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Ora Alexander was one of my very first patients at Church Health. During her first visit, I went through the usual protocols, giving her a physical examination, but much like children anxiously awaiting the end of a road trip, she wouldn’t stop asking me when the exam would be over.

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People—that is, writers—often like to tinker with or play with names. Some of these can prove to be helpful or humorous. They can be like built-in-riddles. 

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I have forever had a morning ritual that I follow before going to work. It has rarely changed for years. The same is true on the weekends, but now COVID-19 has forced a disruption on my daily rituals.

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For most people, walking is a simple form of exercise, but a Lenten walking practice can be a time for spiritual development as well.

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The 2020 Lenten Preaching Series at Calvary Episcopal Church downtown begins Feb. 27, the day after Ash Wednesday and continues through April 3, the Friday before Palm Sunday.

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New Year’s always inspires new goals for self-improvements or habits we’d like to change. Yet, even with the best intentions, very few of us make our resolutions a reality. This can leave us feeling frustrated and discouraged, but the problem is usually not with us—instead, the problem is of…

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The Bible gives a broad framework for living and aging well. Those who follow a pattern of wickedness find it hard to change. Those whose feet walk a righteous path must keep to the disciplines and choices it requires.

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Do you know anyone whose birthday is Dec. 25? I have several friends born that day. As a matter of fact, experts tell us 16 million people around the world were born on Dec. 25. So what’s so special about the fact Jesus was born on that day?

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The way we see ourselves, and how we perceive others see us, shapes our very identity. Yet older adults with Alzheimer’s disease experience a cognitive unraveling of the memories that weave together their sense of self. As our older brothers and sisters in Christ struggle to recall their own…

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Many Christians are observing the season of Lent now. The season of Lent began on Ash Wednesday and continues for 40 days (excluding Sundays) until Easter. Prior to Jesus beginning his ministry, he spent 40 days of prayerful preparation in the wilderness, and Lent’s length commemorates that …

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The Lenten Preaching Series at Calvary Episcopal Church downtown begins March 7, the day after Ash Wednesday, and will continue through April 12, the Friday before Palm Sunday.

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As luck would have it, I was at the Crescent Center when the U.S. Marshals entered the offices of Stanford Financial about five years ago and seized the company’s assets. It was a heart pumping experience. Dressed in black, with an intense sense of purpose, the marshals made it clear I didn’…

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One of the best ways to add movement to your day as an individual is to consider where you can add movement naturally to things you’re already doing— parking farther away, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, walking an extra block with the dog, and so on.

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Mindfulness means being more fully aware of our experiences in the present moment. Often when we walk, whether to get from one place to another or for the purpose of exercise, we separate movement from our thoughts. Our bodies do one thing while our minds race in another direction altogether…

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Over 20 years ago when I first started my study of gerontology, I wrote a column based on the new research that said church or synagogue attendance would be a factor in successful aging, with positive proof that your life could be extended.

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The Lenten Preaching Series at Calvary Episcopal Church downtown begins Feb. 15, the day after Ash Wednesday, and will continue through March 23, the Friday before Palm Sunday.

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My November article was about changes that have taken place over the past 50 years that led to moral decline in our country. I spent quite a bit of time doing research and seeking wise counsel from several persons before writing the article. Soon after the November issue was distributed, I r…

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Nov. 1 was the first day of 2018 open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act Marketplace Exchanges. This year, the period lasts only six weeks and there has been almost no government sponsored advertising for people who are uninsured to know about it. There are far fewer healthcare navigator…

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A painting by well-known local artist Nancy Cheairs is featured on this year’s Church Health Christmas card, one of the healthcare organization’s biggest fundraisers of the year.

