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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Christ--Community--Compassion

Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
27 August 2015

“See how [these Christians] love one another” is the usual translation given for a famous saying of the theologian Tertulllian (d. A.D. 220), made in the defense of the faith he gave during a time a serious persecution.  Tertullian pointed out that even the pagans who stood by while the imperial government persecuted the Church recognized that there was something different about being a follower of Jesus Christ.  This observation poses to us the question:  “What do people see about us that distinguishes us from the world?”  An answer might be as simple as the fact that we attend on worship when many others do not, but in asking the question let’s not forget that we can be in danger of becoming too worldly in our own view of ourselves.
This danger was highlighted in a recent week in which a lot of pastoral care was needed and provided within the parish.  Three different hospitalizations were involved, with clinic visits as well.  Care was provided by both lay persons and clergy, and involved transport, presence, food, physical help, etc.  There is nothing unusual in this, but what stood out was a comment made by one person who received care, who said words to the effect that the person providing the care was doing something special.  But when we consider what it means to embody Christ, and recall Tertullian’s famous words, we should be struck by the fact that what Christians do should somehow be considered “special” by a fellow Christian!
In caring for each other we are not doing any special work of righteousness.  We are simply living in our vocations as followers of Jesus Christ.  When a member of the Body needs help our faith informs us that it is the norm that this help be provided.
But here is the sneaky little secret of recognizing and living out our vocation of mutual self-giving love.  When we live out our vocation as followers of Jesus the Body is built up, and we—as members of this Body—are ourselves strengthened, both in our faith and in our persons.  This is because faith is so much more than an idea, or set of ideas, with which we agree.  Faith is so much more than the individual trust each one of us must have in God’s promises and in His presence.  Faith is about all that God makes new in His continual creation and re-creation of the world. 
In all that we say and do with and for each other, and with and within the world, when we recognize that our very identities as individuals, and our identity in Christ as one Body, must always involve community (gathering), cross (following), and new creation (renewal), then the norm of self-giving will never surprise us, and we will never hesitate to give of ourselves.  This reality is, in fact, summed up in the “tag line” or saying found on most of our parish publications:  Christ—Community—Compassion.  We identify as members of Christ together, and in this identity we share in each other’s passions and joys.  Let this reality ever be recognized as the norm for all who follow Our Lord.

Grace abounds:  Please thank:
§  Jessica and Tom Ambelang for the Sunday coffee hour.
§  Elizabeth Schaffenburg for reupholstering an office chair.

Music this Week:  The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 17B

Prelude                           Pastorale                                            Marco Enrico Bossi
Entrance Hymn 377        “All people that on earth do dwell”                    Old 100th
Offertory Hymn 556        “Rejoice, ye pure in heart”                                    Marion
Communion Hymn 660   “O Master, let me walk with thee”                      Maryton
Closing Hymn 470           “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy”                  Beecher
Postlude                         Sortie                                                         Cesar Franck

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.

Worthwhile reading:  A blog worth visiting regularly is one described as  “place of dialogue between Catholics and atheists”.   http://www.strangenotions.com  This is the blog of philosopher/theologian Peter Kreeft, and other contributors, and the discussions are not limited to a Christian identity founded in Roman Catholicism.  The discussions are lively, and involve real people asking real questions, but they are also very thoughtful, and beg us to go deeper.

Parish Notices

§  Sunday School Needs:  Please bring small, smooth stones (about the size of a child’s palm) to the 2nd—5th grade classroom, for use in a prayer project.  Also, a large serving bowl is needed, something that can be painted.  If you have questions, ask Nicci Beeck.

§  Blessing of the Backpacks! We will be blessing all the backpacks and school children as well as all the teachers, on August 30th at both 8:00 and 10:15 services. We will invite everyone, young and old, who are starting school to come forward with their backpacks for a blessing. We will also ask all the teachers to come forward to be blessed in their important work as well.

