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The first time I had to speak in public was when I was in fourth grade. The elementary school I attended was part of the college down the street from my house. I think I was a shepherd in the college's presentation of "Amahl and the Night Visitors."

I was pretty nervous--scared, really--about getting up in front of everyone. My father took me aside and explained to me: "Honey, when you get up to speak, everyone in the room wants it to go well. Everyone wants you to be your best because they share your success. They feel good when you do well."

He was explaining to me that there is an energy in a room or sanctuary that is positive. The same energy connects all the followers of Jesus. He has promised never to leave us alone and He gives us both the Holy Spirit and the each other. Baptism seals our connection.

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