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Proclaim November/December 2011

After 15 Years In Ministry Myra Maxwell Is Looking To Do More

Crystal Caldwell is walking in the spirit

Sonya M. Toler Founder, Editor in Chief, Publisher

Founded in 2011

e d i S n I s ’ t a Wh Cover Story



Submissions Send a query letter describing the proposed article to All articles approved for publication will be published in the digital magazine.

MYRA MA X WE LL This multifaceted woman tells how her ministry is woven into every aspect of her life - as pastor, at work, and on stage.

Advertising To advertise in our digital publication, contact Sonya Toler at 412-726-6829 or


Permissions Proclaim grants permission for any original article (not a reprint or wire story) to be printed for use by a church or classroom, provided no more than 1,000 copies are made, are distributed free, and indicate Proclaim as the source. Proclaim is published bimonthly: Jan/Feb, March/April, May/June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec by Proclaim Magazine LLC. Special web-based features will be offered to members on a subscription basis in 2012. Contributors Ed Delaney, Rebecca Livermore, Rusty Wright

Prayer unlocks communications with God and Crystal Caldwell is deeply serious


when making her petitions. Read her story about God’s transformative power.

Page 10 - A Time For Seeking Start a new New Year’s tradition. Page 4 - Briefly Stated News items of interest. Page 5 - Healthy Tidings Health news. Page 8 - Buy The Book Novels that will inspire, inform & improve your life. Page 9 - Milk Carton Kid Woman says God helped her through 10-year captivity.

Page 11 - Sheila K. Gilbert U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul president. Page 14 - Coping With Loneliness At Christmas Page 16 - Honoring A Legend Sister Rosetta Tharpe Page 17 - Ministry Photos

Cover photography by Sonya M. Toler


From the Publisher

Rev. Dr. Myra Maxwell with visiting pastor Laszhaneah Howard of St. Luke 2nd Born Early Apostle Church of God, Philadelphia.

provide meat for an entire month, until the Israelites would be sick of eating meat. Moses still questioned how this would be done. God replied, “Is the Lord’s arm too short?� God did just what he said he would. Don’t we serve the same God? I’m learning to guard my mind so that my faith is in God’s power and faithfulness. Additionally, I hope you all find some inspiration and instruction in the stories of Rev. Dr. Myra Maxwell and Apostolic Bishop Crystal Caldwell. These two women have great faith and are doing great things by walking in that faith. I am certain they had moments like Moses where doubt crept in, but they stay plugged into the right power source. As always, please support our advertisers and look forward to some exciting things coming from Proclaim in the new year.

The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.� — Numbers 11:23

Sonya M. Toler

7IRH&SYUYIXW JSV%R]3GGEWMSR JSV *Minimum product and accessories purchase of $29.99. Does not apply to gift cards or certificates, same-day or international delivery, shipping & handling, taxes, or third-party hosted products (e.g. wine). Offer expires 11/15/2011.

The holiday season is upon us. My prayer is that each of you is touched by and, in turn, spread the love of God during these celebrations and throughout next year. God is truly doing a new thing in my life, and it has been a struggle for me to let go and let Him be in control. If you are willing to share your story about how you took one step in faith and was tremendously blessed, please contact me. Recently, I have felt like a hypocrite because I have often encouraged people saying that faith is stronger than fear. Fear and faith cannot exist in the same heart, I’ve said. I even designed a logo to encourage a former coworker. But I am thankful for the lessons being taught by Pastor Ray Bernard of Impacting Your World Christian Center — my church home in Philadelphia, PA. These lessons have helped in renewing my mind daily. If you turn to Numbers 11, you’ll find a portion of the story of Moses as he was leading the Israelites to the Promised Land. They had grown tired of eating the manna God miraculously provided for them and wanted meat. Moses didn’t know how he was going to provide for the 600,000 men plus women and children. He questioned God for putting him in such a predicament and said, “If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me.� Have you ever lost sight of the promises of provisions from God and began to wonder how you would be able to achieve something? I certainly have. God informed Moses that He was going to



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Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is undertaking a first ever study to determine how Americans relate the Bible in their everyday lives. The three-year project, “The Bible in

American Life,” is the result of a $500,000 grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc. It begins in 2012 with research, followed by cultural and historical interpretation by Bible scholars in 2013, and concludes in 2014 with a national conference.

monitor elections, and to come to the aid of individuals at risk because of their religious beliefs.” If you are involved in overseas missions, you’ll want to review the report.

