Honoring the Nestorian Christians

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


(My mother with one of her 21 great grandchildren, a few months before she died.)

How do you love your mother? Can you count the ways?

My mother, Clarita Bagao Vergara, was born on September 11, 1922 in Pili, Ajuy, Iloilo, Philippines and died last November 13, 2008 on her birthplace. She was named after a saint. “Clarita” (“little Clara”) refers to St. Claire of Assisi, the female counterpart of St Francis, the patron saint of peace-loving people. Many of you have not seen my mother, but if you have known me, you would have known my mother also. It is because all my good traits, I learned from my mother. The not-so-good ones, I submit, I learned it by myself. How much have I learned from my mother? Let me count the traits:

  1. Filial Piety
The first trait I learned from my mother is filial piety, the traditional Asian respect given to the elderly. The word mother in Philippines is “Nanay,” and my mother had the custom of calling elderly women as “Nanay” and elderly men as “Tatay.” The fifth of the Ten Commandments is “honor thy father and thy mother” and this is the only commandment with a promise---“that you may live long on the earth.”(Exodus 20:12).  My mother was the eldest and only daughter in the family of six children and she also lived the longest because she received the biblical promise. I remember as a child, she was the one who really cared for my grandmother when the latter was very old, blind and had Alzheimer’s. Not only that my mother lived long; she and my father were also blessed with 7 children, 22 grandchildren and 21 great grand children.

  1. Education
The second value I learned from my mother is the importance of education. Education is one of the equalizers in Philippine society and Filipino parents would sacrifice to great length to send their children to school. For our family, that was very hard. We were seven children. My father was a wounded veteran of the Second World War but did not receive any pension. It was because just after the War with Japan in 1940-1944, he was conscripted to proceed to the Korean War but my mother insisted that he did not go. My father resigned from the military and worked as a tailor but his income was not enough to send us all to school. So when I reached High School, I stowed away in a ship bound for Manila, became a street kid and finally worked as a janitor in exchange for school.

What motivated me to risk leaving my village and struggled against all odds to obtain education? This is the story: At age 7, my mother enrolled me to Grade 1 at the barrio elementary school. At that time in 1957, there was a nutrition feeding program for the children of indigent families and I was one of those who belong to the category. So at lunchtime, we would line up with our glass bowl to receive nutritious corn pudding and milk. Unfortunately, when the pudding was placed on my bowl, it was too hot that I dropped it. The bowl fell on the cement floor and broke into pieces. I went home crying because that was our only glass bowl. So my mother made me a bowl made of coconut shell! I went back to school but my classmates made fun of me. In our school, a glass bowl or ceramic bowl was like a badge of social status; a bowl from coconut shell was to be the poorest of the poor.  So from that time, I hated school but my Mom would patiently talk me to it. And when I became stubborn, she would spank and practically push me to school with this---a broom made from coconut sticks! Then she gave me an advice which I will never forget: “My son, you can be more than you can be, if you study and get education. But if you don’t, my broom will haunt you forever!”

Today, I finished High School, obtained a college degree, two masters’ degrees, two doctorate degrees and I have visited the classrooms of some of the best universities in the world---all because of my Mother’s Broom!

  1. Survival and entrepreneurship
 The third value I learned from my Nanay is plain survival. In our barrio, there were only five wealthy families. They were the owners of the farm lands. The rest were farming tenants, fisher folks or poor families. There were only two seasons: planting season and harvest season. The agricultural months of the year were divided into these: June-July-August were planting months; November-December-January were harvesting months; February-March-April were festival months, where the harvested rice are often consumed. Did I miss three months? Yes, they were August-September-October. They were the lean months. Most of the rice in the granaries was running low and we would experience hunger. What did my mother do?

