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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Preserving Meaning

Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
25 June 2015

I own a Confederate battle flag.  I don’t fly or display it.  It’s in a box in the basement.  I bought it in 1977. As a student at The University of Mississippi, I waived it at football games.  Most students did.  The team was called the Rebels.  The school fight song was Dixie.  In the 1980’s more students began to question whether this identification of the school with Southern heritage was exclusionary.  By the 1990’s the flag was no longer used. 
Most people who used the Rebel flag (as we called it) at the university did not do so because of racial hatred.  But most people also didn’t appreciate that others might take offense, and might have reason to.  By now, post-Emmanuel A.M.E. Church shootings, most people understand that the Confederate battle flag has become so associated with hatred that it is not possible to defend its use.  This should make us pause and take a breath, and then consider what can happen when any symbol or sign is associated with a message that we might not intend or even contemplate.
Consider, for example, what people around us think when they see a cross, or hear the word “Christian”.  Those of us who live the faith might associate words like “love” or “truth” or “holiness” with the name Christian.  We might associate “salvation” with the Cross.  But what if I am not a Christian?  What if my only exposure to “Christianity” is a message which tells me that I am going to Hell, and that there is something fundamentally wrong with me?  I might just think of Christians, for example, as people who show up at military funerals and protest, using language filled with hate.
The bottom line is that to the extent we do not proclaim the message of the Gospel it will not only not be understood but may well be misrepresented by others.  We can never allow anybody else to define what the Gospel is.  We have each promised to proclaim the Good News by word and example.  When we don’t proclaim, the vacuum of people seeking truth, desiring love and goodness, desiring beauty, struggling in being, will be filled with other messages—messages like consumerism, nihilism, hate, or messages which use Bible language to distort the truth of the Good News.
The next time you hear a message which claims the mantle of Christ, and you cringe because the message is more one of hate, let your cringe remind you that silence is not an option

Grace abounds:  Please thank:
§  Kevan and Traci Revis, Bob and Anne Hanlon, and Paul and Andrea Aparicio for the Sunday coffee hours.

Podcasts!   Podcasts are found on the website under “Media”.  You can also subscribe on ITunes or with RSS full feed at:

Music this Week:  The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, 28 June, Proper 8B


It’s Time for Camp!
You’ve heard it said before and I’ll say it again, “Camp is one of the BEST things the Diocese of Fond du Lac does!”. Personally, I’m disappointed that I’m unable to be at camp this year. However, I’m SO excited that SO many from our parish WILL be there!!!
If you’re like me and are disappointed that you can’t attend, it’s not too late for you to participate in others ways.  First, please remember our campers and staff in prayer.  While you’re at it, I’m sure the good Lord wouldn’t mind a few extra words related to good weather, few bugs, and peace for any nervous parents. Secondly, kids young and old LOVE getting mail from “home”! A note, card or letter is always a welcome gift. “Mail call” can be bring an added bright spot to the day!
Listed below are the names of our campers and the dates for camp. I’ll be providing transportation on Sunday, June 14th and again Saturday, June 20th. If there is mail you’d like me to take to the Camp for distribution during any of the camps, I’d be happy to take it along. Otherwise, if you decide to use the postal system, please try to send mail well enough before the last day when the camper is supposed to depart. Note: from Sheboygan, I’ve seen it take as long as 3 full days to get to camp.
Here’s to our campers and staff. May they have a fantastic, Spirit-driven time at camp!!
By His love,
Bobbi Kraft

MAIL:
Camper Name, Session (Senior/Middler/Junior/Kinder)
Fond du Lac Camp
c/o Camp Lakotah
N1875 21st Ave
Wautoma, WI 54981
KinderCamp: Thursday, June 25th- Saturday, June 27th
Leona Aparicio accompanied by Paul Aparicio
MaryGrace Boland accompanied by Susan McIntosh

Call for ContributionsIf 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.
         
Parish Notices

§  Community Thanksgiving Dinner:  The community dinner is planning to move forward in 2015 on a networked basis, using different churches to provide different parts of the meal.  For example, Grace could decide to provide potatoes (prepared here and delivered to the dinner site), but any such example can only happen if we have a team of people interested in owrking in this kind of service minisrty.  Interested?  See Fr. Karl for details, and also see www.gobble-gobble.org

§  Adult Formation: This Sunday we will finish the 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.

