Grace Episcopal Church
8 December 2016
As I write this the news is full of commemorations of the attack on Pearl Harbor, seventy-five years ago. I well remember being in Portsmouth, England on 31 May 1991, 75th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, and witnessing the few living survivors (men in their 90’s, who had each served as a junior rating or “ship’s boy” during the battle) struggle to maintain a position of attention at the playing of The Last Post (a British parallel to Taps) and God Save the Queen. Those men, like the survivors of Pearl Harbor who stand in commemoration of those who died, are linked intimately with life-changing, world-shaking events that began a train of history that changed everyday life.
And the rest of us so stand. We were not at Jutland, or Pearl Harbor. We may be, actually, veterans of war, or may know someone who was at Pearl Harbor, or have met a veteran of another battle. In knowing one with first-hand experience we participate in his or her experience, which means that in knowing those who know Jesus Christ we participate in each other’s experience of God. We meet God anew in each worship, but we also commemorate all that Jesus did when He walked on this earth in first century Palestine.
In a fascinating, difficult, award-winning work, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (2006)the New Testament scholar, Richard Bauckham reviews in forensic detail the evidence for a chain of testimony by those who walked beside Jesus in His earthly ministry. What is of prime importance in how the written gospels came together lies in how people shared their own recollections, their own experiences. Even though Jesus had been crucified decades before the first gospel was written down, even though almost a century had passed by the time the last work contained in the New Testament was written, even though almost three centuries had passed before the Church had agreed what written works—based on personal experiences and testimonies—actually comprise the New Testament, the witness continued and continues. We stand in the same chain of eyewitness testimony, of direct experience. In fact, at our Baptism we vow that we will “continue in the apostles’ teaching,” in this living chain of both commemoration and life which is continually new.
Every time you pause to remember and recall an important event, remember both how you experienced it and shared this experience, or how you came to participate in the experience of another because he or she shared it with you. When we “continue in the apostles’ teaching” our separate vow to “proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ” will be all the more alive.
Grace abounds: Please thank:
§ Jessica Ambelang for the Sunday coffee hours.
§ Ed & Mary Clabots, Christie Ehler and Mary Tasche for service at the Emmaus Meal at The Salvation Army.
§ All who provided savories, set up and cleanup for the Advent Lessons & Carols festival reception!
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 Third Sunday of Advent
Organist: Ben Dobey
Choir Direction: Sandie Palmer
Prelude Choral Preludes on Savior of the Nations, Come
Dietrich Buxtehude & Helmut Walcha
Entrance Hymn 59 “Wakened by the solemn warning,” Merton
Offertory Hymn 444 “Blessed be the God of Israel” Thornbury
Communion Motet Rejoice, O Jerusalem Healey Willan
Comm. Hymn 615 “Thy Kingdom Come!” St. Flavian
Closing Hymn 65 “Prepare the way, O Zion” Bereden vag for Herran
Postlude Prepare the way, O Zion Dale Wood
§ The Art of Neighboring: On Sunday, December 11th at 9:00 a.m., we continue with the last session of a three-part course on how we can better reach out into our immediate community by using simple skills and methods of how to meet and engage our actual neighbors. This course will use discussion materials from http://www.artofneighboring.com/ a ministry of Dave Runyon and Jay Pathak, pastors in Colorado. Dave Runyon was the recent headliner at the Fall event sponsored by Love INC, and those who attended came away impressed enough to want to focus on practical follow-through.
§ Cookware Fundraiser: Featuring cookware and kitchen essentials from Vollrath. These are heavy duty items made to excellent quality standards. Grace Church will receive 20% of listed prices on all items ordered by December 14th. Catalogues and order sheets can be found in the Narthex.
§ Ordination of Michele Whitford: God Willing and the People Consenting, Bishop Matthew Gunter shall ordain Archdeacon Michele Whitford to the Sacred Order of Priests in Christ’s One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church on Saturday, December 17th at 10:00 a.m., St. Paul’s Cathedral in Fond du Lac. Your prayers and presence are requested. A reception will follow.
§ Youth and Children’s Choir: Youth and Children’s choir rehearsals for Christmas Eve service continue on Wednesday, December 14th, in the choir room at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. The final rehearsal will be Wednesday, December 21st at 5:30 p.m. only. The choir is open to 2nd graders through high school, and will sing for the 4pm service on Christmas Eve. A sign-up sheet is in the Narthex.
§ Christmas Pageant Rehearsals: are held during Sunday School classes at 9:00 a.m. Participation is open to youth of all ages. The Pageant will take place during the 4:00pm Christmas Eve Mass.
§ Meals On Wheels Christmas Cookies: Volunteers will deliver a box of homemade cookies to their clients again this Christmas season. (As many of you know, for some, this is the only gift they will receive). Boxes have already been donated, so now all they need are the cookies! If you would like to donate cookies, please call Maureen at Meals On Wheels at 451-7011. Drop off sites are in both Sheboygan and Plymouth and cookies will be packaged on December 20th. Your response in the past has been overwhelming and they cannot thank you enough for your continued support.
§ Salvation Army Adopt a Family Gift Drop-Off: Please return all gifts unwrapped, with value attached, to Grace Church by Monday, December 19th. Distribution to families is Thursday, December 22nd. Any questions, please call Nancy Yurk at 453-9948.
§ Christmas (Castle) Sort and Shop: On Monday, December 19th, 10:00 - 1:00 p.m., volunteers are needed to sort and organize all toy donations. This will be at 710 Pennsylvania Ave, Sheboygan. And on Wednesday, December 21st, 10:00 – 1:00 p.m., volunteers are needed to shop for each member of the families using the lists provided by the parents. Sign-up sheets can be found on the table in the Narthex. If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Yurk at 453-9948.
§ Christmas Gifts Distribution Volunteers! On Thursday, December 22nd, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m., at 710 Pennsylvania Ave, Sheboygan you can assist local families pick gifts from the Toy Shop. This gives those in need an opportunity to “shop” for Christmas gifts for their families. A Sign-up sheet can be found on the table in the Narthex. If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Yurk at 453-9948.
§ Christmas Joy: is scheduled to meet on Thursday, December 22 at 11:00 am in the church kitchen. At that time, we will assemble winter greens and flowers and bag cookies, and then make deliveries. A sign-up sheet is 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 home-bound and elderly. They will appreciate it. Questions, please call Barb MacEwen at 920-912-4505.
§ 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.
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§ We Are on Itunes! Check out the new podcast!!!