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Thirty years ago, when we opened our clinic doors for the first time, I was sweaty and jittery with nerves. What if no one came? My staff pointed fingers toward my upstairs office and told me to go there. They would call when I was needed. Fortunately, the patients came through the door, and…

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The education of the young was not an afterthought with the Puritans. Rearing children in the fear of the Lord was a sacred trust —and their textbook was the Bible. It was not uncommon for colonial children to have read the entire Bible by the age of 13 or 14, while their parents pored over …

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The Lenten Preaching Series at Calvary Episcopal Church downtown began March 2, the Thursday after Ash Wednesday, and will continue through April 7, the Friday before Palm Sunday.

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One day an old cowboy rode his horse up to the edge of the Grand Canyon. It was the first time he had ever seen the sight. He looked to the right, then to the left, and finally his eyes stared down, down, down. He lifted his head and said, “Something mighty big sure happened here.” I can say…

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A painting by well known local artist Mary Sims will be featured on this year’s Church Health Christmas card, one of the organization’s biggest annual fundraisers.

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Lake Junaluska will host a noonday prayer service on Friday, Oct. 2,  in observation of the International Day of Non-Violence.

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Horton and Hiawatha will be among thousands of cities across the United States and Canada to stand up for the unborn on Sunday, Oct. 4 by forming a Life Chain - a prayerful, peaceful, non-political show of support for those who have no voice.

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Many places of worship have reopened, while following CDC guidelines for coronavirus — such as social distancing, the requirement that attendees wear face masks, and capacity restrictions of facilities with possible requirement to sign up before attending. Many churches and synagogues in the area continue to offer online worship services, and/or posting videos of sermons on their websites or Facebook pages, during the coronavirus crisis. To add a church to this list, visit the online submission form at bit.ly/1iUM73e.

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ATLANTIC – Pastor Nancy Jensen has moved from giving the sermons at the United Church of Christ to listening to the sermons there after her last day as pastor this past Sunday. After working as a pastor for 43 years, Jensen had decided to retire.

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The Rev. Pastor Luther Thoresen has served several Lutheran Churches in his 39 years of ministry, most recently serving the congregation of American Lutheran Church, in Grundy Center. In the words of Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under Heaven.” Pastor Luther, as he is known in the community, will begin a "new season," as he retires on Sept. 30, from full-time ministry.

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What incredible days we are walking. We have never been through anything like these days in our life.

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When I was younger, it was not uncommon for my parents to watch 20/20 on Friday evenings. Every time Barbara Walters announced “This is 20/20,” I found myself looking forward to the year 2020 and imagining what that year might be like. Needless to say, while unique, this year has not lived up to the hopes and dreams of my youth.

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We are going to continue our study of the book of Luke by again focusing on the material that is unique to this Gospel. It contains some of the most familiar and important parables and teaching of Jesus.

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I made a mistake-again. I regret an action I took, or didn’t take. But, sometimes we struggle with change and we don’t see all the opportunity that lays before us if we would just consider doing things a little differently than we have done them in the past. Let me explain.

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Roman Catholics account for a bit more than 20% of the U.S. population, yet they are on track to hold six of the Supreme Court's nine seats now that President Donald Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett to fill its vacancy.

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Since April I have been immersed in the life of Jesus. It’s part of a Christian renewal program called The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. Each morning I spend some time reading a portion of the Gospels and then spend time “being there” for a while. I imagine myself as one of the shepherds gazing upon this baby whose birth some angels announced to me. I join with Jesus as he collects a group of friends and followers. I hear Him tell a paralytic to “take up your bed and walk.” I watch Him welcome the leper and the Samaritan, and rebuke the scribes and pharisees.

