SATURDAY OCT. 16 8:11 a.m. Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties
Animals are blessed
The Rev. Jon Davis, Ph.D., who is the vicar of Christ Episcopal Church, Cedar Key, holds a bandanna like the ones given to owners for each animal blessed on Sunday (Oct. 10). The bandanna says ‘I was blessed On St. Francis Day - Christ Episcopal Church.’
Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 10, 2021 at 5:11 p.m.
All Rights Reserved
CEDAR KEY – Many animals enjoyed being blessed Sunday afternoon (Oct. 10) in City Park at Cedar Key.
In this video, The Rev. Jon Davis, Ph.D., walks around City Park of Cedar Key as he says the corporate blessing for all animals. Click on the PHOTO to see the video.
Gwen Zeigler holds Dakota ‘Koko’ a Terrier. This dog’s relatives were among the other canines that were blessed Sunday. Sitting behind Zeigler are Cedar Key Police Chief Virgil Sandlin who is holding the leash for his dog Trooper, and ChaRue Sandlin, senior warden for Christ Episcopal Church, Cedar Key, who is holding a leash for another relatively large dog. People socialized before the service began and folks and pets were called to gather in an area on the western side of the park. People were careful not to stand too closely to one another, even though the service was outdoors, as a method to help reduce health issues that linger from the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.
Tighe (left) a 6-month-old Havanese (the national dog breed of Cuba) looks at another dog to say ‘Hello’ before the start of the service. At the other end of the leash of Tighe (to the left and out of camera shot) is Rory Brennan of Cedar Key.
The Rev. Jon Davis opens the service for the blessing of the animals in Cedar Key’s City Park.
Eileen Senecal of Cedar Key reads A Litany on Behalf of All God’s Creatures.
Rory Brennan holds his 6-month-old Havanese puppy Tighe just before the service.
Rory Brennan shows his new puppy to his friend Eileen Senecal after the blessing of the animals.
The Rev. Jon Davis blesses the dog named Trooper as Cedar Key Police Chief Virgil Sandlin watches his dog being blessed.
The Rev. Jon Davis blesses the dog named Keya as Keya’s ‘aunt’ Jennie Pinto and Keya’s owner Mark Winegarden (Jennie’s brother-in-law) observe the blessing.
Likewise, their owners, or their daddies, mommies, aunts, uncles and the like also were warmed by the Spirit as the Rev. Jon Davis, Ph.D., who is the vicar of Christ Episcopal Church, Cedar Key, led participants in the service, the prayers and then blessed animals universally as well as blessing each individual animal brought to the park.
The warmth of the Sun was relatively strong that afternoon with temperatures in the low 80-degree Fahrenheit range. Pets and owners found shade at various points on the western side of the park as the vicar went from person to person blessing their pets.
During the weekdays, Dr. Davis is the mission strategist, trainer and coordinator of Fresh Expressions. To see the website for Fresh Expressions, click HERE.
A fresh expression of church is one of over a thousand new Christian churches or congregations that have developed within one or more Christian denominations and organizations in the United Kingdom and abroad, including the Church of England, the United Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, the Church of Scotland, The Salvation Army and others.
Meanwhile on the weekends, the Rev. Davis serves the members of the congregation of Christ Episcopal Church, Cedar Key, as their vicar.
On this particular Sunday, all humans and animals were welcomed to be in City Park with their pets and other animals to be blessed. All are welcome at Christ Episcopal Church all of the time. This event is part of the church’s reaching into the community beyond its walls.
In addition to receiving the blessing, pets’ owners were given bandannas for their pets with the words “I was blessed On St. Francis Day - Christ Episcopal Church.” Dogs were the type of animal most brought to the park for blessing on this day.
Churches around the globe celebrated on Sunday something that St. Francis of Assisi started almost 800 years ago: blessing animals.
During the animal blessing service Sunday in Cedar Key, there was a pause for people to remember their pets who have passed away, too.
Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment, first introduced the concept that human beings are only one of the myriads of the creations of God.
And Saint Francis reminded people in his time that all creations are blessed in God's "eyes." The feast day of St. Francis (the day that he died) is celebrated every year on Oct. 4. The blessing of the animals’ services usually are scheduled for the Sunday closest to that day.
The Rev. Davis started the program as planned at 2 p.m. on Oct. 10. He mentioned at the outset that the dogs were meeting and greeting each other, as they should. Some people who arrived before the event socialized a bit during those moments as well.
He invited attendees to prepare for the service as he invited them to open the flyer provided, and then everyone opened the handout to proceed with the service.
“The Lord be with you,” the Rev. Davis said.
“And also with you,” the people responded.
“Most high, omnipotent good Lord, grant your people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of this world; that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in your whole creation with perfectness of joy. O God, you have made us and all living things. You are even more wonderful than what you have made. We thank you for giving us these pets who bring us joy. As you take care of us, so also, we ask your help that we might take care of those who trust us to look after them. By doing this, we share in your own love for all creation. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen,” he said.
Then, the vicar spoke about a passage in Romans 8 which addresses all of creation longing for redemption in the world.
Among those passages is Romans 8:19- 28 (King James Version), it notes that:
For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Here at Cedar Key on that Sunday afternoon, the Rev. Davis said, the people join with Creation in the longing for redemption. Father Davis spoke about the Jerusalem Bible, which he said, “says that all Creation stands on tiptoe just to see that redemption come.”
The Jerusalem Bible is product of the age of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), It was published in 1966 and is considered by some to be the first truly modern Bible for Catholics.
In the entire universe is standing on tiptoe, yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious sons and daughters! For against its will the universe itself has had to endure the empty futility resulting from the consequences of human sin.
In The Passion Translation of the Bible, Romans 8:19-28 notes that:
The entire universe is standing on tiptoe, yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious sons and daughters! For against its will the universe itself has had to endure the empty futility resulting from the consequences of human sin. But now, with eager expectation, all creation longs for freedom from its slavery to decay and to experience with us the wonderful freedom coming to God’s children.
To this day we are aware of the universal agony and groaning of creation, as if it were in the contractions of labor for childbirth. And it’s not just creation. We who have already experienced the firstfruits of the Spirit also inwardly groan as we passionately long to experience our full status as God’s sons and daughters—including our physical bodies being transformed. For this is the hope of our salvation.
But hope means that we must trust and wait for what is still unseen. For why would we need to hope for something we already have? So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment.
And in a similar way, the Holy Spirit takes hold of us in our human frailty to empower us in our weakness. For example, at times we don’t even know how to pray, or know the best things to ask for. But the Holy Spirit rises up within us to super-intercede on our behalf, pleading to God with emotional sighs too deep for words.
God, the searcher of the heart, knows fully our longings, yet he also understands the desires of the Spirit, because the Holy Spirit passionately pleads before God for us, his holy ones, in perfect harmony with God’s plan and our destiny.
During the service in the park, the Rev. Davis asked listeners to stand on their tiptoes for a few seconds, as he reminded everyone that standing on tiptoe gives an individual a bit more height to see better, to see farther and perhaps “to see what is on the other side.”
It is a posture of expectation and of hope, he said.
God has called humans to be stewards of Creation, Davis said, as continued sharing messages in the blessing of the animals service. People are to take care of the Earth.
At this event, the blessing of the animals, the people came to rejoice in His Creation, and specifically to rejoice in the animals that God has given to humans as pets, as well as all of the animals of the sea, and all of the animals in the air and on the land, he said.
The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) was read.
This prayer is attributed traditionally to St. Francis, however its origin is more recent.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
The service included reading Luke 15:3-6 where Jesus tells the parable of leaving 100 sheep to find the lost sheep in the wilderness.
There was also a litany of four sets of corporate prayers read on behalf of all God’s creatures.
