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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Genuine Witness

Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
1 June 2017

Today is the feast of St. Justin (d. ca. 167), an early witness to the faith in Rome, who is generally remembered as “Justin Martyr” (as if this title were his surname).  Justin was a prominent apologist, addressing arguments to the Roman emperor about the truth of the faith.  His witness involved both his arguments and his death, and his “surname” recognizes that the meaning of the Greek word martyr is “witness”.
By God’s grace we are unlikely to suffer the persecution and martyrdom which Justin underwent, but this does not mean that we can ever ignore the ways in which we are called to witness.  Consider the following:  Many years ago more than 5,000 clergy at all levels of the Church, and in different denominations, actually completed an academic survey of some 500(!) questions intended to tease out what is required to make the ministries of the Church “effective”.  When the academic researchers finally tabulated all of the responses, they were able to reach no real consensus about “skills”, “gifts”, “core competencies”, “training”, etc.  The lead researched finally concluded that he could identify really only three important realities in how people—both inside and outside the Church—came to either connect with God through the ministries of the Church, or not:
1.   Is the clergy person seen/experienced to have a deep love of God?
2.   Is the clergy person seen/experienced to have a real love for people?
3.   Oops!  I forget the third!  (The results of this research were related to me in a casual conversation over a meal.)
I probably have forgotten the third because if 1 and 2 are not present no one ever really gets to what third factor may affect ministry.  The first two factors are bedrock in terms of how people experience relationship.  If the clergy person is not seen to have a deep love of God, those who he/she may attempt to reach will never reach the level of relationship that will allow them to experience a real love for people.  The absence of an abiding grace in the clergy person will defeat ministry.
And it’s the same for all of us. Clergy and lay!  We can only witness to the Good News of God in Christ Jesus when we are seen/experienced to have a deep love of God.  This will be manifested in different ways by different people, but it will involve being changed by God’s grace, to be used by Him to express a real love for people—His real love for people.
Cultivate love.  Do this by being as present to God as He is always present to you.  Do this in prayer, in worship, in quiet, in fasting.  Do this that you may be so filled with God’s grace that His love will flow through you to those who do not know Him.

Grace aboundsPlease thank: 
§  Mary Snyder for the Sunday coffee hour.
§  Ed Clabots, Julie Davidson, John Davis and Justin Panske for a for janitorial help.
§  Sandie Palmer and Mary Snyder for administrative help.

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 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.

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.

Music this Week:  The Day of Pentecost
                               Organist/Choir Director:  Ben Dobey

Prelude                           Prelude on “Down Ampney”                R. Benjamin Dobey
Mass Setting                                                                               English Folk Mass
Entrance Hymn 225         “Hail thee, festival day!”                          Salve festa dies
Sequence Hymn 503       “Come Holy Ghost, our souls inspire”
                                                                                             Veni Creator Spiritus
Offertory Hymn 509        “Spirit divine, attend our prayers”      
                                                                               Nun danket all and bringet Ehr
Communion Anthem        Listen, sweet dove                                    Grayston Ives,
                                                                                       Words by George Herbert
Comm. Hymn 512           “Come, gracious Spirit, heavenly Dove”                Mendon
Closing Hymn 516           “Come down, O Love divine”                     Down Ampney
Postlude                         Chorale Prelude on Come, Holy Ghost, Lord God
                                                                                                              J. S. Bach

Parish Notices    

§  Love INC is hiring:  Love in the Name of Christ Sheboygan is recruiting Clearinghouse Coordinator.  This is a 25 hour per week position central to LoveINC ministry operations.  Job specifications are available at the parish office.  Application deadline is 23 June.
§  Please keep both Ellen and Bill in prayer: It is anticipated that Ellen Aparicio will return to administrative duties on 20 June. Weekly sign-up sheets are being posted for volunteers to help in the office. There will be times when there is no office coverage (e.g., when I am away at a meeting). At these times the office door is locked.
§  Bill May has been diagnosed with a compression fracture in a vertebra. This means that he will be on restricted duties. We have established a volunteer rota for items such as: fellowship hall set-up and take down; restroom cleaning; trash removal; floor cleaning; lawn care. Sign-up sheets are on the Narthex table. Thank you.
§  Please Pray: Leslie Kohler, Bobbi Kraft, Deacon Mike, Mother Michele, Jon Whitford Jeanna Werbeckes will be joining a group from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Bellingham, WA on pilgrimage May 25 – June 12 to Greece studying “The Footsteps of Paul” under The Rev. Dr. Kamal Farah. Please hold the pilgrims in prayer.
§  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 on the clipboard on the Narthex table or by calling the office at 452-9659 with dates you are available. Thank you.
§  Eucharistic Festival: Plan to attend the Annual Diocesan Eucharistic Festival at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 24th, at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Fond du Lac. The Homilist is the Rt. Rev. Dorsey F. Henderson, retired Bishop of Upper South Carolina. He serves as Superior-General of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament and as episcopal visitor to a fledgling religious community centered in the Diocese of Atlanta. A picnic lunch and a time of fellowship will follow the Eucharist. At 3:00pm there will be afternoon prayer with Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
§  Brat Fry and Bake Sale: is July 1, 2017 at Miesfeld’s. There are many opportunities to help with this fundraiser! We will need brat fryers, brat stand attendants, bake sale attendants and homemade baked goods. Can’t fry, bake or volunteer? No problem, we also need monetary donations for condiments, paper products, etc. Any contribution make the check out to Grace Church, memo brat fry. In 2015 we made $1300, let’s set our goal at $2000. All sign-up sheets including working at the brat fry are in the narthex or call Barb MacEwen at 920-912-4505. Be sure to stop out for lunch at Miesfeld’s on July 1st and bring your friends! Thank you so much for your participation.
§  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.
o   Senior Camp (completed grades 9-12) June 11 (Sun 3pm) – June 17 (Sat 12noon)
o   Middler Camp (completed grades 6-8) June 18 (Sun 3pm) – June 22 (Thu 12noon)
o   Junior Camp (completed grades 2-5) June 18 (Sun 3pm) – June 22 (Thu 12noon)
o   KinderCamp (parent & kids ages 4-7) June 22 (Thu 4pm) – June 24 (Sat 12noon)
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