Grace Episcopal Church
28 May 2015
In the current “culture wars” a major focus relates to sexuality. Yesterday, in commenting on the Irish vote to legalize same gender unions, the Secretary of State of the Vatican described the vote as a “defeat for humanity”. This viewpoint is obviously at odds with that held by many people, including faithful members of the Church, who applaud what has happened. The issue relates to whether or not we assign any moral dimension to our physicality, and the reality is that the Church does not speak with one voice in this matter. But, recognizing that we do not speak with one voice, how do we reach people who look upon the culture wars and decide that their best option is to opt out; people who won’t or can’t listen to what the Church says about anything because they see only disagreements, and because they don’t speak the language of faith.
We have to first recognize that we are surrounded by people who long for something outside of themselves. They long for something that they may characterize as “spiritual” or as “being themselves”, but which they can’t really name as the longing to be in union with the source and summation of all that is good, and beautiful, and true, and love, and being. They can’t name God, or when they do they engage in what is at best caricature.
We are not going to help them to come to know God by speaking only in a language which is code to them! Speaking of faith without a shared language serves only to reinforce alienation. We must, rather, focus first on building community. Let’s get to know those in the world around us who do not know God. Let’s let them share in community with people who are seen to be changed by our relationship with Jesus Christ. As we build community we build understanding. As we build understanding we build trust and mutual love. As we build mutual love we grow together in the love found in Jesus Christ, that together we may each become more Christ-like.
Talking to anyone about moral dimensions in life, or about theological insights, gets us nowhere. God wants to use us to reach others. To do this we must be vulnerable to them. They must see how faith makes a difference in our own lives, first in how we are other-oriented. It’s only then that we can mutually describe things like real intimacy (as opposed to physicality only), and it’s only then that we can together experience the intimacy which in known in “the peace which passeth understanding”.
If you are speaking with someone who has never tasted pistachio ice cream, how can you describe it? You won’t get very far saying “It tastes like chicken”! But that’s what a lot of what passes for outreach and evangelism in our world amounts to—positions taken in culture wars, and described in language which doesn’t make sense to a lot of listeners. So they tune us out. But when we are genuine in inviting them to be with us they might try “pistachio ice cream”. They might learn about faith, about the beauty of holiness, about the peace which passeth understanding. People do long for more; let’s invite them to try it.
Grace abounds: Please thank:
§ Kevan and Traci Revis, and Barb MacEwen for the Sunday coffee hours.
§ Jack Britton and John Davis for help in the floor refinishing project. Please thank John, as well, for fixing the kitchen stove.
§ Ed and Mary Clabots for researching the identities of U.S. armed forces veterans buried in the columbarium, and commemorating their service with flags for Memorial Day.
Podcasts! Podcasts are found on the website under “Media”. You can also subscribe on ITunes or with RSS full feed at:
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: Trinity Sunday
Prelude Kyrie, God the Father in eternity J. S. Bach
Christ, Redeemer of the World
Kyrie, God the Holy Ghost
Entrance Hymn 362 “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty” Nicaea
Mass Setting: Deutsche Messe Schubert, arr. Proulx
Offertory Hymn 370 “I bind unto myself today” St. Patrick’s Breastplate
Communion Motet From the Rising of the Sun Tomblings
Communion Hymn 365 “Come, thou Almighty King” Moscow
Closing Hymn 368 “Holy Father, great Creator” Regent Square
Postlude Verses on the Te Deum Guilmant
§ Elkhart Lake Chapel: The Chapel will have services every Sunday through Labor Day weekend. We are in need of help for each Sunday. This would include: picking up the box of bulletins at Grace Church, arriving a little early to open the buildings, finding readers for the lessons and the prayers of the people, lighting candles, greeting the visiting priest, various other tasks, locking up at the end and returning the box to Grace Church. There are instructions printed and several people who would be able to help if you have questions. Please sign up for a Sunday or two by calling the office at 452-9659 with dates you are available. Thank you.
§ Adult Formation: We begin a series on Prayer at Grace Church at 9:00am in St. Nicholas Hall. We will discuss how Jesus prayed and how he healed; what the Bible says about prayer; the history of prayer here at Grace Church, including the Walsingham Pilgrimage and the healing ministry. This will be led by Deacons Michele and Mike.
§ Altar Guild: The Altar Guild is a very important ministry in the life of the church. This is the team that gets the vestments and the holy vessels ready for each service and then cleans up after each service. As the deacon, I will tell you that this team of people enables the clergy and people to worship in a seemingly effortless fashion. There are several members of the Altar guild who are moving away. We are in great need of a few more willing to take on a new ministry. This can be a weekday, or weekend, there will be training and support in all areas. Please speak with Claudia Fischer or Deacon Michele if you even think you may want to try it out.
§ Grohmann Art Museum: There are a couple of parishioners who are planning a trip to the Grohmann Art Museum at the Milwaukee School of Engineering on Tuesday June 9, departing Sheboygan at 10 am. The Grohmann Museum features more than 1,000 paintings and sculptures representing the evolution of human work. It is 4 floors with a rooftop sculpture garden. Afterwards they will be going out to lunch. The cost of admission to the museum is $5, plus whatever one wants to spend on lunch. If you are interested please sign up on the sheet on the Narthex table or call the office.
§ Save the Date: Thursday, July 23, 2015, 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM, St. Nicholas Hall: Back by popular demand we will again host What’s it Worth Antiques Appraisal Event Hosted by Mark F. Moran. (Contact Barb MacEwen to find out how you can help!) [920-912-4505, More news to follow next month.]
§ 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
§ We Are on Itunes! Check out the new podcast!!!