Then, the Rev. Davis gave a blessing of the animals corporately as he walked around the people and pets gathered in the park, sprinkling holy water every few steps.
Blessing of the Animals Corporately:
The animals of God's creation inhabit the skies, the earth and the sea.
They share in the fortunes of human existence and have a part in human life.
God, who confers gifts on all living things, has often used the service of animals or made them reminders of salvation.
Animals were saved from the flood and afterwards made a part of the covenant with Noah. The paschal lamb recalls the Passover sacrifice and the deliverance from slavery from Egypt.
A giant fish saved Jonah. Ravens brought bread to Elijah.
Animals were included in the repentance at Nineveh; and animals share in Christ’s redemption of all God’s creation.
We, therefore, invoke God’s blessing on these animals.
Then the vicar of Christ Episcopal Church, Cedar Key, went to each person who brought an animal to be blessed, again sprinkling holy water and praying for the owners and their pets.
For each person and their pet, he said, “May you (owner’s name) be blessed in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. May you and (pet’s name) enjoy life together and find joy with the God who created you.”
As he closed the service, Dr. Davis reminded listeners to rejoice in the Power of the Holy Spirit, and to go in peace.
For more information about Christ Episcopal Church, located at the corner of D Street and Fifth Street in Cedar Key, visit the website https://www.christchurchcedarkey.org/.
5th Annual Art Festival set for March 22
Seen above is the Community of Suwannee’s ‘artist in residence’ the late Gene Rantz (June 17, 1932-Aug. 14, 2021) in 2019 with his painting of Cat Island. By permission of the Rantz family, this painting is featured on the 2022 festival poster. Rantz, with his wife and fellow artist the late Judy Gantz, were snowbirds who for many years had spent the cooler months at their Suwannee (Dixie County) home. Rantz’s iconic and evocative paintings of local water scenes were often painted while aboard the boat he had specially fitted out for ‘en pleine air’ work.
Story and Photo Provided
By Jane Connors of the Suwannee Library Technical Center
part of Dixie County Public Library,
which is part of the Three Rivers Library System
Published Oct. 10, 2021 at 9:11 a.m.
DIXIE COUNTY – Suwannee Library Technical Center, part of Dixie County Public Library, which is part of the Three Rivers Library System, is planning to host its annual art festival on Saturday, March 12, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We are excited to be preparing for our fifth annual event,” said Jane Connors, Suwannee Library manager. “On a different note, this year’s event is dedicated to the memory of artists Gene and Judy Rantz, who sadly passed away earlier this year. They were part of Suwannee for many years and their presence will be missed.”
As with previous festivals, the event takes place in Glen Dyals Park, located at the south end of Highway 349, just outside the waterfront community of Suwannee.
Known locally as “Highway 349,” State Road 349 (SR 349) is a two-lane state highway in eastern Dixie and Lafayette counties, near the Suwannee River. It is a major access road to Cross City and Horseshoe Beach.
Glen Dyals Park is adjacent to the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge where festivalgoers can take a side trip on the wild side and hike, bike, or drive along the Dixie Mainline trail. The festival itself will feature local artists, artisans, crafters, food vendors, non-profit booths, music, and more.
“Both returning and new vendors should contact us as soon as possible to reserve their space,” Connors said. “We continue to seek the best artists, artisans, crafters, and food vendors that our area has to offer.”
Vendor booths are $30 (10 x 10 space). For vendor or general information, contact Jane Connors at email@example.com, or call Suwannee Library at 352-542-8320. Glen Dyals Park is located at 21354 S.E. Highway 349, Suwannee, FL 32692.
Rotary members share life stories
(from left) Gilchrist County Rotary Club President Rick Washburn stands with Rotarians Donna Lee and Darrell Smith on Monday (Oct. 4) at the weekly meeting.
Story and Photo Provided
By Gilchrist County Rotary Club President Rick Washburn
Published Oct. 6, 2021 at 7:11 a.m.
