Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Wahahoogrek!


Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
7 February 2019

Oh, my God!  How often do you hear this expression in public, in the media, as a sort of catch-all expression of surprise—surprise which might range from pleasure to despair.  Very often the person using this expression has no discernable relationship with God, but even people who are regular in the practice of the faith can too often be heard to use the expression.
In my brief service in the U.S. Marine Corps I became used to that all-purpose short Anglo-Saxon word otherwise known as the “F bomb”, as what I came to refer to as the “universal modifier”—as an adverb/particle/intensifier/noun/etc. that could be included in any sentence or phrase, and generally was.  I got so used to the F bomb that it became like water off a duck’s back.  I didn’t really react to the use of the word; it became background noise, and to this day I don’t really react too much when I hear it in public.  My lack of reaction is in marked contrast to that of one dear to me who when hearing the word is shocked, and reacts in shock.
So let us ask ourselves the question:  When we hear “Oh, my God!” are we just treating this as background noise?  Would we have the same reaction (absent sufficient boot camp experience) if someone next to us in a line said, loudly, what might be semi-politely abbreviated as “WTF?”
Scripture commands (not suggests) “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain …” (Exod. 20.7).  The intention here includes that we not invoke God’s Name to curse another (as in “G_d d__n you!”), but also to recognize that the Name is itself holy and we are not to abuse this holiness, for example by swearing falsely.  Elsewhere in Scripture we are warned not to swear (Jas. 5.12) and to put away “foul talk” (Col. 3.8).  But ask yourself this question:  If you do react to WTF and don’t react to OMG, why the difference?  Why do you react to foul talk but not to the taking of God’s Name in vain?  Is it because OMG has become background noise?  If so, how do we change this, or how do we, at least, witness to the holiness that an invocation of God is supposed to require?
I would like to suggest a simple practice:  If someone you know blurts out OMG (or, more directly, “Jesus!” as an oath), say something like, “Excuse me, if you are going to swear, can you at least use your own name?”  This will often result in an awkward interaction, but it will at least plant the seed that God’s Name is not to be abused, and your own witness to the holiness of God’s Name will, over time, allow you to better live into the holiness to which we are all called.  Then, if you have to utter an expression of surprise it can be your own coined, eccentric, meaningless word.  The next time you stub your toe, if you have to yell, yell out something like WAHAHOOGREK!  And see who notices.

Grace abounds:  Please thank: 

§  Bill and Debbie Gagin, and Bob and Barb MacEwen for the Sunday coffee hours, with cleanup by Julie Davidson, Joanne and Zack Sorensen.

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. 

Music this Week:  The Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany (Baptism of Our Lord)
                              Dr. R. Benjamin Dobey, Music Director

Prelude                           Chorale Prelude on Deck thyself, my soul with gladness
                                                                                                            J.S.Bach                                                               
Entrance Hymn 477         “All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine”       Engelberg
Offertory Hymn 665        “All my hope on God is founded”                           Michael                             
Communion Motet          God be in my head                                        John Rutter
Communion Hymn 339    “Deck thyself, my soul with gladness”              Schműcke dich                         
Closing Hymn 411           O bless the Lord, my soul           St.  Thomas (Williams)                    
Postlude                          Toccata and Fugue in D major               Johann Pachelbel