§  All Saints’ ChapelWe are in need of help for July 5th and August 2nd + 9th. 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.

§  Study Guides for Congregational Use: Bishop Gunter has released two study guides for use by congregations and individuals of the Diocese of Fond du Lac. The King or a Fox: Configuring the Mosaic of Scripture is a 14-page document as a guide to understanding and interpreting Scripture. It was used by clergy during deanery clericus gatherings. In Dialogue With Each Other is a Study Guide created to aid congregations in studying and discussing the topic of same-sex unions. Clergy may want to encourage individuals to make use these resources or use them as a basis for forums or other study series. Downloads are available both as PDF and Word files. Visit diofdl.org.

§  It’s Coming! Save the date: Saturday, August 8, 2015, Brat Fry at Miesfeld’s!! (More news to follow, we need your help!) Brat fryers, stand attendants, baked goods attendants, bakers!! Contact Bob MacEwen at 467-6909 to lend a hand now!

§  Follow Grace Church on Twitter: @GEC_Sheboygan
We Are on Itunes! Check out the new podcast!!!



Thursday, June 18, 2015

Believe in Miracles

Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
18 June 2015

Let’s never forget miracles. A miracle is that which we cannot explain using any methodology of cause-and-effect; it is outside of natural explanation, literally supernatural.  And in a culture in which those things that cannot be explained using cause-and-effect reasoning, cannot be explained using the testable hypothesis model of the scientific method, are dismissed as unreal, miracles sometimes embarrass us in the Church.  We don’t like to point to them, because we are afraid that since we can’t “explain” them, we will be accused of engaging in magical thinking.
But miracles are important.  They demonstrate that there are things we can’t explain but that we can experience.  And this contrast is highlighted in a quirk of the lectionary for lessons on Sunday.  The old lectionary specified in The Book of Common Prayer for this coming Sunday included Mark 5.1-20 as optional verses in the gospel lesson.  The new (post 2009) lectionary omits these verses, and so the entire story of Jesus and the Gerasene demoniac is unheard in this lectionary cycle (or in any year’s cycle).
One can, of course, make endless arguments about the wisdom of selections for the lectionary, but I think it wise (in considering how we approach miracles) to point to another quirk in Sunday’s readings.  In the season after Pentecost we can follow track 1 or track 2 in lectionary selections.  These determine how we proceed through the Old Testament.  This parish follows track 2, and so the O.T. lesson is Job 38.1-11, in which the Lord comes to Job.  Job has spent the rest of the book seeking answers to his fate, even engaging in sophisticated debate with friends who offer insights in the tradition of Wisdom literature.  Now God comes to Job, and His first words are “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38.1).  God proceeds to ask Job questions best paraphrased as “Where were you when I established Creation?”  In other words, God points out that there are many things beyond human knowledge.
Miracles are beyond human knowledge, but the response to this is not to ignore them—to exclude the story of the Gerasene demoniac, for example—but to engage God on His terms, as those who accept that there are many things in life that mere humans cannot figure out.  Because, what is the alternative?  The alternative (and it is a popular one) is to say that we can possess all knowledge, we can figure everything out and command a solution to what troubles us, we can say that what we cannot know is not real.  In other words, the alternative points back to what the serpent said to Eve when she and her husband sought the knowledge of good and evil in the tree of this knowledge:  “... when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God ...” (Gen. 3.5).
A Bible without miracles is just so many stories and so much human wisdom and insight.  A Bible without miracles is a Bible without God.  A life without openness to miracles is a life which leads us away from God.  Believe in miracles.

Grace abounds:  Please thank:
§  Kevan and Traci Revis for the Sunday coffee hour.
§  Terry Kohler for providing for lawn care during the recuperation of our sexton.
§  Pat Ford Smith for providing office support.

