Today’s verses come from Deuteronomy 31:8 and Isai

Today’s verses come from Deuteronomy 31:8 and Isaiah 52:12

Deuteronomy 31:8- The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he
will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be

Isaiah 52:12 But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord
will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

For first responders, firefighters and EMS personnel, they are spot on.
Mon. Aug. 22, 2016.

Sunday, August 21, 2016. 8:45 am service at St. John Catholic Church, Westminster Md.

Sunday, August 21, 2016. 8:45 am service at St. John Catholic Church,
Westminster Md. The new priest, Father Mark is awesome.

Father Mark’s message this morning was to discuss the Olympics, the number
of metals won by the nations with the highest metal count - and the
accomplishments of the athletes. Can you imagine what it would be like if
we gave all the athletes a certificate of participation? As a member of the
church, we cannot simply just show up and get a participation trophy. Keep
your eyes on the prize, Jesus Christ. When did mediocre become good enough?
We have to become the best version of ourselves.

We have to stop the participation trophy complex from running our lives. We
run the race to win. We cannot win the race if we get a trophy for just
showing up.

Thanks for the Calissons d'Aix amandes du bassin mé

Fri. Aug. 19, 2016 Thanks for the Calissons d'Aix
amandes du bassin méditerranéen. They are just as good as Pop Tarts -
Fabriqué à Aix-en-Provence dans le respect de la tradition, ce Calisson est
une spécialité emblématique de notre région. Mariage d'amandes du bassin
méditerranéen et de melon confit de Provence, dressé sur un lit d'hostie et
nappé de glace royale, c'est cette recette qui aurait redonné, selon la
légende, le sourire à la Reine Jeanne de Laval lors de son mariage avec le
Roi René Ier d'Anjou en 1454. Confiserie du Roy René à Aix-en-Provence.

Recent resolutions adopted at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans stir controversy

Recent resolutions adopted at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans stir controversy #ELCA #ELCACWA

Thursday, August 18, 2016 / KED

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recently held its Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans August 8-13, 2016 -

Labels: #ELCACWA, #PGH, Religion, Religion ELCA CWA Aug 11-17, Religion Lutheran, Religion ELCA CWA Aug 8-13 2016,

I have come to believe that the mainline traditional denominational churches hold periodic churchwide assemblies in order to pass resolutions to alienate any demographic it has not annoyed in the last several years.

The recent Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Churchwide Assembly in New Orleans - - does not appear to be an exception. It seems that several anti-Israel resolutions were adopted at the assembly that are getting quite a bit of attention.

I am SMH – and I repeat myself here. Perhaps the ELCA missed the memo: In the world of leadership, you accumulate enemies, don’t go out of your way to make any. In a world that yearns for leadership, never miss an opportunity to sit down and shut-up when it comes to politics.

Meanwhile, when I ask many folks that have left mainstream denominational churches, why they left; I hear several themes consistently.

One they got tired of hearing that they ought to contribute more money to the church. And two, they did not want to hear from pastors about politics when they went to church. Three: going to church and listening to a thought-provoking sermon is one thing but going to church week after week and being lectured to with a wagging finger quickly gets old.

Then again, maybe too much attention has been given to the anti-Israel resolutions. From my experience, a lot is accomplished at these assemblies and perhaps it is unfair to perseverate upon the resolutions aspect of the conference. On the other hand, the social-political resolutions really appear to be unnecessary exposures and unforced errors on the part of the church. Especially at time when membership is declining and budgets are getting tighter. Read “The Shrinking Church,” by Nicole Radziszewski, in the January 2013 edition of Lutheran Magazine - Why go out of our way to annoy potential church members?

Anyway, find the recent ELCA resolutions here on the Isaiah 58 – Working for Justice and Peace in all the Earth, website: [Language added by Memorials Committee to C2 on 8/9/16] The full report of the Memorials Committee can be found here:

It appears that the group, Isaiah 58, has been one of the chief advocates for these resolutions. Read more here: C1 and C2 Both Pass With Over 80% Margins—Thank You Church!, C-2 Passes By Overwhelming Majority, C-1 Passes! Here’s Our Press Release, Prayer Vigil Tonight! 8:45 Lobby of Sheraton Hotel 500 Canal Street, ELCA Churchwide Assembly Makes News!, Former YAGM Speaks in Favor of Investment Screens and His Experience, Former YAGM, Speaks in Favor of Investment Screen, Former YAGM, Speaks for Human Rights, Former YAGM and LSTC Student Supports C1 & C2, Testimony an ELCA Young Adult in Global Mission (YAGM)

Look, I get it that the Middle East is a mess. I read with great interest many of the newspapers from the Middle East and for a thought-provoking Israeli point of view I read Caroline Glick -

I guess my perspective is that there is plenty of blame to go around. But we have the U.S. State Department for stuff like this. What I need is a church...