First, to economize, she would cook rice mixed with cassava or sweet potatoes. Second, we would walk miles to go to town and line up for the government’s emergency rice program. At one time, I was almost crushed in a riot of people rushing to obtain what we called the RCA rice. RCA (Rice & Corn Administration) had a smell but it was good rice. Third, she went into cassava cakes business. At night, she would cook cassava cakes; early in the morning, she would go to the fishermen’s wharf and barter the cakes with fish; before noon, we would go up to the farms and barter the fish with rice. So as a child, I would carry for my Mom a large basket of cassava cakes to the beach; two pails of fish to the farms; and a sack of rice back to our barrio. That must be the reason why I did not grow up taller! I carried heavy loads to the sea shore, up the mountain and down the valley. That was the time when child labor was not a crime but simply a family survival tactic.

  1. Unconditional Love
Finally, the fourth value that my mother taught me was love, sacrificial love. I remember a story which my mother told me. It was about a mother and her son. She was a loving mother but he was a stupid son. He fell in love with a woman on the other side of the mountain who told him, “I would accept your offer of love if you can give me the heart of your mother.” Maybe it was just a figure of speech or that the woman was wicked. The boy however thought about it and in a moment of stupidity, took a knife, stabbed his mother and took her heart out. He then ran towards the mountain to offer the heart to his object of affection but he stumbled on the paddies and the heart fell in the mud. He scooped the heart and as he was wiping it, the heart spoke:” Son, are you hurt?”

That story was like a horror movie to me then but when I became a priest, it dawned upon me that it powerfully illustrated God’s love. God also forgave our stupidity in that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Christ’s suffering and death (like that of the mother’s) was substitutionary.  The prophet Isaiah aptly said, “he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, upon him was the chastisements that made us whole and by his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53).

I remember how my mother suffered every time one of us children got sick. Once I was very ill with “El Tor,” a form of dysentery. I lay dying but did not have the strength to take medicine. I would vomit it every time it was spoon fed to me. Then I heard my Mom praying, “God, let the sickness be upon me, for I can’t bear to see my son die.” I was thankful that God, in His wisdom, did not grant her na├»ve substitutionary prayer but it surely motivated me to take the bitter herbal medicine (boiled leaves and bark of star-apple or kaimito tree!) and cooperated with the healing process. I lived to tell the story.

My mother did not leave us with any worldly inheritance; she and my father brought us up in poverty. But she taught us how to live with honor and dignity. She left us with a legacy of values which can not be bought. She taught us faith and hope and showed us the power of sacrificial, unconditional love. Maybe that is why three of us brothers became ministers. Pepito became an elder of Jehovah’s Witness Church; Alberto became a priest of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente and I became an Episcopalian priest.

So today in the presence of you, my dear friends, I honor my mother. I have no doubt that her soul is now with our loving God, in that place where there is no poverty, no pain, no suffering, no mourning, but only life everlasting. She has returned to her eternal home in the heavens, where she ultimately belongs. Together with other loving mothers like yours, she will help prepare a mansion for me and for you, and for all their sons and daughters who live in faith, hope and love. Amen.

(Eulogy delivered by The Rev. Dr. Winfred B. Vergara, at the Memorial Service for Clarita Vergara, held at  St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church, Seaford, New York,  12/7/08)

Sunday, October 16, 2011


(The Ethnic Missioners of the Episcopal Church at the 2009 General Convention in Anaheim, California: L-R:  Anthony Guillen, Hispanic/Latino Missioner; Angela Ifill, Black Missioner; Sarah Eagle Heart, Native American Missioner; Winfred Vergara, Asiamerica Missioner)


The Rev. Dr. Winfred B. Vergara 

 I am going to make a statement: The 21st century is going to be the ‘Asia-America Century.’ It means that Asia will join the United States of America as a partner in the global search for a truly free, humane, just and peaceful world community. The Asia-America century will alter the way we do politics, religion and theology.

The Dawn of Asian Century
My faith statement is not without basis. Thirty years ago, as a Filipino priest serving in the Anglican Church of Singapore, I listened to a lecture from a renown economist, Gunnar Myrdal, author of a celebrated book, The Asian Drama.  When asked why he wrote Asian Drama and not African Drama or European Drama, he replied, “I got impressed with this idea that the destiny of humankind will come to be decided in Asia because it is such a tremendously large part of humanity.”

