From Jemez Valley Messenger (newsletter of the Jemez Springs Presbyterian Church), January 01, 2004
It Was a Year Not To Be Forgotten
“Vacation Bible School a Beehive of Activity”…”Bible Studies Are Drawing Crowds”…”Church To Kick Off Annual Super Bowl Celebration.”
Those were some of the headlines in the Messenger covering the year that was.
For members and friends of Jemez Springs Community Presbyterian Church the year 2003 was an eclectic one – spiritually, socially, musically, and by just about any other measure.
We auctioned and prayed and sang and picnicked and spiffed up the physical church more robustly than ever before.
Under our three-quarter time, but seemingly at times full time pastor, we went from a Bible Study utilizing the Beverly Hillbillies to an experimental Taizé I enter
cooks may want to remember, sent more kids to camp than ever before, packed a record number of Christmas boxed and took part in a number of innovative worship services.
Following are a few highlights – necessarily brief and not without omission – of the year 2003 at Jemez Presbyterian:
January/February: Rosemary Cart, Barb and Dennis Smith became members of Jemez Springs Community Presbyterian Church. The first annual Super Bowl party took place.
March/April: Taizé, a form of meditative worship, was offered once a week during Lent. A Navajo Taco dinner benefited the summer camp fund. New windows and screens and a new furnace were installed downstairs.
Wanda Higgins led a Grief Workshop at Hummingbird Music Camp. Long-time member and friend Mary Kelley died in Texas, and Luigi Leggiero, owner and chef for Consetta’s died March 15.
May/June: Emmett and Jeannette Shelton sent packages to our soldiers in Iraq. Kari Dole, Shannon Kilburg and Jesika Beasley were confirmed on Palm Sunday. The cemetery got a spring cleaning on Memorial Day weekend. Youth from Covenant Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque led our Vacation Bible School. Nearly three dozen children took part. The Young at Heart Choir gave a concert during a June Sunday morning worship.
July/August: The church’s annual outdoor picnic was enjoyed at Hummingbird in July, and the music was led by Bob and Lydia Hoppman. Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic church received the icon of the Black Madonna given to our church by then Vice Consul of Beijing from Germany, Brunhilde Kommander, during the annual Corpus Christi celebration and procession. The youth led a rousing worship service on August 24th during which they taught the congregation some of the songs they learned at camp. This event is organized by Mother John Paul from Handmaids of the Precious Blood, Cor Jesu Monastery.
The Smiths invited everyone to a potluck luncheon at their home, in part to say farewell and thank you to choir director Javier Mendoza, and also to nursery caregiver Lauren Caffrey. Our young people attended various summer camps. An enormous rainbow, created by Pat Bjerke, was carried by church members in the traditional July 4th parade.
September/October: A successful auction raised $1,700 for the Deacons’ fund. A new and expanded kids’ library was donated by Barb Smith’s sister, Liz Quakenbush. October was the first anniversary of Pastor David Whiteley’s ministry here. Anthony Strain installed new toilets in the downstairs bathrooms. Ed and Julia Blewer became associate member.
November: The hugely successful Christmas Cookie Caper was launched by Laurie Lauer and Barb Smith. A new stove top and double oven were purchased and installed in the kitchen by Dale Bjerke, Anthony Strain and Jack Taylor. A piano was donated to the church by Sherry and Horris Crane. Mary Joyce Pate moved to assisted living in Albuquerque. The Santa Fe Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry came for their tri-annual visit. Shoe boxes were presented to the Samaritan’s Purse project, organized each year by Rosemary Cart. Church member volunteered to help out at the public school book fair. A web page was installed as part of the Jemez Springs Village web site, designed by Jadie Curran, assisted by Juan Reyes in the Village office. Ten of our women attended the Women of Virtue annual conference in Albuquerque. An ecumenical Thanksgiving service was held this year at our church, with the Rev. Fr. Gregory McCormick preaching.