My family and I attended and volunteered at the Churchwide Assembly in Pittsburg three-years ago. It was a fascinating experience. Go here for quite a number of articles and pictures from that assembly:

At the recent Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Churchwide Assembly (CWA) in New Orleans the (ELCA) has approved two resolutions, according to multiple media reports, including this one “Lutherans Back Anti-Israel Resolutions,” by Chelsen Vicari, @ChelsenVicari, written August 15, 2016 on the website, “The Institute on Religion & Democracy’s Blog, Juicy Ecumenism.”. Find it here: Please read more of the blog here: There appears to be many thoughtful, well-written and thought-provoking articles.

Articles such as “John Wesley: Enduring Persecution” by Joseph Rossell: “Contemporary Christians committed to saving souls and promoting justice can take much courage from John Wesley’s story, as chronicled by Jake Hanson in Crossing the Divide…” and “America’s Lost Girls?” by Chelsen Vicari: “America’s girls are growing up fast. It’s the cost that’s the problem.”

Again, I am not familiar with the site. I will also look forward to see what Lutheran Magazine says about the resolutions. I will also look on the ELCA website:

I am not familiar with this writer, Ms. Vicari. This website was one of several that I found when I was trying to find more information on the resolutions adopted at the recent CWA. Much of the reaction I have read - and much of the reaction I have heard locally has not been favorable – bordering upon hysterical.

I was really looking for some information on the some of the traditional mainstream legacy media or newspaper sites and I was unsuccessful. I first heard about it on a segment on NPR. Yea – well. Big surprise there. I guess if the Lutherans had adopted pro-Israel resolutions, NPR would have missed it.

Ms. Vicari explains: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has approved two resolutions advanced by anti-Israel activists including a push to end all U.S. aid to the Jewish state until the “military occupation of Palestinian land” ceases, according to CBN News. The resolution was adopted in an overwhelming 751 to 162 vote during the Mainline Protestant denomination’s triennial Churchwide Assembly held in New Orleans August 8-13.

“The two resolutions were recommended by Isaiah 58, a group of Lutheran anti-Israel boycott activists. ‘In our Affirmation of Baptism, one of the five promises we make as Lutherans is to ‘work for justice and peace throughout the earth,’’ commented Jan Miller, a Rocky Mountain Synod member and Isaiah 58 leader in a press release. “By adopting this investment screen, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is taking an important step to ensure that we are not profiting from, or complicit in, injustice in the Holy Land and elsewhere.”

Read more here:

One site, among many, that took exception to the resolutions, is a site called “Exposing the ELCA,” by Dan Skogen, a “former ELCA seminary student and former ELCA member who is fed up with the ELCA's consistent mockery of God's Word.”

This appears to be a rather angry site. Much of the anger that caught my eye were anti-LGBT matters, of which I simply do not care with the exception that I sure wish the church would simply stay out of these matters….

Skogen wrote “ANTI-SEMITISM REIGNS IN THE ELCA: TWO ELCA VOTES URGE AN END TO U.S. AID TO ISRAEL AND FOR A DIVESTMENT PLAN AIMED AT ISRAEL” on August 14, 2016, “The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has long been an enemy of the Jewish State. (see here) Earlier this week, at the ELCA’s Churchwide Assembly, the ELCA voted in favor of a resolution that calls on the United States government to end all aid to Israel until a list of ELCA demands are met. (Note that they did NOT call for the stoppage of U.S. aid to “Palestine” which takes foreign aid money {see here}, intended for humanitarian causes, and uses them for weapons, military terror tunnels, etc., in their quest to kill Jewish men, women and children.)” Read more here: It is not light reading.

Oh, one comment caught my eye: by Didaskalos on August 17, 2016: “Dan has 12 categories (links) of ELCA heresies/apostasies on his home page, the last of which is "Other Critical Issues." If he were to link and list each of the ever-expanding list of ELCA heresies/apostasies separately, he'd have one of the longest home pages on the Internet.

