Grace Episcopal Church
31 May 2012
Today we commemorate the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Lk. 1.39-56). A Solemn Mass will be celebrated at 6 p.m. In Luke’s account of Mary visiting her cousin, Elizabeth, we find her hymn of praise, Magnificat, and Elizabeth exclaims of Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Lk. 1.42). Elizabeth’s own child, John the Baptist, leaps in his mother’s womb, recognizing his Lord even though Jesus is in the first trimester of gestation.
Mary’s hymn offers praise to God for who He is and what He does. Our English translation of the Greek that Luke uses poses a problem, for in English the verbs are rendered as past tense. This raises the question: How has God done all the things for which Mary offers praise by the conception of Jesus in her womb? The verbs in Greek are, however, of the tense known as aorist, which connotes continuing action (past into present). Aorist verbs may be “gnomic” (describing what is done characteristically) or “inceptive” (describing what is beginning). So, what are the verbs in the Magnificat, and what is the point of a mini grammar lesson in a parish newsletter? The point is that Mary praises God for who He is. It is His character to keep His promises, and to bless us, and this is revealed supremely in the coming of Jesus Christ.
God always keeps His promises. This is a reality that we must at times remind ourselves of, like in this week, when we will bury two long time and beloved members of this parish. One had a very long life; the other was taken from us early. We are diminished as the Body by their passing, and yet we are blessed, for in their lives and in their deaths, they each witnessed to the love of God, to their own trust in Him, and to the reality that we “... see in death the gate of eternal life ...” (BCP 493). We are reminded in every death that God’s kingdom breaks into this world when we gather at the celebration of Holy Eucharist, at which we pray, “... we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven ...” (BCP 362).
The Body of Christ, the Church, is universal, not bounded by time or space. The kingdom of God is universal, but it is a kingdom that we must choose. Jesus does not deliver the kingdom to us; He offers it, saying that the kingdom of heaven is “at hand” (Mtt. 3.2; 4.17) or is “near” (Lk. 21.31). How do we choose the kingdom? Jesus tells us that we must first repent, that is, turn to God. It is only then that we can choose the kingdom, for it is then that we are open to the Holy Spirit to lead us into truth. This truth is that God keeps His promises! This truth is that God is our loving Father. This truth is that each of us, bound to each other and bound together to God, participates in God’s holiness and life in how we reach out to each other, to bear each other’s burdens so that we may all follow our Lord. Thanks be to God for the witness to His truth seen in the lives of the faithful.
Being the Body: In most parishes a “care committee” exists. There is usually a large overlap with Episcopal Church Women (ECW). In this parish, we are blessed with many people who serve, but we do not formally have a care committee, or ECW, or a similar body that can act when there is a need for meal at a funeral reception, or for a family during a sickness. This presents a twofold problem. The first aspect of this problem is that the faithful who do step forward to help are at risk for “lay leadership burnout,” and the second is that it becomes a scramble to make something happen.
To be the Body of Christ we need to better consider and plan how we act. To this end the Vestry will explore forming an official committee to provide for parish care needs as they arise. The Vestry will also explore how to form a committee for the care of the grounds of the parish. If you are interested in this effort, please contact Fr. Karl.
Please take the opportunity to notify the office of any member or friend of the parish to whom we owe thanks, in order that we can publicize this in the weekly newsletter.
Funeral plans: Russ Bawden will be buried today at 11:30 a.m., following a visitation beginning at the parish at 10 a.m. A reception for family and friends will be offered following the funeral, in St. Nicholas Hall.
Val Burg will be buried on Saturday, 2 June, at 3 p.m. Visitation will be at the parish on Friday, 1 June, from 4 to 8 p.m., and on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until the funeral. A reception luncheon will follow the funeral.
An apology and a planning note: On the Saturdays 19 May and 26 May Morning Prayer and Holy Eucharist were not offered in the parish. This was because of a misunderstanding about which priest would serve on those days. The fault in this is mine (Fr. Karl). If you came to the parish on either day only to find that worship was not offered, please contact me, that I may apologize personally.
Saturday worship will continue to be offered, with Morning Prayer at 8:45 and Mass at 9 a.m.
Biblical Literacy: The Bible Challenge review session on Tuesday, 5 June, will review Week 14 readings. Bible study on Thursday (following the 9 a.m. Mass) will focus on the lessons for Sunday, 10 June (The Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year B).
All Saints’, Elkhart Lake: All Saints’ serves as a mission of this parish, and as an active outreach by this parish in an area and at times when many people are present who are away from their permanent church home, or who lack any church home. Throughout the Summer, please be intentional about two things (whether or not you attend All Saints’): (1) Pray for this ministry, and for those who serve in it, that they may serve our Lord by bringing more to know, love, and serve Him; (2) Engage in mission yourself. You may know or meet people who you can ask to join you in worship, and All Saints’ can serve as a less formal setting that is more user-friendly in outreach. Invite seekers to worship with you.
