Thursday, December 25, 2014

No. 129 – December 25, 2014 – Christmas Gifts

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster 

It was a birthday party.

Father Peter W. Nielsen, III, invited children and adults attending St. Peter Church's Children's Service to sit on the steps and carpet at the altar to hear the story of the birth of Jesus. The young girl we know as Mary, the Mother of Christ, Father Peter said, was fourteen when a messenger from God appeared to her and said she would have a son who was to be called Jesus.

Pausing in his narrative, told in language the smallest child could understand, Father Peter asked who acted as a messenger for God. A small girl, no more than four, said it was an angel. Asking then about the word, 'prophet,' those listening learned angels and prophets deliver messages from God to his people.

The story, so well known, came alive.

Shepherds saw the sky above them fill with angels, as numerous as the stars. They sang the news of a baby born to a virgin. Lonely men, hungry for hope in a world filled with trouble, heard them. Rejoicing erupted in shouts of joy and dancing as the multitude of angels faded, leaving the shining stars they knew so well.

Together, the shepherds left their flocks to find the child. In the presence of the sleeping baby they told Mary and Joseph what they had seen, gazing with awe and hope at the child so recently born.

Jesus, Father Peter, said, brought the gift of salvation to humanity.

Thirty three years after his birth Jesus invited his friends to a meal. He told them to continue to share the bread and wine in remembrance of him, sharing these gifts with everyone.

Adults and children gathered close to the altar, watching as the meal was prepared for them. All raised their cupped hands and took the bread and drank the wine. The youngest, less than two years old, put the bread into his mouth and sipped from the silver cup.

As this gift was given to us, so what we do for others are gifts given to Jesus. These gifts say, “I love you.”

In the dining room we sang happy birthday. The cake was cut. Father Peter asked children and adults to share how they love others this next year. What gifts, time or things, do you give? Each is a gift given to Jesus.

How do you say to Jesus, “I love you?”

No. 128 – December 16, 2014 - A Birthday Party for Children On Christmas Morning

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Things are happening at St. Peter Church, which stands waiting at 4901 Main Avenue, Ashtabula. A newly called Priest, The Rev. Peter W. Nielsen, III, has made it his mission to make sure the smallest among us understand the gifts which Christmas brings with a short service, lasting only 45 minutes to an hour. 
So on Christmas morning, when the packages have been opened, the church doors will swing wide as the bells ring out their song, welcoming everyone to a birthday celebration. 
This is planned as a party for a special child, loved by billions around the world.

Father Peter announced the morning service, which will start at 10:30am, as a come as you are celebration. PJs and slippers are completely acceptable. This is, after all, a birthday party for a child who even when He was born knew each of us. Children attending will raise their voices with those of their parents, parishioners and guests, making a joyous noise to our Lord, lead by our Choir Director Danielle Cline. 
We will begin a celebration of the life of Christ when he was only a few hours old, clasped in the arms of His Mother. His presence gives us every reason to celebrate and share a special peace and His story, savoring its mysteries and its lasting promise. 
Expect to be moved by the Christmas Story read to us by Father Peter as it is shared in a way new to all as St. Peter renews its ministry. 
Children of all ages are welcome. This is their service. With the congregation of St. Peter Episcopal Church all will hear a Christmas Story which is familiar and yet made new. This is children's time to experience the wonders of the gifts which came to each of us through the birth of the Baby Jesus. 
Together, Father Peter says, we will make the Christmas story our own, listening and making joyful sounds as we share our best gifts with everyone. 
A Child was born and laid in a manger by a mother who knew the preciousness of the Gift He brought. At our celebration all baptized will be welcome to receive the Eucharist. All will receive a special Christmas blessing. 
After the service we will share a birthday cake in the dining hall, blowing out the candle together as we look forward to a year filled with hope and renewal.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

No. 127 – December 11, 2014 – He Spoke to Set the Record Straight

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Antonio Veciana, now 85, baldly stated there would have been no anti-Castro movement in Cuba without the CIA funding. More shocking revelations were to come.

