NOUN: A set of fundamental beliefs that guides one’s actions:
a code of conduct
ORIGIN: Middle English: Latin, ‘I believe.’ Sunday March 3rd, 2019
Please join us for this special Sunday service in which members of our church describe their individual CREDO.
This is an opportunity to hear what guides your fellow parishioners in their personal conduct;
Their belief systems that help make the fundamental decisions of their daily lives;
What in their soul helps them get up every morning;
What in difficult, trying times gives them consolation
Yvonne Howard’s Credo:
A Rebel’s Journey to Peace
A Credo by Yvonne Howard
March 3, 2019
An eight-year Old girl leaves the house on a Monday morning. Heading for the bus stop. Not that it really matters, but it is spring. She is dutifully wearing the New, ugly, gray metal-framed glasses that were ordained upon her by her parents because the screws in the stems of the acceptable pink plastic frames came loose once too often. Her father’s words echo in her head, “What she needs are some sturdier frames that won’t come apart – looks don’t matter.”
And so, feeling embarrassed at the added ugliness on her face, she left the house and walked the two-block distance toward the stop, dreading and anticipating the scrutiny of acquaintances and classmates.
However, one house down, at the end of the first block. just past Husney’s, she realized that she was out of the of vision of her parent’s scrutiny – So, she took the ugly glasses off, and shoved them into her jacket pocket. This act of civil disobedience continued. When she was out-of-sight of her Parents – off came the glasses only to reappear when they were around. They never had broken stems because they were scarcely worn.
She managed to survive with what she deemed a shred of dignity.
Years continued – eventually it realized that her vision was not that dire that wearing or not wearing glasses did not impact her vision – only her self-esteem, – So she chose not to wear glasses at all. Nothing more was said.
Time passed. The eight-year-old grew up -coping with rigid uncompromising parents and she survived by being a dutiful, much less-than-perfect daughter. There were always rules such as the first one home starts dinner – The girl was always the first one home. Dinner was to be ready when parents arrived at 5:30 on the dot. By the time the girl- who was me and is me – was 11. I learned to cope dutifully – So that could begin cooking a meal at 5 or later -and have it appear, as though, it had been cooking longer. If the meal was ( you can fill in the ellipse )… which is to be expected – the girl kept he mouth shut and attempted to amend her lack of skill the following night…
Another rule: at 16 you MUST work to contribute to the family, and you MUST attend church – no passes even though you had worked the Saturday night before until closing (12 AM) at the neighborhood delicatessen – until the end of high school.
Escape came at, twenty-two, with marriage to a young man in the church youth group (MYF). I dropped out of college to work, and we married after about a year of dating. He proposed with the words, “Someone has to go to law school and someone has to work.” I went to work through a favor of a my
Husband’s schoolmate’s father – for the Clerk of Federal Court.
Conveniently, Shel den found a way out of the Viet Nam fiasco through the National Guard. Shelden played weekend warrior – went to church and taught Sunday School with a different twist on Methodist – traditional teachings. I taught a doctrine of doing good works and serving in the world with a few Bible verses thrown in. I was still obedient to my parents and now also to my husband… UNTIL…
One Sunday (or so it seemed), it was decided the Church needed some “fire” – some neighborhood evangelism, to rev up an apathetic congregation, a group of evangelical infiltrators from the upper ranks of the Methodist hierarchy — came begin a “Lay Witness Mission” – to turn us in the “right direction” and help us grow – no thought of perhaps supporting the neighborhood in another way like
picking up trash or visiting the elderly.
I informed my Sunday School class and the Sunday school superintendent, my father, that I was not comfortable with the new evangelical leaning – to me religion and is something personal within to be expressed in actions – not proselytizing – And furthermore, that I was not coming back in two weeks.
No one believed me. In two weeks, l was gone from the Methodist church, Forever. Interestingly, nothing was said. (They blamed it on my churchless Congregational husband) I was 23 at the time.
Time passed, my law school student husband became a lawyer. According to plan, child #1 came along. We moved to the “burbs” (Richfield). I quit working forever to be a mother and housewife – with dinner on the table at 5:30 on the dot.
After about two years, we moved to the fringed suburbs of Elk River. Shelden found a real job and practiced law in a small-town practice. We had a second baby and joined the Congregational Church.
Then, one day the phone rang. I was asked to be secretary for a Federal Magistrate – only while his regular Secretary was on maternity leave for only 6 months. As it turned out, I loved my boss and the job. After 6 months. the regular secretary decided not to return, and the job was mine.
Everything worked for a few months until one day when I was informed, “Lawyers aren’t supposed to take their children to day care.”
I was once again confronted with a choice – quit and return to being a traditional wife – or continue to work – on my own. I chose to conditionally quit — I could return and complete college only 6 quarters – one and a half years. I did quit and completed college. The cost, however, was more than I had bargained for – more than tuition and child care. The cost was the traditional marriage. The payment however, was freedom – freedom to find who I was. Through my College experience I found I was, and am, a person Who needed and needs Community involvement – to serve others for me is growth.