What others are saying about web-based outreach:  As a timely follow-up to our parish forum from last Sunday, consider the following article found in The Living Churchhttp://livingchurch.org/google-or-god-both?utm_source=The+Living+Church+-+subscribers+only&utm_campaign=f4d8b659ec-Weekly_Newsletter_36_14_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0826f52b83-f4d8b659ec-108180589

Podcasts!   Podcasts are found on the website under “Media”.  You can also subscribe on ITunes or with RSS full feed at:

Music this Week:  The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, 21 June, Proper 7B

Prelude                           Adagio from Symph. No. 3                        C. Saint-Saens
Processional Hymn, 493  “O for a thousand tongue to sing”                        Azmon
Gloria, Sanctua, and Agnus Dei                                                     Timms & Warrell
Offertory Hymn, 379       “God is Love”                                            Abbott’s Leigh
Comm. Hymn, 587          “Our Father, by whose Name”                      Rhosymedre
Recessional Hymn, 563   “Go forward, Christian soldier”                       Lancashire
Postlude                         Carillon                                                             L. Vierne

It’s Time for Camp!
You’ve heard it said before and I’ll say it again, “Camp is one of the BEST things the Diocese of Fond du Lac does!”. Personally, I’m disappointed that I’m unable to be at camp this year. However, I’m SO excited that SO many from our parish WILL be there!!!
If you’re like me and are disappointed that you can’t attend, it’s not too late for you to participate in others ways.  First, please remember our campers and staff in prayer.  While you’re at it, I’m sure the good Lord wouldn’t mind a few extra words related to good weather, few bugs, and peace for any nervous parents. Secondly, kids young and old LOVE getting mail from “home”! A note, card or letter is always a welcome gift. “Mail call” can be bring an added bright spot to the day!
Listed below are the names of our campers and the dates for camp. I’ll be providing transportation on Sunday, June 14th and again Saturday, June 20th. If there is mail you’d like me to take to the Camp for distribution during any of the camps, I’d be happy to take it along. Otherwise, if you decide to use the postal system, please try to send mail well enough before the last day when the camper is supposed to depart. Note: from Sheboygan, I’ve seen it take as long as 3 full days to get to camp.
Here’s to our campers and staff. May they have a fantastic, Spirit-driven time at camp!!
By His love,
Bobbi Kraft

MAIL:
Camper Name, Session (Senior/Middler/Junior/Kinder)
Fond du Lac Camp
c/o Camp Lakotah
N1875 21st Ave
Wautoma, WI 54981

Senior Camp: Sunday, June 14th  - Saturday, June 20th
Emily Boland
Kaleigh Kraft
Michele Whitford - Session Director
Nick Whitford - Camp Staff

Middler Camp: Sunday, June 21st  – Thursday, June 25th
Ben Crouse
McKenna Schumacher

Junior Camp: Sunday, June 21st  – Thursday, June 25th
Rachel Boland
Maya McMillan
Josten McMillan
Katie Schumacher

KinderCamp: Thursday, June 25th- Saturday, June 27th
Leona Aparicio accompanied by Paul Aparicio
MaryGrace Boland accompanied by Susan McIntosh

Further camp notes!  Camp begins this Sunday, and for some of us, this is the time when we might start singing: "It's the most wonderful time of the year". There's something truly special about having a space that is so specifically set aside to be wildly, boisterously, Christian. To be a community for a little while that is set upon a rock of trust, faith, compassion and humility. To learn more about what it means to be a follower of Christ, and to practice being that person with others who have the same struggles in "the real world". We come together to be a community of people interested in bringing each other along on a journey of discovery. To find what it means to be a Christ-follower, what it means to love your neighbor, what it means to win a belly-flop contest in the lake.
Wait... what?
Oh yeah, while I stop myself from waxing rhapsodic over the church stuff, we also have 'camp' at church camp. fires, forests, prairies, cabin shells (an upgrade from the tent platforms), a delightful lack of electricity in certain areas, and of course the lake and beach. There is so much happening at camp all of the time, both scheduled and unscheduled, both in a group or by yourself in the beauty of creation, both in the loud times and the silent times. There is something for everyone at camp.
We are deliberately trying to be Spirit-lead, going where God sends us. That might mean that we need to spend extra time processing some heavy theological point in our small groups. Or we need to gather as a large group and vent our frustrations about expectations vs. reality. Perhaps we spend a lot more time in worship and instead of having a fire, and we just pray together. All of these things have happened, and often when it comes to the Holy Spirit, the only thing we can do (as a staff) is throw out the schedule and be open to God.
So!  Over the next two weeks we will have camp for everyone from 4 year-olds through high school graduates, setting aside time to learn about who God is and what it means to be a community of Jesus followers, and doing it in a setting that is to many a God space, a thin place. Please pray for all of those going as campers, as staff, and as parents of campers. 
Camp doesn't really end, we empower the students to "go forth" and take what they have learned and use it, explore it, expand on it. We encourage the students to be leaders in their churches, and to tell and teach others what it is we do and did. Pray also for open hearts and minds for the congregations of those who attend camp, very often it is a vital injection of faith and love and hope for the church, and we certainly don't want to miss out on it.

