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Published: Sunday, 11/20/2005

Strengthen ministry to the dying

You are to be commended on your Nov. 16 editorial, "Rethink end-of-life issues." I found your concise summation to be insightful, informative, and compassionate.

As an Orthodox Christian priest, one of the most crucial parts of my ministry is to the dying. Also, my wife serves as a volunteer in our local hospice program. This ministry sprung up for her following the passing of her mother in the recent past as a means to continue her prayers through action.

Enveloped in all of our "creature comforts" today, we often forget that we are but brief sojourners in this world. The topic of death is often painfully difficult until health issues remind us that we are not God. Only God has life intrinsic in Himself. When we encounter crisis, we usually have our best opportunity to "hear" what is important regarding our own mortality and "end-of-life" concerns.

I find it to be a universal principle that people's actions are a direct expression of what they believe. It is therefore crucial for all who love and minister to be ever watchful for these spiritual opportunities to inform and inspire the souls of our loved ones, inclining them to proper preparation for our departure from this life.

We do not depart into obscurity. I am thankful to be a member of a church whose holy tradition is rich in theology regarding mortality issues, founded upon the resurrection of Christ, which is our own triumph over death itself.

During the time of critical illness, the church, through her priests, wraps the faithful one in beautiful prayers and psalms, anointing with holy unction for the healing of soul and body, communing them with the food of paradise. For the one nearing death, as well as the surrounding family, this activity gives a glimpse into that life of blessedness to come and gives us hope. Even if we suffer for a season, we are reminded that the Lord purifies and prunes His beloved branches, that we might bear even greater spiritual fruits as a result. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." (Psalm 116:15)

So, along with the medical issues and concerns well considered in your editorial, we need also to strengthen our spiritual ministries to those who so need us at this crucial time of life.

THE VERY REV. PAUL ALBERT

Rector, St. Elias Orthodox Christian Church

Sylvania

As mayor-elect Carty Finkbeiner assembles his team for his new administration, I would like to make a suggestion as to how he might be able to pull Toledo out of the economic nosedive the current mayor has left us in.

My idea would be to place large billboards all along I-75 south promoting Toledo as the ideal place to relocate your business, family, and livelihood. Now that the wise citizens of Detroit have decided to give their mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, another four years to "party like it's 1999," it's likely there will soon be a steady stream of economic refugees fleeing the Motor City.

Mayor-elect Finkbeiner may want to consult with councilman Bob McCloskey first. I understand he has a source for getting the billboards for free.

MIKE MCMAHON

Robinwood Avenue

As I read your Nov. 12 article about the use of rovers in the Nov. 8 election, I can definitely reinforce the frustrations faced by some of those quoted.

I worked as a presiding judge at the East Toledo Family Center on election day. Our rover came in the night before, during setup, with a very poor attitude. She was very demeaning toward the judges and the workers, treating us like children. We did not leave the location until 8:30 p.m. on Monday after waiting for a machine part that never arrived. Our rover's help was very limited because of the fact she had to help out at three other polling places.

Our rover came in four or five times on Election Day to see if we needed any help in our duties. Since I seemed to know the most about how to use the machines in our polling place, I was "placed in charge" of the building. I'm sorry, but that was an unneeded responsibility that I had to take on, in addition to the responsibilities of my own precinct that I was in charge of.

Patrick Kriner arrived at our building at 7 p.m. after our rover claimed we were going to need extra help running reports, reconciling books, etc., due to the circumstances the night before. The closing process was very slow, having to note seal numbers, machine numbers, record keeping, etc. By 9:15, after collapsing our final machine, we thought we were finished. We had to wait for our rover, who never came back. Mr. Kriner, after numerous phone calls to the board of elections, decided to dismiss us and head downtown by 9:30. Our rover did decide to contact us, actually me, via cell phone, at 11, after I was trying to get rid of the memories of this disaster of an election.

SEAN LYONS

North Summit Street

I was surprised by Lucas County Elections Director Jill Kelly's quote in the Nov. 11 article on the election that she had not received one e-mail or voice-mail complaint from any unhappy voters or poll workers and she did not know of anyone who felt disenfranchised.

There was at least one e-mail complaint to the board of elections on Election Day, and I specifically stated that I felt that I had been disenfranchised. Perhaps she should recheck the board's e-mails since the election.

I tried calling, but no one was answering the phone when I called, and the voice-mail menu did not include an option for complaints.

KAY OLDHAM

Maumee

Forum writer David Jackson appears to have attended the Homer Simpson School of Deductive Reasoning. His "Republicans think they can fool us" letter of Nov. 12 may have been a term paper.

Mr. Jackson suggests Republican (painting them all) hypocrisy presumably over "Scooter" Libby's involvement in the Valerie Plame case, as well as the judicial nomination of Harriet Miers.

Regarding the first, perhaps Mr. Jackson can point to a single example of a responsible, respected Republican who has said it's acceptable for Mr. Libby to lie to a grand jury - assuming he did so.

Regarding the second, perhaps Mr. Jackson can point to a single senator who threatened to filibuster the Miers nomination, thus preventing an up or down vote.

I won't hold my breath.

SPENCER LUSTER

Thoman Place

Those of us who had held out hope that there was integrity and honesty in our elected officials got a slap in the face upon confirmation in The Blade that several past and present elected officials funneled money illegally for the Bush campaign through Tom Noe.

If memory serves me, after the grand jury met, Maggie Thurber was the only one who stated she and her husband used their own money for the Bush campaign.

And at the onset of her campaign to unseat incumbent Sandy Isenberg for the commissioner's position, she stressed honesty and integrity, and smeared Ms. Isenberg for not disclosing a roof job.

Well, Mrs. Thurber, your honesty and integrity speak loud and clear. Honesty eludes you and those who took those funds and tried to pass them off as your own contributions, and there could not be an explanation good enough to convince us that you were unaware it was not illegal.

Hopefully a lesson can be learned that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

DEBORAH KING

Kelsey Avenue

In response to your recent article about gasoline dropping below $2 per gallon, I would submit the better title for the article might have been "Gas drops below $2! Toledo gas guzzlers, rejoice!" The mini-van mommas and papas can once again return to fuelish ways until it happens again - and it will, no doubt. When will they ever learn?

MIKE DRABIK

Bronson Avenue



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