Pageant portrays Christ’s story
Apr12

Pageant portrays Christ’s story

One of the most important stories of all time is the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. It’s emotionally hard to imagine it happening and to see it in person would be heartbreaking. Students and others have the opportunity to see a portrayal of the Easter story that is both realistic and compelling to watch, thanks to UMHB. Taking place in the Luther Memorial, this year’s Easter Pageant features senior Christian studies major Mark Miller as Jesus, senior elementary education major Allison Hankins as Mary the mother of Jesus and many others as crowd members, priests or disciples. They are all directed by junior social work major Tracie Byrd and junior Christian studies major Colton White. Byrd said she became assistant director because Easter Pageant is one of her favorite traditions at the university. “It builds community, it’s fun, and it’s all about portraying the life of Christ and sharing the gospel,” she said. Senior elementary education major Rebecca Widmer, who plays a crowd leader, says the leadership is phenomenal this year. “Colton and Tracie have been a tremendous blessing to us all and are always there to answer questions when we have them,” she said. “I can tell just by looking at the way that they live their lives each and every day that they love the Lord and strive to be more like him.” One of the hardest roles to portray in history is Jesus Christ, and this year the directors and administration  choose  Miller. “The role of Jesus is not something that I went looking for,” Miller said. “But it is an honor to have the opportunity to portray Christ for a year.” Sophomore Christian missions major Ryan Murphy, who plays the high priest Caiphias this year, said there is a great resemblance between Miller and Jesus. “It’s crazy, but when I or anyone else pictures what Jesus looks like, he looks like Mark Miller,” Murphy said. By representing these historical figures, most of the actors gain a different perspective of the Easter story. “I feel like being part of this story really makes me feel like a lot of Jews did back then. When we practice the “yelling” scenes while Jesus is being crucified/arrested, we give it our all, but I have found in years past that doing those scenes is so hard,” Widmer said. By acting out the Easter story, students as well as the audience connect with the message. “I have come to the realization that it really was me yelling those things at him,” Widmer said. “On pageant day, it is so hard to yell because tears are streaming down my face...

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Break given to serve

Spring break is a time for relaxation, restoration and simply getting away from the pressures of school and work. For most students, the vacation this year brought numerous opportunities to travel to countries, states and islands. The trips either benefited the community as a mission trip, provided insight for the student’s major, or provided much needed recreation. One annual trip taken over break, called Beach Reach, involved 40 students from UMHB, among 28 other collegiate ministries, going to South Padre Island to simply serve people. Led by Baptist Student Ministry Director Shawn Shannon and Assistant Director Jena Coulson, the group split into four teams and gave away free pancakes, cleaned up trash on the beach, created a sand sculpture and gave free rides to those unable to drive. Although the students and chaperones received little sleep, they enjoyed every minute of it. Freshman social work major Chelsea Owens loved the trip. “We did get to see one guy come to know Christ while giving him a ride.  It was absolutely amazing. He literally fell into our van. He was so drunk that when we were dropping another group off, he fell into the van, and we gave him a ride. He didn’t want to get off, so he just kept riding with us,” she said. As the ride progressed, so did the man’s  desire to  have a meaningful talk. “The conversation turned to Christ, and by the end of the night he had asked Jesus into his heart. To watch someone go from being broken and feeling worthless to having tears of hope and redemption stream down his face was priceless. The last thing he said to us was, ‘You know you guys really changed my life,’” she said. Many students grew on the trip spiritually and mentally. “I … want to do it next year and would definitely encourage others to go too. I learned a lot,” Sophomore biblical studies and theology/philosophy double major Will Summers said. “(Like) how even when you have no voice, energy, sleep, food, and are completely weak, you depend on God for strength.” Other students traveled on the Hope for the Hungry mission trip to Haiti. Ten students along with Assistant Director of Campus Activities Jeff  Sutton and his wife Jen went on this construction-focused trip. They worked on a mission center, roofed houses and repaired/finished the Boys’ Home in Guibert. Students also laid scripture plaques with the verse Revelation 3:20 on the Hope for the Hungry houses. The team worked on construction throughout the week, and on the last day were able to visit with the orphan boys. “They’ll definitely amaze you,” sophomore...

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Students serve, ‘reach out’
Mar29

Students serve, ‘reach out’