December: $780 was raised by the Christmas Cookie Caper. The two adult Bible studies (on Sundays and Thursdays) were reportedly growing in leaps and bounds. Christmas and Thanksgiving boxes had been distributed by Chuck Francis, together with Nahum Hillhouse in November, and with Len Hilgartner in December. They were packed by the Prayer Warriors. The Jemez Helping Hands Angel Tree project was contributed to be many members of Jemez Springs Community Presbyterian church. Clay creations were placed on the Communion Table by the congregation on Stewardship Sunday, representing who or what they felt called to be or do in ministry in addition to giving of their money. There were 109 in attendance at the Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve.
From The Jemez Valley Messenger (newsleter of the Jemez Springs Presbyterian Church), January/February 2001
We’re Striding Into 2002
“God bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her through the night with a light from above. From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam, God bless America, my home sweet home.” – God Bless America by Irving Berlin, 1938
The 9/11 events in 2001 changed us in many ways. Hundreds and hundreds of citizens lost innocent loved ones in one vicious, late summer, unprovoked attack. Hundreds and hundreds of others grappled with fear, anger, hatred, sorrow, and anguish. Hundreds and hundreds more sought solace in prayer, in going to church, in looking afresh at what is America. Most of us learned more about the Muslim religion and Middle Eastern countries than we had ever known before. Heroism was visible in extraordinary acts of bravery and kindness by hundreds and hundreds of ordinary human beings.
With mixed emotions, Americans sought to show the world we are strong, we are brave, we are undaunted in the only way we knew how: by displaying flags in every conceivable manner – on cars, trucks, doorways, shirts and hats – in store windows, on rooftops, on road signs and in enormous backdrops in churches.
Now that we know our land is no less vulnerable to attack than any other land, and our nation’s prosperity, democracy and free speech are sometimes looked upon by others with envy, greed and hate, it is important not to let ourselves become small-minded, inward and fearful, but to show the world in even greater displays of generosity and love that America cares, has always cared, and with God’s help, will always care about those less fortunate.
It is incumbent upon us to seek peace and goodwill with our presumed enemies, but it is even more important that we acknowledge ours to be a God of love, not the vengeful Muslim Allah, and to remember that Jesus is not just a prophet, but that Jesus is Lord!
There is a special call to Christians in 2 Chronicles 7: 14 that reminds all those “who are called by My Name” to humble themselves. “pray and seek My Face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
This makes a very good New Year’s resolution for us to take into 2002.
The first half of the year 2001 was uneventful by national or international standards, but had its inevitable small ups and downs for our church here in Jemez Springs.
Christmas 2000 had come and gone, with our choir performing Benjamin Harlan’s Christmas Canticles, led for the last holiday season by Patty Mahoney. Our children had displayed their uniqueness and charm in their annual pageant Jesus Is The Reason For The Season, for which a signed language interpretation was provided by Mary Schultz of the UNM Linguistics Department.
In February a special offering was taken for the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Cuba, totaling $605.
During Love Your Church Month many members armed with paint brushes and elbow grease dramatically improved the appearance of building and grounds.
The Dole family planned a motorcycle and music event in the village to benefit Helping Hands, and Mike asked for congregational support for the annual Run for the Son mission.
Holy Week and Easter services included a Ceremony of Ashes, and a Maundy Thursday service with Washing of Hands, Holy Communion, and stripping the church for Good Friday. Soon after Easter, though, the Rev. Kelley Shin discovered that husband Kent was being assigned new duties with the U.S. Air Force in Las Vegas, Nev., and that after only about 16 months with us as Stated Supply Pastor, she was to leave us in early summer.
About a dozen Presbyterians attended the dedication in Cañon of the new Jemez Valley Baptist church.
A framed photograph of our miraculous ‘dove’ was presented to the church by Charlie and Barbara Allen.
A Service of Healing was held on March 18th, led by Pastor Kelley with assistance from several Elders.
In a giant step of faith, as Jemez Springs Community Presbyterian church said goodbye to the Rev. Kelley Shin and her family, and also to choir director Patty Mahoney, with a special service followed by a reception, it started a serious search for a three-quarter time pastor to live and work in the Valley. This historic step meant that Jemez Springs was calling a pastor to ministry here for the first time in its 120 years. Previously, our church has always been filled with part-time temporary pastors, who lived elsewhere and came to lead worship and work here for only two, or sometimes three days a week.