Nurses Sue NJ Hospital

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A group of U.S. Office of International nurses claims in a lawsuit a major Religious Freedom Releases New Jersey hospital forced them to Annual Report assist in performing abortions despite The U.S. Department of State Office their religious objections. of International Religious Freedom The lawsuit was filed in federal released its July - December 2010 court in Newark against the International Religious Freedom University of Medicine and Dentistry Report in September. of New Jersey claiming the hospital Mandated by the U.S. Congress, the changed its policy in September to report is available online by clicking require employees to assist in here and in book form from the U.S. abortions or be subject to Government Printing Office. termination, a requirement that the According to the report, the plaintiffs argue violates state and “information gathering can be federal laws. hazardous, and U.S. foreign service The nurses are seeking an officers regularly go to great lengths, injunction to force the hospital to under trying and sometimes change its policy and an order dangerous conditions, to investigate prohibiting it from retaliating against reports of human rights abuse, to them.

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NEW YORK/PRNewswire/ — Jewish Theological Seminary of America established the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue with a $2 million gift from philanthropist Howard Milstein and the Paul Milstein family. The Milsteins have a long history of engagement with JTS. "The new Center will expand the long commitment of JTS to interreligious dialogue and partnership and enable us to highlight an annual schedule of distinct programs that range in complexity and content," said Rabbi Burton Visotzky, who will be director of the Milstein Center. He has been active in interreligious dialogue for more than three decades in the U.S. and internationally. Howard Milstein added, "This is a good time to build on 50 years of Jewish-Christian dialogue and expand it to all of the Abrahamic religions. At a time when religion-based antagonism is one of the greatest threats to world peace, JTS has a pivotal role in educating the next generation of religious leaders to promote mutual respect among all faiths."


Could The Food You Eat Cause Back Pain? By Ed Delaney

If you are one of the many back pain sufferers, you know back pain hurts your body and your wallet. Fortunately, there are several ways of alleviating back pain and reducing the likelihood of recurrence. One of these ways is paying attention to the food you eat. A great deal of evidence suggests foods that contain high levels of calcium, Vitamin B12, and magnesium have properties that quash inflammation and naturally relieve back pain. To serve as your guide the next time you buy groceries, here are the different kinds of food you should eat to alleviate back pain: Eat more cherries because studies have shown that fresh tart cherries can effectively reduce muscle strain

Healthy Tidings

and pain. You may also drink 12 ounces of cherry juice twice each day. Canned salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines packed in olive oil or water are also good choices for alleviating back pain as they are excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseeds and nuts of any kind are recommended as well. Eat a regular serving and find out why. Don't forget to moderate, though. Also listed among the foods that help your back are vegetables and fruits. Fresh is best, but you can eat them frozen or canned as long as they are high in salt or in heavy syrup. Ginger is also considered as a healthy option for your back. There are also foods that are not so good to eat. As for the kinds of food you need to avoid in order to alleviate back pain, they are: The following vegetable oils: corn, sunflower, cottonseed, safflower, and anything marked as “mixed” vegetable oil.

Processed foods. Foods that are rich in tropical oils and saturated fats, including full-fat dairy products. Margarine and vegetable shortening. Foods that are made with trans fats. So, you see, your risk level for back pain can be greatly affected by making the right choices as you stroll down the grocery aisle. Follow our suggestions and feel the difference in a few days of eating the right kind of food. Of course, aside from the healthy foods recommended above, you also have to make sure that you drink plenty of water throughout the day. Keeping your body properly hydrated is also an excellent way of ensuring that you continue to live a life free from back pain. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed Delaney is based in the United Kingdom and writes about health-related concerns.

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More! Myra Maxwell Ministers In The Pulpit, At Work, On Stage... Rev. Dr. Myra Maxwell addresses the congregation during her weeklong 15th anniversary celebration. Photos by Sonya M. Toler

