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Salem United Methodist Church

R ockvale, TN

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The History of Valentines Day

Posted on February 14, 2019 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

This article was taken from

History of Valentine’s Day

Every February 14, across the United States and in other places around the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint, and where did these traditions come from?
Find out about the history of this centuries-old holiday, from ancient Roman rituals to the customs of Victorian England.

The Legend of St. Valentine

The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

 Who Was the Real St. Valentine?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Origins of Valentine’s Day: A Pagan Festival in February

While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

Valentine’s Day: A Day of Romance

Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity and but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”–at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned
in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.
(The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.)
Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose
a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

Typical Valentine’s Day Greetings

In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.

Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year (more cards are sent at Christmas).
Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

Mission Accomplished!!!

Posted on February 3, 2019 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (0)

For those who attend Salem UMC
You know that I am Joel Tompkins, the social media guy
and website manager for our awesome little church...
That's my wife and I in the bottom middle picture for those of
you who may not know...

When I first approached Pastor Ann with the idea
for the "Souper Bowl Saturday" I really wasn't sure
what to expect as this is something that hasn't been
done here at Salem atleast in the time that my
family has been attending here...

With the blessing of Pastor Ann and the church
we planned this event and with each meeting
I think it is safe to say that you could FEEL
the excitement grow amongst those who
helped put this together...

I can't say enough good things about those
that were part of the planning committee
and those that volunteered to prepare a
crock pot FULL of deliciousness...
And that cornbread!!!

To those who gave up a portion of
their afternoon to share a meal with us


With out your participation this would not
have been possible...

We look forward to doing this again next year
and please, feel free to leave us a suggestion
on anything we can do to add more fun to next year!!!

Have a great week!!!

SOUPER BOWL SATURDAY this weekend!!!

Posted on January 30, 2019 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

We are so EXCITED to see that the weather for our 
event is going to be nearly PERFECT for football!!!
The high temp is in the mid to upper 50's on Saturday...
So PLEASE comeon out and join us for all of the 
FOOD, FUN, & FELLOWSHIP that you can stand!!!

Dinner will be served up from 4:00 pm until 5:30 pm...

Best team spirit (individual and couples) will be chosen from 5:30- 600 pm...

Followed by the GREATEST sports movie EVER...
6:00pm - 8:00pm

Souper Bowl Saturday Is Coming!!!

Posted on January 9, 2019 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

We are beyond proud to announce
that on Saturday, February 2nd, 2019
we will be hosting the 1st ever

It promises to be an afternoon of
Food, fun, fellowship, and prizes!!!

Wear your favorite team colors and
be ready to compete for prizes for
best team spirit!!!
(individual & couples)

Dinner will be held from 4pm until 5:30
and the movie will play at 6pm...

Come on out and join us for all the fun!!!


Posted on January 7, 2019 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

A BIG congratulaions goes out to our
2019 GROW officers from Salem:
Kay Atwood: President
Virginia Caldwell: Vice President

Photos With Santa

Posted on December 3, 2018 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Santa Claus is coming to town...

That's right...
Santa will be at Salem UMC
THIS SATURDAY from 11 am to 4pm
taking pictures with families and their pets!!!

We will have a photographer (Leah Meece) on site
and donations will be accepted for her college fund...

Reservations are suggested...

Call or church office and leave a message...
Your call will be returned within 24 hours...


Souper Bowl Planning meeting

Posted on December 3, 2018 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

We hope you can join us for our first planning meeting
for what we hope will become an annual event called

Please come with an open mind and bring some
football themed fun ideas!!!

The meeting is set for this Sunday
Dec 9th at 1pm at Salem UMC

For more info please call Joel Tompkins
(leave message)
or e-mail him at:

Christmas Caroling

Posted on December 3, 2018 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

We hope you can join us on our annual
Christmas Caroling field trip on Sunday December 16th
from 1pm to 5pm...

A snack lunch will be provided...
We will travel by school bus from stop to stop...

Christmas Eve Service

Posted on December 3, 2018 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (0)

We hope that you and your family can join us as we celebrate 
the birth of our saviour, Jesus Christ...
Our worship service begins at 5pm..
Monday Dec. 24th...

November Communion offering

Posted on November 1, 2018 at 12:05 PM Comments comments (0)

This month, our Communion offering goes
to GROW to help with the Community Feeding  program...
Thank you for the past donations and we look forward
to seeing you all soon!!!