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C. S. Lewis’s book “The Screwtape Letters” is an imagined correspondence between two demons. The senior Screwtape advises the younger Wormwood regarding “the patient,” a British man during World War II. Wormwood has been assigned to this patient to corrupt and ensure his destination in hell. We (the reader) do not get to read Wormwood’s side of the conversation, but only Screwtape’s. Extrapolating on Screwtape’s statements in chapter five, Wormwood has been using the war to frighten the patient into dreading the future that lies ahead. Consider Screwtape’s statement to Wormwood: “Give me without fail in your next letter a full account of the patient’s reactions to the war, so that we can consider whether you are likely to do more good making him an extreme patriot or an ardent pacifist. There are all sorts of possibilities” (The Screwtape Letters, 22). I find his statement fascinating. Screwtape is not worried which reaction the patient has, but figures that one of these positions could be more helpful to their cause, “… bringing souls to Our Father Below” (Ibid.).

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In 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (a central figure of the Baha’i Faith) visited America and noted how ministers or other speakers would prepare sermons or speeches ahead of time and then deliver them to their audiences. Wondering how speakers could know what to say or how to touch the hearts of their listeners without first looking into their eyes, he often advised that we should first listen when teaching or discussing spiritual matters with anyone. Once the other person unburdened his or her soul, they may then be receptive to hearing what one has to offer. Listening also allows someone to know how to respond appropriately to his hearer and, ultimately, how to connect hearts and souls.

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In 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (a central figure of the Baha’i Faith) visited America and noted how ministers or other speakers would prepare sermons or speeches ahead of time and then deliver them to their audiences. Wondering how speakers could know what to say or how to touch the hearts of their listeners without first looking into their eyes, he often advised that we should first listen when teaching or discussing spiritual matters with anyone. Once the other person unburdened his or her soul, they may then be receptive to hearing what one has to offer. Listening also allows someone to know how to respond appropriately to his hearer and, ultimately, how to connect hearts and souls.

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Life is full of rituals, from high church liturgies to baseball players’ on-deck circle routines. Humans are ritual-making creatures. Rituals connect us to the past and remind us of what is important in the present.

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WASHINGTON -- Two Albany officials -- Dougherty County School Board member Melissa Strother and Albany City Commissioner B.J. Fletcher -- flew out of Albany to Washington, D.C. this weekend to take part in the Franklin Graham-led D.C. Prayer March. Fletcher said, "This nation has turned its back on God. And even though everyone here was told not to come, that it would be dangerous, here are people from Washington State to Washington, D.C., from Florida to Michigan, and all with the same mission: Chronicles 7:14. Return to God. We are praying for the nation and will bow a knee for our community."

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Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement is the most holy of all Jewish holidays. It is called a “Shabbat Shabbaton” in the Hebrew Bible, a really big Sabbath, but unlike a regular Sabbath, there are no festive meals or dressing up for the special day. Instead, it’s a day of self-denial that consists of fasting, wearing white garments like those in which we will be buried, refraining from intimate relations, washing, anointing ourselves with anything, and wearing leather. It’s also a day of prayer in which we confess our wrongdoings, a day of study and reflection on the past year and our hopes for the future, a time to memorialize our departed family and friends, a time to apologize to those we have hurt and forgive those who bring their apologies to us, and maybe the possibility of a nap as the afternoon stretches eternally into evening.

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My children are filling our house with music as they are learning to play the piano and violin. A few months ago they graduated to songs requiring more complex fingering to play multiple notes at a time. One learned chords on the violin and the other learned about intervals on the piano.

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While flowers in gardens and porch pots are gasping for breath, the flowers behind Roxie’s Elegant Bridal on Norfolk Avenue are in full bloom.

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I remember it was a Friday because the cleaner always comes in on Fridays. Our church secretary Linda was getting the bulletin ready in her office and I was in my study preparing Sunday's sermon. Our offices share one wall with each other and one wall with the front of the sanctuary. I heard a commotion coming from the sanctuary, but I didn't get up right away. I heard a knock at the door and Linda said something  I thought I’d never hear, "Come quick! There's a snake in the sanctuary." I couldn't believe it. I mean we had only been in the valley for two weeks. 

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Every Saturday in The Indiana Gazette, find this roundup of family- and community-related events hosted by churches in the Indiana County area.

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Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians.” Exodus 3:7-8