§  Sunday School registration:  Yea, it’s almost time for Sunday School to begin!  The teachers have missed those familiar faces and are looking forward to some new ones, too. Look for the Sunday School table Sunday, August 30th.  Registration paperwork, classroom lesson schedules, Christmas pageant practice schedules, Operation Christmas Child information and snack ideas will be on hand.  See you for sign up!
o   Grace offers classes for children of all ages at 9 am on Sundays:
―3-k through 1st Grade with Mrs. Andrea (Aparicio), Ms. MaryAnn (Portz) and Mrs. Danielle (Whitford).
―2nd through 5th Grade with Mrs. Nicci (Beeck) and 6th-12th with Mr. Nick (Whitford)
o   If you don’t have children to register, how about your grandkids?  How about your neighbors’ kids or grandkids?  Help us teach the little children how much Jesus loves them, by bringing them to Grace’s Sunday School beginning September 20th!

§  Catechumenate will begin: Catechumenate is a nine-month course in the basics of the Faith and its practice. It is a period of training and instruction in Christian understandings about God, human relationships, and the meaning of life.  It includes the Sacrament of Baptism, if you are not already baptized, and culminates in Confirmation, Reception, or Renewal of Baptismal Vows. The Catechumenate will meet on an evening each week starting at 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The class will begin in September and will continue until May when Bishop Matthew Gunter makes his annual visitation. The study is led by Deacon Michele Whitford, the Parish Catechist. If you would like to be a part of this exciting study and fellowship or would like more information, please call the office 452-9659 or e -mail Deacon Michele at mwhitford@gracesheboygan.com. There is a sign-up sheet on the table in the Narthex.

§  Fundraising for All Saint's Chapel: We are in the process of replacing the roof for All Saint's Chapel. In recent years its age has started to show where shingles are missing and some leakage is occurring. Our hope is that funding will be available from a private foundation but nothing is guaranteed especially if the funding will be available this year. Would you be interested in contributing towards this project? We are looking to start work on this project before winter before more damage occurs. If funding does come from the foundation your donations will be dedicated to other maintenance items at the chapel and St. Hubertus Hall. Feel free to make donations in the offering plate, noting “Roof” in the memo, or contact our main office at office@gracesheboygan.com. Thank you so much for your generosity.

§  Mass in the Grass: Please join us Sunday, September 13, 2015 for an outdoor Mass and All Church Picnic at Deland Community Center, 901 Broughton Dr., Sheboygan, the Mass will begin at 10:15 a.m. with lunch following. There will be games and activities for our children’s enjoyment. Inviting guests is encouraged. There will be ONE MASS only that day. We will be asking for donations of cookies/bars, potato chips, water and monetary donations to defray the cost. Please sign up on the sheet on the Narthex table.

§  Pastoral Letter on Same Sex Unions:  Bishop Matthew Gunter has issued a pastoral letter, dated 6 August 2015, announcing diocesan policy on the blessing of lifelong unions between same sex couples.  Copies of this letter are available in the parish (narthex table and office). 
o   The policy provides that unions may be blessed only in those congregations where the priest and 2/3 of the Vestry agree that such unions may be blessed.  The policy also provides:  (a) congregations must engage in an open forum discussion of matters relating to the blessing of same sex unions, using the *Study Guides for Congregational Use* (see below); and (b) if a priest/congregation decide that blessings will not take place in a given congregation, those members seeking blessing will be directed to another congregation in the diocese for pastoral ministration.
o   A parish forum will be held on Thursday, 8 October, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., in St. Nicholas Hall.  This forum will be facilitated by the Senior Warden, Paul Aparicio.
o   Fr. Schaffenburg has communicated to the Vestry that he will not participate in the blessing of same sex unions.

§  *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.