Speaking to an audience of 200 gathered at the Bethesda Hyatt Regency Hotel last September 28, the former lead for the Alpha 66 Assassination squad stood at the podium, his son at his side, also revealed publicly, for the first time, his encounter with Lee Harvey Oswald as he waited to meet with his CIA handler. The accidental encounter occurred six weeks before President Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas.

Veciana and Oswald had the same CIA handler, David Atlee Phillips, then using the cover name, "Maurice Bishop."

Arriving for his meeting with “Bishop” fifteen minutes early Veciana witnessed Oswald meeting with a CIA official in Dallas. As events continued to unfold after Kennedy was shot Veciana came to believe Oswald was also a CIA operative, but one the agency decided it would be expedient to use as a fall guy to cover their involvement.
Veciana told the audience he is convinced the CIA organized the president's murder.

The Alpha 66 Assassination squad was allegedly responsible for the two assassination attempts on Cuban leader, Fidel Castro during those years. Vecianan lead the team, made up of Cuban exiles in the early 1960s.

Speaking through an interpreter Veciana was dignified but emotional as he outlined what he had seen and knew. Asked later why, after all this time he had decided to speak out he responded saying he wanted to set the record straight because over time he had come to admire Kennedy, a man he and Phillips had regarded as a "traitor" for allowing communist Cuban leader Fidel Castro to remain in power.

David Atlee Phillips, AKA "Maurice Bishop, formerly an actor, used hundreds of aliases during his career. He was named as head for the CIA's operations in Cuba soon after he was recruited in the 1950s.
After his retirement, Phillips found a new avocation. Organizing thousands of intelligence agents he formed the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. The supported the political careers of other former CIA linked individuals, among these former CIA Director George H.W. Bush and Bush allies.
Phillips career in the CIA lasted 25 years. He was one of only a few to receive the Career Intelligence Medal. He died of cancer on July 7, 1988 in Bethesda, Maryland.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

No. 126 – December 3, 2014 – The Guiding Hand and Unseen Miracles

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

The first showing of a microscopic motion picture took place in a small, make-shift basement laboratory at U. C. Berkeley in 1926 . All of the U. C. instructors who could had crowded themselves in to the cramped space.

They were there, wrote Arthur C. Pillsbury ten years later in his book,Miracles of Plant and Animal Life,” “ to see the results and I was very anxious to get their reactions. After the short showing was over, Dr. Setchell turned to Dr. Holman and said, “What have we just seen, Doctor?”

Startled, Dr. Setchell talked about Brownic movements in protoplasm. The theory of pseudo-random motion came from botanist Robert Brown in 1827. Brown noted particles moved through the water. Unable to determine the mechanisms causing this motion it was assumed these were random and not purposeful.

What the UC instructors had seen on the screen was a cell dividing.

There was nothing random about it, as science eventually accepted. Pillsbury did not wait to hear anyone else's opinion. Knowing he needed the best equipment to continue his work he placed an order for what he needed. He then started out on a lecture tour to pay for it. The first unit cost $5,000, an enormous sum in 1926. To ensure these insights would remain available Pillsbury refused to patent his invention, instead publishing instructions for building your own camera.

Pillsbury said in his book, describing what he had seen in his study of Spyder Lily pollen as it germinated. No matter what the obstruction, they grew over and under it or pushed it to one side.” Pillsbury continued,the nucleus, the germ of life, as it came out of the grain, traveled down the tube and entered the stigma. To ponder the reason, the why and wherefore, of nature's struggles to carry on, the difficulties to overcome, make one realize that the Guiding Hand must control all life, that one cannot well be a student of life and an atheist.”

The insights provided must have been unwelcome on college campuses where atheism and Marxism were gaining credibility for ideas covertly funded by the largest, and wealthiest, corporations on Earth.

These insights, with implications for all science, could not be contained. The explosion in discoveries gives mute testimony to what scientists refused to ignore.

In November, 1927, a fire in Pillsbury's studio destroyed his ability to fund another such project.