Melissa and Casey Jaramillo received a house blessing from the Rev. Kelley Shin before she left, although their house in Ponderosa was not yet finished.
Jadie Curran provided members and friends with a special supplement describing euthanasia, assisted suicide, aid-in-dying, abortion and infanticide, living wills, and palliative and hospice care.
Missionary the Rev. Mike Wicker and his son, Michael, climbed the snow capped 19, 650 ft. Mt. Kilimanjaro in Kenya. The Wickers are missionaries in Zimbabwe.
The TLC singers presented a “farewell for the summer” concert in church on May 20, led by Beverly Musgrove and assisted by Wendy Strain.
New Bibles to match the hymnals were purchased, and Phylis Lewis made labels dedicating individual books in memory or honor of loved ones.
The Board of Deacons hosted a steak and chicken dinner on May 12 to benefit their fund.
Eight new members were received on My 13, including Martin Dole and Savannah Gilbert who were confirmed into the faith. The new members include John Charos, Casey Jaramillo, Rhoda Spidell, Misty Stacy, Bonne and Jack Taylor. Also, Shayline Michelle and Heather Abigail, , daughters of Misty and Chad Stacy, were baptized.
The spring cleaning of the cemetery took place on June 9th, with loyal and hard-working volunteers providing a spruced-up improved look to the place. Work
on installing the new gate was begun, with Charlie Allen, Dale Bjerke, Jadie Curran, Emmett Cart, Jack Taylor and Jim Weed installing eight 9-foot railroad tie posts. Emmett Cart made the gate, which is to be put in place shortly.
On Corpus Christi Sunday in June, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception church processed through the village, and included a stop for prayer at the Presbyterian church’s parking lot, where they were welcomed by members of our church. The Handmaidens of the Precious Blood mother superior led the procession.
Katherine Leslie Lewis (Katie) became the bride of Richard Riley on June 16, with the Rev. Bill Sawyier of Cuba officiating. Kate is the daughter of Doug and Phylis Lewis, and of the late Dale Elizabeth Lewis in spirit.
Our church float took 2nd place in the July 4th parade through the village. A replica of the church was built by Charlie Allen, Dale Bjerke, Jadie Curran, Dick Ford and Dick Lake to celebrate its 120th birthday. Pat Bjerke, Ann Lake and Bonne Taylor created stained glass windows and other decorations for the award-winning building. Dick Ford rang the real church bell as the float passed in review in the village center.
Vacation Bible School was scheduled to start on July 23rd, with Barbara Allen, Barb Smith and Anthony Strain, heading up the crew of workers and Sunday School teachers who volunteered their time to make the week a success. All The King’s Men was the theme.
The circle was completed in December, 2001, by another splendid pageant, this time directed by Melissa and Casey Jaramillo, for which the children and teens led the entire morning service on December 9th. The following Sunday our choir presented Rejoice In the Season, their always popular annual musical service which attracts many visitors from the community.
Prayer Warriors packed Thanksgiving and Christmas boxes with food and toiletries at the appropriate times, to a total of somewhere around 75 assortments, distributed within the village and environs, and to the Pueblos of Zia and Jemez. The food pantry is a project of the Board of Deacons, and is headed up by Mona Francis. Once again members filled shoe boxes with small toys and essentials for the Franklin Graham Samaritan’s Purse project. Rosemary Cart took the filled boxes into Albuquerque on behalf of the church. Helping Hands’ Angels were also picked up by our members, and the unwrapped donations of toys and other needs taken to the Community Center in Cañon for gift wrapping and distribution.
During the course of the year 2001, Barb and Dennis Smith sold their house in Minnesota in five minutes, and plan to move here permanently this summer; Emmett and Rosemary Cart, and Emmett and Jeannette Shelton, celebrated fiftieth wedding anniversaries; several members welcomed new grandchildren, including Barbara and Charlie Allen – Maggie in March, and then Alexandria Rhea in August; Pat and Dale Bjerke – Olivia Belle; Sherry and Horris Crane and great-grandmother Mary Joyce – Hailey Erin; Donna Lea and Ted Greer – Zapata Diego; Ann and Dick Lake – Megan Lynn; Bill and Joyce Olsen – Annika Emily, and Bonne and Jack Taylor – Isaac James.