By Sonya M. Toler

One act of obedience sent Rev. Dr. Myra Maxwell on a heaven-inspired mission of self-healing that is improving the lives of crime victims throughout Philadelphia. During the past 15 years, Maxwell started a church, launched a nonprofit organization that serves victims of violence, and began singing with a traditional gospel group while maintaining a full-time job and studying for a second bachelor degree. Members and friends of Restoration Worship Center United Methodist Church celebrated this phenomenal woman with a week of services in October. Appropriately, the theme for her anniversary was “I’m not tired yet.” “God has allowed me to do so many things, but each component of it has been a part of my healing process,” 6

says Maxwell. “I always get to the same place where I’m able to thank God for all that he has taken me through because I’m able to minister to someone else and maybe help them to get to a place of healing.” Maxwell ran from her calling until she could run no further. “I was trying to say no to the Lord in a lot of ways because I kept saying I’m not worthy. I shouldn’t be doing this because my background is unsaved,” she explains. “I ran the streets, kind of did my own thing, didn’t really care. I was kind of out there –drugs, alcohol, all the stuff that was totally against God…Everything that I did in the world, the Lord turned it around and used it for the church. Only He made it better.” She began feeling what she described as a tug to return to church. There, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she needed to do more.

“I didn’t know what the more was so it was kind of like try everything,” Maxwell says. In a dream, she wondered trying to find the source of the most beautiful singing voice she had ever heard. She came upon a woman who was hunched over with her back facing her. The woman turned to reveal a frightening, demonic face. Maxwell began to “plead the blood of Jesus” and her body rose as the woman began to descend. As she looked down, Maxwell saw she was standing on a cross. After that dream, she decided to put away the excuses. She served in a variety of roles at Philadelphia’s Parham Chapel, Maxwell became associate pastor and the Lord began to tell her that she was to start a church. She started a Bible study in her home. CONTINUED ON PAGE 7


Her husband, Gary, was never discouraging though he was not a regular churchgoer. But God was tugging on him, too. Gary is now an ordained minister and works hand-in-hand with his wife. “The Lord began to let me know that was not what I was supposed to be doing, that there was more. Of course, I was trying to take the easy route,” she says, referring to the bible study. The group began praying for direction, which led Maxwell to return to Jameson School of Theology, where she had studied and taught. The small group started holding church at the

“Everything that I did in the world, the Lord turned it around and used it for the church, only he made it better.” Myra Maxwell

meant to be a two-bedroom apartment. Not being affiliated with a denomination meant having access to fewer resources. “We weren’t achieving and accomplishing what God had called us to,” Maxwell says. She sought help from a woman she knew in the Methodist church to find that she no longer was in that position. Instead, she spoke to a woman whose boss was over new ministries. Within a few months, Maxwell’s church was approved as a United Methodist Church. Restoration relocated from west Philadelphia to its current south Philadelphia home. During this time, Maxwell began working as a parttime court advocate with Southwest Victim Services. Within three years, she was director of the program. “But I felt like there was more,” she says as a smile illuminates her face. “I wanted to be very Myra Maxwell became a member of God’s Grace Music Ministry at serving as rounded in the field so I took a position with the singing group’s fan club president. the City of Philadelphia working with school once a month on a Sunday evening. juveniles. All the time, my passion was to A tragedy suffered by a person at the school connect ministry with victim services.” prompted Maxwell to take action. In turn, her This time, the more was Favor Ministry, now blossoming church was blessed. Maxwell FAVOR International, Inc., a nonprofit whose organized a benefit concert for a woman who purpose was to promote healing and was burned out of her home. The concert was restoration by connecting ministries with held at St. Peter’s Church of God, also in various agencies, programs and services for Philadelphia, and featured God’s Grace crime victims. Ministry, of which Maxwell was fan club Her efforts with Favor caught the attention of president. a woman who was writing a proposal for a The pastor of the church agreed to allow three-year grant and needed input from Maxwell to use the sanctuary two Sundays a someone on the role of the faith community in month for afternoon service. Soon, the pastor helping victims of crime. The grant was offered the space whenever St. Peter’s had no awarded to the effort and Maxwell was hired as afternoon service, which was most Sundays. project director. Before long, God’s Grace called on Maxwell “There are spiritual issues when you are to fill in for a singer who was in the hospital. traumatized by any crime. There are people CONNECT “Singing has always been a way of healing for who are saying I hate God because they feel me. One of my favorite songs is His Eye Is On like God is responsible for it,” she explains. FAVOR International The Sparrow. It says, ‘I sing because I’m happy.’ Always wanting to offer her best in service to And usually when I’m happy, I am singing. Restoration Worship God, Maxwell, who holds a doctorate of Center, UMC Singing makes me happy, but singing has been divinity degree, is currently studying for a the source of a great amount of healing for me,” second bachelor degree, this time in human God’s Grace Maxwell says. “Gospel music is turning on a service management, to keep her skills sharp. different type of love song.” When asked how she fits everything into a 24Restoration continued growing and relocated hour day, she pauses then says, “The scripture two doors away from St. Peter’s in what was comes to mind, ‘my grace is sufficient.’” 7


