The History of Halloween

While American cinema has often turned Halloween into an evil or gory holiday, it actually has its roots in religious traditions and celebrations. The term Halloween is shortened from All Hallows’ Even (both “even” and “eve” are abbreviations of “evening”, but “Halloween” gets its “n” from “even”) as it is the eve of “All Hallows’ Day” which is now also known as “All Saints’ Day”. In the ninth century, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar. Although All Saints’ Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were, at that time, celebrated on the same day. Liturgically, the Church traditionally celebrated that day as the Vigil of All Saints, and, until 1970, a day of fasting as well. Like other vigils, it was celebrated on the previous day if it fell on a Sunday, although secular celebrations of the holiday remained on the 31st. The Vigil was suppressed in 1955, but was later restored in the post-Vatican II calendar. As part of the “All Saints’ Day” belief, Halloween was perceived as the night during which the division between the world of the living and the otherworld was blurred so spirits of the saints (the dead) and inhabitants from “the underworld” were able to walk free on the earth. It was believed necessary to dress as a spirit or otherworldly creature when venturing outdoors to blend in, and this is where dressing in costume for Halloween comes from. This gradually evolved into trick-or-treating because children would knock on their neighbors’ doors, in order to gather fruit, nuts, and sweets for the Halloween festival. Salt was once sprinkled in the hair of the children to protect against evil spirits. The carved pumpkin lit by a candle inside, is one of Halloween’s most prominent symbols in America, and is commonly called a jack-o’-lantern. Originating in Europe, these lanterns were first carved from a turnip or rutabaga. Believing that the head was the most powerful part of the body containing the spirit and the knowledge, the Celts used the “head” of the vegetable to frighten off any superstitions. The name jack-o’-lantern can be traced back to the Irish legend of Stingy Jack, a greedy, gambling, hard-drinking old farmer. He tricked the devil into climbing a tree and trapped him by carving a cross into the tree trunk. In revenge, the devil placed a curse on Jack, condemning him to forever wander the earth at night with the only light he had: a candle inside of a hollowed turnip. The carving of pumpkins is associated with Halloween in North America, where pumpkins were readily available and much larger, making them easier to carve than turnips.

Happy Birthday to all October Birthdays!

Happy birthday!! We hope your day is filled with lots of love and laughter! May all of your birthday wishes come true. God Bless!

1     Jessica Paschal
2     Carol Nissen
9     Richard Fawcett
10   Dana “Sachi” Dootson
17   Tim Osorio
26   Valerie Hite
31   Glenna Allender
31   Karen Davis

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you’re age 40 or older, join the millions of women who get mammograms on a regular basis. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month educates women about the importance of early detection. More and more women are getting mammograms to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages. As a result, breast cancer deaths are on the decline. Encourage the women in your life to get mammograms on a regular basis. Since the program began in 1985, mammography rates have more than doubled for women age 50 and older and breast cancer deaths have declined.
This is exciting progress, but there are still women who do not take advantage of early detection at all and others who do not get screening mammograms and clinical breast exams at regular intervals.
According to the experts, if all women age 40 and older took advantage of early detection methods – mammography plus clinical breast exam – breast cancer death rates would drop much further, up to 30 percent. The key to mammography screening is that it be done routinely – once is not enough. So if you are a woman age 40 or over, get tested, and if you are not, tell them women in your life that it is important.

Resilience for the Long Haul

The holidays have begun…..yes, I said it. Halloween is just around the corner and stores have begun to put out the Christmas decor. Before we turn the page on the calendar, plan now how you are going to “pace yourself” and take care of yourself as life picks up pace and demands on your time, energy and pocketbook increase.  Here are some important tips on how to care for yourself and be resilient.
•    Turn off the TV and get off of social media.  (Yes, that is what I said) What you read on social media isn’t always reality and we can’t allow other people’s opinions to shape our opinion of others or ourselves. If you want to be on social media for entertainment or to keep in touch with family and friends, don’t read stuff that will stress you out.
•    Exercise – Just 20-30 minutes a day of aerobic activity like walking, biking or swimming will make a huge difference in how you feel. Exercising will help you stay healthy too, and keep up your physical stamina.
•    Get more sleep – Lack of sleep results in decreased alertness, impaired task performance and poor decision making. Instead of trying to get more sleep each night, think about getting more sleep each week. Getting 49 or more hours of sleep a week will make you feel better and others will notice it.
•    Be proactive in your time management. Get together with your family and plan how you want to spend your week. Then write that on a calendar and follow that plan regardless of how you feel.  People say “if I only felt better I’d do that.”   But the truth is that if you do something, you’ll feel better and not miss out on opportunities.
•    Take care of yourself. Tend to your own needs and feelings. Participate in activities and hobbies you enjoy. Eat a healthy diet. Practice stress management and relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery, deep breathing, prayer or journaling.
•    Get connected. Building strong, positive relationships with loved ones and friends can provide you with needed support and acceptance in both good times and bad. Establish other important connections by volunteering. Spend time in prayer and reflection to strengthen your relationship with God.
•    Make every day meaningful. Do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose every day. Set goals to help you look toward the future with meaning.
•    Learn from experience. Think of how you’ve coped with hardships in the past. Consider the skills and strategies that helped you through rough times.
•    Remain hopeful. You can’t change the past, but you can always look toward the future. Accepting and even anticipating change makes it easier to adapt and view new challenges with less anxiety.
•    Be proactive. Don’t ignore your problems. Instead, figure out what needs to be done, make a plan, and take action. There are resources available. Feel free to ask for guidance and referrals.
Take good care and Merry Christmas, I mean, Happy Halloween, Karen