Some of our members sadly lost loved ones in 2001. Among them Mona Francis’s father, Bernard Rust, died in January. The Lewis family lost Arthur Lee
Lewis in March, and Eppie Bolle’s 95-year-old mom, Dorothy Isabelle Rude, died on March 30th. Judy Kilburg’s father, Henry Roybal, passed away in April. John Adams passed on in August, and he and his wife, Lucille, had previously lost their daughter to complications from diabetes. Brownie Duemler died suddenly in October. Rick Crabb’s sister went to be with the Lord, the Carts grieved for a family member, as did the Fords, when DH’s sister died very unexpectedly, and Rick Lauer’s brother, Al, lost his battle with leukemia in December.
From The Jemez Valley Messenger (Presbyterian Church newsletter), September/October 2000
Some 35 youngsters attended our Vacation Bible School in July, and they evidently had a great time, as they were all eager to be there each day according to reports. Theme for this year’s school was 2000 Ark Avenue – God’s Great Get Together – and there are rumors abroad that Charlie Allen was terrific donkey during one morning’s opening storytime session. But we’ll leave that alone we think!
Teachers and their assistants included, left to right, Pastor Kelley Shin (holding Rosemary), Rosemary Cart, Bonne Taylor, Barb Smith, Ann Lake, Thelma O’Neal, Melissa Jaramillo, Barbara Allen; front, Martin Dole and Pat Bjerke, and, not shown, Gaye Fahringer, Sunday School director, and Sally Chapman, music.
From The Jemez Valley Messenger (newsletter of the Jemez Springs Presbyterian Church), July/August 2000
T’was A Glorious Float For The Fourth
Proud church members should be forgiven for popping a few buttons from their red, white and blue holiday duds over the float that was created fro the Jemez Springs annual Fourth of July Parade.
With a bolt of material resembling rippling water – donated by Rosemary Cart; a boat lent to us by Charlie Allen, a flatbed from Robert Cart, and a shiny red pickup truck driven by Jack Taylor, accompanied by his wife, Bonnie – we were off and running (slowly) through town to witness the words of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 4, Verse 19: I will make you fishers of men.
Professional-looking signs were hand lettered for the port and starboard sides of the boat by Dick and Ann Lake. Beautiful banners (purchased in town by Elise Weed) adorned front and back of the float proclaiming, in front, who we were, and, in the rear, advertising our upcoming Vacation Bible School. Lifelike fishes hung everywhere, including Charlie Allen’s singing fish and Rosemary Cart’s (with a little assist from Heather Curran) imaginative cardboard varieties in all colors.
Little fisher people inside the boat included Martin Dole and Mahan Deeds, Shannon Kilburg and Heather Powdrill, and Emily and Iain Jaramillo. Adult fishers were Charlie Allen, Rosemary Cart, Gaye Fahringer and Thelma O’Neal. Also Melissa Jaramillo, Dick Lake and Barbara Curran.
Workers who toiled ardently to bring this float to fruition included Charlie and Barbara Allen, Jadie and Barbara Curran, Gaye and Carl Fahringer, Mona Francis, Dick and Ann Lake, Rhoda Spidell, Jack and Bonnie Taylor, and Otis and Bonnie Tyler.
Mary Joyce Pate kindly lent space in her Luciano Lane front yard (and tools and tarps). Sherry Crane valiantly drove through floods to Los Alamos for her flatbed, only to discover it was too small for the boat. Jim and Elise Weed lent encouragement and did errands in between helping the Petersons organize their estate sale.
A terrific cheering squad of members and friends arranged themselves on the wall at the church to cheer our float as it passed by. Praise goes most of all to God for the witness we were able to provide to bystanders, some of whom perhaps may become the next Christian “fishes”, as a result of this awesome effort on the part of many.
