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I am a 1967 graduate of The Citadel (Distinguished Military Student, member of the Economic Honor Society, Dean's List), a 1975 graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div., magna cum laude, member of the Phi Alpha Chi academic honor society); I attended the Free University of Amsterdam and completed my History of Dogma there and then received a full scholarship from the Dutch government to transfer to the sister school in Kampen, Holland. In 1979 I graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches of Holland (Drs. with honors in Ethics). My New Testament minor was completed with Herman Ridderbos. I am also a 2001 Ph.D. graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (Systematic Theology) in Philly with a dissertation on the "unio mystica" in the theology of Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). I am a former tank commander, and instructor in the US Army Armor School at Ft. Knox, KY. I have been happily married to my childhood sweetheart and best friend, Sally, for 43 years. We have 6 children, one of whom is with the Lord, and 14 wonderful grandchildren.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas 2007

From the Ron Gleason Family

Dear Friends and Family:

Greetings and blessings at Christmas time! (This Christmas letter has been primarily written by Sally with some annotations by Ron. Please note that Hans has a very strange haircut—Ron.)

Writing my yearly Christmas letter always reminds me of my negligence in communicating with the many dear people I care about who never hear from me except at Christmas. Although I often think about writing and keeping in touch, this annual tradition actually forces me to act and to thank you for how God has used you to teach us valuable lessons about life, about people, and especially about Him. We have not forgotten you. Thank you for enriching our lives.

The following are some of the highlights of 2007 for our family:

Congregational needs, events, and activities, lots of people, work and family, hospitality, speaking engagements, teaching, Bible studies, and counseling filled our time, not only in January but also every other month of this year. Ron has been pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church PCA for 12 years now. This congregation has been a joy! We also were blessed that the California fires didn’t come close to our house this time, but some PCA members in our Presbytery lost their homes. It has given our diaconal boards the opportunity to help in very tangible ways—Ron.

Other events included an opportunity I had to speak at a women’s conference for a local Korean Presbyterian church, Janneke’s winter formal, Hans’ acceptance into the Orange County Sheriff’s Police Academy (I now live with a Robocop. I’m getting him doughnuts for Christmas—Ron), and Nicky’s move into her own apartment with her good friend, Danielle.

In February, Ron, with his colleague Gary L.W. Johnson, focused on writing and editing a book on post-modernism and the church. It will be published, Lord willing, by Crossway in 2008. The title is Reforming or Conforming.

March began quite normal. I spoke at two women’s retreats. Nicky celebrated her birthday on March 20th, just like always (it has happened every year on the same date ever since she was born—Ron). However a few days later, everything normal changed. On March 23rd, we learned that my mom had peacefully passed away in her sleep. Though Mom suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for several years, she was and always will be an irreplaceable light and love in our lives. We will all miss her.

In April, Ron was off to an annual church leadership conference, the Twin Lakes Fellowship, in Jackson, Mississippi. Ron always comes home from Twin Lakes refreshed and renewed. Later that month, I flew to Atlanta to participate in the Women’s Leadership Conference for the PCA. For the past two years, I have served as the West Coast representative for the national Women’s Advisory Sub-Committee of the PCA. I enjoy encouraging and helping women to grow in their understanding of reformed theology and their love of God’s Word.

Our friend J.D. Wetterling visited us in May. Nicky went apartment hunting again because Danielle got married. She moved into her own place in Costa Mesa and is now very near the law office where she works. The apartment is “uniquely Nicky” right down to the purple and sage walls (which look amazingly great!). (That’s a matter of opinion—Ron.)

Ron and church elder, Jim Dailey, traveled to Memphis, TN, in June for the PCA General Assembly. We also lived through the mess of installing porcelain tile floors in our home but the results are great. With the first book completed, Ron began another book at the request of Presbyterian and Reformed Publishers. This time it is a biography of Dr. Herman Bavinck scheduled to be released in the summer of 2008. He was invited to co-edit the Festschrift for Dr. David Wells also.

Hans graduated from the Police Academy July 17th and officially became an Orange County Deputy Sheriff. We had a nice dinner celebration with his friends and supporters at our home first and then a few days later, his girlfriend’s family held a big barbecue for him. (It got a little out of hand at the end and the cops came and shut us down—Ron.) We moved Ron’s mom into a new assisted living facility. She is very happy there. We also had a wonderful visit with two dear Dutch friends, Arjan and Suus Knepper. What a joy it was to see them!