Grace and Peace,

Nick

Call for ContributionsIf 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.

Education for Ministry:  If you were at the late service the Sunday the bishop was here, you noted that four of us were recognized for completing the four years of Education for Ministry.  We learned a lot in those four years, both from the materials and from each other as we studied and discussed.  There was a lot to read but fortunately no tests!  Topics for the four years were:
Year 1—Old Testament
Year 2—New Testament
Year 3—History of Christianity
Year 4—Theology

This month’s Clarion (p. D) has more information about EfM.

If you would like to look at the materials to see if you would like to join the new group that begins in the fall, you can find them in a blue bin in Michele’s office.  They will be there through the end of July.  I would be very happy to talk with you further about EfM if you have questions. 

Pat Sather
920-452-4542         psather42@gmail.com 

Help needed!  If you have experience in house painting, please see Fr. Karl about a project to re-stain and seal the outside doors around the church.
         
Parish Notices

§  Community Thanksgiving Dinner:  The community dinner is planning to move forward in 2015 on a networked basis, using different churches to provide different parts of the meal.  For example, Grace could decide to provide potatoes (prepared here and delivered to the dinner site), but any such example can only happen if we have a team of people interested in owrking in this kind of service minisrty.  Interested?  See Fr. Karl for details, and also see www.gobble-gobble.org

§  Michele Gone: It is camp time again and I will be out of the office beginning Monday, June 15 – Friday, June 19th. If you are available to volunteer at the desk to answer the phone and take messages please call the office at 452-9659. You don’t need to know anything, just have time and willingness to sit in the front office. There may be time to read, or knit! Next week, when I am out, please be patient for a call back. I will have limited access to email and cell service but I will check and try to respond to urgent needs. Please pray for the councilors and campers all week.

§  Elkhart Lake Chapel: We are in need of help for the following Sundays: July 5, August 2 and 9. 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 will continue a series on Prayer at Grace Church at 9:00am in St. Nicholas Hall on June 21st. 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.

§  It’s Coming! Save the date: Saturday, August 8, 2015, Brat Fry at Miesfeld’s!! (More news to follow, we need your help!) Brat fryers, stand attendants, baked goods attendants, bakers!! Contact Bob MacEwen at 467-6909 to lend a hand now!

§  Follow Grace Church on Twitter: @GEC_Sheboygan
We Are on Itunes! Check out the new podcast!!!