Parish Notices:
§  Adult Formation: The Language of Faith: Class continues at 9:00 a.m. in St. Nicholas Hall, exploring the language of faith. What words do we use to describe faith? How do the words we use shape our own understanding? How do words we use present barriers to those who have no experience of faith, or whose experience is different? All are welcome.
§  Lenten Meditations:  Our book of meditations, written by parishioners, has become a treasured tradition to enter into the Lenten season.
To participate:
Choose from the scripture readings on the Narthex table; you are welcome to choose more than one.
Read and reflect on the scripture for the scripture(s) chosen.
Write a meditation based on what resonated with you, or you feel called to share based upon the readings.
The meditation can be 10 words or 300 words (maximum, please); there are no rules and no right or wrong ways.
Submit your meditation to office@gracesheboygan.com by February 20 to allow production time. These meditations will be published in print and online before Lent begins. In addition, meditations can be read aloud on Grace Abounds, as part of our podcast series.
§  Diocesan Clergy Retreat, February 25-28:  There will be no Masses or Bible Study on these days.
§  Shrove Tuesday Feast before the Fast: March 5 is Shrove Tuesday. A New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration in St. Nicholas Hall will follow the 5:30p.m. Mass.
§  Ash Wednesday: March 6 is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent and a day of fasting and penitence. We will observe this day with Mass and Imposition of Ashes at 12:10 p.m. and Solemn Mass with Imposition of Ashes at 6:00 p.m. This is a holy day and a wonderful way to begin your Lenten observance.
§  Lenten Formation:  Beginning on Friday, March 15, our Lenten formation will consist of a 5-part program involving:
Stations of the Cross in the church from 5:30 to 6 p.m.
Simple Supper:  6—6:30 p.m.  Please sign up to host a simple supper (e.g., soup and salad), or to share a dish.
The Public Face of Faith:  6:45—8 p.m.  Fr. Karl will lead a series of discussions about faith which is lively because it is not private. In a militantly secular culture, problems like the dangers of growing up in a family which is not intact, or the psychological damage attendant on the “hookup” culture, or the damages to psychological health caused by the consumption of pornography are finally showing up in the popular media as problems to be named and addressed. But the media have, in general, treated the existence of these problems as “news”, as if we should be surprised.  We’ll discuss real examples of how:
What the Church has always taught now must be “rediscovered”, because a culture hostile to faith has never engaged in wisdom which has been handed down; and
“Rediscovery” is necessary because people of faith have not shared it.  Too many people of faith have bought into the model of faith being only private.
How we share our faith, how we speak to contemporary issues by addressing the cultural amnesia around us will be discussed using examples and interactive small group exercises. Join us!
§  Flower Schedule for 2019: Giving the gift of flowers is a wonderful way to remember a loved one or to offer thanksgiving for your blessings. If you wish to sign up for a specific Sunday, the Flower Schedule is available on the table in the narthex. More than one person can sign up for each Sunday.
§  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.



Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Dog Whistles


Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
7 February 2019

What is ASMR?  The acronym stands for “autonomous sensory meridian response”, a meditation technique that uses repetitive sounds.  What makes this practice a topic of conversation is that one of the Superbowl 2019 advertisements (for Michelob beer) involved the practice.  But (and get this), the fact that the ad referred to ASMR became a news story because most people didn’t know what ASMR is, or even that it existed.  In other words, the ad spoke particularly to people who already understood the message coded in it.
It has become common in what passes for dialogue in our society to use “dog whistles”, words and visual imagery that only those “in the know” (your “base”) will get.  The Michelob ad (which cost upward of $5 million) was a dog whistle to devotees of ASMR, while also trying to leverage some overall message of harmony to people who might want to drink beer while somehow feeling virtuous about this consumption.  Another form of coded message appeared in another $5MM+ ad, one from Hulu for the tele series “The Handmaid’s Tale”.  In this teaser a sinister depiction of oppression (itself made as a series of references intended to twist the “It’s Morning in America” commercial campaign used in one of Ronald Reagan’s election campaigns), ended with the image of the massed ranks of women in bondage standing on the Mall in Washington, D.C., with the Washington Monument transformed into a giant Christian cross.  The Cross is used—without comment—as a symbol of oppression, a message which is both a direct assault upon faith and a dog whistle to those who view faith as opposed to their own worldview.
Here's the real challenge:  In communicating about the faith—about the promise and power of salvation by and through Jesus Christ—outside of the Church, when we use “Church language” are we just using dog whistles, and only reaching those who already get the idea (if not the practice) of faith?  In using symbols, how do we continue to use symbols which testify to God’s ultimate self-giving in ways that do not become hijacked by those who would equate the Cross with a swastika or a Confederate battle flag? 
When “communication” is a series of dog whistles it becomes no more than a series of coded signals for groups which become tribes.  But the message of salvation is universal!  The Good News requires that we ignore distinctions between “Jew and Greek, male and female, slave and free” (Gal. 3.28), but the message of the world is to divide.  Our message—the Message—is to unite, and to do this we must first build community with others, that when we testify to the faith our testimony is understood because it is lived.  Our testimony must begin in how we focus on the other, on what we may learn from him or her, on how we may share, and only then on what we may teach.

Grace abounds:  Please thank: 

§  Bob and Anne Hanlon, and Jack Britton for the Sunday coffee hours, with cleanup by Julie Davidson.

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. 

