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CARINGPLACE Volume 46, Issue 3

December 2011

An Interview with Whitesburg Christian Academy Upper School Prinicipal

Tracey Thoenes page 3


A Whitesburg

Christmas pages 6-7

WHAT IS A Lottie Moon? inside front cover




Lottie Moon? By Pam Brassart

During our first Christmas season together, my husband asked this question. I stared at him, dumbfounded, thinking, “Lottie Moon is a who, not a what!” I realized he didn’t grow up Southern Baptist and had never heard of Lottie Moon. I‘ve enjoyed a rich Southern Baptist heritage, starting with the Cradle Roll, where I’m sure I first learned about Charlotte “Lottie” Diggs Moon. Lottie, too, learned early about Baptist life, but she wasn’t too interested. Pranks appealed more to her. Miss Moon rebelled against her Christian heritage as a child, but made a profession of faith in Christ at age 18. Soon after, as she taught school, she felt the call to serve as a missionary, possibly in Japan. Lottie’s sister Edmonia left for China in 1872. One year later, Lottie followed. Chinese nationals did not freely welcome single, non-Asian women into their society. Lottie chose a “sweet” introduction as her calling card. She regularly baked plain tea cakes and offered them to neighborhood children and their mothers. As time passed, the “foreign devil” became known as “the cookie lady,” and finally as the “heavenly book visitor.” Lottie’s heart burned for the salvation of Chinese nationals. But life in China proved difficult. The few workers with meager resources pressed on but needed additional support from Baptists back home. Lottie wrote endless letters of appeal, urging Baptists to follow the example of Methodist friends, using the Christmas season to focus on additional financial support for foreign missions. During the Chinese famine of 1912, Lottie literally starved herself as she gave her food to Chinese neighbors. On December 24, 1912, on board a ship to America for medical care, Lottie Moon met her Savior face to face. In 1918, Annie Armstrong, who had appealed from stateside for additional funds to support foreign workers, suggested that the Christmas Offering for Foreign Missions be named in honor of Charlotte Diggs Moon, the beloved Lottie Moon of China.

Lottie Moon’s Tea Cakes 2 cups self-rising flour 1/2 cup butter 1 heaping cup sugar 1 egg, well beaten 1 T. cream (or milk) Cream butter and sugar together. Add the egg, flour, and cream, mixing well.   Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet.  Bake at 475 for 5 minutes.


CARINGPLACE Volume 46, Issue 3

December 2011

2 Have You Seen the Light? What the wise men teach us

3 Tracey Thoenes An Interview with Whitesburg Christian Academy’s Upper School Principal

5 Christmas Icons The history behind the symbols

6 A Whitesburg Christmas Family events

7 Bethlehem Breakfast & Vesper Service A time to refresh and refocus

Tracey Th oenes Preparation & Passion

8 Local Ways to Give

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Get your family involved 9 “NGC” Tuna Casserole Mrs. Wanda Capps shares her recipe

Caring Place magazine exists to open a window into the multifaceted ministries of Whitesburg Baptist Church whose purpose is to know Jesus Christ and to make Him known. We desire to know Jesus Christ through the Word and Worship, to exalt the Savior through education and evangelism and to mature all believers to minister and to be on mission. Caring Place magazine is a bimonthly publication by Whitesburg Baptist Church, 6806 Whitesburg Dr., Huntsville, AL 35802-2299. (Permit No. 446) To get your copy call (256) 704-5678, ext. 210 and leave your mailing address. Subscription Rate: $12.00 donation a year anywhere in the U.S.


TO GIVE Page 8

Publisher: Whitesburg Baptist Church Editor: Dr. Greg Corbin Publishing & Graphics: Melissa Schuster, Ron Snyder Editorial Assistants: Karen Tidwell, Beverly Dishman Distribution Team: Jennifer Baggett, Billy Davis, David Dolores, Larry Hardy, Marylin Johnson, Bob Raines Bundling Team: Claire Byrd, Martha Cain, Walt Caldwell, Jimmy Campbell, Debbie Canida, Greg & Kim Cline, Betty D. Cloud, Mabel Evans, Nina & Tim Hopper, Carolyn Kerr, Marsha Quick, Linda Robertson, Barbara Saunders, Phyllis Smith, Dee Tolomei, Cynthia Williams.

Volume 46, Issue 3

December 2011 | 1

Have you seen the Light? By Dr. Greg Corbin “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born. “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah: because out of you will come a leader who will shepherd My people Israel.” Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find Him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was—the star they had seen in the east! It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure. Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route.” (Matthew 2:1–12, HCSB) The Biblical story of the Wise 2 | CARINGPLACE

Men is a favorite part of the Christmas story for many people. As with any Bible passage, there are practical application that we can make to our lives… Searching for God will lead you to Jesus.