Thursday, June 11, 2015

Focus on the Person

Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
11 June 2015

Today is the feast of St. Barnabas the Apostle, a father of the Church prominent as Paul’s partner in the first missionary journey recounted in Acts, and then in his own journey to Cyprus (with his cousin, Mark).  Barnabas was a Cypriot Jew (acts 4.36), named an apostle (Acts 14.14).  Barnabas and Paul traveled together making ca. 45—47, and participated in the Council of Jerusalem (ca. 50). Barnabas and Paul successfully evangelized among the Gentiles who attended synagogues in various cities of Anatolia.
Barnabas’ name was given to him (Acts 4.36) to replace his given name, Joseph.  The meaning of his name relates to encouragement and consolation.  As discussed the column found below (“Start with a Smile”) a very basic element in all ministry involves encouragement, and this can only happen on the basis of personal human contact.  Ministry involves programs and projects, certainly.  Ministry involves things we do together, as those gathered in Our Lord’s Name.  But at its most fundamental level, ministry is personal; it must involve a connection at the most individual level.  And that’s where you come in, and where each of us can bear the name of encouragement and consolation.
How can you encourage others?  Most of all by a “ministry of presence”.  This is a life ministry in which you make sure that in all of your interactions with others you are present to them.  You pay attention.  Other people are not part of a multi-tasking palette in which you hold a conversation while looking at your phone or tablet.  Once you are present, it is then that you can listen—both with your ears and with your heart—and hear what the person whom you are with is carrying.  If it is joy, then celebrate in joy with him/her!  If it is sorrow, or doubt, or fear, or anger, remember that when Jesus teaches that we are to bring burdens to Him (Mtt. 11.28), He teaches this right after revealing that we may know the Father because He (Jesus) reveals the Father to us.  In other words, burdens are shared, and burdens are offered to Jesus, and relieved by Jesus, within the community of all who believe in Him.
What can be more encouraging than to walk alongside of someone, particularly knowing that when two or three of us gather, or walk alongside each other, in Jesus’ Name, He is with us (Mtt. 18.20)?  Our culture would keep us all too busy, and too focused in multitasking.  Let us encourage one another first by being present to each other, just as Barnabas took the time to be with people.
A final note:  In our baptismal vows we promise to proclaim the Good News of God in Jesus Christ in who we are and in what we say.  It is in being present to each other, in building community, that we encourage in proclamation.  What we have to say about the Good News, and about encouraging each other in this truth, is founded upon the simple practice of first stopping, taking a breath, and then focusing on the person before us.  It’s then that ministry happens.

Grace abounds:  Please thank:
§  Kevan and Traci Revis, and Bobbi and Kaleigh Kraft, Jane Hanson and Mary Massey for the Sunday coffee hours.
§  Terry Kohler for providing for lawn care during the recuperation of our sexton.

Podcasts!   Podcasts are found on the website under “Media”.  You can also subscribe on ITunes or with RSS full feed at:

It’s Time for Camp!
You’ve heard it said before and I’ll say it again, “Camp is one of the BEST things the Diocese of Fond du Lac does!”. Personally, I’m disappointed that I’m unable to be at camp this year. However, I’m SO excited that SO many from our parish WILL be there!!!
If you’re like me and are disappointed that you can’t attend, it’s not too late for you to participate in others ways.  First, please remember our campers and staff in prayer.  While you’re at it, I’m sure the good Lord wouldn’t mind a few extra words related to good weather, few bugs, and peace for any nervous parents. Secondly, kids young and old LOVE getting mail from “home”! A note, card or letter is always a welcome gift. “Mail call” can be bring an added bright spot to the day!
Listed below are the names of our campers and the dates for camp. I’ll be providing transportation on Sunday, June 14th and again Saturday, June 20th. If there is mail you’d like me to take to the Camp for distribution during any of the camps, I’d be happy to take it along. Otherwise, if you decide to use the postal system, please try to send mail well enough before the last day when the camper is supposed to depart. Note: from Sheboygan, I’ve seen it take as long as 3 full days to get to camp.
Here’s to our campers and staff. May they have a fantastic, Spirit-driven time at camp!!
By His love,
Bobbi Kraft

MAIL:
Camper Name, Session (Senior/Middler/Junior/Kinder)
Fond du Lac Camp
c/o Camp Lakotah
N1875 21st Ave
Wautoma, WI 54981

Senior Camp: Sunday, June 14th  - Saturday, June 20th
Emily Boland
Kaleigh Kraft
Michele Whitford - Session Director
Nick Whitford - Camp Staff

Middler Camp: Sunday, June 21st  – Thursday, June 25th
Ben Crouse
McKenna Schumacher (and her friend Grace W.)

Junior Camp: Sunday, June 21st  – Thursday, June 25th
Rachel Boland
Maya McMillan
Josten McMillan
Katie Schumacher (and her friends Madie W. and Belle W.)