Music this Week:  The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany (Baptism of Our Lord)
                              Dr. R. Benjamin Dobey, Music Director

Prelude                           Diptyque for Candlemas on Lumen ad revelationem
                                      gentium                                             Charles Tournemire
Entrance Hymn 535          “Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim”      Paderborn
Offertory Hymn 655        “O Jesus, I have promised”                                  Nyland                              
Communion Motet          O Salutaris Hostia                                      Donald Frazee
Communion Hymn 549    “Jesus calls us; o’er the tumult”                      St. Andrew                           
Closing Hymn 537           Christ for the world we sing!                             Moscow                      
Postlude                          Toccatina; Sortie dans le style ancien             Tournemire

Parish Notices:
§  Adult Formation: The Language of Faith: Class continues at 9:00 a.m. in St. Nicholas Hall, exploring the language of faith. What words do we use to describe faith? How do the words we use shape our own understanding? How do words we use present barriers to those who have no experience of faith, or whose experience is different? All are welcome.
§  Lenten Meditations:  Our book of meditations, written by parishioners, has become a treasured tradition to enter into the Lenten season.
To participate:
Choose from the scripture readings on the Narthex table; you are welcome to choose more than one.
Read and reflect on the scripture for the scripture(s) chosen.
Write a meditation based on what resonated with you, or you feel called to share based upon the readings.
The meditation can be 10 words or 300 words (maximum, please); there are no rules and no right or wrong ways.
Submit your meditation to office@gracesheboygan.com by February 20 to allow production time. These meditations will be published in print and online before Lent begins. In addition, meditations can be read aloud on Grace Abounds, as part of our podcast series.
§  Diocesan Clergy Retreat, February 25-28:  There will be no Masses or Bible Study on these days.
§  Shrove Tuesday Feast before the Fast: March 5 is Shrove Tuesday. We will be having a Parish Potluck Supper following the 5:30pm Mass. More information will be shared in the upcoming weeks.
§  Ash Wednesday: March 6 is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent and a day of fasting and penitence. We will observe this day with Mass and Imposition of Ashes at 12:10 p.m. and Solemn Mass with Imposition of Ashes at 6:00 p.m. This is a holy day and a wonderful way to begin your Lenten observance.
§  Lenten Formation:  Beginning on Friday, March 15, our Lenten formation will consist of a 5-part program involving:
Stations of the Cross in the church from 5:30 to 6 p.m.
Simple Supper:  6—6:30 p.m.  Please sign up to host a simple supper (e.g., soup and salad), or to share a dish.
The Public Face of Faith:  6:45—8 p.m.  Fr. Karl will lead a series of discussions about faith which is lively because it is not private. In a militantly secular culture, problems like the dangers of growing up in a family which is not intact, or the psychological damage attendant on the “hookup” culture, or the damages to psychological health caused by the consumption of pornography are finally showing up in the popular media as problems to be named and addressed. But the media have, in general, treated the existence of these problems as “news”, as if we should be surprised.  We’ll discuss real examples of how:
What the Church has always taught now must be “rediscovered”, because a culture hostile to faith has never engaged in wisdom which has been handed down; and
“Rediscovery” is necessary because people of faith have not shared it.  Too many people of faith have bought into the model of faith being only private.
How we share our faith, how we speak to contemporary issues by addressing the cultural amnesia around us will be discussed using examples and interactive small group exercises. Join us!
§  Flower Schedule for 2019: Giving the gift of flowers is a wonderful way to remember a loved one or to offer thanksgiving for your blessings. If you wish to sign up for a specific Sunday, the Flower Schedule is available on the table in the narthex. More than one person can sign up for each Sunday.
§  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.