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



Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Few

Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
20 August 2015

Seventy-five years ago today Winston Churchill gave a speech in the British Parliament.  It was the fourth of his famous wartime speeches, and was given one week after the German air force had begun its series of “Eagle Attacks” in what became known as The Battle of Britain.  The survival of Britain was at stake when Churchill spoke, and in speaking he magnified the role of the fighter pilots in the Royal Air Force (RAF), saying “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”  The speech became know as the “never was so much owed by so many to so few” speech, and Fighter Command of RAF became known as “the few”.
This was all very dramatic, and Churchill certainly had a gift for drama, but seventy-five years ago the drama was very real.  The drama was much more real two thousand fifteen years ago.  The drama was, literally, cosmic, and remains so.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3.16).  One of the reasons John 3.16 is the best known verse in all of the Bible is that it embodies the most dramatic reality of all time and creation.  The verse reveals God’s love and His will.
We all know that in drama depicted in media such as film or TV the tension and our interest is highest when the hero is in danger of destruction.  Churchill certainly understood that by focusing on the heroes of Fighter Command he could mobilize his people to work and fight all the harder to ensure victory, and he knew, as well, that he had to focus his people on victory, for there were more than a few (including members of his own government) who were ready to cut a deal with Nazis.  They were ready to accept the terms that Hitler had already offered—to stop the war and give Germany a free hand in Europe, in exchange for Germany agreeing to not further interfere with the British Empire.
Where would we be seventy-five years later if the British government had agreed to Hitler’s terms?  It would make for an interesting drama to consider a counterfactual history based on this possibility.  (This has been done in fiction, such as in Robert Harris’ Fatherland or Len Deighton’s SS-GB.)  But far more importantly and dramatically, where would we be if Jesus had looked into the “cup” of His Passion in Gethsemane (Lk. 22.42), and rather than saying that the Father’s will must control had sought a “way out”?  We would be lost!  How’s that for drama? 
The British people in 1940 desperately needed “the few”.  We desperately need the Savior.  Let the cosmic drama of salvation keep us focused not only on all that God calls us to but, as well, on the very real danger of ignoring His call.

Grace abounds:  Please thank:
§  Bob and Barb MacEwen for the Sunday coffee hour.
§  Jack Britton and Jennifer Pawlus for the Society of Mary ice cream social which followed the feast of the Assumption celebration this past Monday.
§  Andrea Beeck for cleaning and reorganizing the children’s library.

Music this Week:  The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 16B

Prelude              Chorale Partita on Blessed Jesus, we are here
                                                                      Johann Gottfried Walther
Entrance Hymn 388      “O worship the King”                                 Hanover
Offertory Hymn 460     “Alleluia, sing to Jesus”                                     Hyfrydol
Communion Hymn 691 “My faith looks up to thee”                           Olivet
Closing Hymn 561       “Stand up, stand up for Jesus”            Morning Light

Postlude                    Prelude and Fugue in A Major                              Walther

Call for ContributionsIf 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.

Parish Notices

§  Volunteers Needed for Ecumenical Thanksgiving Dinner: Grace Church is hosting the dinner this year and an informational meeting will be held on August 26 at 6PM.  Volunteers are needed for cooking, serving and clean-up.

§  Blessing of the Backpacks! We will be blessing all the backpacks and school children as well as all the teachers, on August 30th at both 8:00 and 10:15 services. We will invite everyone, young and old, who are starting school to come forward with their backpacks for a blessing. We will also ask all the teachers to come forward to be blessed in their important work as well.

§  Fundraising for All Saint's Chapel: We are in the process of replacing the roof for All Saint's Chapel. In recent years its age has started to show where shingles are missing and some leakage is occurring. Our hope is that funding will be available from a private foundation but nothing is guaranteed especially if the funding will be available this year. Would you be interested in contributing towards this project? We are looking to start work on this project before winter before more damage occurs. If funding does come from the foundation your donations will be dedicated to other maintenance items at the chapel and St. Hubertus Hall. Feel free to make donations in the offering plate, noting “Roof” in the memo, or contact our main office at office@gracesheboygan.com. Thank you so much for your generosity.