KinderCamp: Thursday, June 25th- Saturday, June 27th
Leona Aparicio accompanied by Paul Aparicio
MaryGrace Boland accompanied by Susan McIntosh

Further camp notes!  Camp begins this Sunday, and for some of us, this is the time when we might start singing: "It's the most wonderful time of the year". There's something truly special about having a space that is so specifically set aside to be wildly, boisterously, Christian. To be a community for a little while that is set upon a rock of trust, faith, compassion and humility. To learn more about what it means to be a follower of Christ, and to practice being that person with others who have the same struggles in "the real world". We come together to be a community of people interested in bringing each other along on a journey of discovery. To find what it means to be a Christ-follower, what it means to love your neighbor, what it means to win a belly-flop contest in the lake.
Wait... what?
Oh yeah, while I stop myself from waxing rhapsodic over the church stuff, we also have 'camp' at church camp. fires, forests, prairies, cabin shells (an upgrade from the tent platforms), a delightful lack of electricity in certain areas, and of course the lake and beach. There is so much happening at camp all of the time, both scheduled and unscheduled, both in a group or by yourself in the beauty of creation, both in the loud times and the silent times. There is something for everyone at camp.
We are deliberately trying to be Spirit-lead, going where God sends us. That might mean that we need to spend extra time processing some heavy theological point in our small groups. Or we need to gather as a large group and vent our frustrations about expectations vs. reality. Perhaps we spend a lot more time in worship and instead of having a fire, and we just pray together. All of these things have happened, and often when it comes to the Holy Spirit, the only thing we can do (as a staff) is throw out the schedule and be open to God.
So!  Over the next two weeks we will have camp for everyone from 4 year-olds through high school graduates, setting aside time to learn about who God is and what it means to be a community of Jesus followers, and doing it in a setting that is to many a God space, a thin place. Please pray for all of those going as campers, as staff, and as parents of campers. 
Camp doesn't really end, we empower the students to "go forth" and take what they have learned and use it, explore it, expand on it. We encourage the students to be leaders in their churches, and to tell and teach others what it is we do and did. Pray also for open hearts and minds for the congregations of those who attend camp, very often it is a vital injection of faith and love and hope for the church, and we certainly don't want to miss out on it.

Grace and Peace,

Nick

Call for ContributionsIf 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.

Start with a Smile:  When was the last time you were standing in line to get checked out in the grocery store & started talking to the person ahead or behind you?  Or even when you were being checked out, talked with the checker or bagger?  Did you know that research shows that low social connection is worse for you than smoking or over-eating?  Didn’t Jesus talk to all those who gathered around him, even an unknown woman who touched his cloak.  She wanted to know him & when we take the initiative, again research shows that over 90% of people we engage in conversation reciprocated.  Most people also report that when they have conversations with strangers they feel better about themselves.  When we retreat from those around us, we experience feelings of loneliness, depression & anxiety.  Jesus spent a large part of his ministry among strangers & meeting them where they were at.  Even the disciples were strangers at first before they became his trusted friends.  It is scary to talk with strangers, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.  Here are some simple steps:  1)   Make eye contact & smile.   2)  Talk with the person at the cash register & if they have a name tag, call them by name.  3)  Find an icebreaker that connects you with the person, like the weather.  4)  Connect with people you come in contact with like salespeople or your mail person.   Not only do you get to know this person, but I guarantee that you will get better service from them.   Jesus did not sit in the temple waiting for people to come to him, he went out to where the people were, talked with them, met them where they were at & got to know them.  We need to follow his example to make a friend & be a friend by loving them where they are at & the best way to do that is to smile.  It changes everything, not just with them, but with us.  It is natural to be concerned about what could go wrong from this encounter, but instead focus on what could go right.  You will be surprised & I know you will be blessed.  If connecting with others can make us happy, what is holding you back?  Take a step in faith & start with a smile! (B. Drewry-Zimmerman)

Education for Ministry:  If you were at the late service the Sunday the bishop was here, you noted that four of us were recognized for completing the four years of Education for Ministry.  We learned a lot in those four years, both from the materials and from each other as we studied and discussed.  There was a lot to read but fortunately no tests!  Topics for the four years were:
Year 1—Old Testament
Year 2—New Testament
Year 3—History of Christianity
Year 4—Theology

This month’s Clarion (p. D) has more information about EfM.

If you would like to look at the materials to see if you would like to join the new group that begins in the fall, you can find them in a blue bin in Michele’s office.  They will be there through the end of July.  I would be very happy to talk with you further about EfM if you have questions. 

Pat Sather
920-452-4542         psather42@gmail.com 

Music this week:  Music for Sunday, 14 June.  Proper 6B2.