From The Jemez Valley Messenger (newsletter of the Jemez Springs Presbyterian Church), January/February 2000/Vol.5 No.1
“All the Good News that fits”
What We Did At The End Of The Century
It was inevitable – on the eve of the fifth year of publishing the Messenger, and a new millennium – that your editors would try to emulate every other publication in Christendom in this first edition of the new year, and publish a year-end wrap-up of church highlights of sorts. It was just too tempting. But along with temptations come pitfalls, and in our case, the likelihood of overlooking some major event of the church year. So we apologize in advance for all the omissions we’re sure to commit. And to soften the slings and arrows headed our way we wish each and every reader a joyous new millennium, launched – just before the calendar clicked over – by that miraculous flight and apparition on our chancel window. Happy New Year! – J.C.
Along with growing a year older, Jemez Springs Community Presbyterian Church seemed to grow stronger in the last year of the old century, but the indicators were subtle and less tangible than the bricks and mortar reports that follow. New friendships, words of encouragement, selfless accommodation to others, and, of course, prayers and expressions of love, and a closer walk with the Lord…those were the true accomplishments of the year that we are unable to chronicle. Here, for the record, are some of the more obvious highlights of 1999.
A sign proclaiming the Jemez Springs Presbyterian church was responsible for picking up trash along two miles of roadside from just north of the Fitzgerald Center through the heart of the Village and south to a point opposite the former Jemez Valley clinic went up in the winter.
The choir began the new year in new choir robes.
Missionary from Africa Mike Wicker preached at the Palm Sunday service and also stood in for Rev. Tom Hart at the ecumenical Easter sunrise service at the State Monument so Tom could be with his wife, Dawn, for the birth of their first child, a son, Jack.
During a January retreat plans to renovate the nursery room, and perhaps move it elsewhere in the downstairs as well as other related improvements were discussed.
Bill Musgrave constructed two handsome new signs that were installed at the north and south corners of the church, including hanging panels for advertising special church events to the public.
An outreach effort to send the Messenger to members who do not attend church regularly was instituted.
Gay and Carl Fahringer joined the church and Gay soon joined the stalwart Prayer Warriors.
Marty Dole began raising funds to go to Australia as a student ambassador in the People to People program, a major student and adult exchange program.
Rev.Tom Hart and his wife, Dawn, were guests at a baby shower in the old sanctuary organized by Wendy Strain and Vonda Dole.
Elise Weed asked all church members with email to provide her their addresses so she could compile a complete church list.
The food pantry, increasingly well known in the community’s Christmas, Thanksgiving and year-round mission efforts to area needy, got new shelving installed by Chuck Francis and Emmett Cart to accommodate the increase in donation.
The deacons hosted a lunch for about a dozen bikers from the Christian Motorcycle Association on their annual Run for the Son trip, organized by CMA member Mike Dole but unfortunately no area youth took advantage of the invitation to attend. Also, on the way home pianist Percy Owens was injured in an accident on the way back to Albuquerque.
Chuck Francis suffered burns when a hot water heater at the Cañon Community Center exploded, also more severely injuring the director, Babara Trujillo, and other workers.
The Deacons’ Spring Fling gourmet dinner earned $550 for the Deacons’ Fund.
A contingent of 12 women from our church attended the Women of Virtue Conference in Albuquerque.
Our church marked its 118th birthday on the Fourth of July with a fiery sermon by the Rev. Dr. John M. Shields (a Rev.Tom Hart look-alike) and the publication of a special historical edition of the Messenger.
Long-time members, Jack and Mary Kelly were honored at a reception prior to their move to Texas to be near the family of their son and daughter-in-law.
Nearly two dozen members and friends helped clean up our church cemetery behind Our Lady of Assumption church.
A $100 gift from our church’s Peacemaking drive helped produce an anti- violence and anti-drugs and alcohol program at the Jemez Valley Middle School.
Rev. Tom Hart announced that he would be returning to full time ministry as an associate pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque.
Mike Dole began taping the Sunday sermons to be made available to those unable to attend worship.
Prayer Warriors began to meet weekly on Friday afternoons in the sanctuary. Increasing use of the Prayer Warriors and the prayer chain by members of the community at large was recorded this year.
The Young at Heart Gospel Choir of Albuquerque, featuring 70 voices, provided the worship service on August 22 through the efforts of Dick and Ann Lake.