That Asia and Asians dominate the geographic and demographic milieu is a statement of fact. Asia covers 29.4% of the Earth's land area and has a population of almost 4 billion - accounting for about 56% of the world’s six million population. Together, China's and India's populations are estimated to be around 2.5 billion people. The dominant languages of the world are Mandarin, Hindi, English, Spanish in that hierarchical order.

China and India also complement each other (yin yang) as the via media of Asian pragmatism and wisdom traditions. Chinese pragmatism is exemplified by Deng Xiaoping who opened China to globalization. As China's foremost leader in 1978-1992, Deng instituted "open door" policy and introduced free enterprise into China socialist economy with such words “It doesn’t matter if they are black cats or white cats, so long as they catch mice, they are good cats.” India’s wisdom tradition is exemplified by one of its many sages, Mahatma Gandhi, who saw God in everything. “To a poor and hungry person, God appears in a loaf of bread,” he said.

Today, both China and India are leading the world in reaping the fruits of globalization. China with its manufacturing industry saturates the world’s retail shops with its products. India, with its developed computer industry, has become indispensable. It is a fact that when Silicon Valley in California had its computer glut in Y2K (Year 2000), the savvy American computer engineers turned to their counterparts in Bangalore, the technopolis of India..

Theology and Ministry
It is my belief that whenever something new happens in the external world, what follows is something new in the internal world. Religion often precedes science but sometimes it is the other way around. The spirit often precedes the flesh but sometimes it is the other way around. 

In the Christian world, whenever there is a spiritual awakening, there also follows material prosperity. As a nation seeks the kingdom of God, “all these things are added” (Matthew 6:33). But sometimes the reverse is true. When the world awakens to the truth and expresses it in arts and literature, the church also experiences revival of its own understanding of God. 

One example was the renaissance and the religious reformation in Europe. When Italian arts awakened to the works of Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Donatello, Botticelli and the Medici family, the religious realm of Europe also brought the German Reformation of Martin Luther and the English Reformation of Henry VIII.

It is my belief that the Asia-America Century will bring forth a new revival of humanities and the arts as well as new thinking of theology. It was no wonder that Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California is now focusing on Asia as their priority target for seminarians, theologians and thinkers. In the words of David Bundy, the school’s librarian, “The most important discourses in theology and ministry in America in the 21st century, will be happening not across the Atlantic but across the Pacific.”  I wish to join this call for the American Church to “look east” and engage in partnership in mission, ministry and theology with Asia.

The American Church in the Crossroads
Following the Immigration Reform in 1965, hundred of thousands Asians immigrated to the United States. The rapid Asian influx of new immigrants altered the ethnic demographics of the United States. In 1990, TIME magazine published a special issue with the intriguing title, “What would happen to America when whites are no longer the majority?”

Surely it would alter the way we do things. There are many well-meaning Anglo-European-Americans who are beginning to feel the loss of the American society, they once knew. The Eurocentric American education is beginning to lose its status as the ultimate interpreter of history. The meaning of “American,” which used to mean “white Anglo Saxon Protestant” (WASP) is being challenged by the new citizens who assert themselves “We are Americans!” In the context of a country of immigrants and pilgrims, only the Indians (the First Nations) are considered the Native Americans. For this reason, the Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Koreans, as well as Mexicans, Guatemalans,  Jamaicans, Nigerians, etc. who have become American citizens, equally share the same status with their English, Germans, Italians, and Irish predecessors.

These changing demographics are also altering the American Church. For instance, The Episcopal Church was once considered “lily white.” Now the TEC is peppered with Asian and Latino Episcopalians mingling with their African-American and Native American counterparts in the margins of the Episcopal Church. As they form a “New Community,” they are slowly moving into the mainstream life of the church. It is only a matter of time, when this Anglo-European faith community will become an interracial Church where there would no loner be a single racial or cultural majority.

Certainly this possibility is being viewed differently from within and without. There are those who lament what they see as a “dying church” and there are others who welcome and celebrate, even from afar, a “Nuevo Amanecer,” a new dawn, a new birth of a Pentecost Church, a church that is like a diamond with many facets. I believe with Latino author, Virgilio Elizondo, when he wrote that the American Church of the 21st century will not be black and white but “mestizo.”

The Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry
The Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry, in which I am currently the missioner, began in 1973 as a missionary program of evangelism and service to bring people of Asian and Pacific Island background into the branch of the Body of Christ, the Episcopal Church. In partnership with the dioceses of the Episcopal Church, its two-fold goal was congregational development and advocacy.  

There are 49 independent nations in Asia, but in the United States, we consider at least 20 racial-ethnic groups that are represented in the U. S. Census, namely: Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians, Hmong, Burmese, Asian Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans, Malaysians, Indonesians, Thais, Okinawan, Nepalese and Singaporeans. 

Asians are very diverse in races, languages, cultures, ethnicities and faiths. The core vision of the EAM is therefore to give a harmonious voice to the diverse Asian voices and help enable the Episcopal Church to truly become an intercultural Church, “a diamond with many facets.”

As a pastoral and evangelistic strategy, the EAM has grouped Asiamerica diversity into six ethnic convocations: Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Southeast Asian and South Asian. “Asiamerica” is an Episcopal Church invented word to refer both to the Asian-born American immigrants as well as the America-born-and raised Asians.

Each of the six Ethnic Convocations is led by their respective conveners who also compose the EAM Council. With its elected Executive Committee (president, vice president, secretary and treasurer), the EAM Council will work in partnership with the Office of the Missioner of the Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry. 

The mission statement of the OM-EAM says: “The EAM Office builds a network of relationship with, among and beyond Asiamerica communities and provides resources for evangelism and mission, church growth and revitalization, racial justice and reconciliation.   

The four areas of priorities are:
1. Congregational Life- the EAMO assists dioceses in strengthening existing congregations and starting new ones.

2. Advocacy – through the EAM Council and diocesan EAM commissions, the EAMO advocates for Asian empowerment at all levels of the church life and their involvement in the secular society.

3. Support Group – EAMO provides support groups that will enable Asian Episcopalians to discern their vocations and support deployment of Asian clergy.

4. Training – in partnership with EAM Council and the Diversity, Social and Economic (DSE) unit of the Episcopal Mission department, the EAMO provides training in leadership and develops creative resources for ministry of all the baptized.
EAM Challenges in the 21st Century
Evangelism – In Asia, only two countries (Philippines and Korea) are considered Christians. Philippines is predominantly Roman Catholic (85% Christians) while Korea is rapidly growing evangelical (34% Christians). The vast majority are Buddhist, Hindu, Muslims, Taoist and ancestral worshipers. Christianity, as a whole, is a minority in the vast Asia Pacific basin.

In the United States, approximately 80% of Asian immigrants are not Christians. This represents a challenge and an opportunity in evangelism, Christian formation and congregational development. In an increasingly universalistic world, what should be the shape of EAM evangelism?

Mission – According to U.S. Census, Asian groups in the U.S. are some of the richest (South Asian high tech immigrants) but also some of the poorest (Southeast Asian refugees). Asians as a conglomerate group belongs to both the highest and the lowest socio-economic ladders. Many Asians are also victims of human trafficking, sweat shop slave labor, abuses against domestic helpers and ‘glass ceiling’ discrimination. This represents a challenge in mission for the advocacy of human rights, social justice and immigration reforms.

Theological Education – Asiamerica churches are largely served by immigrant clergy who suffer from marginalization in their dioceses and hand-to-mouth salaries from their ethnic parishes and missions. Serving more than just pastoral and administrative duties, they get “stuck” with neither time nor money for continuing theological education that will help them assimilate to the diocesan cultures.

The reverse is true to the Asiamerica clergy who grow up in the American culture and studied in American seminaries. Even when they were sent by ethnic churches, they often do not return to their home churches because their training in predominantly Anglo-European seminaries do not give them adequate skill and sensitivity to the Asian cultures.

The challenge is therefore to seek an Asiamerica theological education that is relevant, contextual, cross-cultural and intercultural. We seek to develop a theological education that will make Asiamerica clergy versatile in serving the multicultural milieu. On June 2012, we are partnering with Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts for a pilot project on a Doctor of Ministry with concentration on Asia-America Studies.