Happy Birthday to all September Birthdays!

Happy birthday!! We hope your day is filled with lots of love and laughter! May all of your birthday wishes come true. God Bless!
1     Lynn Hendricks
5     Teresa Stefanoff
9     Doug Herzog
11   Jordan Groom
16   Sara Wadia
18   Beverly Schutte
21   Breanna Kolodziej
21   Steven Flowers
23   Paul McPherson
23   Judy Thorndyke
27   Christine Paschal

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How to Be a Giant on the Inside

Since Mattea has graduated from Humboldt State, I have not had the opportunity to drive north and see the majestic California redwoods, but they are still one of my favorite places in the Golden State. Even if you have never stood among the redwoods, imagine this, redwood trees are so tall that, standing on the forest floor, you can’t see to the tops. The enormity of these great trees emerges partly from the particulars of life in California– the ocean currents and our famous fog. The trees thrive because they have learned to adapt to strong winds, cold weather and fog. In other words, they have found a way to make challenges become a benefit to them. Redwoods evolved the ability to tap into fog, absorbing some of its moisture through their leaves and funneling more to their roots. The California giants found a way to make “rough weather” be an advantage and a source of growth. When we can learn from our challenges or missteps, we can grow as well.
In addition, it turns out that redwood trees evolved a second trait that, like their ability to absorb water from fog, allows them to thrive as huge trees: Redwoods are extraordinarily good at not dying. It seems that while some other towering tree species invest in growing very fast, redwoods invest in defense: pest-resistant heartwood, fire resistant bark, and an impressive ability to re-grow damaged trunks and branches. Scientists have found that it is incredibly difficult to kill a redwood because they are so resilient in bouncing back from “damage.” The slow growth of the redwood has shown that patience and persistence can pay off. They have demonstrated that even moderate or slow growth can add up over time. The redwoods have shown that they are good at survival. Even with current climate change issues, the redwoods are demonstrating once again that they can find a way to adapt to change and thrive. The trees have been supplementing a decrease in fog with the increase in pollution – they have substituted carbon dioxide for a loss in water. It appears that the same resilience that has allowed the redwoods and sequoias to grow so tall seems to be helping them cope with climate change. Again, these awe-inspiring giants demonstrate for us that our ability to adapt to change and grow from our setbacks can impact our future. Patience and perseverance, along with God’s gracious presence, can make us giant on the inside.

Be strong & blessed,

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Happy Birthday to all August Birthdays!

Happy birthday!! We hope your day is filled with lots of love and laughter! May all of your birthday wishes come true. God Bless!

2    Betty Lou Baker
4    Connie Andrews
5    Sandra Menchaca
8    Jeff Peterson
9    Greg Davis
14   Eliena Paschal
14   Lilianna Rios
14   Michael Johnson
15   Darrell Paschal
15   Jennifer Kolodziej
24   Natalia Osorio

Congratulations & Happy Anniversary to all August Couples!
Sending anniversary congratulations and best wishes for the years ahead to all those celebrating wedding anniversaries.

8        Eddie & Vanessa Rios
20      Greg & Karen Davis
24      Bonnie & Bob Deering
31      Mary & Bob Dubois

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FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF GLENDORA – A Few Moments in History 1885 – 2023

1885 – 1894
Whitcomb formed the Glendora Land Company to plan the town of Glendora.  The Santa Fe Railroad arrived.  The first lot was sold, which is where our church now sits.  The first schools, churches and packing houses were built.

In our church, June 25, 1885 saw our congregation receive its charter with Rev. Kendrick serving as Pastor.  The group which had been meeting for a few years, had grown from the pioneers led by Rev. B.J. Coulter whose evangelistic oak grove meetings inspired the Glendora/Azusa area and served as one of its first congregations. Our first church building was constructed on the corner of Wabash and Bennett in 1888.  And the bell purchased by the Sunday school class which was first rung over a century ago is the same one we continue to use today.