§  Eucharistic Festival: August 29, 11AM-2PM at Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Fond du Lac, WI. A traditional celebration of the Sacrament, with an outdoor procession & adoration. Homilist is Archdeacon Michele Whitford. Picnic meal follows. All are welcome to this diocesan family celebration. Sign up online to help or sing in the choir. Visit diofdl.org for more info.

§  Commemoration of Blessed Charles Chapman Grafton: August 29, 2:00-6:30PM at Episcopal Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Fond du Lac, WI. An event honoring a former bishop of our diocese. Includes presentation by Nashotah House Dean Steven A. Peay at 2:30PM, Evening Prayer at 3:45PM, Holy Eucharist at 4:15PM, and Garden Party. Visit diofdl.org for more info.

§  Mass in the Grass: Please join us Sunday, September 13, 2015 for an outdoor Mass and All Church Picnic at Deland Community Center, 901 Broughton Dr., Sheboygan, the Mass will begin at 10:15 a.m. with lunch following. There will be games and activities for our children’s enjoyment. Inviting guests is encouraged. There will be ONE MASS only that day. We will be asking for donations of cookies/bars, potato chips, water and monetary donations to defray the cost. Please sign up on the sheet on the Narthex table.

§  Sunday School Begins: We are getting excited about Sunday School! The teachers are making plans for another wonderful year of learning about the love of Jesus Christ! Sunday School will begin on September 20th at 9:00am. Please watch for more information.

§  Pastoral Letter on Same Sex Unions:  Bishop Matthew Gunter has issued a pastoral letter, dated 6 August 2015, announcing diocesan policy on the blessing of lifelong unions between same sex couples.  Copies of this letter are available in the parish (narthex table and office). 
The policy provides that unions may be blessed only in those congregations where the priest and 2/3 of the Vestry agree that such unions may be blessed.  The policy also provides:  (a) congregations must engage in an open forum discussion of matters relating to the blessing of same sex unions, using the *Study Guides for Congregational Use* (see below); and (b) if a priest/congregation decide that blessings will not take place in a given congregation, those members seeking blessing will be directed to another congregation in the diocese for pastoral ministration.
A parish forum will be held on Thursday, 8 October, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., in St. Nicholas Hall.  This forum will be facilitated by the Senior Warden, Paul Aparicio.
Fr. Schaffenburg has communicated to the Vestry that he will not participate in the blessing of same sex unions.

§  *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.

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







Thursday, August 13, 2015

Thank God for Witnesses!

Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
13 August 2015

On the calendar it is a week of heroic witness (St. Laurence the Deacon, St. Hippolytus, and Jonathan Myrick Daniels, martyrs), of lives dedicated to the service of God (St. Clare and Bl. Jeremy Taylor, in the vowed religious life and in devotional witness), and, supremely, of being completely open to and available to God, in Our Lady the Bless├Ęd Virgin Mary. 
At http://www.missionstclare.com/english/August/cal.html you can find details of the feasts and saints of the week.  All of these people sound very, very special, and they were.  But let’s not let the saintliness of anyone put us off from living into our own vocations as those who are Christ’s own.  When we are open and available to God, He may call us to a special witness, but more often what we will be called to, and equipped for, will not be “special”.  It will be blessed and precious, but it will be so in the context of a day-to-day life in which we will likely not be in any way widely recognized.
I want to write about one example, about the example of how in an otherwise normal life of hard work, and the ins and outs of the little problems of each day, a form of witness can emerge.  The form of witness which can emerge is to be seen to participate in joy, even when (especially when) life might otherwise be difficult.
If you had to (or have to) work more than one job, and are paid at a rate that never leaves any money over from a paycheck; if in this work you had to deal every day with difficult people, or a difficult and repetitive process; if in doing this you found (or find) that the expression of personal thanks to you is rare, you would find it easy to characterize life as hard.  You would find it easy to complain.
But what if instead of complaining you are experienced by others as a joyful person?  And what if, when people get to know you, and they ask how you can be so joyful despite life’s difficulties, your simple answer is to express how much you experience God’s love for you?  Would that not be an incredibly powerful witness to God’s love?  Would you not be witnessing alongside with martyrs and religious?  You certainly would be making such a witness.  Your witness would be like that of Mary, who when the angel announced God’s plan to her gave her simple and unequivocal “yes” to God. 
When we say “yes” to God, He blesses us, and in His blessing we experience joy, no matter our life experience.  And in this we are special in the same way that all of the saints on this week’s calendar were special—we live into our vocation and identity as those “sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ’s own for ever” (BCP 308).  All the word “saint” means in Scripture is one “set aside” for God.  In our Baptism we are each set aside, marked, sealed.  When we can recognize and realize this identity we can both experience joy and show to others how God’s love is experienced.  Thank God for witnesses!