Rev. Tom Hart preached his final sermon and was honored at a luncheon after worship. Our choir sang “Grace” and “On Eagles’ Wings,” at his installation service at First Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque.
The Rev. Kelley Wehmeyer Shin accepted a call as stated supply pastor and became the first female pastor in the church’s history.
A united Thanksgiving service with members of Our Lady of Assumption was held in our church, but not before a potluck to end all potlucks.
Eighteen boxes with turkeys and other fixings were filled by Mona Francis and distributed by her husband, Chuck, to the needy in time for Thanksgiving.
A second annual auction earned $800 for the food pantry and to buy new pew Bibles with auctioneer Rick Lauer in black cowboy hat and looking suspiciously like Garth Brooks.
This year’s peacemaking offering headed up by Becky Christman netted $350.
A new 27-inch TV and VCR purchased by the Christian Education committee in the spring was put to good use showing the video, The Parables of the Potter, thanks to Dick and Ann Lake.
Rev. Kelly Shin’s husband, Kent, immediately joined the choir and played Christmas carols on the violin for the day after Christmas service. And his son, Darren, along with Anthony Strain’s son, Ryan, joined their dads in a rendition of “We Three Kings” during Epiphany Sunday services.
Also jumping into church activities this year were Melissa and Casey Jaramillo, both taking on the 4 and 5-year-old Sunday School youngsters, supplementing the efforts of Rosemary Cart and Mona Francis who teach the intermediate class and Anthony Strain the oldest students.
The Canticle of Joy, this year’s Christmas Cantata was performed to a full church under the direction of Patty Mahoney, who with the choir members overcame great trepidation at year’s end to perform the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah during the annual candlelight service. The choir also led the singing of Christmas Carols during the annual luminaria tour at the State Monument.
In mid-December the Wickers, Helen, Mike, Julia, Michael and Susanna, winged their way back to South Africa to resume their missionary life in Zimbabwe where they will provide leadership training.
Finally, the year ended on an eerily miraculous note, with the appearance on the front window above the chancel of an almost perfect imprint of a bird of unknown species, perhaps an owl, like some unexplainable messenger of the Holy Spirit.
During the Sixties and early Seventies, the Jemez Springs Community Presbyterian Church went through hard times, remembers Maudell Berglund, whose husband, Marlon Berglund, served as church treasurer during the decade between 1960 and 1970.
In a letter to Elder Anthony Strain, Mrs. Bergland recalls her “20 plus years as a happy resident of Jemez Springs and my involvement in the community.”
Referring to the special edition of the Messenger published on the 118th birthday of the church this past July Fourth, Mrs. Berglund recalls her “vivid memories of the years least shown in the Messenger’s calendar of events, 1960- 1970.”
“Although I was not an active member of the church, my husband, Marlon Berglund, was for quite some time, through good times and bad. Though not one to “toot his own horn,” he gave greatly to the church, as did others in the community. As treasurer, he was aware of those that gave to the church during times of need.
“In the sixties and early seventies when the church needed a minister (in addition to the Rev. Wilbur Hall and Rev. Paul Stevens), Rev. Summers and Rev. Candelaria made the trip to the church in Jemez Pueblo and then on to Jemez Springs to conduct the Sunday worship services.
“During this period, the church suffered from poor attendance and subsequently hard times. On many an occasion, the late Jerry Washburn paid the church’s utility bills when donations could not meet the obligations. The Caldwells (Mama and Papa Lew) continued to contributed in many ways, even after they were unable to attend services on a regular basis, they contributed financially to the church to assist in the expansion needed to help increase attendance.
“There was no place for children to attend Sunday School, and no real space for gathering, other than the sanctuary. In the early seventies, the Session ruled to extend the old sanctuary by 12 feet, add a foyer, and two large classrooms, and close the streetside (west) entrance.
“Utilizing a generous endowment left by the late Hugh Miller, and specifically earmarked for the church expansion, along with a small mortgage, bids were let and Marlon Berglund was awarded the contract with the lowest bid, with the next lowest bid coming in $6,000 higher.
