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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Because Aelred is My Friend

Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
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 aboundsPlease 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 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 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
                                                                                                          C.H.H. Parry
Parish Notices


§  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 office@gracesheboygan.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.
§  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, January 4, 2017

Being Translated

Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
5 January 2017

Epiphany means “manifestation” or “showing”.  We recall and celebrate that God become flesh and dwelling among us was revealed/manifested to all the world—to all the Gentiles—not as Messiah exclusive to God’s chosen people, but as Immanuel (“God with us”) for all of us.  I have written previously about the many ways in which God reveals Himself and His will to us.  For this week I want to focus on how we go about experiencing this revelation in an ongoing process of translation—“translation” in the original sense of the word:  to be carried across.
There is no ideal translation of the Bible.  Even if each one of us were to become expert in ancient Hebrew and Greek, our experience of God’s manifestation of Himself and His will in scripture would remain most imperfect if our purpose in reading involved no more than understanding.  Certainly there is much that we can understand better by studying and understanding how the Bible came to be written, in what contexts, by whom, focused on what pressing needs.  But all such understanding pales compared to the reality that the Bible was and is decidedly strange.  Scripture is in many senses otherworldly, and that’s the point—that we are drawn into another reality, a reality which we can only experience by and through the humility in which we will be gradually transformed by the words God has chosen to use (using human authors) to reveal Himself and His will.
The Bible is not a collection of human words about God, but words inspired by God about Himself.  There are plenty of words about God, from such notable believers as Aquinas, Dante, Bonhoeffer (to name just a very few).  There are plenty of words about systems of belief.  (That’s why there are whole courses in theology.)  But of Aquinas or Dante or Bonhoeffer we never say “The word of the Lord” after reading them.  We do say this about the Bible, because we say that in some sense these words are words used by God, given to us by God, to communicate with us, and to communicate with us that we might be changed.
The real issue in biblical translation is not about how we “understand” words originally written in different languages and contexts, but about how we are translated—carried across—into the reality of God’s self-revelation.  How is the manifestation (the epiphany) of God made real in the changes in us?

Grace aboundsPlease thank: 
§  Kevan and Traci Revis for the Sunday coffee hour.

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 First Sunday after the Epiphany
                                      Organist:  Ben Dobey

Prelude:                        Chorale Fantasia on How brightly shines the Morning Star 
                                                                                                Dietrich Buxtehude
Entrance Hymn 124      “What star is this, with beams so bright”          Puer nobis
Offertory Hymn 497     “How bright appears the Morning Star”                                                                                                                            Wie schoen leuchtet
Communion Motet        The Sinless One to Jordan Came                      Andro Hart
Communion Hymn 121 “Christ, when for us you were baptized”     Solemnes haec
Closing Hymn 119         “As with gladness men of old”                                    Dix
Postlude:                       Chorale Prelude on ‘How brightly shines the Morning Star’
                                                                                                              J. S. Bach

Parish Notices

§  Adult Education: Beginning on Sunday, January 8th, 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 15th, there will be a potluck supper at 6:30 p.m. followed by Sung Compline at 8:00 p.m., 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.
§  Girl Scout Cookie Time! Calling all Grace Church Girl Scouts and cookie lovers! Inviting all Grace Church Girl Scouts to work the cookie order booth AFTER both masses on Sunday, January 15th and 22nd. Please wear your sash or vest. Cookie order forms will be available outside of the parish hall and will be evenly distributed between the participants. Cookies will once again be $4/box and money is not collected until delivery sometime in February. Thank you for supporting your local Girl Scouts! 
§  The Annual Meeting: This year’s Annual Meeting will take place on Sunday, January 29, 2017. We will have one Mass at 9:00am followed by the Annual Meeting at 10:15am. If you have been in leadership of any group or committee please submit an annual report to the office@gracesheboygan.com. Please make every effort to attend and participate.
§  A draft of the 2017 Parish Directory: can be found on the Narthex table. Please 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.
§  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.
§  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, December 28, 2016