1905 – 1924
In Glendora, the city paved Michigan Ave which is now Glendora Avenue and built a new city hall on Foothill Blvd. The first City Hall, which sits next door to First Christian Church, was eventually converted to the Historical Society building. Current City Hall was built in 1922 at Foothill & Glendora Ave. In 1922, the two lots that the church now stands on were purchased for $2,000 and a mortgage was given on the property. Twenty-five members of the church going on a promissory note for security, accepted responsibility equivalent to $1,000. Each on a $25,000 loan. The cornerstone of the new building was set on December 17, 1922. The new building was completed and dedicated on September 16, 1923. The total cost of the lots and the building was $78,000. It took 21 years to repay this loan.

1925 – 1934
At First Christian Church Glendora, Reverends Hilton, Roundtree and Jones led the congregation through these troubled times.  The year 1931 saw Easter Morning Services held on the hill at the end of Michigan (now Glendora Ave).

1935 – 1954
In Glendora, where 2,800 people now lived, Walt Wiley had opened his “Valencia”, giving the McDonald brothers the inspiration for their restaurants.  To contribute to the war effort, a propeller plant was constructed and many Glendorans were sent off to battle.

In our church, Reverend Frank Stipp succeeded Rev. Crain and continued in that post for 9-1/2 years.  The church was reroofed, hearing aids were added as was a near heating plant and the church was redecorated. The big event was the 1945 burning of the mortgage, the church was debt free.

1955 – 1974
In Glendora, the citrus industry, long a basis for the local economy, was brought to an end.  The population had risen to 20,752.  Michigan Ave was changed to Glendora Ave. In our church Rev. Harry Nissen served in the pulpit, a post he held for ten years.  The church was remodeled to make it earthquake resistant. Membership had grown from the original 21 members to 325 members in 1963.

In Glendora, the Foothill (210) freeway finally arrived, fire ravaged the foothills, and heavy January rains caused mudslides to inundate the city.  In our church Reverends Warren, Cron and Foster led the congregation and our building served as a Red Cross Headquarters for flood victims.

1985 – 1992
In Glendora, Citrus Community College was annexed by the City.

In our church, Rev Vern Ellicott (Pastor) led the church and in 1987 -88 yearlong programs and events celebrated the 100th birthday of FCCG.

1993 – 2023
After a short interim time, the congregation called our first female pastor, Rev. Karen Komsak Davis, in January, 1993. First Christian Church has continued to be involved in ministry to the community. A few of the highlights in the last few decades include:

•    Hosting events in our lower level as part of the community’s annual Holiday Stroll. In recent years we have held a Train Show and Santa, which has drawn several hundred in attendance.

•    In 1999 we launched a free gunlock give away (along with the Methodist church). It drew local and national media attention.

•    Also in 1999, along with the United Methodist Church, we started the East San Gabriel Valley CROP Walk for Church World Service and over the last 24 years have raised nearly $200,000 for hunger relief efforts

•    In 2000, FCCG launched the Fine Arts Academy which continues to offer a variety of classes for children and adults.

•    Also in 2000, we bought the “farmhouse” next door to the church. We gave the house to a family in town that preserved it and moved it to the historic district and we converted the land to a parking lot.

•    In 2002, the FCCG Board approved Karen Davis serving as volunteer Chaplain with the Glendora Police Department as an extension of FCCG ministry.

•    In 2003, in partnership with Citrus College ceramics and local potters, FCCG started the Glendora Empty Bowls project, giving funds for hunger relief to local agencies and Glendora PD

•    In 2010, we agreed to charter a local Cub Scout Pack 482 and they continue to meet at the church.

•    In 2013, we expanded Empty Bowls to include Empty Cups and partnered with Classic Coffee.

•    In 2020, we added Facebook Live and YouTube channel and virtual ministry options during COVID pandemic, and continued to adopt ministry to meet and evolving world.

•    In 2023 we commissioned a Public Art project on our iconic bell tower and continued to respond to God’s call to welcome all, and share God’s love and grace near and far.

(For more details of the church’s rich 138 history or the 100 year ministry at 300 N. Glendora Ave. please consult the history pamphlets available in the church office.)

The Things We Learned in Kindergarten

Author and educator Robert Fulghum summarized the simple lessons of life in books and lectures when he told us that “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”. Many of those simple realities we have found to be true again and again. And aren’t there days when it would be great to be 5 years old again even for just an hour? Think how nice it would be to have the unbridled freedom to laugh a lot and cry a lot, think what a better world it would be if all of us could have milk and cookies about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down and curl up with our blankies for a nap (and, if you still do that as an adult, that is okay).
As the new school year starts this month, I think some of Fulghum’s reflections on kindergarten warrant repeating. Here are a few life lessons that are true whether you are 5 years or 55 years young:
1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
2. Put things back where you found them.
5. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
6. Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody.
7. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
8. Live a balanced life.
9. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
10. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
11. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
12. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts.

 ― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Remember to enjoy each day. Eat some cookies. Take a nap or two. Remember to play fair and be nice. Share, do your work and don’t be tardy.