Grace Episcopal Church
30 March 2017
I have been attending the Friday evening ‘stations, supper and study’. We are using Bible Study questions from Bishop Gunter, centering on spreading mercy and grace. One question was about how the church (parish) has been Christ like—when do we ‘get it right’? Several things were mentioned, but the main answer seemed to center around when we welcomed Hmong immigrants when they were coming out of the camps in Thailand. I agree; that was a good answer, but I thought to myself “that was 35+ years ago….. we must have done something else right since then.” The discussion moved on, but this stayed with me.
I thought back on those times. For those who were not around then, Grace’s involvement with the Hmong people started when a parishioner learned that there were new immigrants living in apartments just over on 8th street who had pretty much NOTHING. She took Fr. Mills along to visit and see what could be done. (Fr Mills later said that he had always hoped to go somewhere to do mission work, but instead the mission field came to him.) He shared their needs with the parish, and many people eventually were involved in one way or another. Besides helping the families that were already here, Fr. Mills and then Mike Burg got involved with the Episcopal Migration Ministry and more families were sponsored and cared for. Hundreds were introduced to Jesus and were baptized. Many very good things came of that small beginning, but that is not what I want to write about here.
Yes, we can look back with pride on what was accomplished then, but it was not without some consternation. I don’t think we ever formally decided to get involved with the resettlement effort; it just happened. Fr. Mills was criticized by some, and we lost some members over our involvement. As I thought about those early times, I began to see the similarities with where we are now. Recently, Fr. Karl has been telling us about the problem of human trafficking in Sheboygan. He did not research the problem and decide to do something. He told me he became involved when a parishioner told him about a victim, and further involved when a pattern of victimhood could be seen in some of the LoveINC neighbors. This led to two further contacts: Freedom Cry, a community group working both to raise awareness and to provide escape options; and Good News Jail & Prison Ministry, which provides chaplaincy ministry at the county jail. Fr. Karl has now worked with both trafficking victims and prisoners, and has been able to identify needs that we, as Christians, can respond to. Our LoveINC connection has also resulted in a ministry headed by Paul Aparicio, The Guild of Martha and Mary, in which neighbors-in-need are taught to cook while experiencing the building of community in common meals.
It is easy to make connections with scripture in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25) , and Mt 25:31: the Parable of Judgement (‘When was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or sick or in prison and did not take care of you? Then he will answer them, Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me”). If that is not enough, we can also consider Mk 4: 35. Jesus is in a boat and a storm comes up. The disciples wake him and He stills the storm. Many years ago it was pointed out to me that they were not waking him to ask him to save them, they were waking him because they needed everyone to bail. They had no idea of God’s larger plan.
I am wondering how much discussion we need about figuring out who we should ‘target’. How hard do we have to work at trying to think up where we can share God’s mercy? It seems to me several needs have presented themselves to us. Maybe we just need to get to work, and follow what seems to be God’s plan and not struggle with trying to make our own. (M.C.)
Grace abounds: Please thank:
§ Kevan and Traci Revis, and Mary Snyder for the Sunday coffee hours.
§ Dale Massey for help in the office.
Special “Thank You’ s” : A supply of Thank You note cards can be found on the table at the back of church nave. When someone in the parish does something special, take the time to write them a personal note. Also, from time to time, think about who you might want to thank for ongoing service, and let them know you have noticed!
Call for Contributions: If you have a spiritual reflection to share, or want to point your fellow worshipers toward a resource, submit your contributions to Fr. Karl (by email) by Wednesday in the week of publication.
Don’t forget “Something Extra for Grace”: Supplemental giving envelopes can be found in pews. If you want to give something extra, please use an envelope to ensure that you are credited.
Taking God’s Mercy and Delight into the Neighborhood: The Diocese has a new website (www.diofdl.org). One link you can find is for the 13 May conference which will take place in Waupaca, at http://www.diofdl.org/sc.html . Please check out the details and register. We will plan to carpool. With enough people we’ll take a van. Limited scholarship funds are available for registration.
This is a conference focused on equipping you to reach out. For details, please ask Fr. Karl.
Music this Week: The Fifth Sunday in Lent
Organist: Ben Dobey
Prelude Chorale Prelude on By the waters of Babylon J. S. Bach
Entrance Hymn 388 “O worship the King” Hanover
Sequence Hymn 512 “ Come, gracious Spirit, heavenly Dove” Mendon
Offertory Hymn 598 “Lord Christ, when first thou cam’st to earth” Mit Freuden
Communion Motet 508 “I have longed for thy saving health” William Byrd
Communion Hymn 508 “ Breathe on me, breath of God” Nova Vita
Closing Hymn 637 “How firm a foundation” Lyons
Postlude Chorale Prelude on Out of the depths I cry to thee Bach
Parish Notices [Looks like we’re busy!]
§ Adult Education: On Sunday, April 2nd, at 9:00 a.m. we continue the course on Sacramental Identity – Holy Eucharist. This course follows the scheme set forth in the 2008 book of David A. deSilva, Sacramental Life: Spiritual Formation Through The Book of Common Prayer, exploring how liturgies of The Book of Common Prayer give us a language and a context for encountering God.
§ Starting Sunday April 2nd at 2:00 p.m. - First Communion Instruction: Pat Ford Smith will be providing Communion Lessons during the month of April in preparation for the Bishop's visit on Sunday May 7th, 2017. Classes will be held 2-3:30 pm on the following Sundays: Today April 2, 2017, Sunday, April 23rd and Sunday April 30th. If you or your child are interested, please contact the office to sign up.