TRENTON – During the regular weekly meeting on Monday afternoon (Oct. 4) of the Gilchrist County Rotary Club, members and guests continued the club’s series “The Story of Us.”
In this series, members of the club share their life stories. This week, people were treated to stories by Donna Lee and Darrell Smith.
Donna’s path to Trenton follows a path from Atlanta, Georgia, to Tupelo, Mississippi, and then Vidalia, Georgia, before landing in Gilchrist County. She shared a fascinating story of how her parents met at a sewing factory in Georgia and a life-impacting event she witnessed in the still segregated schools of Tupelo.
Her time in Vidalia brought her some interesting facts about the Vidalia Onion. It was discovered by accident and not designed. The acidity of the soil around Vidalia is what causes the onions there to grow so much sweeter. The process is very labor intensive from the planting, to the uprooting, chopping of the onion from the green parts, to the sorting and grading in the processing facilities.
Her parents raised six children. Donna’s childhood included overcoming health issues and developing a skill to overcome stuttering by writing a scrolling script that she reads with her mind as she speaks, even with public speaking.
A fun fact is that her Dad helped design the first equipment to make women’s blue jeans with the extra pleating and a more feminine fit. Donna was among the first in the country to receive and to wear these jeans.
Darrell’s path, is shorter on miles, but just as long on stories.
From grandparents who had farms around Trenton and Newberry, where they raised tobacco, peanuts, corns, cattle and watermelons -- to growing up on the river and learning an appreciation for the value of our springs, Darrell experienced life in this part of Florida. Faith and family are strong values for Darrell.
His two children have added two grandsons to his life with a third on the way. Graduating from the University of Florida and taking a job as the Extension Agent in Hendry County (near Lake Okeechobee and the heart of sugar farms), he quicky found out how even from a small county like Gilchrist, the reach and connections run far as a local man knew D. Ray Harrison very well.
Additional positions with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services -- focusing on water policy, North Florida Holsteins and the Suwannee River Partnership has added to Darrell’s knowledge and ability to help serve the community, especially in his current role as a member of the Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners.
He is seeking feedback from the citizens about the great things that make Gilchrist County a great place to live.
Also, what would you like to see the county look like in the next 5 to 10 years?
Tax Collector Helps
Former Dixie Education Foundation President Kathryn McInnis (left) and Dixie County Tax Collector Michelle F. Cannon kick off the Apples for Education fundraiser in Dixie County. Each education license plate sold in Dixie County yields $20 back to help fund education for Dixie County students. Paper apples represent donations by individuals to benefit Dixie County students too. Visit https://mydcef.org/ for more information about the Dixie Education Foundation.
Published Oct. 1, 2021 at 7:11 a.m.
Information and Photo Provided by the Dixie County Chamber of Commerce
First Published Feb. 1, 2011 at 8 a.m.
On Feb. 1, 2011, HardisonInk.com came into existence on the Internet. On Nov. 1, 2011, The Christian Press section on The Life Page of HardisonInk.com started, which was about nine months after the start of the daily news website -- which officially began Feb. 1, 2011. The name "The Christian Press" was derived from an encounter a decade earlier in 2001 in St. Petersburg, when and where a man mentioned to a journalist that this particular journalist must work for "The Christian Press." Although the presumption by the man about that journalist was incorrect and misplaced, the name sounded good. And the journalist said that if he could work for The Christian Press, then that certainly would be the publication to serve.