Ron and I celebrated our 40th anniversary on August 5. After a short weekend stay in a luxurious hotel where we were treated like royalty, we returned home for a garden champagne dinner celebration with the “California kids” on the actual day. In late August, our oldest granddaughter, Lorah, arrived in California. She is living with us while she attends Providence Christian College. What a treat for us! (That, too, is a matter of opinion. No, seriously, she’s a sweetheart—Ron.)

In September, we visited the “Canadian branch” of the family. We celebrated our anniversary again with Ronnie and Jennifer, Geoff and Lisa, and ten of our eleven grandchildren (Lorah was in California). We were all “sleep deprived” for a week but we loved every minute! (It was also a rule that any time we sat down to eat or drink we had to consume at least 10,000 calories—Ron.)

Ronnie is now General Manager of the vegetable farm and packing plant where he has worked for years. Geoff is the Communications director for a bank and is preparing to enter seminary in 2009. We also had time to visit good friends and to worship in our former congregation there. When we returned, Janneke went away to camp in the San Bernadino Mountains, a big event for her. Friends, Jim and Darlene Cossin, from seminary days and John and Margriet Van Amerongen, from Canada, visited with us.

The big family event in October was Nicky’s performance in a contemporary opera production, “Red, White, and Blue”, at the Hermosa Beach playhouse near Los Angeles. Ron and I took an overnight trip to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

In November, Janneke celebrated her 30th birthday with a bowling party, the family and some guests feasted on the Thanksgiving turkey, and Hans celebrated his 25th birthday. Ron spent the weekends in Memphis teaching a seminary level course, Ecclesiology and Sacraments, at Reformed Theological Seminary-Memphis. Geoff and Lisa told us they are expecting grandchild #12. WOW! What a blessing!

On December 1, Hans and Blanca celebrated their 25th birthdays together. But the big news for that night had to do with something more important than a birthday! Hans and Blanca Lyon, his girlfriend of four years, became engaged to be married!!! We’re thrilled! They’re planning a Fall 2008 wedding.

May the peace of God rule in your hearts and minds as you celebrate this beautiful season of the year and may the year 2008 be filled with blessings and spiritual riches that only He can give! (I’ll close with a photo of Sally and me at the Reagan Museum and Library—Ron.)

Love,

Ron and Sally Gleason

Janneke, Nicky, Hans, & Blanca

Hosanna, the family German Shepherd

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8 Comments:

Blogger Randy said...

God's blessings this Christmas season!

8:22 PM  
Blogger Pastor St. John said...

Merry Christmas from me, too!
Marshall

8:24 AM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Happy Nativity Day to you too, Ron!

10:01 PM  
Blogger Infinity8Ball said...

Merry Christmas to you too!

Ron,

I'm afraid you took my honest inquiry as ridicule in your post below. I was curious about your application of those 2 texts to Sunday School because of the "asking questions" element.

I'm with you, I agree that women shouldn't teach or lead the Worship service. HOWEVER, in the Worship service, we don't usually have a question and answer period. That being the case, and given the format of Sunday School (usually Q & A style), would the texts apply to that as well?

I asked my question out of genuine curiosity and seeking to learn from what wisdom you might have on the matter. Again, I wish you, your family, and your Church a very Merry Christmas.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Infinity,
I gave a serious answer in the midst of some humor. Sunday School is not a worship service per se. That does not mean that women should be teaching Sunday School because that violates the biblical principle. Most of these matters can be resolved by Scripture and common sense. When we have our small groups on Sunday evening women talk and contribute to the discussion.
I am opposed to women teaching however. Therefore, our Elders also serve alongside of me in worship and we don't think we have the need to have women perform "devotions" or lead on the "worship team"--whatever that means. BTW, our women don't think they need to do that either. We have myriad ways of demonstrating to them that they are special and that we honor and respect them.
In short, we get along well and very harmoniously. It strikes me as odd that people are trying to contrive ways to make women feel a part of the congregation. At Grace we simply smile or laugh at all that.

7:09 AM  
Blogger Calvinist sojourner said...

pastor, Kristen and I wish you, your family, and Grace PCA our most heartfelt holiday greetings. May God bless you all richly this year.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Janke said...

Wow, Janneke 30,Hans 25 and
12 grandchildren
Seems yesterday we all were young together in the Wortmanstraat.
Happy 2008.Janke

5:09 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Janke! Yes, it's been a while since the Wortmanstraat and those long walks through Kampen. Next to Southern Cal, Kampen was my favorite place ever to live. Remember all the koffie klets after church? Love to John and the children.

Calvinist Sojourner,
Thanks for dropping by and your kind words. Our love to Kristen and we hope you have a most blessed 2008!

8:20 PM  

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