Asia-America Relations – In the context of a 'glocalized' world (global-local) we seek a closer and deeper relationship and communication with our brothers and sisters in Asia. The Episcopal Church is being served competently by my colleague, Peter Ng, the Partnership Officer for Asia and the Pacific. During the past few years, the TEC have broken new grounds in developing deeper relations not only with the Anglican partners in Asia but also in the Concordat churches, such as the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent Church), the Mar Thoma Church, the Church of South India and the Church of North India.

Recently the EAM Council has elected new officers to help lead the EAM in this new dawn of synergistic leadership. At its meeting in Colorado in October 11-13, 2011, prior to the Everyone Everywhere Conference (October 13-16, 2011), the EAM conveners elected the following as Executive Committee:

President – Rev. Bayani Rico
Vice-President – Mimi Wu
Secretary – Rev. Irene Tanabe
Treasurer – Inez Saley

It is my hope that together with the six EAM Ethnic Conveners, the EAM Executive Committee will lead the Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry community in breaking barriers and building bridges for Asia-America relations towards a reformed and reforming Church in the 21st century. We also hope that the various EAM Commissions working in the context of their dioceses will continue to make inroads in evangelistic, missionary, liturgical and theological enterprises.

(Workshop delivered at Everyone Everywhere Conference, Estes Park Colorado 10.15.2011)

Thursday, October 13, 2011


(Condensed and adapted by Fred Vergara from Strategic Planning for Church Organizations, Judson Press, 1969. This step-by-step process was used by the Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry Council at their national strategic planning last October 12, 2011 in YMCA Estes Park, Colorado.)

Strategic Planning begins with a vision, an imagination of a new future. When God blessed the Church with the Holy Spirit, the apostle Peter expressed this event through a passage from the book of Joel, “In these last days, God says, 'I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy; your young shall see visions, your old  shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2: 17)

God intends the Church to be a visioning community, to move from “what is” to “what can be.” With the Holy Spirit present, the visioning work of strategic planning is an act of faith.

I. PLANNING Process (The GIADSIE Steps)
1. Gather key leaders to form a Strategic Planning Team. Who are the key leaders and who will commit to serve on this team?

2. Identify the shared values that unify and motivate the Team. What can build relationship? What values among team members which seems to conflict? How can these values be reconciled?

3. Analyze the situation: what are the needs and the available resources to meet them. What are the felt-needs; what resources do we have; what are those we have not yet gathered? Given our current resources, how will we meet our needs?

4. Define and write the mission statement. How can we tell the world in a compelling manner about what God calls us to do and to be?

5. Set goals and objectives. What are 3-5 goals must we reach in the next 3 years to be faithful to our mission? What are the short-term objectives we will pursue to reach each of these 3 goals?

6. Implement the plan with persons assigned to tasks. Who will take responsibility for each goal; what resources must we provide?

7. Evaluate the results. Who do we thank for the success and how do we recognize the contribution of those who made this possible? If failure, what caused the goal to fail and what needs to be changed to ensure success next time?

1. Planning Committee – a relatively small committee to do the initial work of refining and clarifying the basic assumptions.  Environmental assumption refers to our analysis of the physical, e.g. “The world in which we live is undergoing rapid changes affecting the way we do ministry.” Theological assumptions are spiritual statement upon which we chose to act, e.g. “The church is called upon to be a sign of the kingdom of God to bring salvation, love, forgiveness and reconciliation.” The crucial factor for the success of the committee is that it be made up of people who are innovative and willing to work in a collaborative way.

2. Policy-Making Body. This is the body that that appoints the PC and regularly reviews its works and acts upon its recommendations. Its function is 3-fold:
(a) Approve assumptions, objectives and strategies;
(b) Allocate the necessary resources to implement these strategies;
© Review and evaluate progress or revision the plan.

3. Maximum Participation. This is both the bane and the blessing of planning. On the one hand, the more people are involved, the more difficult it is to arrive at consensus. On the other hand, wider participation not only means wider commitment to the objectives but also ensures they are realistic and workable.  How this principle works out, depends on each situation. The bigger the goal, the bigger the need for broad participation.

