Grace Episcopal Church
30 April 2015
Just how hard is it to engage in evangelism, to witness to God? In reality, we probably make witnessing far more difficult in our imaginations than it is in life.
I recently was working out in a health center, and while I was working on one apparatus, two women were standing right next to me. The one was speaking about having just lost her mother, and the other was offering sympathy. The story involved the sorts of details one often hears of end-of-life and of the personal loss attendant on this transition. The words of sympathy offered were seemingly genuine, if a bit generic.
The woman who had lost her mother was hurting. I did not know her, but felt a prompt to do something. When I stood up from the apparatus, I said, “I am sorry if I am intruding on your conversation, but I overheard that you have lost your mother. If you will give me her first name, I will pray for her.” The woman looked at me, stared blankly for a couple of seconds, and then said, “Thank you, that is very nice.” She then stared again, showing a little confusion or puzzlement, and now said “Why would you do this?” I replied, “I’m a Christian. It’s what I do.” She looked a little puzzled, but offered thanks again, and gave me her mother’s name. She then walked off, and I said a quick prayer for her mother and for her.
This obviously could have taken a different turn. She could have rebuffed me with a sort of “Who in blazes are you?” response. She could have said something like “I don’t believe in prayer.” What if she had? Would I have been in any way damaged or diminished? Even if she had, would she not have seen that one who professes to be a Christian at least sought to reach out, even if she considered me a busy-body? The “risk” I took was small, and was, in fact, no risk, for what it involved was being willing to notice a prompt (“Offer to pray.”) and to pay attention, to recognize that such prompts come from the Holy Spirit, and that when we pay attention and obey the Spirit will both equip us to witness in the simple way we need to, and will by this witness plant a small seed that will leave someone thinking about God, about belief, about life and death.
The simplest form of witness you can make is to offer prayer. The offer may be declined. It may be welcomed. It may even be received as an occasion in which prayer is shared together. People can say “No”. They can say “No” and be rude about it. So what? If you are listening to God, and offering prayer in His Name you need not worry about what others may think. Disciples are called to be salt and light. Let’s not be afraid to share the spice, share the illumination.
Grace abounds: Please thank:
§ Bill and Deb Gagin, and Ed and Mary Clabots for the Sunday coffee hours.
§ Jessica Ambelang and Julie Davidson for organizing and managing the recent bake, plant and rummage sales.
§ Bill Gagin for help on the floor refinishing project.
§ John Davis for repairing the sink in the sacristy.
§ John Davis and Scot Lubbers for help in cleaning the church during the recuperation from injury of Bill May, our sexton.
§ Elizabeth Schaffenburg for painting exterior trim at the rectory.
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Follow us on Twitter! @GEC_Sheboygan
Changes in Service Schedule: Effective 1 May the schedule of weekly services will change. On Thursdays, Evening Prayer will no longer be offered by clergy. On Saturdays, Morning Prayer and Mass will no longer be offered. These changes have been decided upon by the Vestry on the bases of: (1) Attendance patterns at each service have generally included clergy only; (2) A seven day a week service schedule was adopted at a time when the parish had three priests. The schedule is not maintainable with one priest.
The full schedule of services is as follows:
Sunday Mass Morning Prayer Evening Prayer*
8:00 a.m. (said service)
10:15 a.m. (solemn service)
Monday 12:10 p.m. 8:45 a.m. 5:10 p.m.
Tuesday 5:30 p.m. 8:45 a.m. 5:10 p.m.
Wednesday 5:30 p.m. 8:45 a.m. 5:10 p.m.
Thursday 9:00 a.m.† 8:45 a.m.
Friday 7:15 a.m. 7:00 a.m. podcast
Saturday No services/church closed.‡
*Evening Prayer is followed each day by intercessory prayers in the chapel of Our Lady of Walsingham. On Mondays, intercessory prayer is offered in a corporate Rosary.
†Mass is followed immediately by bible study.
‡Confessions will no longer be heard on second Saturdays. Confessions will be heard by appointment.
Feast days will be celebrated as announced in the monthly calendar.
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.
Music this week: The Fifth Sunday of Easter
Prelude Trois Élévations Marcel Dupré
Entrance Hymn 182 “Christ is alive” Truro
Offertory Hymn 477 “All praise to thee, O King divine” Engelberg
Communion Motet The Call R. Vaughan Williams
Comm. Hymn 512 “Come, gracious Spirit, heavenly Dove” Mendon
Closing Hymn 657 “Love divine, all loves excelling” Hyfrydol
Postlude Toccata in F Dietrich Buxtehude
§ Adult Formation: we will continue to offer a six week course on the nuts-and bolts of the Old Testament and how God’s Word continues to speak to us through this living testimony. Classes will meet on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. in the fellowship hall, and will be facilitated by Fr. Karl.
§ Spring Cheer: is coming to the parish elderly and shut ins on Thursday, April 30. We will meet in the kitchen at 11:00 to assemble bouquets of daffodils and bags of cookies. Won't you join us and plan on making a delivery or two? Sign up sheet for delivery and cookie baking is on the table in the narthex. Our home bound parishioners and elderly will appreciate you! Thank you for volunteering. Questions?, please call Barb MacEwen at 467-6909.
§ Eve of Ascension Day: We will be celebrating the Eve of Ascension Day May 13th. We will have a Solemn Eucharist at 6:00pm. This is a principle feast of the year when we celebrate Jesus’ ascension to heaven to sit at the right hand of God. Please plan to attend.
§ Tripartite Ascension Day Service: We will celebrate the Ascension of our Lord with our Covenant Partners May 14th at 6:00pm. The service will be at St. Peter Lutheran Church, 2104 Geele Ave.
§ Gala Reception! Please sign up to bring sweets and savories and to clean up on May 17th when Bishop Gunter makes his annual visitation. There is a sign-up sheet on the Narthex table. Thank you so much!
§ Bishop’s Visitation: May 17th we welcome Bishop Matthew Gunter for his first visitation. The Bishop will preach and celebrate at both 8 and 10:15 services. We will have a First Communions celebration at 8:00am. We will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation and First Communions at the 10:15 am service. Please join us for a gala reception to welcome Bishop Gunter and honor the Confirmed.
§ 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 14 (Sun 3pm) – June 20 (Sat 12noon)
o Middler Camp (completed grades 6-8) June 21 (Sun 3pm) – June 25 (Thu 5pm)
o Junior Camp (completed grades 2-5) June 21 (Sun 3pm) – June 25 (Thu 5pm)
o KinderCamp (parent & kids ages 4-7) June 25 (Thu 2pm) – June 27 (Sat 12noon) There are application forms on the Narthex table.
§ Follow Grace Church on Twitter: @GEC_Sheboygan
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