Who were the Wise Men? The Bible just says they were Magi from the East. That means that they were from the region of the world to the east of where all of this took place. Therefore the Wise Men were most likely from the area that is today Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan. Many countries of this time had what were called Magi or Wise Men who were important advisors to kings and leaders in government. They tended to be very well-educated men who studied science, mathematics, and especially astronomy. That is significant because ancient people of that time believed that all significant events in the world were preceded by some kind of sign in the heavens. They most likely had some exposure to the Old Testament scriptures. Being learned and well-versed men, they probably knew that the scriptures predicted the Messiah was going to be born. Then one night as they were looking at the night sky, they saw the star. Perhaps they knew WHO had been born. They just didn’t know where. So, that is why they were asking around town, trying to find this newborn king. That’s why God sent the star to lead them to Jesus. God is not generic. If you honestly, seriously seek to find God, you will always be led to Jesus. “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6, HCSB) “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”

(Colossians 1:15, HCSB) When you see the Light, don’t wait to come to Jesus.

Matthew 2:9-11 records the response of the Wise Men when they saw the star again after meeting with King Herod. Once they knew who Jesus was and where Jesus was, they didn’t waste any time. They came quickly to Jesus. They didn’t say, “We’ve got to wait until someone else does.” They didn’t say “I wonder what someone in Bethlehem might think.” The wise men didn’t even say, “Well we will wait until every question is answered.” When that star stopped over where Jesus was, they rejoiced and said “Let’s go.” Perhaps you are reading this article and you know who Jesus is, but you have never placed your faith in Him. Do you know what 2 Corinthians 6:2 says? “Now is the accepted time. Now is the day of salvation.” Turn from your sin and self and place your faith in Christ alone for salvation. Surrender to Jesus as Lord and He will become your Savior. Do it today. Do it right now. If you’ve seen the Light, let your light shine.

Think about that star that led the Wise Men to Jesus. It was there for no other reason than to point people to Jesus. It existed to shine the light of Jesus. Did you know that Jesus himself said that if we are Christians we exist for the exact same reasons? “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14–16, HCSB)

Tracey Th oenes Preparation & Passion

By Dr. Greg Corbin

Tracey Thoenes is someone you should know. She is the Upper School Principal for Whitesburg Christian Academy. In order for our church family to get to know her better, we asked her to tell us about her family, faith, and her plans for the Academy. Where did you grow up, graduate from high school, college, etc.?

My father worked for the army, so we moved around a lot while I was growing up. I lived in Japan, Kentucky, Indiana, and Korea. We moved to Huntsville when I was a freshman in high school and stayed long enough for me to graduate from Grissom High School. Moving around and being the new kid at school several different times has made welcoming any new student who comes to our school a priority to me. I want everyone to feel welcome. I attended Covenant College on Lookout Mountain, Georgia and earned my bachelor’s degree in education. I recently earned my master’s degree in Christian Education from Regent University. It was a challenge to be a wife, mother, and full-time employee while working on my master’s degree, but with the strength from God and the support of my Volume 46, Issue 3

family, I made it. Tell us about your family.

My sister actually introduced me to Joachim Thoenes. She wanted to show me a levitating globe that was in a gift store in the mall, and he was working at that store. She knew him from college. I ended up working at the same store part-time, and we became good friends. One day, my mom came in the store and I introduced her to Joachim. Later that day, she asked if he was dating anyone and declared him someone I should think about marrying. Moms really do know a lot. We were married a few years later and have been happily married for over eighteen years. We moved to Atlanta shortly after we were married, and then moved to Knoxville, Tennessee where my wonderful Continued on page 4 December 2011 | 3

Tracey Thoenes Continued from page 3

daughter was born. Joachim’s job brought him back to Huntsville three months after she was born, and we have been in Huntsville ever since. Our sweet boy Jonathan came home from Korea in 2001. Our family was made complete. Kristina is in eighth grade at the Academy and is busy with volleyball, cheerleading, National Junior Honor Society, and is excited about being involved with student leadership starting this summer. Jonathan is in fifth grade and is active in soccer, basketball, LEGO® bricks, and video games. They both enjoy school and have made wonderful friends. Tell us about your relationship with Christ and your church home.

