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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Offer of Self

Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
25 August 2016

This Saturday is the diocesan Eucharistic Festival, in Fond du Lac.  At this annual festival we gather to celebrate the great gift of God’s offering of Himself, of the reality that in communion “… we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of [God’s] Son …” (BCP 339).  We give thanks that we may abide in Christ, as He abides in us.
The quotation just given is from the prayer after communion found in Rite I of Holy Eucharist.  Rite I language is less familiar than it used to be, and unfamiliar to many.  Leaving aside the preferences that any one of us might have in language, Rite I expresses a different form of offering than that found in any of the prayers of Rite II.  The offering in Rite II is very much focused on the bread and wine which will become Jesus’ Body and Blood.  In Prayer B of Rite II we do recite that we offer “our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving”, but this a different focus from the language found in Rite I:  “And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, our selves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee …” (BCP 336).  This is a different offering!  Rite I is more focused on us standing before God, and in making this offering we recognize that the Eucharist involves more than Jesus being broken.
In the Holy Eucharist we are broken.  We are broken that we may be used by God, mended for His work, sent forth from His table.  We must focus on what we take away from God’s table, not just upon the blessing we receive at His table.  We take away His presence to do His work.  We are sent, and all ministry must be ministry which embodies God’s presence or it will be at best a work of our own vanity.
Offer your self.  Let God mold and use you.  Be sent.

Grace aboundsPlease thank: 
§  Kevan and Traci Revis for the Sunday coffee hours.
§  Bobbi Kraft for her presentation on the first year of seminary.
§  Ellen Aparicio for help in pastoral care.

Call for ContributionsIf 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.

“[W]hen we understand that ministry involves God using us, that the work is His and that He will determine the outcome, then our frustration can be channeled into the need to remain faithful, remain focused, and to experience the blessing God gives to those who do His will.”  Those words appeared in last week’s blog posting.  This week we received the anonymous contribution which follows:

By any objective measure my life has been blessed.  Sure, it’s had ups and downs, like all lives do, but I have been blessed in ways that have given me options that most do not have.  I have thought about this for a long time.  Recently, however, I’ve gone through a series of troubles that have ranged from something like a heart attack to a serious auto accident to pneumonia, and my thinking has been more focused on asking why I have survived.  Believe me, when you’re sick you have time to think about these things!  And what have I learned?  I have learned that despite all of the options I have had and have in life, God’s in charge.  He has seen me through times of both happiness and trouble.  He’s not through with me yet.  He has a plan, and my plan is to try to pay my most serious attention in all of the ways that I can to what God intends.
When life is good, thank God for the blessings.  When life is challenging, thank him!  God is in charge, and in his plan he will see you through all challenges.  Part of his plan in keeping you is to allow you to be part of his blessing to others.  Trust in God, and let him use you in his blessings.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      —Anonymous

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 Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 17C)
                                      Organists:  Caleb Klinzing and Sandie Palmer
                                      Cantor:  Bernie Markevitch

Prelude                          Preludes on “Largo” Anton Dvorak & “Theme from
                                      Finlandia”                                                    Jean Sibelius
Entrance Hymn  376      “Joyful, Joyful, we adore thee,”                    Hymn to Joy
Offertory Hymn 477      “All praise to thee,”                                          Engelberg
Communion Hymn 321 “My God, thy table now is spread,”                 Rockingham
Closing Hymn 438         “Tell out, my soul,”                                          Woodlands

