Grace Episcopal Church
19 April 2018
“How do we grow the Church?” is the wrong question to ask. It is, however, a very common question. Most congregations worry about how to keep being the church they have been, and this entails practical worries about funding, programs, etc. But the real question, the important question, the question that focuses on call rather than on proximate concerns, is “How do we live into the call to spread the kingdom?”
We are commissioned by Jesus to proclaim the kingdom, and to proclaim the King. To do this we must focus less on who we are and on what the Church is or has been, but on: (1) the kingdom! (and how it breaks into this world); and (2) those to whom we make proclamation (i.e., all who do not know Christ already). To be clear, this side of the second coming of Our Lord the Church is fundamental to God’s plan of salvation. I am not suggesting (as Newsweek did in a cover story some years back) that we “Follow Jesus; forget the church.” The Church (capital “c” signifying a holy mystery far beyond any human institution) matters, but the Church matters in how she lives into the vocation of proclamation. If we are not focused outwardly, we (any congregation) will over time die.
The sticky problem of proclamation is that we need to reach people who are not like us. That’s hard to do in any circumstance, but particularly when the message we proclaim is one that calls those who hear or experience it to change, to be transformed. Last week I wrote, for example, about conversion from being consumers to being servants. That’s a challenging message, and that’s directed to us, so imaging the challenge when we go to others and call them to change.
In discerning how to live into our vocation as a parish we can begin (as in all things) in prayer, but to do this I want to invite each one of you to pray about how you can answer three questions to anyone you meet who does not know Jesus:
1. Why Jesus?
2. Why the Church?
3. Why this church?
To answer these questions for yourself you can pray about how you have experienced forgiveness, love, new life in Christ. You can pray about how you experience God’s presence in gathering in worship, and in how your fellow worshippers can lift you up when you are not experiencing a lively faith. You can pray about what it is in this church that allows you to experience God in ways that you can share His mercy and delight.
Be intentional in prayer. Once we ask the right questions, God will lead us to the rights answers.
Grace abounds: Please thank:
§ Wayne and Pat Sather, and Katy and Steve Larson for the Sunday coffee hours.
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.
Please contribute for photocopies: The photocopier is being subjected to frequent use that relates to parishioner’s needs and not those of the whole parish. If you need to make copies (and please keep this to a minimum), please inform a member of the parish staff and make a contribution toward the costs of the copies. A suggested contribution is $0.6/page. (We are trending above budget on copy costs!)
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 Fourth Sunday of Easter Dr. R. Benjamin Dobey, Music Director
and Episcopal Visitation
Prelude Ch. Prel. on Lord, forever at thy side R. Vaughan Williams
Entrance Hymn 518 “Christ is made the sure foundation” Westminster Abbey
Offertory Hymn 490 “I want to walk as a child of the light” Houston
Communion Motet God be in my head Philip Wilby
Communion Hymn 655 “O Jesus I have promised” Nyland
Closing Hymn 473 “Lift high the Cross” Crucifer
Postlude Trumpet Tune in G Georg Philipp Telemann
§ Bishop’s Visitation: On Sunday, we welcome Bishop Matthew Gunter for his annual visitation. The Bishop will preach and celebrate at both the 8:00 and 10:15 services. We celebrate the Receptions and First Communion at the 10:15 service. Please join us for a gala reception to welcome Bishop Gunter and honor Jerry Molitor, Linda Molitor and Don Beeck who will be Received into the Episcopal Church and Steven John Schmeiser who will receive his First Communion.
§ Adult Formation-Sacramental Life (Holy Eucharist) begins Sunday: Please join Leslie on Sunday as she guides us through the sacrament of Holy Eucharist using the book Sacramental Life by David DeSilva. This book explores spiritual formation through the Book of Common Prayer. This is a 5-week course: 22, 29 April, AND 6, 13, 20 May “Those that have participated before know that this is a fairly freeform guided discussion. I am as interested in learning from you, as I am teaching you.” -Leslie
§ Annual Bake/Plant/Rummage Sale: This annual event takes place, in conjunction with St. Luke United Methodist Church Rummage Sale, on Friday, 27 April (noon–3:00 p.m.) and Saturday, 28 April (9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.)
We are in need volunteers to provide baked items (brownies already provided) and help monitor the tables, set-up and take down. A sign-up sheet is located on the Narthex table and online. *Do you have rummage items or plastic bags for packing to donate? Please price and bring to the lower level room marked “Rummage Sale items”.
§ Spring Conference 2018: Faithful Innovation in a Disruptive Age, Saturday,
28 April, 9:00 am-3:00 pm, Liberty Hall in Kimberly.
https://www.diofdl.org/eventsblog/spring-conference-apr-28 Registration fee of $30 per person, includes breakfast, lunch speaker and supplies. If you are interested in attending, but are challenged by the fee, contact the parish office.
§ Monarch 74 Cursillo Weekend: Thursday, 3 May- Sunday, 6 May at Spencer Lake Christian Center in Waupaca. What is Cursillo? It is a movement of the church. Its purpose is to help those in the church understands their individual callings to be Christian Leaders. The leadership may be exercised in work situations, in family and social life, in leisure activities and within the church environment. Leadership, in Cursillo, does not mean power over others, but influence on others; all of us need to be aware that we can exert a positive influence on those around us. Visit http://www.monarchcursillo.org/ for more information or to register.
§ Save the Date-Eucharistic Festival, Saturday 30 June: Established in 1960 by Bishop William Brady, the Eucharistic Festival gathers the diocesan family to be united in its faith in the Presence of our Blessed Lord in the Bread and Wine of the Altar. In being so devoted, we can be united in making known God's presence to all people. The Festival includes the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist, Bishop's Picnic, Evening Prayer and the Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, beginning at 11:00 a.m. at Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Fond du Lac. If you are interested in carpooling, contact the parish office.
§ Summer Camp registration for camp sessions are now open: The Diocese of Fond du Lac Summer Camp is for kids age 4 through graduating 12th graders.
Camp is an opportunity for campers and staff to learn more about God, about community, about themselves and have fun! The registration process is now completely online and includes availability to make payments. www.diofdl.org/camp
Senior Camp (completed grades 9-12) June 10 at 3:00 p.m.–June 16, noon.
Middler Camp (completed grades 6-8) June 17 at 3:00 p.m.–June 22, noon.
Junior Camp (completed grades 2-5) June 17 at 3:00 p.m.–June 22, noon.
KinderCamp (parent & kids ages 4-7) June 22 at 4:00 pm–June 24, noon.
*Scholarships are available; inquire at the parish office.
§ Ushers Needed: Ushers are often the first people seen by newcomers, visitors, and even regular parishioners when coming to Grace Church. People enjoy being greeted by a smile; become a part of this ministry today!
§ 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.
§ Lost and Found: If you have ever lost anything while at Grace Church, it may be in the office. Please email email@example.com to identify and claim.