Grace abounds:  Please thank:
§  The Clabots family for the Sunday coffee hour.
§ Andrea Beeck for cleaning and organizing the Children's Library
§  Congratulations and thank you for all the hard work the following parishioners did to make our first ever Miesfeld’s Brat Fry on August 8th a smashing success!  36% of our annual  budget for fund raising was realized in this one event (!), and of this amount 47% was realized from the donated bake sale goods.  Please thank and /or hug the following:
o   Jill Stagner for advertising
o   Bernie Markevitch for onion preparations
o   Baked Goods donations:  John Davis Family, Barb MacEwen, Mary Snyder, Polly Schmeiser, Andrea and Leona Aparicio, Deb Gagin, Jessica Ambelang, Elizabeth Schaffenburg, Jennifer Pawlus, Wayne Knocke, Paul Aparicio, Mary Clabots, Nicci Beeck, Anne Hanlon, Katy Larson, Claudia Fischer, Joyce Wessel, Betty Potter, Bev Evans, and Anne and John Weeden.
o   For those who packaged the goodies on Friday:  Deb Gagin, Jennifer Pawlus, Nicci Beeck, Julie Davidson, Ellen Aparicio, Bev Evans, Barb MacEwen
o   Volunteers to oversea Bake Sale on Saturday:  Anne Hanlon, Deb Ferguson, Barb MacEwen, Ellen Aparicio, Grace Zangara
o   For those who grilled or volunteered in the brat hut:  Jennifer Pawlus, Elizabeth Schaffenburg, Scott Fabiano, Wayne Knocke, John Davis, Bob MacEwen, Ed Clabots, Bryan Stenz, Paul Aparicio, Steve Larson, Bob Hanlon, Sutton Cecil, Jack Britton, Bill Gagin, and Max Jurgel
o   Many thanks to parishioners who came to eat and buy goodies!

Update on media:  Last week we provided data on blog/podcast/Twitter hits and followers.  Here are the relevant numbers for the parish website:  Monthly hits range from 640 (newsletter) to 1839 (service schedule).  Clearly, a lot of these are hits from web bots.  However, allowing for this, and the fact that most sections of the website average 1000-1200 hits/month, we can estimate that at least several hundred unique live visits happen every month.

Music this Week:  The Twelfth Sunday after Petnecost, Proper 15B

Prelude                           Adagio in E Flat                                            John Stainer
Entrance Hymn 390        “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”          Lobe den Herren
Offertory Hymn 477        “All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine”
                                                                                                            Engelberg
Communion Hymn 324   “Let all mortal flesh keep silence”                       Picardy
Closing Hymn 542           “Christ is the world’s true light”                        St. Joan
Postlude                          Two Chorale Preludes on Lobe den Herren    Max Reger



Call for ContributionsIf 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.

Parish Notices

St. Mary the Virgin: Monday, August 17th we will celebrate the eve of the Feast of St. Mary the Virgin also known as the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. We will celebrate with a Solemn Mass at 6:00 pm. We will continue the celebration with an Ice Cream Social. Please join in the fun. If you can stay and help clean up that would be wonderful.

