Friday, June 13, 2008

Shepard Family Update, June 13, 2008

Dear Family members and friends,

Hello on this beautiful day (at least in our part of the world), as summer approaches and the family reunion draws near. This Sunday is Father's Day -- an opportunity to give thanks and show appreciation for our fathers who mean so much to us, and to lovingly remember those fathers who are no longer with us.

A personal note: I have some good news and some bad news to report. The good news is, I have taken a job for the summer as the Interim Regional Minister for the Disciples of Christ in Northern California and will be employed once again, at least temporarily. The bad news is, I have to go back to work, starting next week! ;-) Actually, I am looking forward to it. But what this means is that I will not have as much time for our other pursuits, such as family visits, these weekly emails, and other activities. Cindy and I WILL attend the family reunion, though we won't be in Washington as long as we'd like.

Fascinating Family Fact: Did you know? Last week I mentioned that our family has a close relationship with the Kilpatrick family. We are also closely related by marriage to the Boyds, Gowers, Russells and Clarks (x2!), to name just a few of the families we are close to by marriage. But with our world the way it is today, our Shepard Family celebrations need to help us appreciate the oneness of God's entire human family. Some churches sing the following hymn (one of my favorites!) that illustrates this.

God Made From One Blood
(by Thomas H. Troeger, 1988; sung to the tune of
"Immortal Invisible God Only Wise" or "How Firm a Foundation")

God made from one blood all the families of earth,
the circles of nurture that raise us from birth,

Companions who join us to work through each stage,

Of childhood and youth and adulthood and age.

We turn to you, God, with our thanks and our tears,

For all of the families we've known through the years,

The intimate networks on whom we depend
Of parents and partners and children and friends.

Through families we've tasted the value of trust

And felt what it means to be loving and just.

Yet families have also betrayed their best goals,

Mistreating their members and bruising their souls.

Help families in all of their various forms

To face with integrity struggles and storms;

Grant peace to our homes that will nurture the bud

Of peace for the families you made from one blood.

Family Faces. I am including two family pictures on this weekend to remember fathers. The first (see above) is a picture from the spring of 1975, and shows the "father" of our family, William Shepard (Grandad), with his wife Bura (Gram), their youngest daughter Thelma, her husband Terry Boyd, and their two children Darren and Kim. (Darren -- 33 years later -- is now the father of 3.)

The other picture shows the oldest father among us, Elmer Shepard, his son Dane and daughter Joan, taken earlier this year at Dane and Cindy's home in Oklahoma City. (See the May 16th post for a picture of Jeremy Ortiz, the youngest father among us.) Happy father's day to Elmer, Dane, Darren, Jeremy and all the dads in our family!

Happy Birthday today, June 13, to Scott Ortiz, Kim Clark's youngest son, who lives in El Cajon, Ca.

Remember: Shepard Family Reunion, Saturday, July 19, 2008, Anacortes, Washington.
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