Bob the Baptizer
Bob the Baptizer
My Junior Highs continue to devise new ways to keep the old pastor from going entirely to seed. This summer was twice blessed with baptisms for Moms who once upon a time toured much of the modern world in the company of - not an intrepid explorer - a shepherd with a fondness for Big Mac's with which to sign off a long afternoon of metropolitan travel.
On Sunday, July 26th, Barbara and I left our West Hartford home at 6:30 AM and drove around the west end of Long Island Sound, the better to arrive at the Babylon United Methodist Church in time for a 10 AM service at which Frank George, infant son of Allison (nee Starr) and Joseph Esposito, was baptized. The church's pastor, Ray Lange, graciously welcomed Allison's former pastor as a participant in Frankie's baptism... for the second time: Frankie's brother Donny was baptized in Babylon a couple of years earlier, an occasion celebrated in another corner of this website. Grandma Mary Starr was up from North Carolina for the occasion; but the baby's namesake, Uncle George Read, was unable to make the trip. Godmother Tracy Starr continues to work at Disney World. Godfather, Jack Fendler, Dad Joe's best friend, worked with Joe as a trucker for DHL before being laid off with the downturn in the economy.
Present at the worship service and baptism was another former Junior High, Donna Gallagher, working now as a carpenter in Suffolk.
The family, friends, and pastor gathered following the baptism at the Hilton Hotel on Rte 110 in Melville for brunch. Mom Allison is a sometime worker at the hotel, but is presently employed by the Atria Senior Residence in Lynbrook.
A Prayer for Donny and Frankie
God of our days, all of them, from beginning to ending, here now at a new beginning for Donny and Frankie, we seek your guiding and protecting hand, leading them into pleasant pastures, surrounding them with loving people, matching each risk they venture with an even greater reward; that they may come to see in the middle of life, no less than at the end of it, that this mortal life is truly a gift from you, filled with blessings of beauty and joy for those who do their best to keep your commandments when it pleases them and when it doesn’t. Count on us, mother and father, grandparent, aunt, and uncle, friend and neighbor, to do our part in arranging the circumstances of their lives to their advantage. Count on us, gracious Lord, to do the surrounding of them with love. Count on us too to cheer them on when they strike out on their own to make the most of their time. And count on us to be there when needed, always, ever. For we ask these things in the name of him who loves the little children, and loves them no less when they are no longer little, the Lord Jesus Christ, with us to help us and show us the way. Amen.
On Sunday, September 27th, Barbara and I again headed south for a two hour journey to Long Island, this time to a very familiar venue, where for twenty-nine years I preached, prayed, married, baptized, and buried the members and friends of Grace Church, Valley Stream. The occasion for the travel was the 10 AM service at which Emily Marina, infant daughter of Linda (nee Zipperlen) and Sal Artusa, was baptized... and the old pastor was invited to do the sprinkling. Pastor John Cole welcomed me to participate in the rite. The godparents were: Mom's cousin, Lynn Caruso; Mom's twin brother, Carl Zipperlen; and Sal's brother, Frank Artusa. Grandparents too were in attendance: Charlie and Edie Zipperlen, and Rocco and Francesca Artusa. Chuck Zipperlen, Linda and Carl's brother, returned from Pennsylvania to his childhood hometown for the occasion.
Linda is a recovery room nurse at South Nassau Communities Hospital, where brother Carl is a clinical pharmacist. Sal has a landscaping business. Seeking his intelligence in such matters, I learned that the aroma from the gathered leaves of locust trees is positively intoxicating. We have a large locust, plenty of leaves; and I look forward to being intoxicated.
The family, friends (including Pat and Walter McKnight), and pastor (eventually, after losing his way) celebrated the baptism with a feast and dance at The Inn at New Hyde Park.
A Prayer for Emily
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who keeps in your heart a special place for the little ones, whose lives are bright possibilities for the love and joy for which you have made us and all things, we focus in this moment on one of those little ones, our Emily, praying for her at her beginning an abundance of life. Surround her, we pray, with your loving embrace; and let us be the arms that do the loving and caring. Open to her a future of accomplishments and satisfactions; and let us be the ones who open the doors and offer the encouragements. Provide her with safe passage through the many trials and tests she will meet along her way; and let us be the ones who guide her and hold her to her best. Fill her cup of blessings to overflowing; and let us be the ones who do the pouring of the kindness. Starting today with this gathering of friends and family, honoring Emily, celebrating her, tasting with her the sweetness of life. Be among us, heighten our joy with your presence, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
With another recent posting in mind, I declare: Praise the Lord for Junior Highs!