Parish Notices

§  Blessing of the Backpacks! On Sunday, August 28th, we will be blessing all the backpacks and school children as well as all the teachers, at both 8:00 and 10:15 services and at All Saints Chapel, Elkhart Lake. We will invite everyone, young and old, who are starting school to come forward with their backpacks for a blessing. We will also ask all the teachers to come forward to be blessed in their important work as well.
§  Bishop’s Visitation at Elkhart Lake: The Rt. Rev. Matthew A. Gunter and his wife Leslie will be at Elkhart Lake for their visitation to All Saints Chapel on Sunday, August 28th. There will be a time of fellowship and conversation with Bishop Matt and Leslie in St. Hubertus Hall following the service. The undesignated offering will go to the Bishop’s Discretionary Fund which provides for the pastoral emergencies and other unplanned pastoral expenses. Please be generous as you are able.
§  ESTHER: IT’S TOUGH BEING A WOMAN: Grace Church Women’s Bible Study will begin on Monday August 29that 10:00am.  Join us for a faith journey through the Book of Esther.  Beth Moore will take us through a very personal examination of this Old Testament story of Esther as she peels back the layers of history and shows us how very contemporary and applicable the story is to our lives today. If you’ve ever felt inadequate, fearful or find yourself in situations that seem overpowering, this is the study for you. Just as it was tough being a woman in Esther’s time, it is tough being a woman today. During this nine-week study we will watch a lecture on DVD’s, use a workbook ($15.99), and talk about Beth’s teachings. The Book of Esther contains treasures to aid us in our sometimes hurried, harried and pressured lives. For those of you who are interested, there is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex.
§  Choir: Rehearsals resume September 7th at 6:00 p.m.  Everybody is welcome, new and old members.  We especially need tenors and basses.
§  Mass in the Grass: Please join us Sunday, September 11, 2016 for an outdoor Mass and All Church Picnic together with the parish of St. Peter, Sheboygan Falls and the parish of St. Paul, Plymouth. This event will take place at Deland Community Center, 901 Broughton Dr., Sheboygan, beginning with Mass at 10:00 a.m. with lunch following. There will be games and activities for our children’s enjoyment. Inviting guests is encouraged. There will be ONE MASS only that day. We are asking for donations of cookies/bars, potato chips, and monetary donations to defray the costs which will be shared amongst all three parishes. We are also asking for volunteers for set-up and clean-up and two individuals to help in roasting the pigs the day before. Please sign up on the sheet on the Narthex table.
§  Sunday School Begins: We are getting excited about Sunday School! The teachers are making plans for another wonderful year of learning about the love of Jesus Christ! Sunday School will begin on September 18th at 9:00am. Registration forms are available in the Narthex or at Mass in the Grass on September 11th.
§  Like Grace Church on Facebook
§  Follow Grace Church on Twitter: @GEC_Sheboygan
§  Follow Grace Church on Instagram: @GEC_Sheboygan
§  We Are on Itunes! Check out the new podcast!!!



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Trusting in His Plan

Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
18 August 2016

When we make our lives fully available to God He will use us to bring His blessing to others.  Perhaps we should consider how the words of Psalm 34.1, “I will bless the Lord at all times …”, can be lived out in ways in which our own praise of and thanksgiving to God become a form of His blessing offered to all who He chooses to put into our lives.
When we think of life we can all think of people of whom we might politely say “Happier elsewhere” (i.e., as not a part of my life).  But the reality is that once we recognize that God is in charge, anybody being a part of our lives means that their presence is one in which God has appointed us to some ministry.  Ministries must have, of course, healthy boundaries, but once we start to look upon others as those to whom we have been appointed to minister, they start to look different in our own eyes, because our own eyes start to see them a little bit more in the way that God does.
Which brings us to the question whose ministry is involved.  Perhaps the question of tone of voice is instructive.  Imagine, for example, if we could know the tone of Jesus’ voice when He says at John 14.9, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip?”  One can certainly sense frustration in Jesus, and in sensing frustration better understand all of the ways that God interacts with us and shows us His will.  But, for those who do not know God, His “tone of voice” that will allow them to better sense His presence will be experienced through the voices of His followers.  We become those who, trusting in God’s plan, become the words of blessing to those who do not know God, that they too may know Him and “bless the Lord at all times”. 
Just as we might imagine a tone of frustration in Jesus’ voice, we find much frustration in any ministry we engage in.  But when we understand that ministry involves God using us, that the work is His and that He will determine the outcome, then our frustration can be channeled into the need to remain faithful, remain focused, and to experience the blessing God gives to those who do His will.