Prelude                           Preludio                                                         M. E. Bossi
Entrance Hymn 388        “O worship the King”                                          Hanover
Mass Setting                            New English Folk Mass                           Timms & Warrell
Offertory Hymn 525        “The Church’s one foundation”                            Aurelia
Communion Hymn 302   “Father, we thank thee who hast planted”   Rendez √† Dieu
Closing Hymn 411          “O bless the Lord, my soul”            St. Thomas (Williams)
Postlude                         R√©demption                                                           Bossi

Help needed!  If you have experience in house painting, please see Fr. Karl about a project to re-stain and seal the doors around the church.
         
Parish Notices

§  Special All Parish Forum: Sunday, June 14th we will hold a special all-parish forum to discuss a new and exciting ministry initiative. This will happen at 9 a.m., in St. Nicholas Hall.  What we will discuss involves a 21st century outreach program, in which we will build a web-based outreach ministry. This opportunity arises because of a very generous gift made to the parish, a gift that will allow us to live-stream what happens here. Please come and join the conversation.

§  Michele Gone: It is camp time again and I will be out of the office beginning Monday, June 15 – Friday, June 19th. If you are available to volunteer at the desk to answer the phone and take messages please call the office at 452-9659. You don’t need to know anything, just have time and willingness to sit in the front office. There may be time to read, or knit! Next week, when I am out, please be patient for a call back. I will have limited access to email and cell service but I will check and try to respond to urgent needs. Please pray for the councilors and campers all week.

§  Elkhart Lake Chapel: We are in need of help for the following Sundays: July 5, August 2 and 9. 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 will continue a series on Prayer at Grace Church at 9:00am in St. Nicholas Hall on June 21st. 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.

§  It’s Coming! Save the date: Saturday, August 8, 2015, Brat Fry at Miesfeld’s!! (More news to follow, we need your help!) Brat fryers, stand attendants, baked goods attendants, bakers!! Contact Bob MacEwen at 467-6909 to lend a hand now!

§  Follow Grace Church on Twitter: @GEC_Sheboygan
We Are on Itunes! Check out the new podcast!!!




Thursday, June 4, 2015

Proclamation, Not Debate

Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
4 June 2015

The Gospel is offensive.  I write this with reference to all the red we see on the Church calendar this week:  The Martyrs of Lyons (177); The Martyrs of Uganda (1886); and St. Boniface (754).  (Corpus Christ, today, is a white feast—a feast of Our Lord—but we can certainly associate the red of martyrdom and of blood in Jesus’ real presence!)  But, to repeat, the Gospel is offensive, and Jesus makes this clear when He instructs us, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before you.  If you were of the world the world would love its own, but because you are not of the world ... the world hates you” (Jn. 15.18-19).
St. Boniface certainly offended his audience when he chopped down the Sacred Oak of Geismar, an ancient tree consecrated to Thor.  The tree, of immense age and girth, fell to only a few axe blows, and was found to be rotted within.  (A perhaps fanciful legend has the tree falling in four parts, i.e., cruciform shape.)  He was offensive to all those to whom he took the Good News, for the Good News requires that we change, and to ask anyone to change is bound to cause offense.  Boniface was finally killed by Frisian warriors, as he prepared new believers for confirmation.
The Gospel is threatening and offensive to all to whom change is threatening and offensive.  The world would rather have itself celebrated and affirmed.  This does not mean that we need to condemn.  We first need to get to know.  We first need to proclaim the Gospel in who we are, for we cannot impose transformation in Christ on anyone.  They must desire change; they must seek God, and to do this their individual wills must be drawn.  We cannot motivate anyone to see any need for change, and to desire to change, by telling them that there is something wrong with them.  In all that we do we will get close to nowhere by pointing out the wrong found in others or in other teachings.  Rather, we must do what Jesus did, and what His saints in mission have always done—proclaim.  Proclaim daily the Good News of salvation.  Proclaim each day “Here’s the truth!” rather than “That’s not true!” (whatever “that” may be, and even when “that” clearly isn’t true). 
Mission involves proclamation, not debate.  The one place in Paul’s mission journeys where scripture does not record that he succeeded in establishing a church is Athens.  Acts 17.16-34 records Paul’s time in Athens, in which he is described as engaging in debate, and in debate with those who are polite to him.  (“We will hear you again about this” Acts 17.32.)  Paul is joined in belief by some, but the record is silent about the formation of a church, as opposed to what happens in Corinth, and Ephesus, and Philippi, etc., in which places Paul does not debate, he proclaims.  He let’s God’s Word do the work, not his own intellectual accomplishment. 
No one of us is ever going to argue anyone into the faith.  But we can plant seeds by being true in proclamation.  In this “red” week let’s remember the call to witness to who God is, to what the Good News is, and if we do offend anyone in the process, let’s just pray that the offense arose because a seed was planted.

