Sunday, June 30, 2013

A New Commitment

In God's created world He has given us many things to enjoy, and, of course, for me that includes tea!  No surprise there!  ;-)

After my recent trip to Indianapolis, I was challenged to re-evaluate my priorities and objectives. Below is a photo that appeared in the printed General Assembly & Convention Daily Summary distributed each day, and it is partly responsible for today's post.


Dr. Graham's photo and quote is in regards to a massive, nationwide effort  this coming November to reach people across the United States and Canada with the "Good News" of God's redeeming love [].

Romans 14:10-12 reads:  "...We will all stand before God's judgment seat... each of us will give an account of himself [herself] to God."  While I've been more than eager to share my passion for tea with everyone, I've been much more passive about sharing my love for God.

I often enthusiastically declare tea's calming, rejuvenating, and healthy qualities, but I must also declare that a personal relationship with God, by far, supersedes anything a cup of tea can ever provide - good though it may be!  

So every Sunday going forward,  I will write a blog post with a spiritual emphasis.  I must confess that I've had to muster courage, because to use another quote of Dr. Graham's: "Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone - except God!"  Romans 1:16a is my declaration:
"I am not ashamed of the gospel, 
because it is the power of God
for the salvation of everyone who believes..."

Please  join me every Sunday over a cup of tea, as I share a scripture or brief story of LASTING HOPE.  

May God bless your week!

Friday, June 28, 2013

More Indy and Convention Highlights

Friday was filled with convention activities [with the exception of lunch at Propylaeum, which I blogged about yesterday].

Morning activities began at 9:00 a.m. with two back-to-back SDMI plenary sessions.  The speaker from the American Bible Society continued the challenge to help people encounter Jesus personally.

A "Keep Calm" sign for one of the convention workshops.  

After lunch, there were two workshops to attend, then we returned to the Convention Center for an evening service at 7:00 p.m..  Afterwards we walked to P.F. Chang's China Bistro for a late dinner.  

I ordered Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  Yum!

[Photos courtesy of P.F. Chang's]

On Saturday, nearly 1,700 children in grades 1-6 participated in the 2013 Children's Bible World Quiz.  The Convention Center was bustling with kids who had memorized and internalized God's Word.

My cousin, Valerie, and her family traveled to the convention from Tampa, Florida.  Her granddaughter participated in the quizzing, and won a silver medal.  I met up with Valerie in the Exhibit Hall.  

The SDMI Convention concluded on Friday, and Sunday morning was the "official" opening of the 28th General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene.  General Superintendent, Dr. Jesse Middendorf gave the morning message.  

The music in all the services was outstanding with a live orchestra...

and talented singers.

The Orpheus Choir [from Olivet Nazarene University near Chicago, Illinois] sang in the Friday evening service.

By Sunday morning all the General Assembly delegates and guests had arrived and the Indiana Convention Center was transformed into a huge church sanctuary.  Below is what 20,246 Nazarenes under one roof, from 159 world areas, looks like!  Several Nazarene churches projected the broadcast to their congregations. 

Large screens suspended from the ceiling were strategically placed throughout the convention assembly area so  everyone could see the happenings on the platform close-up. When the thousands of voices joined together in  singing, it was a glimpse of what Heaven will be like when the redeemed sing unending praises to our Lord and Savior.  I definitely want to be in that great choir!  

7,000 Nazarenes watched the live-streamed services throughout the week from their homes in either English, Portuguese, or Spanish.

One of the highlights was communion at the conclusion of the service.  How grateful I am to Jesus for being the sinless, sacrificial Lamb of God on Calvary's Cross, so the debt of my sins - and the sins of all mankind - could be forgiven.

[photos courtesy of]

It was an awesome service, and I'm grateful to my district for allowing me the privilege of being a delegate.

When the service was over, we checked out of our hotel, and met my cousin and her husband for lunch at Olive Garden, before heading home to Michigan.

It was the end of five great days in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Now to put into action the inspirational things I learned!  The next General Assembly will be in 2017, in San Francisco, California.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Propylaeum in Indianapolis

Whenever I visit a new city/state, I always check to see if a tea room is in the area. I was disappointed when I learned the L.S. Ayres Tea Room was closed for renovation, but pleased to discover the Indianapolis Propylaeum.

My son and daughter-in-law were very accommodating travelling companions, and took me to the Popylaeum - an Indianapolis-area club for women nestled in the beautiful Old Northside historic district. 

The house, built in 1891, combines many types of architecture. The walls are neo-Jacobean, the limestone columns on the veranda are Romanesque, and the double doors at the front entrance are Georgian.  The general structural appearance is Queen Anne. 

Below is a two-sided historical marker installed in 2009 by the Indiana Historical Bureau. May Wright Seawall moved to Indianapolis from Wisconsin when she married, and founded a girls' school, which became one of the three leading girls' schools in Indianapolis.  She was a prominent supporter of suffrage leaders Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and helped found the Indianapolis Equal Suffrage Society in 1878.  The nineteenth amendment was ratified a month after her death in 1920. And for a Michigan connection, she was a member of Henry Ford's 1915 Peace Expedition.