Eucharistic Festival: August 29, 11AM-2PM at Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Fond du Lac, WI. A traditional celebration of the Sacrament, with an outdoor procession & adoration. Homilist is Archdeacon Michele Whitford. Picnic meal follows. All are welcome to this diocesan family celebration. Sign up online to help or sing in the choir. Visit diofdl.org for more info.

Commemoration of Blessed Charles Chapman Grafton: August 29, 2:00-6:30PM at Episcopal Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Fond du Lac, WI. An event honoring a former bishop of our diocese. Includes presentation by Nashotah House Dean Steven A. Peay at 2:30PM, Evening Prayer at 3:45PM, Holy Eucharist at 4:15PM, and Garden Party. Visit diofdl.org for more info.

Blessing of the Backpacks! We will be blessing all the backpacks and school children as well as all the teachers, on August 30th at both 8:00 and 10:15 services. We will invite everyone, young and old, who are starting school to come forward with their backpacks for a blessing. We will also ask all the teachers to come forward to be blessed in their important work as well.

Mass in the Grass: Please join us Sunday, September 13, 2015 for an outdoor Mass and All Church Picnic at Deland Community Center, 901 Broughton Dr., Sheboygan, the Mass will begin at 10:15 a.m. with lunch following. There will be games and activities for our children’s enjoyment. Inviting guests is encouraged. There will be ONE MASS only that day. We will be asking for donations of cookies/bars, potato chips, water and monetary donations to defray the cost. Please sign up on the sheet on the Narthex table.

Sunday School Begins: We are getting excited about Sunday School! The teachers are making plans for another wonderful year of learning about the love of Jesus Christ! Sunday School will begin on September 20th at 9:00am. Please watch for more information.

The Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, this inspiring event calls on participants of all ages and abilities to reclaim the future for millions. Together, we can end Alzheimer’s disease, the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death. We - Brenda, Greg, Charlie and Gracie will 
Walk to End Alzheimer’s & all types of dementia - 
in memory of our extraordinary Mother and Grandmother - 
Patricia (Patti) Rae Holmes 
who lost her 10+ year battle with this disease February 2014 If you would like to be a part of this great cause, please donate on my page here! http://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk2015/WI-SoutheasternWisconsin?pg=team&fr_id=7928&team_id=276583
Thank you!
Brenda, Greg, Charlie and Gracie Burgett

Pastoral Letter on Same Sex Unions:  Bishop Matthew Gunter has issued a pastoral letter, dated 6 August 2015, announcing diocesan policy on the blessing of lifelong unions between same sex couples.  Copies of this letter are available in the parish (narthex table and office). 
The policy provides that unions may be blessed only in those congregations where the priest and 2/3 of the Vestry agree that such unions may be blessed.  The policy also provides:  (a) congregations must engage in an open forum discussion of matters relating to the blessing of same sex unions, using the *Study Guides for Congregational Use* (see below); and (b) if a priest/congregation decide that blessings will not take place in a given congregation, those members seeking blessing will be directed to another congregation in the diocese for pastoral ministration.
A parish forum will be held on Thursday, 8 October, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., in St. Nicholas Hall.  This forum will be facilitated by the Senior Warden, Paul Aparicio.
Fr. Schaffenburg has communicated to the Vestry that he will not participate in the blessing of same sex unions.

*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.