C. PRIORITIZING: A Loose-leaf Notebook
Since the strategic plan is a total list of operation and is continuously under review and revision, it is important that priorities be established to make the work manageable. For example, certain objectives are given higher priority rating at a given moment than others. Those of lower priority or which are future-oriented can be written down and placed in the loose-leaf binder as a constant reminder and then placed forward when the other more important priorities have been achieved.

A timeline in the implementation of priorities may be established.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs: Theologian and Prophet - Fred Vergara

(This is my tribute to one of the prophets of the 21st Century, Steve Jobs)

The globalized world mourns today the passing of Steve Jobs, CEO and co-founder of Apple. He is considered an exceptional high tech guru, entrepreneur, inventor, innovator, visionary and probably the newest richest man in the cemetery.

Aside from being a father to at least four human beings, Jobs is also the father of iPhone, iTunes, iPad, iPod, iMac. While I have only iNap, iSnore and iOwe in my possession, I quite resonate with his life, particularly his disadvantaged family origin; and although he was reportedly a Zen Buddhist, I consider him my new Christian theologian and prophet. I think his one Commencement Speech to Stanford University students in 2005 must have inspired more people (thanks to his high tech, high speed inventions) than any of my 1726 miserable sermons delivered during my 33 years of priesthood.

And so at the risk of making him my idol, I share three points why his life is worthy of emulation:

  1. He learned from adversity
Given for adoption and learning that his adopted parents were not as rich and educated as his biological mother had expected, he made the most of what he had. “At Reed College, I did not have a dorm room so I slept on the floor of friends’ rooms. I returned coke bottle for 5 cents deposits to buy food and would walk seven miles across town on Sundays to get one good meal at a Hare Krishna temple.” He would later drop out of college, to save money for a self-directed learning, including taking a course on calligraphy, which he would later use in his design of Macintosh computer.

  1. He considered love as antidote for failure
A positive thinking pastor, Robert Schuler once said, “success is never-ending and failure is never-final.” Jobs is a prime exemplar of this philosophy. He and Wozniak started Apple on his parents’ garage in Silicon Valley which grew into a 2 billion company with over 4,000 employees. But when it was settling down, they hired a leadership who later disagreed with him and he was fired from the very company he founded. He came back later after proving himself agile in founding NeXT and Pixar, two celebrated successes. On failures, he said, “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love...Don’t settle.”*

  1. He believed death has a renewing purpose
I share with Steve Jobs the trait of being secretive about disease, a thing that most frustrate my own family. As a child, I endured a whole night suffering from food poisoning, because I did not want to wake my mother up. Jobs battle with pancreatic cancer, which ultimately claimed his life at age 56, was kept secret for a long time. St. Francis of Assisi called it “Sister Death” but for Jobs, death is life’s ultimate destiny. In his monologue on death, he said, “Death is the destination we all share…it is the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” *

It would be great to share with Jobs’ audience that his philosophy of life’s journey resembles that of our forefather Abraham who did not settle in villas and palaces but lived in tents because he was looking for a city with a strong foundation, “whose builder and maker is God.”  It will also give them comfort to share that the Christian faith offers a view that death is not the final statement for we, Christians, believe that God will raise us (including Steve Jobs), up on the last day.

*These quotations are taken  from Steve Jobs Commencement address at Stanford University, California, October 10, 2005

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Due to a number of requests, I am presenting here the texts for this affirmation-prayer in motion, which I called A Christian Tai Chi. If you want a physical demonstration, visit this link in You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qf795HXpq9whttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qf795HXpq9w

I am a child of God,
I stand on His Holy Word,
I breathe the Holy Spirit.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I push out negative thoughts; I pull in positive thoughts.
I push out weakness; I pull in energy;
I push out sickness, I pull in good health.
I push out poverty; I pull in prosperity.

I push out hatred; I pull in love.
I push out despair; I pull in hope.
I push out sorrow; I pull in joy.

And now I will share the Good News to my family,
to my friends, to my neighbors, to all people I meet
here and all over the world.  
In Jesus Name, Amen.
(Jesus Christ is my God, my Master and my Friend.)