“The toughest part of the job was trying to make the new construction look as the old adobe portion of the sanctuary. It was the desire of the congregation that the old feel of the church be carried into the new additions. Disregarding the standard techniques of square and plumb was a challenge for my husband, who prided his work and precision.
“The late Robert Swain, a Session member and building committee member, served as building inspector and helped with much of the construction. Shortly after the addition was completed, new pews were acquired (at minimal cost) to replace the aging ones.
“Once this work was complete, the church was better able to serve the familys in the community, and attendance began to gradually increase, with Sunday School being provided, and potlucks occurring on a regular basis with an actual kitchen and bathrooms available for the congregation, a renewed sense of purpose was felt by all.”
Mrs. Berglund concluded by urging others with memories of the church’s history to get in touch with the Messenger editors “as part of an ongoing effort to document the entire history of the church.”
From Jemez Thunder, March 01, 1995
By Susan Burritt
In the past two and a half years, the Servants of the Paraclete, located in Jemez Springs, just north of the Handmaids of the Precious Blood and the Bodhi Mandala Zen Center, have become nationally known because of sex offense claims and litigation that has been brought against the Paraclet, and some of the men who have resided at the facility in Jemez. The Very Reverend Liam Hoare, executive director of the facility, says the unwanted publicity has caused turmoil to the extent that the center is changing its scope and direction.
“The Jemez Program which has existed in the Jemez Valley since 1982 is in the process of being phased out for the following reasons: first, the unsought for notariety of being stigmatized as the pedophile center for the Roman Catholic clergy throughout the world. Second, the recent series of litigations which the Servants have endured over the past two years has left the congregation and staff exhausted, both financially and emotionally, ” Father Liam said. All of the residents presently at the program will leave. “They will be sent to similar facilities elsewhere in the United States,” he said.
The termination of this program will be complete by the end of March. “The Villa Louis Martin will become a long-term residential center for priests and brothers who have been in other treatment centers, but who need a modified, ongoing supportive community where they will continue to receive pastoral and professional assistance,” Father Liam said. Many of the new residents will be older, but must be in good physical condition because of the distance to any comprehensive medical facility, he said.
Because this group of residents will be more capable of doing for themselves, the professional contractual staff, as well as the support staff will be reduced by as much as 25%. “We call it therapeutic chores, and there won’t be the same demand for staffing as there was in the intensive program,” he said. The staffing reductions would also be complete by the end of March.
This is not little first time the center has changed its mission. It was originally purchased by Father Gerald Fitzgerald in 1947, and consisted of an old stone and adobe inn, known originally as Esperanza, which means “hope.” “Paraclete” means advocate, sponsor, intercessor, comforter or sanctifier. There were approximately 12 rooms at the inn.
Joe Garcia, Sr., was hired to work on remodeling and maintenance, and was the only outside help. He worked for the Paraclete for 36 years, until 1980. Now 71, Garcia still lives in Jemez Springs. “Whatever needed to he done, l did it, carpentry, plumbing, electric. I did everything,” Garcia said.
There are approximately 2600 acres which belong to the Servants of the Paraclete, much of which is in the mountains behind the housing. Garcia said the Servants once owned much more property. “Anything that was not privately owned, the Paraclete had it. Their north boundary was just past Soda Dam, and the south boundary was a little south of where the new credit union is. They owned
everything behind Mooney Blvd., the Bodhi, the property where the Handmaids are, and the propertywhere the Canyon Quarters is.“
The park in the Village of Jemez Springs is named for Father Fitzgerald. “He donated the property that the village owns when the village became incorporated,” said Garcia.
The Paraclete also own the site known as Lourdes, which is across the highway and up the road. It sits on 26 acres, and has a rich history. It changed hands several times, but in the ’20’s and ’30’s it was owned by a family from the east. “Those folks were from Chicago. They used to run horses there, and have a lot of gambling. I heard it could get pretty rough, sometimes,” said Garcia.
‘‘It was called the Lazy Ray Ranch back then, and wealthy people from all over the country would come. Back then, it was just a dirt road to come up here, so I guess once they were here, they probably stayed all summer, just lazing around,” he said. It is rumored that Al Capone sometimes stayed at the Lazy Ray.