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

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Transfiguration and Witness

Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
6 August 2015

“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.”  Writing at 2 Pet. 1.16 the apostle may well be thinking about his witnessing of Jesus’ transfiguration.  Peter speaks of eye witnessing, and in all walks of life the testimony of an eyewitness is of far, far greater value than what we might hear second- or third-hand.  You don’t need to be a lawyer to know that if someone has witnessed something himself, we can rely on his testimony in a way that we don’t for hearsay.  So, let’s look at a few details.  The apostle tells of the transfiguration of Jesus, of God the Father speaking from heaven to testify to the Lordship of Jesus.  Note, however, that he uses the word “we” to describe who heard the Father, and who saw Jesus transfigured.
Do we have the testimony of the other witnesses?  Luke’s Gospel tells us that present with Peter were James and John.  The transfiguration is also described in the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, and Biblical scholars will tell you that the Gospel of Mark was written based very much on the first-hand knowledge of Peter, and that Matthew was mentored by James.  What about John?  In his Gospel he does not describe the transfiguration directly, but he leaves little doubt about his knowledge of who Jesus is, when he begins his good news by saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
OK.  So we have the consistent testimony of direct witnesses, transmitted to us by both direct and indirect means.  We have a consistency in detail, of a description of supernatural brightness, that is consistent with the description of the brightness associated with direct manifestations of God, descriptions we find in Exodus (e.g., 34.29-34) and in Acts’ account of St. Paul’s encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Damascus (9.1-9).  This is starting to look like a pretty strong case; this is looking like we can say that by relying on Scripture we can gain knowledge of God and of His will for us.
And we can so rely.  As St. Peter says, “You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Pet. 1.19).  Relying on the testimony of others is the primary means we have of gaining knowledge.  What we know can be divided into two categories:  what we have experienced ourselves (what we call direct knowledge); and what we have learned by being told by others (what we call indirect knowledge), and the reality is that most of our knowledge is indirect (e.g., learning).  So on this day that we give thanks for the revelation of God’s glory let us give thanks, as well, that testimony is something that we can share—that a small ray of the brightness of God may shine through our own lives and words as “a lamp shining in a dark place”.

Grace abounds:  Please thank:
§  The Yang family for the Sunday coffee hour.

Tidings from seminaryGreetings from Alexandria, VA!
Kaleigh and I left on Friday morning. Our ride to VTS was uneventful and, upon arrival, were greeted by nearly fifteen individuals who moved us into our apartment in just under an hour! It was an amazing welcome … just as it was an amazing send off from Grace Sheboygan. I will write more later, but wanted to take a moment to include this “thank you” in this week’s blog.
Prior to our departure, we were blessed by: Tasha & Tom Crouse with moving boxes, Scott Fabiano for painting, John Davis for plumbing repairs, Nick Whitford for mowing, Bryan Stenz, Hannah & Thomas Sanders, and Jon & Michele Whitford for assistance with packing. Additionally, Jennifer Pawlus for hosting the fantastic Ladies Tea. Plus Hannah & Thomas, Jon & Michele, and others who made sure Kaleigh and I ate a meal once in awhile! 
The sending from Grace is something I will always remember! I haven’t yet read the book that was presented that Sunday with all of your notes. It is set aside for a day in the not too distant future when “packing & unpacking” is behind me. “Real” mail is always a blessing and will reach me at: 3737 Seminary Road Alexandria, VA 22304. Stay tuned. Updates from seminary will be posted shortly. “We do ministry together”.
Thank you for your love and prayers!                                   ―Bobbi Kraft

Update on media:  Archdeacon Michele writes in this month’s edition of The Angelus about progress on our web-based ministry programs, Grace Abounds, but we have for some time already been communicating using this blog, podcasts, and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.  A few statistics:  As of right now, we have 222 followers at twitter.com/GEC_Sheboygan - Grace Episcopal (WI)
We have 107 followers at twitter.com/GraceAboundsWI - Grace Abounds
We have 242 "likes" or followers at facebook.com/GraceSheboygan - Grace Episcopal Church Sheboygan, WI.
Facebook is updated on most days.  Twitter (which we only began to use in the first quarter) has so far included 233 unique tweets.
In addition, this blog averages 1,000 page views per month (of which 15% originate from a mobile device), from an average of 8 countries.  The visits to our website can relate to content under any menu, including podcasts.  Unique visits average ____. All of these data are for our platforms now, i.e., before we launch an integrated program that is outreach-oriented.
If there are items you wish to share on social media platforms, please contact the parish office, and we will direct you to the appropriate feeds.

Music this Week:  The Feast of the Transfiguration, 6 August.