Propylaeum is a Greek word, meaning "gateway" - to culture.  Their mission statement:  "To emphasize a sense of civic responsibility and community services; to foster the love of literature, music, science, and the fine arts; and to provide women a social and cultural center."  

They serve an English tea every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 3:00 p.m. [for $18.00], but due to our convention schedule we could only do lunch on Friday.

[L-R:  Steve, Sharon and Me]

Sharon and I ordered their Pacific Northwest Salmon Salad - poached fresh salmon on a bed of field greens with pecans, cantaloupe, and raspberry vinaigrette dressing, accompanied by a fresh scone.  It was delicious.  Price: $11.95  

My tea choice was Papaya/Passion Fruit Black Tea.

Steve ordered their Signature Grilled Cheese Sandwich - a blend of three cheeses and tomato on grilled Italian bread, and a cup of L.S. Ayres Tea Room Chicken Velvet Soup.

Below is Stephanie - an Indianapolis transplant from Grand Rapids, Michigan who works at the Propylaeum.  When she found out I was going to be blogging about our visit, she took me on a quick tour of the first floor of the house.

Below is the room where we dined.  I think it's referred to as the Tea Room.

A gorgeous needlepoint wall hanging.

Beautiful silver tea accessories were in every room.  Pictured below on the mantle is a tea urn.

The silver tea set below was sitting on an antique organ in another room.   Unfortunately I didn't ask Stephanie the names of the rooms.  Due to our time restraints, we couldn't tour the second and third floors.  Maybe on our next visit.

Sign telling about the organ's provenance. The manufacturer, Simmons & Clough, was located in Detroit, Michigan.

My daughter-in-law, Sharon, and me.

On May 1st of this year the Propylaeum hosted a luncheon celebrating Indy's late, great L.S. Ayres Department Store, and also to honor the fashion models who worked there. "Be sure to wear your hat and gloves - there will be a prize for the best 'Ayres Look'" declared an advertisement for the luncheon.  A fashion show was part of the entertainment, as well as a May Sewall impersonator.    

[Photo courtesy of]

[Photo courtesy of]

I wish I could have attended the event.   I would love to coordinate something like this in my area for the J.L. Hudson Department Store!

One of the volunteers told me as I was leaving that they are working on The Largest Tea Party this fall at the fair grounds.  The cost will be $10 and attendees will bring their own teacup.   I signed-up for their newsletter to get the details when they become available.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting The Propylaeum, and will definitely go back the next time I'm in the area.  I highly recommend lunch or Afternoon Tea there for anyone visiting Indianapolis.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Church Roots in England and Tea

Once again, my morning began with Tazo's Chai tea, followed by a walk to the Convention Center for the first plenary session of the convention [full assembly of delegates]. 

While I've been a delegate to several District Assemblies, this was my first time to be a delegate to a General Church Convention.  

When 1,167 SDMI delegates come together from more than 159 world areas to share the results of their ministry, it's evident the 'Good News' of God's love for mankind is being proclaimed with great results, but there's a lot more people who still need to hear it.

The theme of this year's convention was People of Prayer, Engaged in the Word, Making Christlike Disciples.

Our new denominational logo was unveiled.

The photo below is John Wesley, born in Epworth, England in 1703. 

John Wesley, an Anglican cleric, and Christian theologian who embraced Arminian doctrines, is largely credited, along with his brother, Charles, for founding the Methodist movement in 1729, encouraging people to experience Jesus Christ personally. Towards the end of Wesley's life he was referred to as "the best loved man in England."  He died in 1791, at 87 years of age, and was entombed at Wesley's Chapel in Greater London.

[Photo courtesy of Good Living]

Given my fondness for tea, I had to find out if John Wesley was a tea drinker and The United Kingdom Tea Council provided the answer.  The Temperance Movement in the eighteenth century disapproved of the consumption of tea [along with coffee and hot chocolate - beverages with caffeine stimulants] believing they were injurious to health. This was long before the benefits of tea were scientifically proven.  John Wesley promoted complete abstinence from tea in the mid-1700's, urging that the money previously spent by individuals on tea be given to the poor, and as an alternative hot infusions could be made from sage or mint herbs.  Later in life, however, Wesley went back to drinking tea. Whew! I'm sure glad he had a change of heart and mind!  ;-)  Because of his charitable nature throughout his life, he left behind no financial wealth when he died, only a good library of books, a well-worn clergyman's robe, and the Methodist Church.  I'd say his legacy is priceless!

Wesley's teachings, known as Wesleyanism, provided the basis for the Holiness Movement, which includes the Church of the Nazarene, organized in 1908, in Peniel, Texas.

I lunched at Circle Center Mall - a four level indoor mall within walking distance of the Convention Center.  The Food Court had many offerings, but I opted for a "King Potato" at the Great Steak & Potato Company.

[Internet Photo]

The Carson Pirie Scott department store is currently housed in the former L.S. Ayres flagship store in this mall.

After lunch [no time for shopping], I headed back to the Convention Center to attend two more workshops.

Tomorrow's post - day #4 in Indianapolis, and tea at the Propylaeum.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day #2 in Indy

My morning began with  Tazo Tea [owned by Starbucks].  I chose organic Chai, which is a robust blend of Asian black tea, cinnamon, cardamon, black pepper and spices.

With the exception of registering for the convention, and attending a SDMI delegate reception at 8:00 p.m., Wednesday was a free day.  The first thing on my agenda was visiting the Indiana State Museum, a short distance from our hotel, where the re-creation of L.S. Ayres Department Store Tea Room is located.

L.S. Ayres department store was founded in 1872 by Lyman Ayres.  Its Indianapolis flagship store, the focal point of downtown, was opened in 1905, and became known for, among other things, its eighth floor tea room.  Unfortunately, the department store permanently closed in January 1992.   A decade later the tea room, an endearing place for many generations of Hosiers, re-emerged in the new Indiana State Museum, enabling patrons to step back into the elegance of the past, and enjoy the tea room's chicken velvet soup, Monte Cristo sandwiches, Hawaiian chicken salad, and other favorites once again.

I discovered just before leaving home that the tea room was closed for renovations, but I wanted to visit the museum anyway.   Below is a sign that was posted.

I purchased a tea room cookbook in the museum gift shop for $15.00.   It stated Russian Caravan, Orange Pekoe, English Breakfast, Ceylon, Oolong, Darjeeling and Green teas were typically served in the tea room.

While I didn't get to have lunch in the tea room, I did manage to take a few photographs.  In the photo below patrons are enjoying lunch in the original tea room during the Christmas season.   The picture hangs just outside the tea room entrance.

The entrance to the tea room, which, as you can see, is gated off during renovations.

I was able to stick my camera between the slats in the gate to get this photograph.  ;-)

They hope to re-open the tea room in December, and I'm thinking it just might merit a return visit!

Did you know Indianapolis is the 13th largest city in the United States, and the largest city not built on a navigable body of water?  Indy is the state capital, and largest city in Indiana.

[State Capital building, back view]

The city is very clean, safe, and easy to navigate in.   We left our car parked at the hotel most of the time, and walked to the convention center, and other places of interest.

My son and daughter-in-law loved the White River State Park on the northwest side of town. It is America's only urban state park, with Central Canal winding through it.  The canal reminded us of the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas.

[Photo courtesy of Visit]

It's easy to see why my denomination's planners have chosen Indianapolis five times as a convention and General Assembly location.

Tomorrow, day #3 in Indianapolis.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Back Home Again in Michigan!

I returned home last night, after  a wonderful time in Indianapolis, Indiana.  I have so much to share I hardly know where to begin.  

As mentioned in my June 18th post, the purpose of the trip was to attend my church denomination's quadrennial SDMI [Sunday School & Discipleship Ministries International] Convention, and the opening service of the 28th General Assembly.  My son and I were both SDMI delegates.  

Our "threesome" [my son, daughter-in-law, and me] departed from Michigan late Tuesday morning, June 18th, and arrived in Indianapolis just moments before we were to join our district executive council members for dinner at St. Elmo Steak House, located on Illinois Street in downtown Indianapolis.

[Photo courtesy of St. Elmo Restaurant]

The steak house, established in 1902, was named after the patron saint of sailors, St. Elmo.  It is the oldest Indianapolis steakhouse serving in its original location, and has earned a national reputation for its excellent food and service.

The servers all wear black suits, white shirts, and black bow ties.  Our server, Glenn Ware, looked and sounded like the actor in All State Insurance commercials who asks, "Are you in good hands?".   He said he's told that no less than 6 to 7 times a day!  

[Photo courtesy of St. Elmo Restaurant]

My camera was packed in my suitcase, so I'm sharing photos from St. Elmo's web site. If you're ever in Indianapolis, this is the place to eat!   I ordered an 8 oz. filet mignon, with a baked potato for my main entree, and on Glenn's recommendation I got their Blue and White Bread Pudding for dessert [white chocolate and blueberries served with bourbon cream sauce and vanilla ice cream].  I couldn't eat it all, but they boxed it for me to enjoy the next day.

[Photo courtesy of St. Elmo Restaurant]

After a wonderful dinner we headed to our place of lodging for the next five nights at Staybridge Suites, Indianapolis Downtown Convention Center location.  

[Photo courtesy of Staybridge Suites]

Our room, #417, was a two bedroom/two bathroom suite that I 
shared with Steve and Sharon. Pictured below was my private room with its own bath, located at one end of the suite.  

Tomorrow's post will be day #2 in Indianapolis, which pertains to tea!