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Woman Says God Helped Her Through 10-Year Captivity For four of the 10 years she was held captive, Tanya Kach wasn’t allowed to go outside. She says the only way she survived her ordeal was through God. Kach’s haunting story is told in a new e-book “The Tanya Nicole Kach Story: Memoir of A Milk Carton Kid,” co-written with her former attorney Lawrence Fisher. At the time of her kidnapping, recounts Fisher, Kach was “already a troubled teenager. Her parents were going through a divorce, she felt like they didn’t care, and she was hanging with the wrong crowd.”

It was Feb. 10, 1996 when 14year-old Kach ran away from home to Thomas Hose, a security guard at her school. She thought she was in love. Hose kept her hidden in his bedroom in a home he shared with his parents. He fed her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The book details how he threatened her life if she made a noise, and attempts to answer the question: Why didn’t she simply leave.” In the book, released by the Christian-themed Tate Publishing, Kach states that Hose brainwashed her into believing that “without him, I would be out on the street, homeless or dead.” It is a hard-hitting story sure to be enjoyed by those who like true crime stories. It also offers hope to those who have been through a

similar situation or those who care for someone who has. After a few years, Hose permitted Kach to leave the house and she began to attend church. Kach confided in a store owner who contacted the authorities, leading to her rescue. Hose, now 53, is in jail on a 5- to 15-year sentence, and is scheduled for a parole hearing in February 2012. Fisher notes several failings of “the system” in Kach’s case. After being reported missing, Kach’s image appeared on the back of milk cartons. The police investigation led to two visits to Hose’s home, but officers did not search the premises. Fisher hopes some good will come out of the book. “My hope is that we can stop anything like this from happening again,” said the first-time author.


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A Time Of Seeking By Rebecca Livermore

Seek God’s Direction This New Year

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✔ WE CAN GET YOU OUT OF DEBT QUICKLY ✔ WE CAN SAVE YOU THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ✔ WE CAN HELP YOU AVOID BANKRUPTCY The words, “Happy New Year!� bring a lot of different images to mind. Many people think of silly hats and noisemakers, other may think of getting drunk or other reckless and ungodly behavior, and still others make a list of resolutions. Some of the resolutions are spiritual such as reading through the Bible, and others are on a more physical plan such as exercising three times a week. Although resolutions may have a place and are certainly not necessarily bad, a more meaningful exercise may be to have a time set apart specifically for seeking God regarding the old year ending and the New Year beginning. Below are suggestions for organizing a Time of Seeking for a small group, but an individual or a family may use each of the ideas as well. The suggested time frame is only that – a suggestion. If the suggested times are followed, the Time of Seeking will last for an hour, plus whatever time you spend in worship and communion. I would not personally recommend a shorter time; consider spending more time if you are able. Additionally, although this is written as if it will happen in one sitting, you may stretch it out over a week if you would like. The most important thing is to spend at least 20 minutes in each of the suggested activities. Here’s how it works: Gather in a place large enough for group members to spread out. To prepare hearts to hear from God, spend a short time in worship. If you do not have someone available to lead worship, put on a worship CD and encourage people to worship within their own hearts silently (if they are not comfortable singing out loud in a small group) while you play the CD. Hand out and go over the following format for spending the next hour alone with God. Don't treat this

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Gilbert Elected U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul President

Seeking CONT.

as an assignment but rather as a guide; some members of your group may already have a clear idea of how to ST. LOUIS -- Sheila K. Gilbert was elected spend an hour in prayer. Encourage people to “do their president of the National Council of the U.S. own thing” if they are comfortable doing so, but each Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay person should spend at least some time on each of the organization that works extensively with those three categories below. in need and living in poverty. 1. A Time of Laying Down Concerns (20 minutes). Officially commissioned at the Society's annual "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for meeting on Sept. 3, 2011, she is the first woman you" (1 Pet. 5:7 NIV). If you're entering this Time of to hold the office.  For the past six years, she has Seeking with a lot of concerns, start by listing them. Jot served as national officer for the organization. down everything that concerns you, no matter how Gilbert has a bachelor of science degree in small. One by one, go through your list. If you can't do sociology and a master of science in public and anything about the concern, bring it before the Lord in environmental affairs, both from Indiana University. In addition, she prayer. If you can do something about it, spend time has a certificate in public management from Indiana University and a master of arts in pastoral theology from St. Mary of the Woods College.   praying about it, and then write down the action you need to take on a "do list." Conclude this time by "I am humbled and grateful that the members of the Society have committing all of your concerns to the Lord. granted me this responsibility," said Gilbert. "Having been involved in 2. A Time of Reflection (20 minutes). "I will remember the organization for some 30 years, I am privileged to serve in the company of exceptionally talented and compassionate men and women the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your who have dedicated their lives to serving those who are most in need." miracles of long ago" (Ps. 77:11 NIV). Think over the events of the past year. On one page make a list of She said that in addition to helping the members of the Society, struggles and failures in the past year. One by one, go known as Vincentians, grow personally and spiritually, she wants to through each item on the list. Confess your sins to the enhance the organization's effectiveness in helping those living in Lord. Ask for His forgiveness, and thank Him for an poverty not only to survive but, more important, to move out of opportunity to start fresh. poverty.   On another page make a list of blessings and successes from the past year. Thank and praise God for His goodness in your life this past year. 3. 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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Rebecca Livermore is a Christian speaker and writer from Denver, Colorado. Her passion is helping people grow spiritually.Visit her online here.


WALKING IN THE SPIRIT Bishop Crystal Caldwell answered God’s call and became a new creature By Sonya M. Toler

Powerful, intense and bold are words used to describe the anointing on Crystal Caldwell’s life. She holds many titles – radio host, founder, president, apostle, 2nd Assistant Presiding Bishop of the United States and Southeastern Regional Bishop of the United States of the International Circle of Faith. But to the hundreds if not thousands of people to which she provides food, clothing, and other needs through her street ministry, she is just a woman of God who cares. To some, it might seem unlikely that God would call someone with Caldwell’s past. To those with some understanding about how the Lord works, she was a prime candidate to make the shift to proclaiming the love of God throughout the world. The Shift Born in Kentucky, her family lived in Texas before relocating to Wilmington, Delaware when she was a child. She married at the age of 21. After 10 years and three children, her spouse abandoned the family. As late as 2001, she worked at Sears and she practiced witchcraft. Then one day in that year, she recalls, “I came out of work and I happened to notice that this little elderly man was sitting by the fountain. He looked up



owner informed Caldwell and invited her to Bible study that evening. Caldwell agreed to go and they went to the church she attended as a child. There she laid at the alter throughout the entire service. “By the time I got off that floor, I was no longer the person I had been,” she reflects. “My whole life changed. Everything about me changed. I began to see things in the spirit that I never could have seen before.” Caldwell totally surrendered to God and began working to redeem herself to people she had hurt over the years. Not surprisingly, many people did not believe her transformation, but that didn’t sway her. She knew who she was and to whom she belonged. “In order to answer the call to ministry, one’s life must first be in

Bishop Crystal Caldwell


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and smiled at me and put his head back down.” The man was there every day. On the seventh day, Caldwell approached him and recognized him to be her deceased father’s best friend, a man she hadn’t seen since 1975. He had come to deliver a message, “God loves you and he’s gonna change you today.” The family friend continued, “The Lord said that he has sent me to speak to your spirit. That you are delivered from witchcraft and from this day forward you will serve him unconditionally for the rest of your life.” Caldwell thanked the man; they hugged, and parted ways. But she wasn’t the same. “My mind was on Him. My spirit was on Him. I was arrested in the spirit and I couldn’t think of any thing else,” she states. At home after work, the Holy Spirit continued dealing with her. She got in her car and thought she was driving to her mother’s house. Instead she ended up at a hair salon run by a woman she knew when she was a young girl. She also had a message for Caldwell. “Believe it or not, I’ve been praying for you for two months,” the salon

Bishop Ernest Caldwell Bishop Crystal A. Caldwell

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order – cleanliness, godliness and holiness,” states Caldwell. “If you’ve

“I take no credit and I give no credit to anyone else except God. God alone delivered me from the occult and raised me up to be the woman He wants me to be.”

accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior, then your life has changed. The Bible says when we accept Jesus Christ as our personal savior, the old creature no longer exists. The purity of the bride is one that is holy. The word holiness is someone who is completely sin free, someone who doesn’t tolerate the unaccepted.” She began volunteering in the church and started a street ministry in which she provided food and clothing to the

homeless. “I started out with a little tiny car and fed thousands of people out of that car I called a tin can on rubber,” she laughs, “but I drove that thing all over Wilmington.” She named the ministry “Walking in the Spirit,” and created a weekly radio show with the same name. In 2003, she married to the now Bishop Ernest Caldwell. She has this to say about the subject of marriage: “God orchestrated my whole life in His divine order [and] brought me to the place of ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ It was in this place that the man of God, Bishop Ernest Caldwell, found me and took me to be his wife…Marriage in ministry, a divine covenant order that is the only natural relationship between a man and woman that is terminated by death do us part.” The Prayer Closet Prayer is a matter that she takes very seriously saying, “You’ve got to open the door for the Spirit to work. “When you go before God – God is a sovereign and holy God,” she explains, “there is a certain way to dress yourself.” In a dream, God showed Caldwell how to dress when she enters her

personal prayer closet. She made the robe she saw in her dream and anointed it with holy oil. Once she remained in her prayer closet for four days under the anointing and received instruction for a new direction. As a result, she and her family relocated to Myrtle Beach where she reestablished her ministry for the homeless out of Chapin Park. The Anointing She has founded Crystal Caldwell Ministries and Holy Ground Temple Inc., which includes The Prophet’s Closet, The Prophet’s Kitchen, and The Caldwell Center. She has created several conferences and outreach ministries such as 9/11 Revival, REVELATION EXPLOSION, Women of Warfare, Refining Women of God, and Holy Ground Temple Kenya, which involves eight churches with more than 1,000 members. As of this writing, she is gearing up for a revival December 2 – 12 in Nairobi, Kenya. “I take no credit and I give no credit to anyone else except God. God alone has delivered me from the occult and raised me up to be the woman He wants me to be,” she says.

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Coping With Loneliness At Christmas Some of life’s circumstances can overwhelm us and cause us pain during this season of festivity By Rusty Wright

Tis the season to be gloomy? Feeling low this Christmas season? You’re not alone. Amid cheery songs, festive parties, gifts and good wishes, many lonely people are crying or dying on the inside. Maybe you’re one of them. I was. During a horrible year, my wife of 20 years divorced me, my employer of 25 years fired me, and I had a cancer scare. As I drove home one night, lovely Christmas music came on the radio. Melancholy aching evidenced the deep pain of abandonment and loss

that I was still processing. No fun. Blue Christmas Romantic estrangement, family strife, and bereavement can make your holidays dismal. One of Elvis Presley’s most popular songs was “Blue Christmas.” A lonely crooner mourns heartbreaking lost love. Performers from The Beach Boys to Celine Dion, Loretta Lynn, and Jon Bon Jovi have recorded it. Does even Enjoy the 100 Greatest Books of All Time and thinking Never Have to Read a Word! about Ֆ that song

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make you depressed? The spoofed “Porky Pig” version could get you laughing. Google will take you there. But please, wait until finishing this short article to search, OK?! Several factors can produce Christmas blues. Hectic activity can bring physical and emotional stress. Overspending can produce financial pressure. Year-end reflection and focus on loss can magnify sorrow. McGill University psychologist CONTINUED ON PAGE 15

Loneliness At Christmas CONT.

Dr. Michael Spevack notes, "Over eating and over drinking combined with a decreased amount of sleep is also a formula for extreme emotional swings.” Depression can lead to thoughts of suicide, especially among the socially isolated, he says. The “Empty Chair” Is your family apart this season by necessity or choice? Maybe an “empty chair” reminds you of your pain. Does Christmas “Ho, Ho, Ho” contrast with your deep anguish? One widow recalled how she felt during the Christmas after her husband’s death: “Little mattered to me. I didn't want to hear carols. I didn't want to be cheered up. I didn't want to look at perky Christmas cards. I wanted the same thing I'd wanted every day for eight months: the strength to force myself out of bed in the morning, to brush my teeth and to eat.” One possible influence, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression the medical community doesn’t completely understand. The Mayo Clinic says genetics, age and body chemistry could be the culprits. Mayo recommends seeing your doctor if you feel down for days and have motivation problems. Symptoms can include changing sleep patterns and appetite, feeling hopeless, contemplating suicide, or seeking comfort in alcohol. Coping How can you cope with Christmas loneliness? Some 15

