holiday of Thanksgiving.

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November 15, 2014 · 8:29 am

The History of Halloween! Is It Really Something Christians Should Celebrate? And if so how?

Women at Crossroads

History of HalloweenInformed Christians should understand the origins of Halloween as they assess their level of involvement in celebrating what is actually a “pagan” holiday.

According to Wikipedia,

Halloween is typically linked to the celtic festival of Samhain which is derived from Old Irish and means “summer’s end”. The festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the “lighter half” of the year and the beginning of the “darker half”, and is sometimes regarded as the “Celtic New Year.”

The celebration has some elements of a festival of the dead. The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family’s ancestors were honored and invited home while harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to…

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There Are Only A Few Tickets Left for the Annual Women’s Christmas Tea at Crossroads

Front+Door+Decorated+with+Garland“A Christmas Homecoming” is the theme of our Annual Women’s Christmas Tea and Holiday Celebration.

This event is the highlight of our year in Women’s ministry and in 2013 it is happening the first two Saturday’s in December, the seventh and the fourteenth. The Teas begin at 12:30 P.M. and last approximately 2 and a half hours.

What can you expect…

The Christmas celebration starts the minute you step through the doors of the auditorium and enter a room transformed into holiday splendor. Our time together begins with sharing a traditional English Tea but the celebration does not stop there. After a festive time of conversation and fellowship your holiday festivities will be finished off with a program meant to stir the Christmas spirit in young and old.

Brenda Harp

Brenda Harp

This year our program features Contemporary Christian recording artist Brenda Harp and the many talented vocalists of the Crossroads Worship Team. Attendees can expect a musical feast that will put them in the mood for Christmas celebration and send them out ready to communicate the reason for the season.

This event is more than just an holiday show it is a presentation marked with inspiration and true Christian celebration.

Come rejoice with us as we come together, remembering our Savior’s birth! Tickets are reserved seating only for 20.00 per person.  There are some seats still available as of November 16th, but they are selling quickly. Tickets can be purchased at the Crossroads Admin building (Tues. through Fri.) and at all services in the Main Lobby!

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Memorial Day is about Remembering

Many of you may not know that my Uncle Ted was MIA in the Korean War and was not found for 17 months. He was finally located on a Korean beach where he had been hastily interred. We were told that Ted was killed while rushing off a troop carrier, he was only 20 year old.

The Korean War is often called “The Forgotten War” but it will never be forgotten by my family.

Gratefully, it only lasted three years,

June 25, 1950 – July 27, 1953.

What you may not realize is that The United States Armed Forces suffered 33,665 Americans killed in action in Korea.

As I researched my uncle’s military history and the record of his death on the Korean War Project Website, I found out that he died in the deadliest of all battles of the Korean War.

The Battle of the Pusan Perimeter which lasted from August 4, 1950-September 16, 1950, cost 3,603 American lives and although it was very early in the war it easily proved to be the deadliest battle. My Uncle was one of those 3,603 casualties.

My father and my other uncle, Joe, also served in the Korean war. I was born while my father was away serving our Navy many thousand of miles from home. I honor the fighting men of our nation who gave their last full measure of devotion for our freedom and also those who have given years of their young lives to serve our country!

THANK YOU for your sacrifices!


9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, Army

Hostile, Died (KIA)
Date Of Loss: September 1, 1950
Location of Loss: YONGSAN, SOUTH KOREA

Born: August 21, 1930

Comments: Private First Class Groeneveld was a member of the 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He was Killed in Action while fighting the enemy in South Korea on September 1, 1950.

Korean War Project Key No: 11547

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The U.C. in O.C. my Alma Mater

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