Prelude                           Chorale Preludes on Lord, all my heart is fixed on thee
                                                                                                    Krebs & Walther
Entrance Hymn 427        “When morning gilds the skies”
Offertory Hymn 137        “O wondrous type, O vision fair”
Communion Hymn 383   “Fairest Lord Jesus”
Closing Hymn 7              “Christ, whose glory fills the skies”
Postlude                          Chorale Prelude on The only Son from heaven                                                                                                                               Pachelbel

Sunday, 9 August, The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 14B.

Prelude                           Prelude on Draw nigh and take                    Leo Sowerby
Entrance Hymn 408        “Sing praise to God who reigns above”
Offertory Hymn 523        “Glorious things of thee are spoken”
Communion Hymn 328   “Draw nigh and take the Body of the Lord”
Closing Hymn 657           “Love divine, all loves excelling”
Postlude                          Finale on ‘Hyfrydol’                                                     Callahan

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

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

§  Ecumenical Thanksgiving Dinner: This year we will be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner open to the public in conjunction with other churches in our community.  On August 26th at 6 PM, we will discuss details of the event.  If you can't make this meeting but are still interested, then please contact Paul Aparicio.

§  Continuing Education: Michele will be out of the office August 3-7 at a Mediation Training class. Ellen Aparicio will be in the office Monday- Thursday. The office will be closed on Friday.

§  Brat Fry and Bake Sale: is August 8, 2015 at Miesfeld’s. Do you have an interest in baking goodies for our bake sale? (This proves to be a major part of a brat fry event and your help is most appreciated!) And/or could you help package the baked items on Friday, August 7th at 1:00 PM? All sign-up sheets including working at the brat fry are in the narthex. Thank you so much for your participation.

§  Bishop’s Night at the Ballpark: August 14, 5:30PM all-you-can-eat picnic on 3rd base picnic deck, 7:05PM first pitch Timber Rattlers vs South Bend Cubs, at Fox Cities Stadium, Grand Chute, WI. Picnic and game tickets: $22,50 ages 11+, $16.50 ages 2-10, no cost under age 2. Game tickets only: $9. Parking: $5 per vehicle. Visit diofdl.org for more info.

§  Women’s Mini-Week: August 13-16 “Surprised by Joy” retreat for adult women offering refuge, friendship, relaxation, fun, and NO dishes! Held at Camp Lakotah in Wautoma, WI Thursday supper through Sunday brunch. Varied lodging or program/meal is available. Visit diofdl.org for more info.

§  St. Mary the Virgin: Monday, August 17th we will celebrate the eve of the Feast of St. Mary the Virgin also known as the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. We will celebrate with a Solemn Mass at 6:00 pm. We will continue the celebration with an Ice Cream Social. Please join in the fun. If you can stay and help clean up that would be wonderful.

§  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.

§  Eucharistic Festival: August 29, 11AM-2PM at Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Fond du Lac, WI. A traditional celebration of the Sacrament, with an outdoor procession & adoration. Homilist is Archdeacon Michele Whitford. Picnic meal follows. All are welcome to this diocesan family celebration. Sign up online to help or sing in the choir. Visit diofdl.org for more info.

§  Commemoration of Blessed Charles Chapman Grafton: August 29, 2:00-6:30PM at Episcopal Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Fond du Lac, WI. An event honoring a former bishop of our diocese. Includes presentation by Nashotah House Dean Steven A. Peay at 2:30PM, Evening Prayer at 3:45PM, Holy Eucharist at 4:15PM, and Garden Party. Visit diofdl.org for more info.

§  Mass in the Grass: Please join us Sunday, September 13, 2015 for an outdoor Mass and All Church Picnic at Deland Community Center, 901 Broughton Dr., Sheboygan, the Mass will begin at 10:15 a.m. with lunch following. There will be games and activities for our children’s enjoyment. Inviting guests is encouraged. There will be ONE MASS only that day. We will be asking for donations of cookies/bars, potato chips, water and monetary donations to defray the cost. Please sign up on the sheet on the Narthex table.