Grace Episcopal Church
31 December 2015
Tomorrow is the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. How fitting it is that we begin the (secular) New Year by commemorating that Our Lord’s very Name reveals His will. The name Jesus means “The Lord saves”. It is a verb, which reveals God’s will in action, that His will for us is our salvation. For reasons that are “mysterious” (in the sense that a mystery can only be understood by being experienced), God reaches out to us at all times and in all places. His will is that we should know Him, love Him, and serve Him, and we begin to know God in understanding that in the ancient calculus a name embodies and personifies the One who bears it. “The Lord saves” embodies God’s will, just as God’s proper name, I AM (Exod. 3.14, also rendered as I AM WHO I AM)—also a verb—embodies His timelessness and eternal majesty.
In other faith traditions it is common to give names to particular years. In the Taoism of Chinese culture, for example, we remain (until 14 February) within the Year of the Horse. In our faith we recognize that the year follows a cycle of seasons and feast which commemorate, and allow us to live within, the history of Our Lord’s life on earth. But, what if we were to assign a particular name to 2016? Just as Francis I has declared a jubilee Year of Mercy, can we not designate 2016 to be a year of particular focus? Can we not recognize that, just as God’s Name embodies a verb, we are called to embody faith in action? If we both declare 2016 to be a year of particular focus on outreach and evangelism, on proclaiming the faith by our actions and in our words to those who do not know God, can we not begin to embody the “name” we give to the year?
Blog meditations like this one, the meditations offered in our Grace Abounds podcasts and on the website, newsletters—all of these means of communication exist to allow us to reach out, to proclaim. But proclamation must be personal as well as programmatic, so begin this year of proclamation by resolving to proclaim. Start small. Start by just taking the contents of our parish programs (blog, website, podcasts, social media postings, etc.) and share them. Share them with friends and family. Link them to your own social media pages, etc. The idea is to continue to spread all that we are trying to do in spreading the Word. Let 2016 be a year in which you become more comfortable with your own role in proclamation, that proclamation just becomes an aspect of your own identity in faith. When we do this together we will reach wider audiences of those who do not yet know God, that His living Word may touch them; that they too may come to know that the Lord saves.
Grace abounds: Please thank:
§ Jim Gardner, and the Aparicio family for the Sunday coffee hours.
Thank you: On December 21st the Grace Church elves gathered to arrange flowers, package homemade cookies, and then deliver to our elderly and shut ins. Thank you to all the volunteers who devoted their time and talent to this endeavor, including Mrs. Aparicio’s Sunday School class!
§ And thank you: to Ed Clabots for opening all Saints Chapel on Monday, December 28th for a memorial service.
Education Alert! Diocesan Deacons’ School will begin on Saturday, 9 January 2016 at Grace, Sheboygan! This presents an additional and in-depth educational opportunity even if you are not in formation to become a deacon. Classes will meet every second Saturday, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. (gathering for worship at 8:15, and ending with prayer at 3 p.m., with a lunch in common). Two courses will be offered for instruction in 2016:
§ Old Testament: 3 contact hours. An in-depth survey of the origins, composition, canonization, contents and theology of the Old Testament.
§ Church History: 3 contact hours. The history of the Church from the apostolic age to today, with specific focus on theological development.
The courses will not result in any educational credit, but will be taught at a college level. There will be no required tests or papers for any participants not in formation for ordination. Approximately one to two hours study per day will be necessary to keep current in the courses.
It is not necessary that you attend all sections of either course, i.e., if you want to dive deeper in particular parts of the Old Testament or Church History you can attend only those sessions.
There will be no cost to attend, except for the cost of textbooks (approximately $80-100). A free will offering will be collected to help defray meal costs.
If you are curious, please request a copy of a detailed syllabus for either or both courses from the office. It is necessary to act quickly (a lot of reading prior to 9 January!)
Call for Contributions: If you have a spiritual reflection to share, or want to point your fellow worshippers toward a resource, submit your contributions to Fr. Karl (by email) by Wednesday in the week of publication.
Music this Week:
Second Sunday after Christmas
Entrance Hymn 94 “While shepherds watched their flocks by night”
Offertory Hymn 110 “The snow lay on the ground”
Communion Hymn 480 “When Jesus left his Father’s throne”
Closing Hymn 107 “Good Christian friends, rejoice”
Eve of the Epiphany, January 5th, 2016
Prelude How brightly shines the Morning Star Pachelbel and Bach
Entrance Hymn 109 “The first Nowell”
Offertory Hymn128 “We three kings”
Communion Motet Saw you never in the twilight French carol, harm. Wood
Communion Hymn 127 “Earth has many a noble city”
Closing Hymn 117 “Brightest and best of the sons of the morning”
Postlude How brightly shines the Morning Star Reger
The Feast of the Epiphany: We will celebrate the Eve of the Feast of Epiphany Tuesday, January 5th. Parishioners and their guests are invited to Solemn Mass beginning at 6:00 p.m. followed by Twelfth Night Reception.
§ Adult Education: We will resume Sunday morning Adult Education on January 10th with a four-part series on Christian Community. How do we build Christian community within and outside the Church? What are the elements of community in Christ? What are the challenges? The focus will include examining the scriptural models for community, those of the early Church, those within our own heritage, and how all of these relate to our sense of community within the wider culture.
§ Bible Challenge: Grace Abounds will launch The Bible Challenge on the First Monday of 2016, January 4th. 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 will be provided on the parish website, along with weekly study summaries and a weekly video summery 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.
§ Diocesan Deacons’ School: Begins Saturday, January 9, 2016 at Grace, Sheboygan. This presents an additional and in-depth education opportunity even if you are not in formation to become a deacon. Classes will meet every second Saturday, from 9:00 a.mn. until 3:00 p.m. Two courses will be offered for instruction in 2016: Old Testament and Church History. There will be no cost to attend, except for the cost of textbooks. If you are interested, please request a copy of the syllabus for either or both courses from the office. It is necessary to act quickly (a lot of reading prior to January 9th!)
§ The Annual Meeting: This year’s Annual Meeting will take place on Sunday, January 31, 2016. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make every effort to attend and participate.
§ 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.
§ Resting in the Heart: On Saturday, January 9, 2016, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm, the Rev. Paul Feider, nationally known author and speaker, will be presenting a Healing Conference called “Resting in the Heart – a search for inner peace.” This conference is for those who are searching for inner healing or those who seek to help others find inner healing. There will be a Healing Eucharist at 1pm with time for healing prayer. All are welcome to share in this conference which takes place at St. Thomas Church, 226 Washington St, Menasha. Please register online at www.stthomaswi.com or by calling (920) 725-5601.
Flower Schedule for 2016: 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.
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§ Follow Grace Church on Twitter: @GEC_Sheboygan
§ We Are on Itunes! Check out the new podcast!!!