I grew up in a home where church was a place to go at Christmas and Easter. When I was in middle school, my parents were saved and we began attending church. I wanted to be a part of church and the communion, so I was baptized without really understanding why. When I was a freshman in high school, I attended the fall revival at Hillwood Baptist Church. The sermon was about the wheat and the tares. It suddenly hit me that I would be a part of the tares group and would be cast into the fire. I realized what I needed to do. I asked Jesus into my heart and was baptized again, this time for real. I felt a peace and a joy that I never knew. I continued to grow in my relationship with Him throughout high school and college. After Joachim and I moved back from Knoxville, we decided to visit churches and tried Whitesburg. We met some wonderful people and plugged in right away. We have been here ever since. Our children have grown up in the church and have both come to know the Lord. The church is an important part of our lives. How long have you been an educator? What other positions have you held, particularly at the Academy?

I have been working in education for over fourteen years. I stayed home for a few years with my children and also worked in banking for two years. This is my tenth year at the Academy, and I have had many different positions during that time. My dream job was to be a middle school/high school math teacher, and that is the only position I was interested in doing. I remember saying that I would never teach anything else. Never say never with God because He 4 | CARINGPLACE

had other plans. I have taught reading, science, history, and math. I have also been the academic guidance counselor for the upper school and am currently the upper school principal (the ultimate never job or so I thought). I have enjoyed learning and teaching the other subjects and can see how He is in everything, not just math. I also believe that He has led me through the different jobs to prepare me for where I am serving Him today. Having been at the Academy for a number of years, share what you believe to be the strengths of our school.

Our school has an incredible atmosphere. The feeling of being a part of a big family is very strong. The students build lifelong friendships with other students and with the teachers. It is encouraging to have graduates returning to the school to visit. They genuinely miss our school and the people. I never went back to my high school once I graduated. The academics are also geared to prepare our students for the future, whatever path they choose. I have asked our students who have gone to college if they were prepared. Their responses have confirmed that we are accomplishing our mission. They say that they are prepared academically, but they also are spiritually prepared for the college experience. I also like the fact that students are able to be involved with many different activities, from sports to academic extracurricular activities to band. As we continue to grow, there will be other extracurricular activities added. What changes have you made? What is your vision for the future of our Upper School? 

As our upper school has grown, changes have been made to enhance the academic and social experience. In academics, dual enrollment classes are offered for juniors and seniors to offer an opportunity to earn high school and college credit. An anatomy course has been added to the science curriculum. New electives like Photography and advanced art courses have been added. The seventh and eighth grade student leadership classes focus on city, county, state, and federal governments and how they work. A Scholar’s Bowl team has been formed and did well in their first competition last year. To encourage leadership, a Headmaster’s Council has been organized to provide a way of communication between the students and the administration. Students have the opportunity to plan, organize, and carry out events for the school. Our first Homecoming was last year, and it was a great success. The Spring Formal is an occasion that students look forward to attending. Our


Christmas. There is no doubt that at that single word a host of images, smells, and memories instantly pop into your mind. The joy and excitement of the holiday make it the best loved time of year for many. The presents, trees, wreaths, and candy canes, just to name a few, are all inseparable from our picture of Christmas. But where did these icons come from? As a child, nothing is greater than the anticipation on Christmas Eve, knowing that Santa will come that night. Inevitably, it is crushing to find out that Santa is not real. Or is he? The modern name of Santa Claus comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas, meaning “Sint Nicolaas.” Thus, at the roots of the Santa Claus story is Saint Nicholas. Nicholas was a fourth century Greek Bishop with a reputation for generous giving. Out of the many tales about Nicholas’ generosity is one about a poor man who had three daughters but no dowry for them to wed. Nicholas heard of the man’s plight and, out of pity, tossed three bags of gold into the man’s house at night. According to the tale, one bag was tossed down the chimney where it landed in a stocking one of the girls had hung to dry. Nicholas was said to have told the man not to thank him but God alone. Thus, the tradition of hanging stockings on the fireplace for Santa to fill at night was born.  As for the decorations we use, where did wreaths and bright Christmas trees come from? While very lovely in itself, the wreath’s symbolism makes it even more beautiful.

It symbolizes the never ending love that God so magnificently displayed to us on Christmas. Just as the wreath has no beginning or end, God’s love knows no end. The Alpha and Omega has loved us before we were created and will always continue to do so. Finally, we come to the Christmas tree. There are many stories about how we came to decorate Christmas trees. One dates back to Saint Boniface, an English monk, who came upon some pagans sacrificing a child under an oak tree. To stop this, Boniface cut down the tree and in its place grew a small fir tree. Another tale is that Martin Luther started the tradition. As the story goes, Luther was walking in the woods on Christmas Eve and passed a beautiful evergreen tree. He cut it down and took it home, where he placed candles in its branches to recreate the beauty of the starlight. In all cases, the tree points straight up to heaven, and the lights on the branches symbolize the Light of the World who came into the world that night. All of these icons are symbols that point straight to the very reason we celebrate Christmas: the birth of our Lord. Instead of viewing these symbols as mere distractions from the true meaning of Christmas, think of them as they were meant to be: instruments that point towards the glory and love of our Savior. Each time you pass a Christmas tree or see Santa in the mall, let them remind you of the giving love of God, which is the true spirit of Christmas. Merry Christmas.

