Bob the Baptizer
The Baptism of Ethan William Ruff
"My Junior Highs," who once upon a time kept me busy, worried, and sometimes even delighted with their hijinx and devotion to Happy Meals, continue to interrupt (blessedly, yes, blessedly) my retirement reveries. Three times this spring, with a fourth coming up in July. If ever there were an argument for long pastorates, these celebrations would be one of them, attesting as they do to the strong connections forged through confirmation lessons and the unstructured lessons from just living and playing together. On the Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend, May 29th, at Grace United Methodist Church, Valley Stream, where I had earlier sprinkled water on infant heads for twenty-nine years, I was privileged to anoint Ethan William Ruff. The Junior High who made it necessary (!) was my doctor, Julia Yvonne Oweis, who, memorably, one weekend on a "retreat" to Camp Quinipet when we determined we would eat nothing but healthy food, pulled open the refrigerator door Saturday evening in search of a snack and exclaimed, "Don't we have anything bad to eat?" A woman after my own heart... and stomach! Julie, as the family and we called her, completed her medical studies at Albany State University and began general practice from the office her late father, Elias Oweis, had occupied so compassionately before his untimely death.
Julie was married to Todd Ruff July 4, 2006 at Oheka Castle in Huntington:Oweis-Ruff Wedding. After a sojourn in New Jersey, they moved to Long Island and reside in Oyster Bay. Julie continues to conduct her medical practice in Valley Stream, overwhelmed by patients, including many seniors, who see her as someone akin to a miracle-worker.
Ethan William Ruff was born July 14, 2009 at North Shore University Hospital. Here are photos from the baptism.
An elegant and sumptuous reception in celebration of Ethan's baptism followed at Rare 650 in Syosset.
A Prayer for Ethan
God and loving parent of all of us, great and small, in whose presence angels keep watch over the children below, we offer this prayer for Ethan William, and pledge ourselves to be the earthly agents of his guardian angel, to protect and defend Ethan, of course, but no less to help and encourage him to make his way in life in useful, faithful, and hopeful ways, beginning today and never ending as long as we have life and breath; and until we, should it be, join those angels before your heavenly throne; in the name of the one who makes it a possible, our Lord Jesus Christ, whose name rests upon and blesses Ethan. Amen.