With Gratitude

Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
29 December 2016

Dear Grace Church Family,

Thank you so much for all the prayer, love and encouragement you have shown me through this journey to the priesthood. Thank you for the Book of Common Prayer/Hymnal and the portable baptismal/sick stole. They are both beautiful and will be very useful in my future ministry. Thank you for the very thoughtful purse. I am overwhelmed by your generosity. A special thank you to Ben Dobey who wrote the music for the Psalm and refrain for the liturgy. I was very blessed to have so many of our Grace Church choir members come and participate in the combined choir. Thank you also, to Bernie Markevitch and Mary Beniger who arranged the flowers at the cathedral for the ordination.
I pray our new ministry together will be fruitful and joyous.

In His Mercy,
Mother Michele +

Grace aboundsPlease thank:  Ellen Aparicio and Ben Dobey for coffee hour after the Christmas Day service.
Thank you to the Ben Dobey, Sandie Palmer and the choir for providing beautiful music to enhance our worship.
Thank you to the altar guild for all the extra hours they put in preparing for the many Christmas services.

Christmas Joy 2016 was another successful endeavor to the elderly and shut ins of this parish.  Many thanks to the following parishioners who made it happen:  Pat Sather, Elizabeth Schaffenburg, Polly Schmeiser, Bev Evans, Mary Snyder Katy Larson, Bob and Anne Hanlon, Bernie Markevitch who assembled and made the deliveries of flowers and cookies, and also to those who baked cookies:Traci Revis, Joyce Wessel, Jessica Ambelang, Ann Hanlon, Katy Larson Mary Clabots, Mary Snyder.  Thank you!

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.
Special appeal:  Later this Fall we will have a grounds cleanup day that will include ground cover and shrubbery trimming.  We are, however, overdue for major reshaping of shrubbery, and the arbor vitae which flank the church entrance are out-of-control.  Quotations for shrub reshaping and removal/replacement of the arbor vitae run into the thousands of dollars.  Major work will not be a 2016 initiative, but we are appealing for your donations now, to build a fund for work in the Spring of 2017.  Keep Grace beautiful!  Give “Something Extra”.

Music this Week:          Holy Name 2017
                                      Organist:  Ben Dobey. 

Entrance Hymn 102 “Once in Royal David’s City,”  Irby
Offertory Hymn 82 “Of the Father’s love begotten” Divinum Mysterium
Communion Hymn 81 “Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming” Est ist ein Ros
Closing Hymn 100  “Joy to the World,”  Antioch


Parish Notices

§  Sunday School: There is no Christian Formation on Sunday, January 1, 2017. Christian Formation for adults and children will resume Sunday, January 8, 2017.

§  Adult Education: Beginning on January 8th 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.

§  The Eve of The Epiphany Solemn Mass: will be held on January 5, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. followed by a Twelfth Night Potluck Supper. A sign-up sheet can be found on the Narthex table.
  A draft of the 2017 Parish Directory: can be found on the Narthex table. Please initial your information if it is current, otherwise make changes as necessary.
  Girl Scout Cookies! Calling all Grace Church Girl Scouts and cookie lovers! Inviting all Grace Church Girl Scouts to work the cookie order booth AFTER both masses on Sunday, January 15th and 22nd. Please wear your sash or vest. Cookie order forms will be available outside of the parish hall and will be evenly distributed between the participants. Cookies will once again be $4/box and money is not collected until delivery sometime in February. Thank you for supporting your local Girl Scouts! 

§  The Annual Meeting: This year’s Annual Meeting will take place on Sunday, January 29, 2017. We will have one Mass at 9:00am followed by the Annual Meeting at 10:15am. If you have been in leadership of any group or committee please submit an annual report to the office@gracesheboygan.com. Please make every effort to attend and participate.

§  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.

§  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.