“Cost-cutting suggestion for the ELCA corporate heads at its Higgins Road HQ: Copy all the Democrat Party platform planks and Planned Parenthood talking points, and paste them onto your home page as your adopted tenets of belief. As you keep having to lay off personnel because of continuing member and dollar losses, simply copying and pasting the world's latest godless fads onto your website will require fewer staff members.”

Another thought-provoking comment came from “Dave from Minnesota,” “I clicked on your link to their Twitter feed, then scrolled down and read a large number of them. Not a lot of traditional Biblical based pronouncements. But a lot of liberal political ones:

“Anti coal and oil statements (I'm sure those ELCA churches with declining enrollment in the upper Midwest would love to see their heating bills doubled or tripled) For open borders Anti-Israel Pro-Black Lives Matter Mandated anti-racism training for church leaders and staff…”

A more balanced approach appears in the publication, “The New York Jewish Week.” In an article “Lutherans’ Moves Against Israel Seen As ‘Balanced’” on August 16, 2016, by Steve Lipman -

“The largest Lutheran denomination in the United States last week approved a pair of resolutions that, like those adopted in recent years by other prominent Protestant groups, is critical of Israel.

But, said observers of interfaith relations, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, at its triennial assembly in New Orleans, did not adopt more strident resolutions proposed by several local church councils around the country. One of the adopted resolutions favored an “investment screen” that would guide church members’ investments in U.S. corporations that do business in Israel, rather than a direct call for divestment from these firms.

And the language of the adopted resolutions, which urge the U.S. president to “recognize the State of Palestine” and encourage church members to “increase positive investment in Palestine,” offers a more balanced approach to Middle East issues than some other churches’ resolutions, the observers said.

The Lutheran resolutions, coming two months after the Presbyterian Church (USA) adopted a report that representatives of the Jewish community characterized as more balanced than that denomination’s past resolutions, and three months after a committee of the United Methodists rejected four divestment resolutions, may represent a small move in some Protestant circles away from automatic support for the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement and towards positions that hold both Israelis and Palestinians responsible for progress in the Middle East peace process.

Read more here:


Westminster Eagle May 12, 2009: Crunching numbers, and historic perspective, in Westminster election

Westminster Eagle May 12, 2009: Crunching numbers, and historic perspective, in Westminster election

August 18, 2016 / KED

In recent memory, several folks have called to my attention an article I wrote after the 2009 Westminster elections.

From what I gather, there is already some interest in the Westminster municipal elections in May 2017?

After several inquiries, a friend referred to the article and sent me a link. Interestingly enough, in spite of all the changes in the last several years with the Baltimore Sun and Carroll County Times websites, the article is still on the web, for now at least. It may be found here:

Please click on the article and read it on the Baltimore Sun’s website here: Maybe if some of these older articles get enough clicks and reads, it will encourage the Carroll County Times and the Baltimore Sun to keep more of the older stories on the web.

Meanwhile, I have been through this exercise so often in the last 12-years that I began putting the well-read articles on Soundtrack, in the hopes that even if the newspapers drop the stories off the web; the stories will remain available…. Just saying

Labels: Elections, Elections 2009, Westminster Elections, Westminster Elections 20090511, Westminster Elections History

Crunching numbers, and historic perspective, in Westminster election

News Analysis

By Kevin Dayhoff, Posted 5/12/09

The Westminster city elections held on Monday marked 190 years of Westminster city government. The first elections in Westminster were the first Monday in April 1819.

In this past Monday’s election Kevin Utz, a Westminster Common Council member first elected in 2005, was chosen by the voters to serve a four-year term in the mayor’s office.

Utz, who previously served as the Westminster legislative body’s chair of the Public Safety Committee, is a retired Maryland state trooper and a former chief of the Westminster Fire Department.

He edged out councilwoman Suzanne Albert, great-granddaughter of former Westminster mayor David E. Walsh (May 20, 1912-May 15, 1916) by 32 votes; garnering 248 votes compared to Albert’s 216.

In 2005, when he ran for his first council seat, Utz got the nod from 505 voters.

Albert, the second woman in Westminster history to hold elected office, was first elected in 1995. Westminster voters returned her to a seat on the council every four years ever since. Albert followed Rebekah Orenstein, a council member from 1991 to 1995.

The first woman known to have run for a seat on the Common Council was Mary Elizabeth Speicher, who gathered 275 votes in the 1967 election, which were only 28 votes short of winning one of the three council seats up for grabs that year.

Rounding out the field yesterday were former Westminster council president Ken Hornberger with 165 votes, just ahead of Dennis Frazier’s 156.

Hornberger, husband of the late former State Sen. Sharon Hornberger, served two terms previously as a Common Council member, 1983 to 1991,  several of those years as the council president.  In the 1983 election he won 194 votes and in 1987, 301. Hornberger did not stand for election in 1991.

Frazier is also no stranger to running for office. He ran unsuccessfully for council in 1993, with 305 votes, and in 1991 when he received 585 votes, for a fourth place finish in an election in which 1,224 voters turned out at the polls.

A total of 755 people voted in Monday’s election. The current population of Westminster is over 17,000 with over 7,000 registered voters.

In only six Westminster elections in the last 45 years, since 1964, have more citizens cast votes. The highest voter turnout in that time was in 1991, with 1,224 votes cast; the lowest was in 1965 with saw only 126 voters show up at the polls. The population of Westminster in 1964 was approximately 6,500.

From 1964 to today, Westminster has held 25 elections. The average turnout is 616. The highest vote getter since 1964 was former mayor Ken Yowan, who hauled-in 887 votes in a particularly contested election in 1991.

Compare that to 100 years ago, in the contentious 1895 election, in which the hot button issue was whether to light the streets with electricity or gas.  Then, 589 citizens voted in that election, out of a population of approximately 3,000 citizens.

That was 40 more voters than the 1890 election in which another difficult issue brought out the voters over the question as to whether or not the city ought to issue $25,000 in bonds to fix the city streets.

The main issue in this year’s election was securing adequate supplies of drinking water for the city’s almost 34,000 water users, inside and outside of the city limits.

After the results were announced Monday evening, mayor-elect Utz said the water issues will be the first matter that he will tackle after he is sworn into office at the biennial Common Council organizational meeting next Monday night.

Utz remarked, after pausing for a moment, that his election victory “hasn’t quite sunk in yet. We’ve got lots of work to do and I’m ready to get started.”

Utz was full of praise for his opponents. He said that he looks forward to working with councilwoman Albert, who retains her seat on the council.  “I fully intend to use every resource available… A great idea is a great idea wherever or from whomever it comes from… I want to thank and congratulate everyone who ran and I appreciate their willingness to serve.”

In the Common Council, two seats were open in the election, with the top two vote getters securing seats. Serving for the next four years on the Common Council will be council seat winners Damian Halstad and Tony Chiavacci.

In a field of six candidates for a seat on the council; Halstad, a former council president, was top vote getter Monday with 512 votes compared to Chiavacci’s 478. Following in the distance were William Gill and Darcel Harris, tied with 130 votes, Eleanor DeMario, 105, and William Hughes with 58.

Halstad previously served on the Common Council from 1993 to 2005.  From 1999 to 2005 he served as the council president. In his first election, the then-31 year-old newcomer to Westminster politics garnered 597 votes. Since 1964, only 10 contenders for office have won more votes than Halstad out of over 140 candidates.

Halstad remarked after the council meeting Monday night that he was grateful to the citizens of Westminster for their vote of confidence.

Tony Chiavacci may be a young newcomer to Westminster politics, but he comes from a family used to the challenges of elected office.  He is the son of outgoing council president Roy Chiavacci.

Although there are examples of the children of elected officials serving in office years later; more research is needed to determine if there has ever been a son of a former elected official to follow immediately in the parent’s footsteps.

It is also interesting to note that Tony Chiavacci lives in the home that was once occupied by another elected official, Russell Sellman, who owned the home from 1959 to 1973.  During those years Sellman served on the Common Council from 1961 to 1971 — seven of those years as the council president.

Tony Chiavacci said that he was “honored the citizens would come out and vote for Damian — and with such a mandate,” in a reference to his large victory margin over the next runner-up on the contest.  “I’m humbled and anxious to get started.”

The writer, Kevin Dayhoff, is a history columnist for The Eagle newspapers. He served as mayor of the city of Westminster from 2001 to 2005, following the footsteps of his father-in-law, Dave S. Babylon Jr., who served on the Westminster Common Council from 1964 to 1987 – for many of those years as council president; as did his grandfather Frank Thomas Babylon for several years in the 1890s.

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