Tracey Thoenes sports program is growing. Soccer and cheerleading have been added to the upper school sports program. For service, there are mission trips and other community service opportunities in which students may participate. The vision of the upper school is to prepare our students academically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually to be passionate followers of Christ and lifelong servant leaders as they go into the world and impact it for Christ. As our school continues to grow, opportunities in all areas will be added to help realize the vision. I am so thankful to be a part of the Volume 46, Issue 3


Tell us about any hobbies or anything else you would like for our church family to know.

I enjoy reading whenever I get a chance. I enjoy spending time and traveling with my family, especially to the beach. I am an Alabama football fan and a Kentucky Wildcat basketball fan and watch them play whenever I can. I like to work out in the weight room and at the track or machines upstairs at the South Campus. You can tell how stressful my day was based on how fast I am running! December 2011 | 5

A Whitesburg

Christmas Hanging of the Green



The 23rd annual Hanging of the Green will feature a 120-voice student choir and 50-piece orchestra along with special soloists and the a cappella student ensemble. This year’s program focuses on the simplicity of the Christmas story. Dramatic readings from Scripture are combined with powerful music selections to create a thought-provoking evening of worshiping our Savior, the Lamb of God. As is tradition with the student choirs, the music will feature a wide variety of musical selections. The Glory of Christmas features all your favorite carols set to a cinematic orchestral score. Noel, sung in the African Kituba dialect and Here’s a Pretty Little Baby will feature a variety of instruments and voices. The Taylor Swift version of Silent Night will warm your hearts as we light candles around the room. Traditional music is showcased in Rutter’s beautiful What Sweeter Music featuring a glorious string section. In addition, the student ensemble will present selections from Britten’s A Boy Was Born and sing Paulus’ Ding Dong, Merrily On High. You will not want to miss the one and only performance on Sunday, December 4 at 6:00 pm in the Worship Center of Whitesburg Baptist Church. 23rd Annual

Hanging of the Green December 4, 2011

Children's Christmas Program

It seemed to be an unassuming starry night - but that one special starry night changed everything! Join the WBC Children’s Choirs and as they present One Starry Night, a mini-musical based on the shepherds’ journey that first Christmas night. This Christmas celebration is a powerful presentation combining familiar carols, new songs in a variety of musical styles, and scripture-based narrations. Make this special service a part of your Christmas tradition. Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 6:15 pm in the Worship Center.

Winterlude This year our annual Winterlude event will have an all new touch of excellence. With four pianos and other beautiful instruments, it is sure to please all ears. It is a special evening for anyone who appreciates festive holiday music. Quality presentations and standing ovations are common at this event so be sure to invite your family and friends. This is a non-ticketed event. December 18, 2011 at 6:15 pm in the Worship Center. 6 | CARINGPLACE

Bethlehem Breakfast By Dr. Beth Cape

Whitesburg Baptist will host a Bethlehem Breakfast for all preschoolers and their families on Saturday, December 3. Families are invited join us for a full breakfast any time between 8:30 and 10:30 am in the Fellowship Dining Room at the South Campus. While families are dining, the characters from the Bethlehem story will visit the tables. The characters will talk to the children about their part in the Christmas story and will give each child special gifts that represent their part in the story. Each family will also receive a family calendar for 2012. These calendars  feature the artwork of the Director of Preschool Ministries, Dr. Beth Cape, and  include the scripture verses that inspired the artwork. Some pictures feature murals from the newly renovated preschool area. The cost is free and everyone is welcome!

Vesper Service

I cannot remember the exact year when it happened, but I can remember the occasion very clearly. We were coming upon the Christmas season. Our church was in a period of rapid growth. New people were joining every week. It was hard to keep up with all that was happening. As I looked around our Worship Center, I was impressed with the number of young children who were there. At that time, we did not have children’s separate worship services. I had been to a children’s conference in which the guest speaker had said: “If you want to change the world, change a child.” That stuck with me. I began to pray and think about a way we could build positive pleasant Christian memories in the minds of boys and girls. The idea of a brief but meaningful thirty minute Christmas Eve Vesper Service came into my thoughts. I did not know whether or not people would attend. After all Christmas Eve is a busy day and many of our families were young and would be out of town with their parents. Dick Thomassian and I talked it over. He planned Volume 46, Issue 3