An old road can be seen going up behind the main buildings. Although it is now impassable, at one time 4-wheel drive automobiles could drive back into the mountains. If they provided access, then they could build back there at some time,” Garcia said. He said there is still an aluminum cross up high in the hills by the road.
The facility began with Father Fitzgerald’s dream: a home for troubled priests. Father Liam said Father Fitzgerald’s goal was to create a safe place, “for the sole purpose of assisting Catholic priests and brothers who were wounded in the battle of life, experiencing all of the human problems that any human being can experience, personally or vocationally.”
Father Liam speaks with some expertise, as he spent several years in the company of Father Fitzgerald, and acted as his interpreter in Rome. “He was at pioneer. This type of facility was the first of its kind in the Church, and the first in the United States,” said Hoare.
Over time, the complex grew. The remodeled inn was renamed Via Coeli, or Way to Heaven. Additional buildings were constructed. Father Liam described the organization at that time as, “An open-ended monastic community. The priests and brothers did everything. There was virtually no outside help. It was self sufficient and self-sustaining. There was only one person hired as outside help, Joe Garcia.”
Garcia said at one time the center operated a medical clinic for both the residents and the community. “The Sisters at the Handmaids used to cook and clean and were professional nurses. They ran the clinic until the regulations for handling medications got really complicated,” he said.
More buildings and more land were gradually added. Villa Louis Martin can house up to 23 persons, the conference center has a capacity of 24. Lourdes is the home of the Servants of the Paraclete, which administers the center, and has a capacity of 12.
Over the years the center has continued to change. Through 1977, Father Liam said, “It was a retreat entirely spiritual in nature and scope. In the 60s and 70s it was seen that what was being done was warehousing these people who did not fit in anywhere else. It was a safe, non-judgmental place to live. It did not pretend to be professional in any way,” he said.
This too began to change. Father Michael Foley, who directed the Servants of the Paraclete after Father Fitzgerald, sent people to school to obtain professional accreditation in psychology, psychiatry, social work and spiritual direction. Father Liam, who has been the executive director of the Paraclete for eight years, is a psychologist and certified addictions counselor, as well as a licensed psychotherapist. Their professional staff consists of several consulting physicians and professionals, including clinical psychologists, group and individual therapists, cardiovascular, and stress management professionals.
“We provided a family-like atmosphere where men suffering from depression, personality disorders, adjustment disorders, vocational crisis, and stress disorders could come, and with the sunshine of nature, charity and the Eucharist (Holy Communion), could become well again.”
Before those changes were complete. Father Liam likened the situation to a combat zone, where the tools for treating the residents were not adequate, but there was no place else for these men to go. “We were like the M.A.S.H. unit of the Roman Catholic Church. We did not always know what the men‘s problems were until they arrived. Of course, we had to remove the psychotic ones. You had to take care of yourself. It wasn’t a prison, and some men had cars.”
At one time. the primary residents were alcoholics, and the facility was referred to as “The Center for Boozy Priests.” Father Liam said. “They were like family. Sometimes. especially during the holidays, one or more would go out and tie one on. We would take care of them like you would your aunt or uncle. They are human.”
Since 1977, however, the Jemez Program has operated on a professional level, with guidelines for treatment, and a comprehensive after care program, which followed the progress of all who had attended the center. Especially successful, said Father Liam, was the cardiovascular program, where residents regained their health walking the grounds and Highway 4, sometimes losing as much as 40 pounds.
Concerning the future of the Servants of the Paraclete, Father Liam said, “It would be imprudent to go back to the Jemez Program model. We need to rest, and want to demonstrate good will and care for the people who live in the Jemez community by modifying the programs and going in new directions.”
He said one or the new directions the Servants want to explore is the possibility of turning the Foundation House into conference center open to all sorts of special interest groups. “A group, such as Intel, or one of the hospitals, or other service-oriented agencies could come to use the conference center, and we would provide their meals and rooms.” he said. With the increased use of this facility, he said he hoped staffing could once be increased.
Father Liam expressed hope that the new purpose of the center will be successful, and that the intent to provide for conferences will help the community economically. “We hated to let any of our staff go. I know what that means to a community of this size,” he said.