Grace aboundsPlease thank: 
§  Bobbie May for the Sunday coffee hour, and for her ongoing work organizing the parish library.
§  Randie Barrows for work to ameliorate a gathering of bats!

Call for ContributionsIf 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 Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 16C)
                                      Organist:  Wayne Wildman
                                      Cantor:  Sandie Palmer   

Entrance Hymn 368        “Holy Father, great Creator”                     Regent Square
Offertory Hymn 493      “O for a thousand tongues to sing”                        Azmon
Communion Hymn 339  “Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness”      Schm├╝cke dich
Closing Hymn 524         “I love they kingdom, Lord”            St. Thomas (Williams)

Parish Notices

§  Fr. Karl Schaffenburg will be traveling: August 18th – 23rd.  Fr. Marcus Cunningham will be presiding at Mass on Sunday, August 21, 2016
§  My First Year In Seminary: Bobbi Kraft will be here this Sunday, August 21, 2016 to give the aforementioned presentation at 9:00 a.m.
§  Blessing of the Backpacks! We will be blessing all the backpacks and school children as well as all the teachers, on August 28th at both 8:00 and 10:15 services. We will invite everyone, young and old, who are starting school to come forward with their backpacks for a blessing. We will also ask all the teachers to come forward to be blessed in their important work as well.
§  Eucharistic Festival: August 27, 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Fond du Lac, WI. A traditional celebration of the Sacrament, with an outdoor procession & adoration. Homilist is the Rev. Matthew Olver, Teaching Fellow in Liturgics, Nashotah House Theological Seminary. Picnic meal follows. All are welcome to this diocesan family celebration. Sign up online to help or sing in the choir. For more details, see the insert in Sunday’s mass booklet, the notice board in the Narthex or visit diofdl.org/ef. 
Commemoration of Blessed Charles Chapman Grafton: Included in the Eucharistic Festival is The Grafton Lecture, 1:00–2:00 p.m in St. Augustine’s Chapel. Matthew P. Payne presents “A Brief History of An Episcopal Orthodox Affair: a Russian and a Bostonian” with response from festival homilist, Fr. Matthew Olver.
§  ESTHER: IT’S TOUGH BEING A WOMAN: Grace Church Women’s Bible Study will begin on Monday August 29that 10:00am.  Join us for a faith journey through the Book of Esther.  Beth Moore will take us through a very personal examination of this Old Testament story of Esther as she peels back the layers of history and shows us how very contemporary and applicable the story is to our lives today. If you’ve ever felt inadequate, fearful or find yourself in situations that seem overpowering, this is the study for you. Just as it was tough being a woman in Esther’s time, it is tough being a woman today. During this nine-week study we will watch a lecture on DVD’s, use a workbook ($15.99), and talk about Beth’s teachings. The Book of Esther contains treasures to aid us in our sometimes hurried, harried and pressured lives.
For those of you who are interested, there is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex.
§  Mass in the Grass: Please join us Sunday, September 11, 2016 for an outdoor Mass and All Church Picnic together with the parish of St. Peter, Sheboygan Falls and the parish of St. Paul, Plymouth. This event will take place at Deland Community Center, 901 Broughton Dr., Sheboygan, beginning with Mass at 10:00 a.m. with lunch following. There will be games and activities for our children’s enjoyment. Inviting guests is encouraged. There will be ONE MASS only that day. We will be asking for donations of cookies/bars, potato chips, and monetary donations to defray the costs which will be shared amongst all three parishes. We will also be asking for volunteers for set-up and clean-up and two individuals to help in roasting the pigs the day before. Please sign up on the sheet on the Narthex table.
§  Sunday School Begins: We are getting excited about Sunday School! The teachers are making plans for another wonderful year of learning about the love of Jesus Christ! Sunday School will begin on September 18th at 9:00am. Please watch for more information.
§  Like Grace Church on Facebook
§  Follow Grace Church on Twitter: @GEC_Sheboygan
§  Follow Grace Church on Instagram: @GEC_Sheboygan
§  We Are on Itunes! Check out the new podcast!!!
§  https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/grace-church-sheboygan/id982836791

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Holy Coincidence!

Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
11 August 2016

“Holy ‘coincidence’”!  Note the quotation marks.  William Temple (Archbishop of Canterbury 1942—44) once said words to the effect, “When I pray to God, coincidences happen.  When I don’t, they don’t.”  We might add to this the similar observation that a coincidence reflects “God’s decision to remain anonymous”.  These observations came to mind yesterday when, on the feast of St. Laurence the Deacon (d. 258), patron saint of the diaconate, the New Testament lesson for Morning Prayer was Acts 6.1-7, the story of the appointment of the original seven deacons in the Church.
Bear in mind that the lectionary of readings for Morning Prayer is independent of the calendar of saints, so for Acts 6.1-7 to appear of Laurence’s day looks like a happy coincidence.  But is it?  Indeed, is any such “coincidence” merely the result of random events?
Randomness presupposes a lack of purpose.  Belief in God presupposes purpose.  That’s the fundamental difference between secularism and faith.  It is certainly part of Christian faith to discern how God reveals His purpose for us, to ask questions, but the Christian worldview is fundamentally different from the secular worldview.  In secularism life has no purpose; it is a phenomenon that we can argue over (e.g., what knowledge is, and how this relates to sensation; whether the “self” can be “aware”; whether human life differs in any way from the life found in other animals and in plants; how life began and how it will end, etc.), and these arguments are common because our experience of being human includes the experience of searching for answers.  But searching for any “answer” presupposes purpose, that existence is not merely random and determined by the random interaction of purely material forces, things and events!  In other words, to be intellectually honest, to be truly secular a person has to accept that any search for any answer is absurd.
Once we accept the revelation that life is not random, that purpose exists, then we start to attempt to make connections between events and purpose.  This line of speculation can follow many pathways, with conflicts between a strong determinism (the view that everything is foreordained) and the concept of free will (that our choices influence events and outcomes), and all such speculation is informed in how God chooses to reveal Himself and His will for us (e.g., in Scripture, in the answers to prayers).
The next time you encounter a “coincidence” stop and consider that it might just be God “tapping your shoulder” to make sure you are paying attention.  You need to not read too much into any coincidence, but asking whether there is something to be read into the event can allow you to focus on the reality that in all times and places God reaches out to us, and when He gets our attention our response must be one which recognizes His rule, His greatness, His love.

Grace aboundsPlease thank: 
§  Gary and Elaine Dinstuhl, and Bryan Stenz for the Sunday coffee hours, assisted in cleanup by Julie Davidson.

Call for ContributionsIf 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 Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 15C)
                                      Organist:  Delpha McAloon
                                      Cantor:  Sandie Palmer   

Entrance Hymn 544       “Jesus shall reign wher-e’re the sun”             Duke Street
Offertory Hymn 366      “Holy God, we praise thy Name,”                  Grosser Gott
Communion Hymn 419  “Lord of all being,”                                       Mendon
Closing Hymn 655         “O Jesus, I have promised”                           Nyland

