Grace Episcopal Church
7 December 2017
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
In Advent we prepare for the coming of the Lord. This coming Sunday, the collect reminds us that a key element in preparation is repentance. This is not, and has never been, a popular message. We far prefer to hear something like “You’re doing great! Keep it up!”, but the overarching message of all the prophets is that we are not being faithful to God in the ways that we have promised. The prophets repeatedly tell the Chosen People two things: (a) You are not doing what you said you would do (being faithful to the Lord as specified in the covenant); (b) You are not practicing justice.
Let’s “fast forward” to 2017 and consider how the prophetic message applies to us now. As we know from the words of Jesus; mouth, He has come to fulfill the ancient law (Mtt. 5.17). As we know from the words of the apostle Paul, Jesus is the end (as in fulfillment) of the Law (Rom. 10.4), and there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Rom. 8.1). But this does not mean that Jesus is just some kind of holy “Get Out of Jail Free!” card in a game of cosmic Monopoly. Jesus makes clear that we must live into our identity as sons and daughters of the Father, and that we do this through Him. As we prepare for His coming we must, therefore, consider the ways in which we relate to God. Is the relationship healthy?
In examining the health of our relationship with God we are blessed in at least two things. The first is that any absence of health is subject to healing by the great physician of souls, Our Lord. The second is that what a healthy relationship looks like is not hidden and not arbitrary. We know what the indicators of health are. How are to relate to God is specified both in the Ten Commandments and in the promises we each make in baptism. These promises (found on pp. 304—5 in the prayer book) are prayers. We pray about what we promise to do “with God’s help”. And we begin how? By promising to “persevere in resisting evil … [and, when we fail, to] repent and return to the Lord”.
The prophetic message is alive and well in who we say we are. May this message resonate especially in this season of expectation!
Don’t forget stewardship! Plan on giving: Pray now about the priorities God sets before you, and take the next step up in giving.
- Giving—offering to God—is not optional. It is commanded by God that we offer Him our first fruits. The biblical standard for giving is the tithe. If you tithe you will never be poor! The offering to God is pleasing to Him.
- All things are God’s, not only because He creates them but because He redeems them. The only thing that creatures can claim as their own is evil.
- Stewardship extends to every aspect of life and work in the world. Giving money to the Church is but one aspect of how we relate to our Creator.
- The giving of alms means literally “to do acts of mercy” (Mtt. 6.2 in the original Greek). A merciful heart is pleasing to God.
- God commands His people to express their faith and love in active works of mercy (Jas. 2.15-17; 1 Jn. 3.17-18).
- The alternative to giving always involves the words “me” and “mine”. Substitute the word “God’s”!
Grace abounds: Please thank:
§ Bob and Anne Hanlon and Jessica Ambelang for the Sunday coffee hours.
§ Ben Dobey and the choir for the festival of Lessons & Carols.
§ Scott Bailey for visiting as St. Nicholas, and Pat Ford Smith for organizing the visit.
§ Randie Barrows for maintenance.
§ The Altar Guild and The Guild of the Little Flower for the seasonal changes in church appointments.
§ Mary Snyder, Nicci and Chase Beeck, and Amy Berge for hospitality for the lessons and carols reception; all who provided food; cleanup by Jessica Ambelang, Julie Davidson, Jane Hanson and Elizabeth Schaffenburg.
And note the following thanksgiving received from The Salvation Army: “Thank you [Nancy Yurk] for coordinating the bell ringing for the Grace Episcopal. I am thrilled to announce that the ringers raised $541.39 while ringing at Festival Foods on Saturday, Dec. 2. That is enough money to provide an individual with 18 days of shelter, including three meals a day, case work and so much more.”
Furniture available! The following items are available, free, from a parish family. Items are lightly used, and anyone claiming an item will need to arrange transport.
- king bed (mattress, box springs (2 twins) and frame
- glass top round table - one unmatching chair
- wingback chair
- wooden traditional rocking chair
- white 4-shelf unit for a bathroom
Special “Thank You’ s” : A supply of Thank You note cards can be found on the table at the back of church nave. When someone in the parish does something special, take the time to write them a personal note. Also, from time to time, think about who you might want to thank for ongoing service, and let them know you have noticed!