By Dr. Jimmy Jackson the music and I decided to keep it simple by just sitting in an old rocking chair and reading the account of Jesus’ birth from the book of Luke. We announced our plan for a Vesper Service. The day arrived. I had a bright red sweater on. At about fifteen minutes before starting time I thought that I had missed the Lord’s leading—only a handful of people were present. But as it is to this day—at five minutes till the hour, people poured in from every door and nearly the whole downstairs was filled. We had a great time of worship followed by warm and happy fellowship. We started on time and ended on time and fun was had by all. Most of all we built some wonderful Christ honoring memories into the minds of impressionable boys and girls. Some of them are bringing their own little ones to the Vesper Service this year. Take a break from the holiday hustle and join us on Saturday, December 24 from 5:00 - 5:30 pm for this very simple and special time of celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.

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Looking for ways to get the family involved in giving to our community this Christmas? Here are some local opportunities. Food Donation to the WBC Food Pantry Families (especial those with young kids) may purchase food items at local markets and bring them to the WBC Food Pantry Monday through Thursday of each week.  Consider making this a regular teaching experience for the kids.  Allow them to pick out food at local markets from the list below and allow them to help bring the food to the our center (rear of building) at 3911 Pulaski Pike.  Phone- 256-704-5678 Ext. 504 Suggested Food Items: Canned meat, veggies, fruit and soup, saltine crackers, small bags of rice, Mac & Cheese mixes.  This is for all ages.   Manna House Food Helpers Manna House distributes food to thousands each week.  They need volunteers to unbox food, rebox food, and prep food bags for distribution.  The times for volunteering are 3:00 to 5:00 pm Monday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week.  No reservations needed to volunteer.   Location- beside the Rock Family Worship at 2300 South Memorial Parkway.  Contact the director Fran Fluhler at for more details.  Suggested ages for participation is kindergarten thru adult. Downtown Rescue Mission Needs • Non-perishable boxed/canned food • Frozen turkeys (any size) • Fresh cakes, desserts and pies • New Bibles (ESV, KJV, NASB, etc.) • New/used blankets • New/used coats, gloves, toboggans and scarves


• New toys for Christmas • New/used men’s and women’s clothing • New/used children’s clothing • New socks & underwear for men, women and children • Men/women toiletries (excluding mouthwash) • Diapers (all sizes), wipes and any baby related items • New/used tractors, lawn mowers and other lawn care machinery • New vacuum cleaners • Cleaning supplies • New light bulbs and flash lights You may also visit volunteer for a full list of volunteer opportunities.

Melvin and Wanda (on the right) on their first date in 1958.

“NGC” Tuna Casserole By Wanda S. Capps I met my husband to be, Melvin Capps, at a vesper service at North Georgia College in Dahlonega, GA in 1958. We attended the little Dahlonega Baptist Church and every other Sunday night, the Baptist Student Union fixed supper at the church. We always had the same menu --- Tuna Casserole with English Peas. During our 51 years of marriage, I have continued to cook our “NGC” Tuna Casserole. Our three children love it, and now they cook it. By the way, I might not have cooked this recipe the last 51 years if Melvin had not read 1 Corinthians 13 - the LOVE Chapter - at that vesper service and then walked me back to the dorm!

Melvin and Wan da Capps on their 50th w edding anniversary, Ju ly 10, 2010.

“NGC” Tuna Casserole Ingredients: 1 12 oz. bag flat noodles 1 large can tuna 1 can cream of mushroom soup 1 can of milk (soup can) 3 cups grated cheddar cheese 3 cups of potato chips (crushed) Method: Cook noodles in boiling water about 10 minutes. Drain if necessary. Mix tuna, soup, milk and 1/2 of the cheese. Mix well and add to the cooked noodles. Pour into a large buttered casserole dish and top with the rest of the cheese. Crush potato chips and put on top of cheese. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Volume 46, Issue 3

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Caring Place 6806 Whitesburg Drive Huntsville, AL 35802

the caring place


Non-Profit Organization US Postage PAID Huntsville, AL Permit 446

LOCATIONS & SUNDAY SERVICES Whitesburg Baptist Church 6806 Whitesburg Drive Huntsville, AL 35802

Worship 9:30 & 11:00 am Bible Study 8:00, 9:30 & 11:00 am


3911 Pulaski Pike Huntsville, AL 35810

Worship 9:30 am Bible Study 11:15 am

Caring Place Magazine December 2011  

A publication of Whitesburg Baptist Church. Feature articles this month: A Whitesburg Christmas, Local Ways to Give, What is a Lottie Moo...