Parish Notices

§  St. Mary the Virgin: Monday, August 15th is the Feast of St. Mary the Virgin, also known as the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. We will celebrate with a Solemn Mass at 6:00 pm.
§  Fr. Karl Schaffenburg will be traveling: August 18th – 22nd.  Fr. Marcus Cunningham will be presiding at mass on Sunday, August 21st.
§  Coffee Hour: We need volunteers for the following Sundays: August 21st and 28th.
§  ESTHER: IT’S TOUGH BEING A WOMAN: Grace Church Women’s Bible Study will begin on Monday August 29that 10:00am.  Join us for a faith journey through the Book of Esther.  Beth Moore will take us through a very personal examination of this Old Testament story of Esther as she peels back the layers of history and shows us how very contemporary and applicable the story is to our lives today. If you’ve ever felt inadequate, fearful or find yourself in situations that seem overpowering, this is the study for you. Just as it was tough being a woman in Esther’s time, it is tough being a woman today. During this nine-week study we will watch a lecture on DVD’s, use a workbook ($15.99), and talk about Beth’s teachings. The Book of Esther contains treasures to aid us in our sometimes hurried, harried and pressured lives.
§  For those of you who are interested, there is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex.
§  Love INC - Love In The Name of Christ:
§  The Guild of Martha & Mary: will hold their second cooking session here at Grace Church on August 16th, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Please pray for this cooking ministry! If you want to get involved please call Jenna, Love Inc. Coordinator, at 920-783-6701, ext. 103 or call Paul Aparicio at 920-912-6009.
§  Freedom Cry Anti-Sex Trafficking Coalition Lantern Walk: Unknown to many, the extent of this horrific scourge on our Sheboygan community is second (Milwaukee being first) in the State of Wisconsin. On August 19th at 7:00 p.m at the Sheboygan County Christian High School there will be a free showing of the documentary “Nefarious” (see poster on notice board in the Narthex). Due to the images and content in the documentary, this event is for a mature audience. The Lantern Walk will take place following the documentary. Funds raised will go to Redeem and Restore in Waukesha and The Anti-Trafficking Coalition of Sheboygan County. 
§  For more information regarding Love INC, items needed and volunteer opportunities please see their July bulletin in the Narthex.
§  My First Year In Seminary: Bobby Kraft will be here on August 21st to give the aforementioned presentation at 9:00 a.m.
§  Eucharistic Festival: August 27, 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Fond du Lac, WI. A traditional celebration of the Sacrament, with an outdoor procession & adoration. Homilist is the Rev. Matthew Olver, Teaching Fellow in Liturgics, Nashotah House Theological Seminary. Picnic meal follows. All are welcome to this diocesan family celebration. Sign up online to help or sing in the choir. For more details see the notice board in the Narthex or visit diofdl.org/ef. Commemoration of Blessed Charles Chapman Grafton: Included in the Eucharistic Festival is The Grafton Lecture, 1:00–2:00 p.m in St. Augustine’s Chapel. Matthew P. Payne presents “A Brief History of An Episcopal Orthodox Affair: a Russian and a Bostonian” with response from festival homilist, Fr. Matthew Olver.
§  Blessing of the Backpacks! We will be blessing all the backpacks and school children as well as all the teachers, on August 28th at both 8:00 and 10:15 services. We will invite everyone, young and old, who are starting school to come forward with their backpacks for a blessing. We will also ask all the teachers to come forward to be blessed in their important work as well.
§  Mass in the Grass: Please join us Sunday, September 11, 2016 for an outdoor Mass and All Church Picnic together with the parish of St. Peter, Sheboygan Falls and the parish of St. Paul, Plymouth. This event will take place at Deland Community Center, 901 Broughton Dr., Sheboygan, beginning with Mass at 10:00 a.m. with lunch following. There will be games and activities for our children’s enjoyment. Inviting guests is encouraged. There will be ONE MASS only that day. We will be asking for donations of cookies/bars, potato chips, and monetary donations to defray the costs which will be shared amongst all three parishes. We will also be asking for volunteers for set-up and clean-up and two individuals to help in roasting the pigs the day before. Please sign up on the sheet on the Narthex table.
§  Sunday School Begins: We are getting excited about Sunday School! The teachers are making plans for another wonderful year of learning about the love of Jesus Christ! Sunday School will begin on September 18th at 9:00am. Please watch for more information.
§  Like Grace Church on Facebook
§  Follow Grace Church on Twitter: @GEC_Sheboygan
§  Follow Grace Church on Instagram: @GEC_Sheboygan
§  We Are on Itunes! Check out the new podcast!!!