§ Stations of the Cross, Simple Suppers and Teaching: Next Friday, April 7th, is the last of this Lenten Series. We meet at 5:15 pm for a Prelude of Lenten Organ Music and Stations of the Cross at 5:30 p.m., followed by a simple supper and Christian formation. Our formation program this year has been Bishop Matt’s Lenten series for parishes focusing on the Diocesan Vision for us to be communities of God’s mercy and light. This is not a study but rather a time of listening to God and one another; a time for storytelling and reflecting on our stories; a time of beginning or continuing discernment, both for ourselves and for our community of faith. Please sign up on the sheet in the Narthex so we will know how much food needs to be prepared.
§ Easter Flowers and Music: Please donate for Easter Flowers & Music. We enjoy the Beauty of Holiness in both the flowers that adorn the church and the special music which includes strings at the Solemn Mass on Easter morning. Please be as generous as you are able and call the office or fill out the slip found in this mass booklet to indicate your wish for memorials and/or thanksgivings. Deadline is April 10th at noon.
§ Maundy Thursday Foot Washing: Everyone will have the opportunity to have their feet washed and to wash someone else’s feet following the example of Jesus washing his disciple’s feet. Please wear socks and shoes that are easily removed.
§ Vigil before the Altar of Repose: Please sign up to watch and pray for an hour at the Altar of Repose beginning immediately following the Maundy Thursday Mass April 13th and concluding Friday, April 14th as the Good Friday Liturgy begins. There is a sign-up sheet on the table in the Narthex, more than one person can sign up for any given hour.
§ Sacrament of Reconciliation: Lent is a time of self-examination preparing for the death and resurrection of our Lord. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered on Maundy Thursday April 13th from 7:30 p.m. through 9:30 p.m. in the Crying Room/ Confessional at the back of the nave of the church.
§ Easter Vigil Dinner: The first Mass of the Resurrection is on Saturday, April 15th, at 7:00 p.m. The Easter celebration then continues at Trattoria Stefano, 522 South 8th Street, at 9:30 p.m. The actual cost of the meal is a gift to the parish, so you not only get a delicious meal but you help the church by purchasing a ticket for the dinner. Tickets can be purchased in the parish office or in the narthex after mass for $50 a person. Everyone is invited, but seats are limited. There are scholarships for anyone wishing to attend but are unable to donate.
§ Easter Gala Reception: We will continue our Easter celebration with a Gala Reception after the 10:15 a.m. Mass on Sunday, April 16th. Please sign up to bring sweets or savories and to help clean up afterwards. There is a sign-up sheet on the table in the Narthex.
§ Sew Caring: A new product drive from Love INC. Gibbsville Reformed Church is collecting new bath towels to be cut and sewn as full length bibs for local nursing homes and care agencies. Standard sized bibs do not keep residents’ clothes clean as food will often fall into their laps. For more info. please see the notice board and large grey collection bin in the Narthex. This drive runs March 14 – April 14, 2017.
§ Spring Cleanup: We will gather on Saturday, 22 April. Start time is 8:30 a.m., and we expect to finish at noon. Breakfast snacks, coffee, etc. will be provided. Cleanup will happen inside and outside the church. If you plan to work on the indoor crew, please bring cleaning materials. If you plan to work outdoors, please bring extra tools (rake, pruner, etc.) Let’s have fun together as we spruce up our beautiful physical plant and build community together!
§ Jail Chaplaincy: Join us on April 25, 2017 (Tuesday) at 6 p.m. for a banquet for Good News Jail & Prison Ministry. The dinner will be at Blue Harbor, and your participation will help raise funds for a chaplain to female prisoners in Sheboygan County. Fr. Karl has tickets for eight. The meal is free, but donations will be solicited. Full details are available by contacting Fr. Karl.
§ Volunteer needed to organize Annual Bake/Plant/ Rummage Sale: This annual event takes place, in conjunction with St. Luke United Methodist Church Rummage Sale, on Friday, April 28th (noon–3:00 p.m.) and Saturday, April 29th (9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.) – the second weekend after Easter. As well as an organizer we need volunteers to provide baked items (brownies already provided) and help man the tables, set-up and take down. Anyone interested in organizing/helping in this event, please call the office at 920-452-9659 or call/text Jessica Ambelang on 920-918-5667.
§ Grace Church Photo Directory: Life Touch will be scheduling photographic sessions from May 10, 2017 through May 13, 2017. These photographs will be used in a new Grace Church photo directory. Volunteers will be needed on the following photo days to assist with smooth appointment flow: 2:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 10th, Thursday, May 11th, and Friday May 12th, and 10:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 13th. Please call the office if you are available to volunteer at any time on these days.
§ 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! There are application forms on the Narthex table. Deadline for registration is May 22, 2017. If you have questions about what camp is like please speak with Nick Whitford at the coffee hour following this mass. Scholarships are available.
§ Senior Camp (completed grades 9-12) June 11 (Sun 3pm) – June 17 (Sat 12noon)
§ Middler Camp (completed grades 6-8) June 18 (Sun 3pm) – June 22 (Thu 12noon)
§ Junior Camp (completed grades 2-5) June 18 (Sun 3pm) – June 22 (Thu 12noon)
§ KinderCamp (parent & kids ages 4-7) June 22 (Thu 4pm) – June 24 (Sat 12noon)
§ Something Extra for Grace: Envelopes are available in the pews if you are moved to give an extra gift, beyond your pledge or regular plate donation, toward the life of the church. Gifts are tax deductible if you write your name on the envelope.
§ Like Grace Episcopal Church on Facebook
§ Follow Grace Church on Twitter: @gracesheboygan
§ Follow Grace Church on Instagram: @gracesheboygan
§ We Are on Itunes! Check out the new podcast!!!