suggestions: 1. Spend time with people, especially positive ones who lift your spirits. Perhaps you’ll be grateful for their cheer. 2. Exercise regularly. Blood pumping can help clear your mind. 3. Eat right. Chocaholics beware. Overindulgence can mean temporary highs followed by disappointing flab. 4. Lights on! Enjoy sunlight, outdoors if possible. Brighten up your home and workplace. Light therapy sometimes helps SAD. 5. Budget your gift spending and stick with your budget. Prevent January bill shock. 6. Talk about your feelings. Keeping them bottled up can mean anxiety, ulcers, sour disposition, and/or explosion. Need a trusted, listening friend? Try a local church. 7. Give to others. Volunteer. Medical professor Stephen Post, PhD, is convinced that giving is essential for optimum physical and mental health in our fragmented society. He says some California physicians give volunteerism “prescriptions” to their Medicare patients. 8. Seek counsel. I used to be embarrassed to obtain professional counsel. Now I recommend it. We all can use good advice navigating life’s storms. 9. Develop spiritual roots. I’m glad that before my dark days began, I had a friendship with God. Tired of friends who betray, manipulate, disrespect, or desert

you? God won’t. He cares for you, values you, will listen to you and comfort you. You can trust Him. He always wants your best. One early believer put it this way: “Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else?” His point: God loved us enough to send Jesus, his only Son, to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our wrong, our sins. What a demonstration of love! I can trust a God like that. Then Jesus rose from the dead so He could live inside us and become our friend. Your choice Would you like to meet Jesus, the best friend you could ever have? Wouldn’t Christmas season be a great time to place your faith in Him? You can tell Him something like this: Jesus, I need you. Thanks for dying and rising again for me. Please forgive me, enter my life, and give me eternal life. Help me to become good friends with you and learn to follow your lead. Did you just trust Jesus to forgive you and enter your life? If so, ask the person or group that gave you this article how you can get to know Him better. Even if you’re skeptical or undecided, ask them your questions. I have a hunch they’d love to talk with you. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents. He holds bachelor of science (psychology) and master of theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively.


Guitar Heroine

Photo by Sonya M. Toler

Ira Tucker, Jr. unveils a historical marker outside the home of Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Click here to see more exclusive photos.

Historical Marker Unveiled At Gospel Legend Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s Philadelphia Home By Sonya M. Toler

Nearly 40 years after Rosetta Tharpe’s death, the mainstream is beginning to recognize the important role played by this gospel music superstar. Tharpe’s legacy was honored by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission with the October 24, 2011 dedication of a historical marker in front of her former North Philadelphia home. "I love that it's here. This is a part of history," says Angie McCollum, who lives in the house at 1102 Master Street. McCollum’s grandmother married Tharpe’s third husband and willed the home to McCollum. The yellow letters on the dark blue marker read: “Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915-1973) One of gospel music’s first crossover superstars, she popularized the genre by including secular music elements. A guitar virtuoso and 16

charismatic performer throughout America and Europe, she toured with Count Basie, Cab Calloway, and Benny Goodman. Her home was here.” Tharpe, once billed as a singing and guitar-playing miracle, was among the first gospel acts to sign with a major label. Music legends Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Little Richard list her among the people who influenced their style. Her 1968 album “Precious Memories” was nominated for a Grammy Award. She is an inductee of both the International Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame. The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp in her honor in 1998, yet her name is rarely mentioned in discussions about guitar heroines let alone trailblazing guitarists of any gender. That is changing primarily because of a series of events that connected a small

group of people. Gayle Wald authored a biography, “Shout, Sister, Shout! The Untold Story of Rock-And-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe,” which was released in 2007 by Beacon Press. Businessman Robert Merz heard Wald on PBS’ “Radio Times,” and organized a benefit to raise money for a gravestone for Tharpe. The concert was headlined by the Dixie Hummingbirds, who toured with Tharpe. Ira Tucker, Jr., had a unique perspective into Tharpe’s life as the son of the late Ira Tucker, Sr., lead singer of the famed Hummingbirds. Speaking at the historical marker dedication, he recalled the countless times he visited her home as a child and was treated to impromptu performances. “She was like a rock star,” he said, comparing Tharpe to a blend of Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix and Lady Gaga.






Photo by Gregg Pachkowski


November/December issue  
November/December issue  

This is the last 2011 issue. It features two exciting women of God and is packed with other useful and insightful information.