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. Please prayerfully consider a year end gift.
Music this Week: The Second Sunday of Advent
Music Director: R. Benjamin Dobey
Prelude Chorale Partita on “Comfort, comfort ye my people”
Entrance 76 “On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry” Winchester New
Offertory 75 “There’s a voice in the wilderness crying” Ascension
Communion Motet O Lord, how shall I meet you Johann Crueger
Communion 67 “Comfort, comfort ye my people” Psalm 42
Closing 73 “The King shall come when morning dawns” Richmond
Postlude Prelude in G Major Enrico Bossi
§ Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra Presents Christmas Treasures, December 9, 2017 at 7:30 pm at the Weill Center. Our holiday tradition is sure to delight all ages. The Orchestra is joined by the Sheboygan Symphony Chorus to present a musical sleigh ride with a perfect blend of traditional carols, sing-alongs, classical and pop favorites! Kevin McMahon, SSO Music Director & Conductor, Fabian Qamar, SSC Director. SheboyganSymphony.org 920-452-1985
§ Adult Christian Formation: On Sunday, December 10th, Jerry Molitor will continue a three week course on the Infancy Narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
§ Youth and Children’s Choir: Youth and Children’s choir rehearsals for the Christmas Eve service are at 5:30-6:00pm beginning Wednesday December 6th, downstairs in the choir room. Additional rehearsals will take place on December 13th and 20th. The choir is open to 2nd graders through high school, and will sing for the 4pm service on Christmas Eve.
§ Christmas Pageant Rehearsals: We will continue holding rehearsals during Sunday School classes on Sunday and the 17th. Participation is open to youth of all ages. The Pageant will take place during the 4:00pm Christmas Eve Mass.
§ Ugly Sweater Contest: Sunday at 11:45 a.m., the Sunday School children will host and judge their first annual ugly Christmas sweater contest in St. Nicholas Hall. The winner will receive a coveted award and have their picture on display until the 2018 contest!
§ Christmas Flowers/Music: If you would like to contribute to the Christmas flowers/music fund for memorial or thanksgiving, please fill out the form inserted in this bulletin and place it on the offering plate or return it to the office by December 18th.
§ Thank you from Carrye Jo Cony, Volunteer Coordinator at The Salvation Army Sheboygan, to those who participated in bell ringing at Festival Foods on December 2nd. Grace Church raised $541.39! This is enough money to provide an individual with 18 days of shelter, including three meals a day, case work and so much more.
§ Cookware Fundraiser: Featuring cookware and kitchen essentials from Vollrath Corp. These are heavy duty items made to excellent quality standards. Grace Church will receive 20% of listed prices on all items ordered by Wednesday, December 13th. Catalogues and order sheets can be found in the Narthex.
§ Christmas Joy: is scheduled to meet on Thursday, December 21 at 11:00 a.m. in the church kitchen. At that time, we will assemble winter greens and flowers and bag cookies and then make deliveries. (There is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex.) We need helping hands. Can you bake, make a delivery and/or help arrange? Please join us for this fulfilling and fun ministry to our homebound and elderly. They will appreciate it.
Call Barb MacEwen (92-912-4505) if you have questions.
§ Important 2017 Pledges Information: Those that intend to receive a tax credit for their 2017 pledge must have their final payment to the office by Friday, December 29th for deposit. Please plan accordingly, as the Office will be closed from the 26th to the 1st of January. Payments can also be dropped in the Church mailbox at the 7th Street Entrance.
§ 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.
§ Grace Notes is here: http://gracechurchgracenotes.blogspot.com/. You can sign up to receive the blog every Thursday
§ Grace Abounds: http://www.graceabounds.online Sermons, podcasts, the Bible Challenge
§ Like Grace Church on Facebook: @gracesheboygan
§ We Are on Itunes! Check out the new podcast!!!
§ Love INC Monthly Bulletin is now available online at: