Grace Episcopal Church
12 January 2017
Today is the feast of St. Aelred of Rievaulx, a twelfth century English monk remembered as the patron saint of friendship, on the basis of his work On Spiritual Friendship. This work is available in modern English, but rather than write about what Aelred teaches, let us consider what friendship has to teach us about faith.
Friendship is founded, of course, in relationship. For someone to be my friend, I have to have a relationship with him. This relationship, this friendship, can be a very powerful motivator for action. Thus, for example, if I decide to do something (even something not in my interest), and state my reason for acting, “I am doing this because Aelred is my friend,” no one would question that friendship can form a valid basis for action. This highlights the difference between categories of thought as thinking relates to reason. It is popular in modern culture to contrast faith and reason, with the implication being that faith is unreasonable or irrational. Nothing could be further from the truth.
If I believe that I am the Tsar of Russia, all would recognize that this would be a form of irrational thinking, of unreason. If, however, I say “I am doing this because Aelred is my friend,” this is represents a reasoned decision based on a nonrational construct. Friendship (or love, or beauty, or a desire to pursue truth or goodness) is nonrational, not irrational. My decision to act on a nonrational construct is itself reasonable.
Like friendship, faith is nonrational. This does not mean that it is opposed to reason (any more than friendship is). It just means that I cannot use the methods of reason (e.g., formal logic) to determine whether or not a friendship (or love, or beauty, or a desire to pursue truth or goodness) is or is not real. The reality of the friendship is experienced. The reality of faith is experienced. Friendship changes me, changes lives, as does faith.
At John 15.15, Jesus calls His disciples friends. He tells us that we are in a personal relationship with Him. Quite apart from our duties to offer worship, we gather with Jesus because He is our friend, and bids us to treat each other as friend, brothers, sisters, those who matter to us because of how they matter to Him.
Grace abounds: Please thank:
§ Wayne and Pat Sather, and Bobbie May for the Sunday coffee hours.
§ Bernie Markevitch for hospitality for the meeting of deanery clergy.
Call for Contributions: If you have a spiritual reflection to share, or want to point your fellow worshipers toward a resource, submit your contributions to Fr. Karl (by email) by Wednesday in the week of publication.
Don’t forget “Something Extra for Grace”: Supplemental giving envelopes can be found in pews. If you want to give something extra, please use an envelope to ensure that you are credited.
Music this Week: The Second Sunday after the Epiphany
Organist: Ben Dobey
Prelude Two Chorale Preludes (Duo and Adagio) on All glory be to
God on high J. S. Bach
Entrance Hymn 135 “Songs of thankfulness and praise” Salzburg
Offertory Hymn 444 “Blessed be the God of Israel,” Thornbury
Communion Hymn 126 “The people who in darkness walked” Dundee
Closing Hymn 542 “Christ is the world’s true Light” St. Joan
Postlude Chorale Prelude on The people who in darkness walked
§ Adult Education: Continuing on Sunday, January 15, 2017, we will explore The State of the Church in 2017. We’ll use data and trend lines related to what it means to be a Christian in America and the world, to better define the broader context in which we live our faith. We will focus on how the changes around us and in us can best be identified, that we can best decide how to proactively serve in ministry.
§ Sung Compline: On Sunday, January 15, 2017 there will be a potluck supper at 6:30 p.m. followed by Sung Compline at 8:00 p.m. Please join us for a beautiful restful service full of candles and music. A sign-up sheet for the potluck supper can be found on the table in the Narthex.
§ Signing of the Tripartite Covenant: We need four lay members of the parish to attend mass next Sunday, January 22, 2017 at St. Dominic and St. Peter Lutheran Church (two people at each church) as representatives of Grace Church to sign the Tripartite Covenant. Mass at both churches commences at 10:30 a.m. Please call Grace Church office if you would like to serve in this capacity.
§ Icon Workshop: During Lent (February 26 through April 9, 2017) we will offer a seven-part workshop on Sunday afternoons (1:00 – 6:00 p.m.) in which participants can write (paint) their own icon of the archangel Michael. This workshop will be held at the parish and presented by Katherine de Shazer who has been painting icons for over 16 years. The fee is $350.00 including materials and limited funds are available for scholarships. A $100 deposit is required to register and the deadline is Wednesday, January 18, 2017. A sign-up sheet and more information, including where to send your registration and deposit, can be found on the table in the Narthex.
