Was the Mount Clare UM Church the site of a Heavenly
I received a most interesting fax from Kathy Curry
of 401 Washington Ave. in Clarksburg. We spoke for a short while about
angels and miracles and such the things that happen to some people when
theyre able to believe without first seeing.
Kathy wrote, in her own words:
Thursday and Friday, March 4 and 5, was a World
Day of Prayer (experience) where people all across the nation, across the
world and across all time lines joined together for 24 hours to pray. The
tendency is to kind of shrug a World Prayer circle off with a what-can-that-do?
attitude, but our tiny country church (Mount Clare United Methodist Church)
committed to join with other millions of souls to pray fervently, and without
ceasing for the whole time period. Our sanctuary was opened up, day and
night. Parishioners committed to a certain time slot on a list; they came
and went, while the rest of the church joined them at home.
The prayers prayed for, and expected God to hear; even though in the
worldly sense, we are an unimportant, extremely common congregation ...
and He did hear us! (And He gave us miracles to tell and to reassure
others that He is listening, and cares what happens to each of us.)
The vigil began late Thursday, at midnight. Pastor
(Rod) Heckert and his wife, Marie, took the first time slot to pray together
at the prayer rail, in the candle-lit sanctuary. The church building was
silent. They were totally alone, with no distractions.
Toward the end of their allotted time, the front door opened, someone
came inside, and the door closed. Thinking it was the next couple signed
up to pray (Steve and Becky Rogers), the Heckerts kept on praying hard.
They both heard the old floorboards creak and the quiet footfalls. They
both heard soft voices, as the new prayers paused to look at the many names
on the list at the side of the altar. Before the pastor and his wife stopped,
they both caught a glimpse of the forms standing near them. Then they heard
the ancient pews creak as the visitors sat down behind them.
After they closed their time of petitioning God,
the Heckerts stood up and looked around to greet the Rogers ... but no
one was in the church.
It should be pointed ut that its an absolute certainty
that anyone leaving would have been heard. (The door creaks.) And, it should
be told that anyone walking away would also have made the floorboards squeak,
not to mention (the fact that) the sanctuary holds nothing but pews, so
there was no place to hide. Pastor Rod and Marie Heckert were halfway home
before each asked the other, Did you see them? Did you hear them speaking?
They were awed and amazed to think it: could the church have had visitation
from the messengers from God angels?
So (of course), over the next week they asked everyone
to make sure he had not actually witnessed pop-in pray-ers of the human
sort. Not a soul had been there, they were assured. Then, this past week,
they got the rest of the story from Becky and Steve Rogers. (They were,
you will recall, the couple who had signed on to pray after the Heckerts
and whom the Heckerts thought were in the sanctuary with them that first
It seems that when midnight came that Thursday,
both Steve and Becky were under the weather. Steve had a virus and Becky
was not sick, but really exhausted. Neither felt they could physically
make it out to the church to pray that night, so Becky asked God to send
His angels to keep their commitment for them and to pray in their place.
And this isnt the end of the story. Since the
24-hour prayer vigil, we have had reports of at least two physical healings
of people brought before Gods throne on that Thursday and Friday. At this
point, there may be more than that. Well probably know more later on.
Also, it should be pointed out that everyone involved in this story is
normal just like you.
I, too, have something to add to this story. While
praying at the close of the 24 hours on Friday night, I witnessed something
strange. At the prayer rail, there was for an instant only the overpowering
sweet smell of roses. It surprised me so that I immediately got up to check
the candles burning nearby; but no, the wonderful scent was not theirs.
It came from nowhere, and disappeared as quickly as it came. I had never
heard of such a thing, but a friend who goes to All Saints Catholic Church
says their Christian literature is full of these events; and that these
kinds of things happen when a heavenly visitation occurs.
Mrs. Curry concluded, We hear all of the time of
Heaven-sent things happening in Texas or Florida or in other countries.
But its wonderful that these things are also happening right here in Harrison
County to an extremely humble little Methodist church.
Lawmakers find that haste makes waste
It has become something of an annual tradition. The
Legislature meets, the Legislature passes bills, the Legislature asks the
governor to veto some of those bills because they have technical flaws.
As long as you have people involved in the process,
you will have human error, said Senate Judiciary Chairman Bill Wooten.
The Legislature is composed of human beings.
Dont we know it.
Every year, lawmakers put off until virtually the
last minute consideration of important legislation. This year was no different.
Almost 100 bills passed the Legislature on the final day of the session.
Six of them were so fatally flawed that they had to be vetoed and addressed
again in special session.
Six bills out of the 305 that passed during the
session may seem like an acceptable margin of error. Maybe it is. But the
bills that were flawed were important bills, including those dealing with
child support, custody laws and the open meetings law.
Now, lawmakers will have to fix their mistakes in an expensive special
There is no excuse for it, really. Legislators simply
put off work on certain bills until the last minute instead of dealing
with them earlier in the 60-day session. Try as they might to improve the
system, there is still a stampede at 11:59 p.m.
Old habits die hard.
Open meetings bill isnt perfect but its a step forward
It took four tries but the West Virginia Legislature
finally voted for a bill aimed at improving the states open meetings law.
Legislators are to be congratulated. Unfortunately, due to a technicality,
it will all have to be done over again.
In the rush of the final hours of the session, the Legislature voted
on the wrong draft of the bill.