Grace abounds:  Please thank:
§  Kevan and Traci Revis, and Jennifer Pawlus and Grace Zangara for the Sunday coffee hours.
§  The members of the Society of Mary for the reception following the Mass for the Feast of the Visitation, as well and Terry and Mary Kohler for wine, and Jack Britton, Julie Davidson and Jennifer Pawlus for cleanup.
§  Ben Dobey and the choir, and the altar crew of Tom, Tasha, Ben and Dee Crouse, Scot Fabiano, and Nick Whitford for putting a solemn eucharist together on less than a day’s notice!  (Please thank, as well, Archdeacon Michele for the service bulletins on short notice.)
§  Terry Kohler for providing for lawn care during the recuperation of our sexton.

Podcasts!   Podcasts are found on the website under “Media”.  You can also subscribe on ITunes or with RSS full feed at:
Study Guides for Congregational Use: Bishop Gunter has released two study guides for use by congregations and individuals of the Diocese of Fond du Lac. The King or a Fox: Configuring the Mosaic of Scripture is a 14-page document as a guide to understanding and interpreting Scripture. It was used by clergy during deanery clericus gatherings. In Dialogue With Each Other is a Study Guide created to aid congregations in studying and discussing the topic of same-sex unions. Clergy may want to encourage individuals to make use these resources or use them as a basis for forums or other study series.
Downloads are available both as PDF and Word files. Visit diofdl.org.


Call for ContributionsIf 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.

Education for Ministry:  If you were at the late service the Sunday the bishop was here, you noted that four of us were recognized for completing the four years of Education for Ministry.  We learned a lot in those four years, both from the materials and from each other as we studied and discussed.  There was a lot to read but fortunately no tests!  Topics for the four years were:
Year 1—Old Testament
Year 2—New Testament
Year 3—History of Christianity
Year 4—Theology

This month’s Clarion (p. D) has more information about EfM.

If you would like to look at the materials to see if you would like to join the new group that begins in the fall, you can find them in a blue bin in Michele’s office.  They will be there through the end of July.  I would be very happy to talk with you further about EfM if you have questions. 

Pat Sather
920-452-4542         psather42@gmail.com 

Music this week:  Proper 5B, Octave of Corpus Christi

Prelude                                    Tranquillo                                                            C. Hubert H. Parry
                                                Chorale Prelude on ‘Melcombe’
Entrance Hymn 444                “Blessed be the God of Israel”                                         Thornbury
Gloria, Sanctus & Agnus Dei              Deutsche Messe                                     Schubert, arr. Proulx
Offertory Hymn 690               “Guide me, O thou great Jehovah”                            Cwm Rhondda
Communion Motet                  Ave Verum                                                                  W. A. Mozart
Communion Hymn 314          “Humbly I adore thee”                                               Adoro devote
Recessional Hymn 533           “How wondrous and great thy works”                                   Lyons
Postlude                                  Verse on Pange Lingua                                              Jean Titelouze
Help needed!  If you have experience in house painting, please see Fr. Karl about a project to restain and seal the doors around the church.
           
Parish Notices

§  Graduates!!! If you or someone you know is graduating from High School, University, Tech School, or any other kind of completion please let the office know and come to the 10:15 service in cap and gown or tassels or any kind of insignia to be recognized for your accomplishments. 452-9659.

§  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 continue 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.
§  It is never too late to sign up!!! 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.
    • Senior Camp (completed grades 9-12) June 14 (Sun 3pm) – June 20 (Sat 12noon)
    • Middler Camp (completed grades 6-8) June 21 (Sun 3pm) – June 25 (Thu 5pm)
    • Junior Camp (completed grades 2-5) June 21 (Sun 3pm) – June 25 (Thu 5pm)
    • 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!!!