Music this week:
Prelude Kyrie, God the Father in Eternity J. S. Bach
Christe, Savior of the World
Kyrie, God the Holy Ghost
Entrance Hymn 362 “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty” Nicaea
Offertory Hymn 366 “Holy God, we praise thy Name” Groβer Gott
Communion Motet From the rising of the sun Ouseley
Comm. Hymn 365 “Come thou almighty King” Moscow
Closing Hymn 368 “Holy Father, great Creator” Regent Square
Postlude Fugue in E Flat J. S. Bach
A Note From Bishop Salmon: Matching Gift Opportunity to Support Nashotah House Ends Today (31 May)
Dear Friends at Grace Church,
Only a mere five years after Bishop Jackson Kemper dispatched James Lloyd Breck, William Adams and John Henry Hobart, Jr. to establish Nashotah House as a “mission to the western reaches,” he personally travelled to the then-primitive frontier town of Sheboygan in 1847 to consecrate Grace Episcopal Church, a small wood-frame church constructed on a $150 lot donated by Daniel Whitney. A nineteenth century observer summed up Bishop Kemper’s missionary efforts best: “The real nobility of the thing was that they came out to do the Lord’s work without any other consideration. It was a work of faith; and this is the spirit that does great things in the Church.” That “spirit that does great things in the Church” is the same Spirit that has bound Nashotah House and Grace Church together for 165 years.
In thanksgiving for this historic partnership, an anonymous donor at Grace Church has graciously offered to match dollar for dollar any new gifts given through Grace Church and directed for the benefit of Nashotah House!
I write today seeking your partnership in this challenge. Your tax deductible gift preserves and greatly enhances the legacy Bishop Kemper gave us. Your gift mightily equips us as we do the very same thing we have done since it all began in 1842; namely, raise up a faithful priesthood for the Church.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, Jr.
§ Corpus Christi and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament: Thursday, June 7th is the Feast of Corpus Christi. Corpus Christi (Latin for Body of Christ) celebrates the Body and Blood of Christ really present in the Eucharist. We will have Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 6:00 p.m., in which the Blessed Sacrament (i.e., consecrated Host) is placed in a monstrance set upon the altar. This devotional service includes prayer and singing and quiet time before our Lord. Please plan to attend this holy service.
§ End of School Break-Out Bash: June 9th 6:30 p.m.–10:00 p.m. Now that the end of school is upon us let's celebrate with a beach party! Expect food, fire, and fun at Deland Park. We'll be claiming the fire pit just to the north of the beach house/playground. The grill will be available if you want to bring a dinner to cook, and we'll have all the things necessary: condiments, plates, drinks, not to mention all the fixings for a delicious dessert (camp fire style!). Beach volleyball, Frisbee, football, or bring your own! All friends invited, so bring them all! In order to ensure enough delicious dessert, please text Nick at 920-889-8003 and let him know if you are coming and how many people you're cramming into your car with you!
§ Summer Camp: 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! If you have questions about what camp is like please call Michele at the office. Scholarships are available.
o Senior Camp (completed grades 9-12) June 10 (Sun 3pm) – June 16 (Sat 12noon)
o Middler Camp (completed grades 6-8) June 17 (Sun 3pm) – June 21 (Thu 5pm)
o Junior Camp (completed grades 2-5) June 17 (Sun 3pm) – June 21 (Thu 5pm)
o KinderCamp (parent & kids ages 4-7) June 21 (Thu 3pm) – June 23 (Sat 12noon) There are application forms on the Narthex table.
§ Sign-Up to Host Coffee Hour in 2013: A sign-up sheet for hosting coffee hour in 2013 is on the table in the narthex. Please sign-up for dates you would like to host. A final schedule and reminders will be generated from the sign-up sheet and distributed in November 2012. Please consider signing up for 2-3 Sundays to help us cover the year! Contact Katy Prange at 920-889-1252 or email@example.com with questions.
§ Love Thinks: Dating can be tough...want some help? Great Marriages is offering a free seminar called Love Thinks. The program is for adults who want to make smart choices in dating including: never married singles, individuals who have experienced a divorce and are dating again, and anyone who wants to know how to find a mate who is compatible for a strong, healthy relationship. It will be held on Saturday, June 30 in Sheboygan from 9:00am-4:00pm. Come learn to break negative dating patterns and make healthy choices for lifelong, happy relationships! Pre-registration is required so call Great Marriages at 920-783-3660 for details and to sign up today.
§ Stewardship/Fundraising Committee: The Vestry has approved the creation of an on-going Stewardship/Fundraising committee that will be responsible for our annual pledge campaign as well as developing multiple fundraising events. The goal is to charter this committee at the May Vestry meeting. If you are interested in serving on this committee or have suggestions or comments please contact a Vestry member. We appreciate your consideration.