§ Girl Scout Cookies! On Sunday January 15 and 22, 2017, after both masses Girl Scout Cookies can be preordered for $4.00/. Money will be due when the cookies are delivered at church. Any Grace Church youth member who is involved in Daisy/Girl Scouts should come in their troop uniform to help work the booth and we will divide the orders up equally between the participants.
§ The Annual Meeting: This year’s Annual Meeting will take place on Sunday, January 29, 2016. We will have one Mass at 9:00 a.m. followed by the Annual Meeting at 10:15 a.m. At the conclusion of the meeting we plan to have brunch in St. Nicholas Hall. The agenda of the meeting will include committee reports, new Vestry elections, 2016 financial review and 2017 budget, review Vestry actions, and an overall review of the 2017 calendar. Please make every effort to attend and participate.
§ Annual Meeting Reports: If you are in charge of anything, please write a short report to be included in the Annual Report and send it to the office email@example.com by Friday, January 20th. Thank you so much.
§ Call for Vestry Nominations: Vestry elections will be held on Sunday, January 29th, at the parish annual meeting. We need at least three nominees, with names provided to the parish office by Friday, January 20th. You can nominate another person or yourself. To run for Vestry you must be a qualified elector of the parish, which means that: (1) You are regular in your attendance on worship;(2) You have received Holy Eucharist at least once in the prior year;(3) You are active in your support of the parish through a pledge or some other form of giving; and (4) You are at least sixteen years of age. (5) Provide a brief biographical sketch which allows your fellow parishioners to better understand your relationship with God and His Church. Vestry members are called to committed leadership, and are expected to attend twelve meetings throughout the year (once per month); and participate in parish activities as you are able.
§ A draft of the 2017 Parish Directory: can be found on the Narthex table. Please take time to review your entry and initial your information if it is current, otherwise make changes as necessary.
§ Love Buckets: is a GAP Ministry of Love INC organized by our neighbors, St. Luke’s Methodist Church. As other churches have donated to our own GAP Ministry – Martha & Mary Cooking Guild – St. Luke’s is asking for donations to their Love Buckets Ministry. A list of supplies needed is posted on the notice board, and a large grey bin for donations can be found in the Narthex. This drive will run until the end of January.
§ Call for Diocesan Convention Delegates and Alternates: Diocesan Convention is scheduled for October 21st from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. commencing with mass at Holy Apostles, Oneida at 9:00 a.m. followed by the convention meetings at the Radisson Hotel in Ashwaubenon. We are in need of four delegates and four alternates to attend and vote at Diocesan Convention. This will include a pre-convention information meeting, there are several scheduled. If you are willing to serve please call the office. Delegates and alternates are determined by volunteer order. In the event that we have more than eight responses we will vote on January 29th at the Annual Meeting.
§ Something Extra for Grace: Envelopes are available in the pews if you are moved to give an extra gift, beyond your pledge or regular plate donation, toward the life of the church. Gifts are tax deductible if you write your name on the envelope.
§ Bible Challenge: Videos for all 52 weeks of the year are now available on Grace Abounds. If you take this challenge, you will find that in one year you will read all of the Bible! This will require less than an hour of your time, six days a week. A schedule of readings is provided on the parish website, along with weekly study summaries and a weekly video summary of the readings. If you need a good study bible for the challenge, contact the parish office. When we immerse ourselves in Scripture, the mantle of the Lord does fall upon us. We are equipped to discern God’s will and to lead others to know and love and serve the Lord.
§ Flower Schedule for 2017: Giving the gift of flowers is a wonderful way to remember a loved one or to offer thanksgiving for your blessings. If you wish to sign up for a specific Sunday, the Flower Schedule is available on the table in the narthex. More than one person can sign up for each Sunday.
§ Coffee Hour Schedule: There is a new sign-up sheet for hosting coffee hour in 2017. If you would like to host, please sign up for either 8:00 a.m. or 10:15 a.m. If you have any questions, please see Mary Massey. Thank you so much.
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§ We Are on Itunes! Check out the new podcast!!!