Leading lawmakers are asking Gov. Cecil Underwood
to veto the measure so that the problem can be corrected, the bill re-voted
and resent to the governor. It seems the correct version of the Senate
and House compromise on the new open meetings law was put in the legislative
computer system. However, a staff person grabbed a paper copy of an older
draft and gave it to clerks.
This is just one more bump in a 10-year long trip
by proponents of more open government. Media organizations in the state
have worked to get improvement in the law during that period but various
factions in the past had out-lobbied the press. Publishers and editors
from newspapers around the state spent many hours this year educating legislators
about how the current law was being used to deprive the public of information
about its schools, cities and counties.
It must be noted that the Legislature didnt vote
for a perfect open meetings law. But the new law has provisions which closed
loopholes for secret closed-door meetings and tightened key language defining
public meetings. It is without a doubt an improvement from the previous
law that let school boards and other public bodies charge all too easily
behind closed doors when a sticky issue reared its head.
Del. Jon Amores, D-Kanawha, has long been a supporter
of open government and once again this year helped push this bill through
the House. It should be noted that House Minority Leader Charles Trump,
R-Berkeley, and Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, were important players in
getting this bill through the House and Senate, respectively.
Similar but more comprehensive bills had passed
the House of Delegates the three previous sessions only to fail to get
out of committee in the Senate. So the effort to reconstruct the law was
scaled back to a version that was an improvement but also had a chance
to get Senate approval.
While it was clearly not the law that most media
people might have written themselves which undoubtedly would have called
for open government at all times it was seen as a move forward.
That is the reality of how government sometimes
works. You can aim high and fail repeatedly (which proponents of more open
government had done for a number of years) or you can lower the sights
a bit and at least hit some part of the target.
We hope the Legislature moves quickly to fix its error. And we hope
Gov. Underwood finally gets a chance to sign the bill into law.
Telegram editorial board member
Finding talent in unexpected places
Picture yourself standing in front of a large group
of people. Not a couple of dozen but three or four hundred or maybe a thousand
people. Imagine you are the total focus of all of their eyes and that they
hang on every word that you utter.
Now throw in the fact that you must sing and dance
for these people. And you must wear funny clothes that you would never
pick out for yourself. And there are these bright lights shining in your
eyes. And, oh, yes, you are on a stage.
Does the thought make you a nervous wreck? The people
who can gather up the courage to do this should be admired. Those who do
it well can connect with an audience and take them almost anywhere to
places in the heart and soul that many of us rarely go.
I was reminded of this at a most surprising place
this week. The Friday night performance of Peter Pan at Bridgeport High
School was supposed to be a treat for my 2-year-old. And she was enthralled.
But so was I.
Congratulations to Gregg Brown, the director, Mary
Frances Smith, the vocal director, and Annabel Timms and Cindy Pulice,
choreographers. You took a talented group of young people to very near
a professional-level performance. Christina Grisso was a joy as Peter Pan.
Kyle Sheldon as Captain Hook was exceptional.
It bordered on magical because it was unexpected
at a high school production. Admittedly, I don't have a lot to compare
it to because this is the one and only high school production I've seen
since I graduated from high school 30 years ago.
I expected halting and fearful performances. Instead, the entire cast
was obviously having fun.
They seemed to be winking an eye at the audience
in a way that said, if you think you are having fun you should be up here
on the stage.
Maybe we shouldn't have been surprised. By now my
wife and I should have learned that some of the best theater experiences
come in surprising places. Often when we travel for business or pleasure
we make a point to seek out theater in other cities.
We've taken in big-time theater in Chicago and New
York. Great stuff obviously. But some of the most special performances
have been in less expected venues.
Once while in St. Petersburg, Fla., we saw a tiny
newspaper ad for a dinner theater production of the musical Annie Get
Your Gun. We were set for disappointment after a cardboard roast beef
dinner in a tiny run-down facility that obviously operated on a shoestring
budget. But we forgot all that once the lights went down and the actors
grabbed our senses and whisked us away. It was absolutely memorable.
In Atlanta we saw another tiny ad (yes, small newspaper
ads do work) for dinner theater. We had never heard of the play but it
had a couple of nice quotes in the ad from the local papers reviewer so
we gave it a shot.
It turns out to be a small theater company that writes three or four
original productions annually with only two or three actors who play numerous
roles in each production. Each audience member is given a portion of the
script and a role when they are seated. If you don't get a speaking role
you are placed in a chorus whose members are asked to write the lyrics
to a song during dinner that they will sing in the show later.
You don't think that creates a little bit of an
unsettled feeling just before dinner? But it is great fun. The scripts
are full of belly laughs and the professional actors are first rate. We've
gone back virtually every time we've visited Atlanta. Wouldn't it be great
if there were more good live theater performances in West Virginia?
One solution for theater-hungry West Virginians
is provided by the Charleston Daily Mail. For years it has promoted the
Daily Mail Show Plane. The newspaper joins with a Charleston travel agency
to arrange great seats for four nights of theater productions in New York
in April or London in November. The publisher, editor or a well-known staff
writer joins up to 50 to 100 people who buy a package for air travel, hotel
We only took advantage of this perk once during
my five years as publisher of the Daily Mail. I truly regret a dedication
to work over play. But I've been thinking about making it up to myself.
How does The Exponent and Telegram Show Plane
Terry Horne is the publisher of The Exponent and Telegram. His
column appears weekly in the Sunday Exponent-Telegram.