Through the process of self-discovery; I met Loren – Who made no rigid demands on what a wife, or a mother, or a woman should be. My last college course was a course called “Human Relations”. During the ten weeks of the course I learned about varieties of humans and relationships, and life choices and varieties of discrimination. One among the very important lessons the course taught me was
there is a difference between being a spouse and a wife. A wife is a slave – a spouse is an equal partner. I knew I never wanted to be a wife again. Loren and I are equal partners.
My marriage to Loren brought one more stage of growth. Loren was a Baptist. Because I loved Loren – when I agreed to marry him, I had to become a Baptist also. This meant I had to be baptized by immersion as an adult. On a warm July Sunday afternoon. Standing in Sauk Lake. I was re-baptized. I purposely wore a red dress a symbol for me of my dissidence.
It is, and always has been, my belief that life is not to bring souls to a Creator, but, rather, to do my part to make the world a better place. I am trying to open doors of learning and preserving our precious earth – not close them. Here I stand – my last rebellion.
Now find myself, in this place, – wearing a Symbolic – though invisible red dress. I trust, for perhaps the first time, that you – members and friends of this Fellowship – will understand and accept my purpose Which is to Serve and to give back to the community which, to me, means the World.
I do not have to wear outward symbols such as a red dress any more, unless I want to – and I don’t have to take off my glasses when I am half a block away, unless it helps me to see more clearly. I believe a dutiful wife, or mother, or child, is to be an equal partner. I hope I do not have to prove to you who am through a shallow exterior facade, or my husband’s status. I am doing my best to live in a way that supports the Earth and earthlings.
Here is where I stand seeking ways to serve and to connect children, whatever their age, to their place on this Planet because WE ARE ALL CONNECTED!
Jim Vashro’s Credo:
I am an avid techie. I love figuring out how things work, I love using tools and learning how to better to use them – think cell phones.
A bit of background; I am the oldest of 14 children, all the same family, raised in the Catholic Church, and had 13 years of Parochial schooling. Most recently, I have been embracing my “All French Ancestry”, I love doing Genealogy. I graduated college with a degree in Electrical Engineering and went on to receive a Masters Degree in “Management of Technology”. I am a Vietnam Veteran having served in the US Air Force. I worked in the Corporate world for 30 plus years, most of those years spent as a manager of one type or another. And Most importantly, I am the father of 5 children, all boys I might add, and with my second wife, Kathy, also helped raise my youngest brother and a granddaughter. Together we claim 13 grandchildren.
I mention these bits of biographical information, not so much to inform, but to help provide a basis, and possibly a foundation, for my beliefs, my Credo.
So, going back a bit, I always strived to be helpful. While my mother never really gave me much choice in helping out with the chores and such, I learned to love and care for others at a rather early age. I remember very clearly, on my own, spreading Vick’s vapor rub on my younger siblings’ chest to help ease their congestion from their cold, I was probably 8 – 10. I knew I could make a difference and cared deeply about doing so.
The Catholic thing, hmmm, well every night, we, everyone in the family, were on our knees praying the rosary. While I, just like any kid, was not thrilled to be doing so, I learned a respect and humility for things greater than myself, this thought I still find guidance from.
Oh, and I did serve as an Alter Boy for several years. I learned to follow directions and respect my elders and not be afraid of getting up in-front of hundreds of people. What beliefs did I gain from that experience? I believe we all can take an active part in things in the world and that we are served well by having an order to things.
The Techie thing is a bit of a puzzle for me. As long as I can remember I loved using technology. I loved using tools. When I was a kid, my dad was a bit of a tinkerer and spent time working on a old 1940 Ford that he “chopped the frame”,(that is shortened it), and I was a gofer, you know, “go for this” and “go for that”. That is where I learned the difference between an open end and a box wrench, the difference between a 7/16 and 1/2 inch socket wrench, and ya, I probably learned a few choice swear words, but not as many as you might think. I think what I really learned was; I believe in the creativity of man and the usefulness of things in life (as in tools). Given a bit of training and the right tools, I believe that technology can be a significant force in the world. When I say that, I think of all the vaccines and medicines that serve us today.
Underlying all this “techie” stuff seems to be a belief that I can do something in this world, I can help others!
I grew up in a family, I raised a family and I continue to be a part of a larger family, or families, as in all of you here, KUUF. Family is belonging, an opportunity to care for one another, to participate, and to love. Many years ago, when I was thinking about the role of Religion in my life, I developed the belief that we are all social, we have established social norms to help guide us and get along with each other, we are here to, yes propagate the species, but to do so in a caring and loving way. This isn’t to say there isn’t bad or evil in the world, all I have to do to realize that, is think back to some of the things that happened in my family, or look at our prison systems, but overriding all that struggle is goodness of human spirit, This I believe!
So, in summary:
My Beliefs, in no particular order, are:
- I know I can make a difference and care deeply about doing so
- I have respect and humility for things greater than myself
- I can take an active part and do something in this world,
- We are served well by having an order to things
- I believe in the creativity of people
- I believe in the usefulness of things (as in tools) in life
- I believe I can help others
- I believe we are all social beings, bred to get along
- And finely, I believe, that on balance, there is more good, than evil in the world
Thank you for being part of my Family!
Words for Reflection:
“When our beliefs are based on our own direct experience of reality and not on notions offered by others, no one can remove these beliefs from us.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha, Living Christ