Grace Episcopal Church
29 January 2015
At our parish annual meeting we spoke of outreach and evangelism. This begs the question: In speaking to the secular culture, do we confront the culture head-on? A more successful strategy may, in fact, lie in how we outflank the culture rather than charge at it. This is the argument of Bishop N. T. Wright, who argues that by being true to the arc of God’s revelation found in all of Scripture, the Church outflanks the world.
Two major characteristics of secularism allow for this approach. First, secularism has revived the ancient philosophy (Epicureanism) in which God is very distant from and indifferent to humans or what happens on Earth. Humans are thus left conveniently to run things on our own. The result is to divide heaven from earth, and Jesus from His Church. Second, the secularism embraces the idea of progress, by which this latest age is seen as the best of all that came before it. Moreover, progress is all the result of human enlightenment and effort, with no need for God.
The Church’s strategy in response to secularism must, therefore: (1) Refuse to separate heaven from earth, or God from humanity. Jesus tells us, repeatedly, that the kingdom of heaven has come near, and in the Holy Eucharist the kingdom of heaven and this world intersect. (2) Refuse to separate past and future time. We proclaim the kingdom of heaven as realized in the resurrection, in our own life in Christ, and in our future rising with Christ. The glory of God is experienced in the union of Jesus Christ with His Church. (3) Refuse to allow the secularists to pick up and exploit the bits and pieces left lying about through the years, such as the concepts of justice and equality for all of God’s creation. The secularists co-opt these concepts into various “movements”, one after the other. By teaching the union of space (heaven and earth) and time (past, present and future now) which itself embodies the full justice of God on earth, Scripture completely outflanks secularism, and thereby leaves a bankrupt philosophy nowhere to call its own.
To do any of this the Church—that’s us—must live in the reality of the kingdom of heaven, of being the Body of Christ, of past-present-future as the single reality of holiness. When people are seeking (whatever it is that they define that they seek, whether this be truth, enlightenment, even happiness), it is then that the ultimate bankruptcy of the secularist worldview becomes more and more apparent to them. It is in seeking that they come to see something different, something holy, but only to the extent that we incarnate it. In other words, if we are comfortable with the culture, why would anybody seek what they seek by and through us? They must experience the Church as different. They must witness a flanking movement.
Grace abounds: Please thank:
“Leave behind” cards: Small bookmark shaped cards are available for you to give to friends when you talk about the church. These cards list the times of all of our prayer and worship services, how to get more information, when Bible study and adult education meet, etc. The cards are available in the office or in the Ontario Avenue entrance to the nave. The supply in the office is packaged with small olive wood crosses. These “leave behind cards” should always be offered to visitors, but also take a supply with you to share in outreach.
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.
Youth and Family Ministry: Grace and peace to you! I thought I would share some research I thought was interesting especially in light of our annual meeting and all the talk about being the church "out there" beyond our walls.
This research comes from Barna Group, a research firm that is "widely considered to be a leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture."
This article showcases the top 10 findings of their research throughout 2014, complete with helpful info-graphics.
Just to highlight a couple that I found interesting: First is about world poverty, and the huge amount that it has decreased in the last 30 year, and yet American's don't believe that is the case. Why is that? Lastly the research that looks at what Millennials want in a church. (you can find more about their generational distinctions here: http://bit.ly/1zXKLvK ).
Barna Group - Year in Review Top 10 Findings from 2014
Music this week:
Music for the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
Prelude Lumen ad revelationem Russell Woollen
Entrance Hymn 616 “Hail to the Lord’s Anointed” Es flog ein kleins Waldvoegelein
Gloria S-202 Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena Healey Willan
Offertory Hymn 448 “O love, how deep, how broad, how high” Deus tuorum militum
Sanctus S-114 Willan
Fraction Anthem S-169 My flesh is food indeed Ray Urwin
Communion Motet O everlasting Light John. E. West
Communion Hymn 457 “Thou art the Way” St. James
Closing Hymn 438 “Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord” Woodlands
Postlude Voluntary in D William Croft
Music for Candlemas, Monday, Feb. 2nd
Solemn Mass at 6 p.mm
At the Blessing of the Candles: Nunc dimittis Plainsong
Processional Hymn “O Zion, open wide thy gates” Richmond
Psalm 84 (choir) Anglican chant: C. H. H. Parry
Offertory Anthem Behold, a Star from Jacob shining Mendelssohn
Communion Motet Nunc dimittis in B Flat Stanford
Communion Hymn 324 “Let all mortal flesh keep silence” Picardy
Closing Hymn 657 “Love divine, all loves excelling” Hyfrydol
Postlude O Thou of God the Father Walther
Care and Share Small Groups: Sunday, February 1st Small groups will meet between services at 9:00am. Questions will be provided to reflect on the lessons for the Day. Please meet in St. Nicholas Hall and the groups will be divided up and rooms will be assigned.
Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple: This holy day is also known as Candlemas in which all the candles used for the year are blessed. You are welcome to bring in your own candles to be blessed during this service. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend this Solemn Mass on February 2 at 6:00pm. We will conclude the celebration with a Potluck Dinner. Please sign up on the sheet on the Narthex table.
Lenten Booklet: Grace Church will prepare our own parish book of Lenten meditations, written by parishioners. For each of the forty days of Lent season, a Gospel lesson taken from the Eucharistic lectionary for the weekdays in Lent, plus the Sunday Eucharistic lectionary, are provided on a clip board on the Narthex table. Following each Gospel lesson will be the Collect prayer for the celebration of Eucharist on each day. The Collect “collects” our prayers as founded in the Scripture appointed for each day. The method envisaged for use of this booklet is that parishioners will read the Gospel lesson– perhaps more than once, perhaps underlining the words or phrases that resonate with them on that day–then reflect on the Collect, and then write down their own reflections on the page appointed for the day. These reflections will be gathered no later than February 12th to allow for production lead-time. The publication of a parish devotional will be published to the whole parish, in print and on our website. Please submit your meditations to the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shrove Tuesday Feast before the Fast: Shrove Tuesday is February 17th we will be having a Potluck dinner following a 5:30pm mass. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend this festive occasion. There is a sign-up sheet on the table in the Narthex.
Ash Wednesday: February 18th is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, it is a day of fasting and penitence. We will observe this day with Mass and Imposition of Ashes at 12:10 p.m., and Solemn Mass with Imposition of Ashes at 6:00 p.m. This is a holy day and a wonderful way to begin your Lenten observance.
Office Closed –Clergy Retreat: Diocesan clergy meet in Retreat Monday, February 9 through Thursday, February 12. Please note: There will be no celebrations of Holy Eucharist or Daily Office Monday—Thursday. The office will be closed from noon on Monday. In the event of a pastoral emergency Mon—Thu, please contact Fr. Karl or Dcn. Michele at the Norbertine Center for Spirituality, St. Norbert’s College, DePere, 920-337-4315. The normal Friday, Saturday and Sunday schedules will be in place.
Lakeshore Coral Presents “Where is Love?”: This Valentine's Day, we invite you to Lakeshore Chorale's annual Valentine concert and gala, "Where is Love?". Enjoy this popular evening of beautiful choral music, solos, ensembles, plus an outstanding gala prepared by Bernie Markevitch, featuring sweets by the The Cookie Jar Girls. You won't want to miss this exceptional Valentine evening! The evening will be directed by Neil Bubke and accompanied by Johanna Schilling. Saturday, February 14, 7:00 pm, Grace Episcopal Church, 630 Ontario Avenue, Sheboygan. Tickets: $20.00. Tickets need to be reserved before Sunday, February 8. Seating is very limited. While they last, tickets are available from any Lakeshore Chorale member, or from our website: http://www.lakeshorechorale.org/Tickets.html.
Soup-d’-Do: On January 18th Grace Church introduced a new fundraiser. Bernie and Barb are offering 3 gluten-free soups for sale. The single $4.00 and double $7.00 serving containers are frozen and are ready for purchase. The soups offered are Sicilian Chicken, Pizza Soup, Bean & Ham and Vegetarian Vegetable.
Coffee Hour Schedule: There is a new sign-up sheet for hosting coffee hour in 2015. If you would like to host please sign up for either 8:00am or 10:15am. We are in need of someone to oversee the schedule and be the point person for questions. If you would be able to spend a few minutes a week double checking the sign-up sheet and giving reminders or if you have questions please see Deacon Michele or Bobbi Kraft. Thank you so much.
Flower Schedule for 2015: 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.