Spending one’s Saturday cleaning up after animals, sorting inventory, and doing yard work at 8 in the morning probably does not sound ideal to many. However, to some students, this is a time to give back to the community, work together and serve God. Reaching Out is a Student Government Association event sponsored by director of community service and cultural affairs George Harrison, director of spiritual life Tyler Potts and the representative chaplains of each class. Students “reach out” to the Temple/Belton community by providing a helping hand to various community organizations and individuals. They work in teams, based on the assignments they signed up for, from 9 a.m. to noon.  Registration for Reaching Out began at 8 a.m. Saturday March 26, in Shelton Theater. To prepare for this university-driven project, junior theology and philosophy major Potts said, “We simply made some phone calls to some locations and asked them if they wanted some help. Some of these sites were Helping Hands, BCYC, Temple Animal Shelter, Family Promise, Families in Crisis Center, Hope for the Hungry and the Ronald McDonald House.” Something different this year was the registration and organization at Shelton Theater, which made the process easier according to sophomore accounting and finance major Audrey Ohendalski who worked at the Family Promise site in Temple. “They had the groups set up outside for you to pick which site you were headed to with donuts and juice,” Ohendalski said. “Then you went inside Shelton for explanations and worship, which was really nice because they separated the chaotic area of scheduling and time and space set aside for worship. Then we went back outside, and they had driving instructions on the tables where the sign-ups had been. The people in charge did a great job keeping everything perfectly flowing.” So what makes UMHB students so eager to participate in Reaching Out? Sophomore nursing major Emma Smith, who worked at the Families in Crisis Center site, said, “I decided to do it because I like to serve others but find it hard to really serve alone, and it’s much more rewarding to me to be able to serve with friends and other UMHB-ers. My favorite part is seeing the reactions from the people at the work sites after the job is done because they are so happy and it’s a huge deal to them when to me it was a simple, easy task that made a huge impact.” Besides being able to give back to community, Ohendalski said she liked the social aspect of it as well. “I like meeting all the new people to work with and also the people...

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Glass blowing studio offers unique opportunities
Mar08

Glass blowing studio offers unique opportunities

Nestled in the historic town of Salado, Texas, sits a little blue workshop called the Coyote Glass Gallery/Salado Arts Workshop. Upon entering the shop, one can see the bright glow of the 2000-degree furnace holding liquid glass. The music of Frank Black plays in the background and the sound of cold glass shattering off the iron pipes flows through the air as the artists continue to make new pieces; the furnace roars when each piece is being flashed. The shop’s tables exhibit the finished pieces that show off their reflections and their elongated shadows. The smell of the cherry wood block and burning newspaper infuse their scents. Finally, hard at work, there are two students from UMHB: senior studio art major Gail Allard and sophomore art major Kate Winchell, wiping sweat from their brows and focusing on creating exquisite glass pieces. Offering a variety of classes and glass artwork, the Salado Arts Workshop has become a popular venue in the Salado community. Tibish Meyers and her artist sister, Melissa Paxton, along with their husbands opened the shop in October 2009, investing in some commercial buildings. Meyers said, “Our goal at the time was to do a weekend glass workshop that would also bring people in to see our buildings. However, the event was so popular with the village of Salado that we convinced some of the participating artists to stay on.” Allard is the expert glassblower of the shop with Winchell as his apprentice. They have both been artists since childhood. Allard said, “I have always practiced some form of art since I was young, from painting pictures on my bedroom walls, to taking apart various objects and re-assembling them in interesting ways. As a glassblower, I knew I wanted to make it my career about a month after I first started working with glass.” Winchell said, “I became interested in art as a career starting in seventh grade. I was in 3-D drawing and my teacher took one of my pieces for the art department and showed the advanced art teacher.  He said I had the potential to be really good at this. He offered for me to be in one of his advanced art classes. I accepted and immediately fell in love.” So what is glassblowing exactly? “It is an ancient art form that has been practiced for nearly 2000 years. You take hot molten glass, add pretty colors to it and make beautiful sculptures or vessels,” Allard said The shop is designed as a nonprofit organization. They are trying to get the younger generation to create 3-D modeling, pay tribute to art, get involved in the...

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Stick to the movies, not politics

What is it with Hollywood criticizing the way this nation is run 24/7? Most actors/actresses have no experience in politics. Many do not have a college education, and few have ever served in the military. Yet they use their celebrity to bash the White House administration thinking, for some reason, they have a better strategy. When George W. Bush was in the White House, he drew criticisms from every celebrity imaginable, ranging from interviews to movies that mocked his every mistake. Matt Damon recently released a movie called Green Zone. This movie is the epitome of anti-war/anti-American as it goes too far in blaming the United States government for the Middle East war while also manipulating the audience into rooting against American troops. The line between good guy and bad guy becomes fuzzy – so much so that audiences are unsure whether to cheer on Sunni Iraqi insurgents as they shoot down a helicopter filled with American soldiers. And it is no secret that Matt Damon is very critical of the government. He was known during the 2008 campaign for bashing both George Bush and Sarah Palin. This week, his new target is current president Barack Obama. What’s interesting is that when Obama was running for president, Damon gave him his full support calling him “brilliant” and a “deep thinker.” However, now, when asked by Piers Morgan of CNN if he was a fan of Obama, Damon simply answered “No.” He then began pointing out the things Obama was doing wrong. Damon isn’t the only celebrity unhappy with Obama. In fact, he joins a long list of them including Barbra Streisand, Jane Lynch (of Glee), Hugh Hefner, Robert Redford and director Spike Lee. And they all seem to be saying the same thing, which is that the president isn’t doing enough. Over the last year, a growing number of Hollywood types have publicly trashed the president’s record on everything from gay rights, to environmental issues, to the war in Iraq.  They are highly critical of his failure to close a military detention center at Guantanamo Bay. Does this sound familiar? Just a couple of years ago, celebrities were saying the same thing about President Bush and his policies. Are they just saying what they think the public wants to hear?   Do they have any facts to back up their accusations? Unfortunately, celebrities are the icons of America. People look up to them and are influenced by what they have to say. When they criticize the government, guess what happens? Our culture listens.  Most people don’t do enough research to form their own opinions and conclusions. Celebrities definitely use their...

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