Since Nov. 1, 2011, The Christian Press section of this page has run daily devotionals from several individuals who contributed over the past years. There were two days in 2018 when the daily devotional did not run due to a journalist requiring emergency orthopedic surgery on broken bones in his left arm and wrist. That surgically added metal, though, makes that part of that arm even more able to withstand forces. Many daily devotionals are pulled from Strength for Service to God and Country (Whitmore & Stone © 1942; Renewed 1969 by Norman E. Nygaard; Second revised edition © 2002 Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, Providence House Publishers). The journalist who is the sole proprietor and owner of HardisonInk.com (Jeff M. Hardison) notes his appreciation for the use of those devotionals from that now-defunct publishing company, and for the many other contributors who have helped people over the past 11 years here now. That publication's daily devotionals include many from a time when the United States of America was a partner in a World War. This journalist welcomes contributions of daily devotionals. Daily devotional authors are asked to please send only their original works to firstname.lastname@example.org. Americans are reminded that all religions, having no religion and or being a person who endorses anti-religion are all protected as part of the freedoms from government intervention, as are other benefits from being an American.
Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021 at 8:11 a.m.
TRY THE NEW TESTAMENT
Read Galatians 5:1-10
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
-- 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
The president of a great technological school was asked what traits or abilities that he ranked as most important in the success of their graduates. He said: “Even in so technical a field as engineering, personality ranks about 80 percent, engineering skill 20 percent.”
Then he went on to say that this was no appeal for shoddily prepared engineers, but that the ability to get along with people was always a greater factor in success than mere skill, memory, high grades, or even genuine ability.
Christians who haven’t learned how to get along with people have missed part of the meaning of the Gospel. If they are full of little resentments, small quarrels, misunderstandings, they are human, but they need more of the spirit and technique of Christ. What that is can be found from a systematic study of the New Testament. Try it! It is the answer to success in life as well as eternal life. God offers a saved life as well as a saved soul.
O THOU ETERNAL FATHER, we thank Thee that Thou dost permit us to enroll in Thy service, weak and fallible though we may be. As we train our bodies to respond to commands, help that our spirits may be trained to hear Thy commands. Make us coworkers with Thee in building a new liberty upon the earth. We present this prayer through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Pastor Ralph Walker
First Baptist Church
Strength for Service to God and Country
(Whitmore & Stone © 1942; Renewed 1969 by Norman E. Nygaard; Second revised edition © 2002 Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, Providence House Publishers)
I had been in the stand only 15 minutes when the doe appeared. When it crossed the path I came in on, she immediately smelled an unfamiliar odor and followed it with her eyes to my tree stand. Now, she was at full alert, trying to bring into focus the blob that was in the tree. She moved to my left trying to wind me but was unable to satisfy her curiosity until I had come to full draw. I landed what I thought was a good shot. It was a little high but I was sure it did the job. Instead of a pass- through shot, the arrow stayed planted in her side. I knew this would present a few problems, but I was still confident. After nearly three hours, I left without finding the deer or even one spot of blood. My disappointment still haunts me; not the disappointment that comes from a missed opportunity, but the kind that comes because shot deer are meant to be found and are meant to supply food for the table. Otherwise, it’s a needless death. For nearly three hours I hunted for that one lost and wounded doe. I was not concerned with spooking a buck by rambling around or in getting back into the stand to find another one. I was intent on finding the one that had strayed and was now lost. It was more important to me, for her sake, to leave the others in order to find her. My heart was literally broken when I left unsuccessful.
As I thought about this story that had played out, I was reminded of the story in the Bible about the lost sheep. That story tells about a shepherd who had 100 sheep. One of the little lambs became lost and instead of staying with the 99, he went after the one that had gone astray. This was the illustration Jesus used to describe God’s desire and love for each of us. The Bible says he sent Jesus to seek and to save those who are lost. You may think God wants nothing to do with you because you have wandered away. You may think He has no desire to find one when he has 99 others. But that’s not God’s way. His way is the way of the deer hunter who searches diligently for the one that is wounded, hurt, and lost. His way is the way of persistence, and His heart is broken when the lost are not found. But He will never stop looking. Never.
-- Gary Miller email@example.com
Gary Miller has three books that are compilations of the articles he has written for nearly 15 years. He also speaks at game dinners and men’s groups for churches and associations.
Gary Miller's website is located at http://www.outdoortruths.org/.
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