Grace Episcopal Church
29 June 2017
Earlier this week I awoke at 4 a.m., thinking about a program for our Grace Abounds online ministry. This will be a video series focused on how the Church should respond to the opioid abuse crisis in our society. (Perhaps recent obituary columns in Sheboygan brought this issue to mind.) The program is very early in development, but one issue that always surfaces whenever a response to a problem involving individual behavior is discussed is that among believers there is a latent question: Is this person at fault morally?
Our series will discuss the moral dimension to substance abuse, and the need to desire change as an individual. But, even if we assume (and only for the sake of argument) moral fault, then we run right into the question posed to Jesus by His disciples when they encounter the man born blind: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (Jn. 9.2). We run right into this question, which assumes moral fault attached to affliction, and which assumes that the fault may involve a familial pattern of behavior (what we would now call a “history of dysfunction”). Notice what Jesus answers. “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him” (Jn. 9.3). What follows is a long story of the man born blind coming to recognize who Jesus is, and acclaim Him as Lord.
If we consider the story from John 9, “the man born blind” in our community just might be anyone with a problem that we want to attach a moral dimension to, or that we want to just assign to a history of familial dysfunction. Doubtless there will be examples of people we encounter who have sinned, but the example from John 9 is one of how God’s mercy is made manifest. The story of John 9 for us involves how, when we encounter people with serious problems, we are being called as the Church to participate in how “the works of God might be made manifest”.
The works of God will be made manifest in how we respond: that we are seen to care; that we are seen to pray; that we are seen to engage in active, hands-on ministry with others in the community; that the door is never closed, no matter how many times someone returns to problematic behavior; that we are seen to engage with and minister to those who are hurting regardless of their faith.
Jesus tells His disciples, “We must work the works of him who sent me …” (Jn. 9.4). As we are Christ’s Body, we must work these works, that as God’s mercy is made manifest, so will be His glory.
Grace abounds: Please thank:
§ Art and Nancy Imig, Mary Snyder and Tom Wright for the Sunday coffee hour.
§ Zachary and Joann Sorensen for lawn care. Bobbie May for gardening.
§ Julie Davidson and Bobbie May for janitorial help.
§ Pat Ford Smith for hosting a caregivers’ ministry meeting.
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.
When you think about giving: When you think about giving, consider that we are one of the only churches in the downtown area that’s generally open for any walk-in. Consider this in light of the information and reflection included in the attached blog post:
Music this Week: The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 8)
Guest Organist: David Bahrke
Prelude Plainsong Melody: The Lamb’s high banquet we await Gerald Near
Entrance Hymn 718 “God of our fathers” National Hymn
Offertory Hymn 579 “Almighty Father, strong to save” Melita
Communion Hymn 302 “Father, we thank thee who hast planted” Rendez à Dieu
Closing Hymn717 “My country, ‘tis of thee” America
Postlude Prelude and Fugue in B Flat Major, BWV 560 J. S. Bach
§ Volunteers still needed at All Saints’ Chapel: We are in need of help for the following Sundays: August 13, August 20 and September 3. 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.
§ Mutual Support Group: Do you provide care for a spouse, child, parent or friend? This can be physical help, household help, taking people to doctor appointments or anything in between. If you do, consider joining our mutual support group which meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month. So far, we have about eight of us from Grace Church. For more information, please contact Mary Clabots at 762-0550.
§ Please keep Bill in prayer: 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.
§ Great Marriages: has an online 3-minute survey that can help them improve programming for the upcoming year AND you can be entered to win great prizes like Mark Gungor DVD sets, free Date Nights, and awesome books! Go to www.great-marriages.or/survey and once completed, enter your email address for an entry to win!
§ Education for Ministry: How do I learn to make the Bible stories become my stories? How do I learn how God wants to bless me with more than I can imagine? Join the EfM (Education for Ministry) group that is starting on Monday, September 11th. Two groups will meet at St. Peter’s Church House in Sheboygan Falls. The morning group is from 9:30-11:30 and the evening group runs from 5:00-7:00pm. Scholarships are available, so don’t let the cost of $375 for this college credited class, stop you from joining. Registrations are due by August 1st so materials can be received before the first class. Contact Barb Drewry-Zimmerman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 920-893-5189 for registration materials. The choice is yours—do you want to learn how to bring God’s mercy & delight into your neighborhood?
§ Grace Notes is here: http://gracechurchgracenotes.blogspot.com/. You can sign up to receive the blog every Thursday
§ Grace Abounds: http://www.graceabounds.online Sermons, podcasts, the Bible Challenge
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§ We Are on Itunes! Check out the new podcast!!!