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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Peggy McCracken

Squarely Pegged

By Peggy McCracken

Contemporary: Occurring
in the same period.

Enticed to attend a “prayer” meeting of women at my church Sunday, I was disappointed to find it was just another missions program, and I know my face showed it. Later, I was told it was not supposed to be the “old WMU,” but a new, improved version that focused on prayer.

New, improved versions of worship in service of all forms are happening all around us. We call them contemporary, because they reflect the period in which we live, instead of staying in the same old rut.

Examples are worship services I attended the past two Sundays. The Assembly of God and Catholic churches have traditionally had little in common. Catholics follow a formal program designed by the Powers that Be somewhere up the line. Pentecostals (Assembly) praise God without restraint, often raising the roof by praying aloud all at once.

Had I not read the signs before I went into the two worship services, I would have had a hard time telling them apart. Both congregations praised God in music, prayer, scripture reading and sermon. Both took up offerings for local expenses and for missions. This Baptist felt right at home.

Contemporary is a good word to describe them both, though hymns and choruses at St. Catherine’s were traditional, sung to guitar accompaniment by Eddie Vasquez to give that contemporary feel.

Ephriam Rodriguez played a keyboard while leading choruses at the Assembly. Hand clapping marked the time as we all joined in, switching between English and Spanish.

Pastor Roy Minjarez preached directly to me about serving God, a message I needed. I happened along on “potluck” day, and we gathered in fellowhip hall afterward for menudo, potato salad, beans and good conversation. I recognized one of our God’s Army (He-Brews) musicians, Isaiah Machuca, who was first in line.

Mickey and Mary Jane Marquez sat across from me. I recognized their faces as someone I should know, and learned that he is the son of the Alex Marquez who sold me many pairs of shoes at Anthony’s long years ago. She is a Mora, related to Alice Nichols, an ex-Enterprise employee.

Ermelinda Carrasco asked about God’s Army, which her two girls had attended last year near Bessie Haynes Elementary, earning part of their uniform by memorizing verses. I gave them our new meeting time and place, which is after school each Tuesday at 1320 Veterans.

I told Ephriam Rodriguez, a sheriff’s deputy who plays numerous musical instruments, about our little band. He has two sons in high school who play instruments, as well.

After that inspiring service, I felt good all week, and was fired up to attend St. Catherine’s, though a little apprehensive about the formality. It wasn’t as formal as I remembered, and I noticed that women have stopped wearing a hat or scarf on their heads. Now that is contemporary.

“But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is Enterprise business manager. Contact her at

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