Thursday, January 31, 2019

Baptism of a Feast


Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
31 January 2019

Tomorrow is the feast day of St. Brigid of Ireland (or Kildare, often also known as St. Bride).  The early biographies of Brigid place her birth in 451 and death in 523.  In the last half century it has been common for many historians to dismiss Brigid as legendary, but this ignores that these early biographies refer to at least eleven other persons whose historical reality is attested to by multiple sources.  The principal problem doubters of Brigid’s reality seem to have is that her name derives from that of a legendary Celtic goddess associated with Kildare.
The association of a Christian saint with a preëxisting legend or figure would be problematical if, and only if, the saint’s life and miracles pointed to any reality in a spiritual presence in opposition to the faith.  But the fact that a particular pagan observance has been “baptized” into the Christian faith (for example, that a feast has been taken over and rededicated to the worship of God) should neither surprise us or trouble us, because faith in Jesus supersedes any prior groping for meaning that our human yearnings may lead us into.  Some elements of truth (very often remote) can be found in all religious systems, but this does not mean that truth is in any way relative.  Some elements of truth may be found because in looking outside of ourselves we exercise God-given faculties to observe that there is some order—some rhyme or reason—to creation, and these hints point to the existence of a Creator.
In theology the existence of hints at the truth is classified as general revelation or Reason (sometimes referred to as Natural Law), as opposed to special revelation (found most particularly in Scripture—in the record of how God has chosen to reveal Himself and His will).  Because we are created in God’s image and likeness we have the capacity to observe and classify, but absent the special revelation of Scripture we won’t get very far. 
God has given us brains.  The reality is that when the Word became flesh a new age was inaugurated, and pinning things down to  specifics demonstrates nothing so much as a desire to remain in charge, to “figure things out”.  But this desire ignores the reality that God can and does use all times and places to be among us, and that the “baptism” of a date (or even of a legend)—when received in faith—hallows that day as a day we may turn in special devotion to God.
If the evangelists, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, considered information to be material we would have been supplied this.  Consider, for example, that at Mk. 1.29—31 we encounter a story that refers to Peter’s mother in law, and yet nowhere in any gospel account is Peter’s wife ever named.  The details of the personal lives of the disciples are spare, at best, and only shared to the extent needed to advance the narrative.  The same goes for when St. Brigid of Ireland lived.  What matters is not how we can document a particular event but how we receive the testimony of believers who have gone before.
We are given the powers of observation and reason, to be sure, but the real gift we receive is that of faith:  to encounter and respond to the many ways in which God chooses to reveal Himself and His will.  May we in all things pay the closest attention to this revelation!

Grace abounds:  Please thank: 

§  Bill and Deb Gagin, and Paul and Andrea Aparicio for the Sunday coffee hours.

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.

Emergency Coast Guard appeal:  Update:  An additional $300 was received since last week.  A thank you letter from the Coast Guard commander has been posted to the parish email list serve.

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 Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany (Baptism of Our Lord)
                              Dr. R. Benjamin Dobey, Music Director

Prelude                            Psalm-Prelude (Psalm 139 v.11)              Herbert Howells
Entrance Hymn 598         “Lord Christ when first thou cams’t”         Mit Freuden zart 
Offertory Hymn 444        Blessed be the God of Israel ”                        Thornberry
Communion Motet          O Everlasting light                                      John E. West
Communion Hymn 302    “Father, we thank thee who hast planted”   Rendez à Dieu                           
Closing Hymn 438           Tell out my soul, the greatness of the Lord  Birmingham                      
Postlude                                Trumpet Voluntary in D                       William Boyce

Parish Notices:
§  Adult Formation: The Language of Faith: Class continues at 9:00 a.m. in St. Nicholas Hall, exploring the language of faith. What words do we use to describe faith? How do the words we use shape our own understanding? How do words we use present barriers to those who have no experience of faith, or whose experience is different? All are welcome.
§  Boy Scouts Sunday: Today, Grace Church welcomes Troop 801, Pack 3801 and their families.
§  Signing of the Tripartite Covenant: Today, we also welcome the members of St. Dominic and St. Peter Lutheran Church in attendance for the annual signing of our Tripartite Covenant.
§  The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple: On February 6 a Solemn Mass will be celebrated at 6:00 p.m. This holy day is also known as Candlemas; all the candles used for the year are blessed. You are welcome to bring in your own candles to be blessed during this service.
§  Candlemas Lasagna Supper: After the Solemn Mass on February 6, there will be a shared supper in St. Nicholas Hall. Lasagna will be served; please bring a dish to pass and share in fellowship. A sign-up sheet is on the Narthex table.
§  Lenten Meditations:  Our book of meditations, written by parishioners, has become a treasured tradition to enter into the Lenten season.
To participate:
Choose from the scripture readings on the Narthex table; you are welcome to choose more than one.
Read and reflect on the scripture for the scripture(s) chosen.
Write a meditation based on what resonated with you, or you feel called to share based upon the readings.
The meditation can be 10 words or 300 words (maximum, please); there are no rules and no right or wrong ways.
Submit your meditation to office@gracesheboygan.com by February 20 to allow production time. These meditations will be published in print and online before Lent begins. In addition, meditations can be read aloud on Grace Abounds, as part of our podcast series.
§  Diocesan Clergy Retreat, February 25-28:  There will be no Masses or Bible Study on these days.
§  Shrove Tuesday Feast before the Fast: March 5 is Shrove Tuesday. We will be having a Parish Potluck Supper following the 5:30pm Mass. More information will be shared in the upcoming weeks.
§  Ash Wednesday: March 6 is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent and a day of fasting and penitence. We will observe this day with Mass and Imposition of Ashes at 12:10 p.m. and Solemn Mass with Imposition of Ashes at 6:00 p.m. This is a holy day and a wonderful way to begin your Lenten observance.
§  Lenten Formation:  Beginning on Friday, March 15, our Lenten formation will consist of a 5-part program involving:
Stations of the Cross in the church from 5:30 to 6 p.m.
Simple Supper:  6—6:30 p.m.  Please sign up to host a simple supper (e.g., soup and salad), or to share a dish.
The Public Face of Faith:  6:45—8 p.m.  Fr. Karl will lead a series of discussions about faith which is lively because it is not private. In a militantly secular culture, problems like the dangers of growing up in a family which is not intact, or the psychological damage attendant on the “hookup” culture, or the damages to psychological health caused by the consumption of pornography are finally showing up in the popular media as problems to be named and addressed. But the media have, in general, treated the existence of these problems as “news”, as if we should be surprised.  We’ll discuss real examples of how:
What the Church has always taught now must be “rediscovered”, because a culture hostile to faith has never engaged in wisdom which has been handed down; and
“Rediscovery” is necessary because people of faith have not shared it.  Too many people of faith have bought into the model of faith being only private.
How we share our faith, how we speak to contemporary issues by addressing the cultural amnesia around us will be discussed using examples and interactive small group exercises. Join us!
§  Flower Schedule for 2019: Giving the gift of flowers is a wonderful way to remember a loved one or to offer thanksgiving for your blessings. If you wish to sign up for a specific Sunday, the Flower Schedule is available on the table in the narthex. More than one person can sign up for each Sunday.
§  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.



Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Christian Unity Redux


Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
24 January 2019

Last week I wrote about Christian unity and about what separates us.  This week let’s focus upon what unites us.  As we heard in the epistle last Sunday, “[N]o one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12.3).  We must, of course, read this teaching together with Jesus’ word, “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Mtt. 7.21).  But we must also read both of these teachings together with our Lord’s teaching that it is His word that will judge the unbeliever on the last day (Jn. 12.48).  In other words, lacking the perfect knowledge of Jesus what we can judge about others is restricted to things like:  Is a person’s behavior consistent with God’s revelation?, and Is the professed belief of a person consistent with the teaching of the apostles?  What we cannot judge is whether any person may be saved.  We must trust in God’s mercy and pray all the more for those with whom we disagree.
I well recall a clergy colleague in another diocese.  We agreed about almost nothing, and spent many hours in dispute over after-hours libations at clergy conferences.  We were very different people.  He was about three decades  my junior.  His churchmanship was much more at the “can’t we just get along and sing” end of the spectrum, and his life experience involved a career as a rock musician.  But—and this is crucial—I came to know him (and he to know me) as a person who not only proclaimed “Jesus is Lord” but sought in his own way to follow Jesus.
What unites us is a common confession that Jesus is Lord.  What unites us is the common profession and practice of seeking to follow Jesus, which no one of us does perfectly.  There are and will be many times when differences in dogma, doctrine and, discipline will be apparent.  Differences in dogma are material.  Differences in doctrine can be very illuminating.  Differences in discipline may be classified, in general, as adiaphora—which wonderful Greek term may be translated as “those things not necessary to salvation”.
What is necessary to salvation is to turn to God.  The effectiveness of our turning and following—as individuals and as churches—will always be imperfect.  The gap between our holiness and the holiness to which we are called cannot be bridge by us.  But this gap can be bridged, and is, by and through Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead in His infinite mercy.  In this world, let us focus especially on following together.

Grace abounds:  Please thank: 

§  All who worked to prepare and serve the brunch offered at the parish annual meeting:  Mary Snyder (overall coördination and setup, plus cooking); Jessica Ambelang, Nicci Beeck and Polly Schmeiser (food); Elizabeth Schaffenburg, Polly Schmeiser and Elizabeth Schaffenburg (setup); and cleanup by Beth and Rachel Boland, and Joann and Zack Sorensen.
§  Barb MacEwen for organizing the emergency fundraiser for the local Coast Guard.
§  Ellen Aparicio for help in the office.
§  Nicci Beeck for all of the extra work she performed to make the parish annual meeting a success.

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.

Emergency Coast Guard appeal:  Many thanks to the generosity of our parishioners we were able to present the Sheboygan based US Coast Guard with $1000 in grocery gift cards on Monday, January 21st. Thank you Grace Church for reaching out to our military personnel in their time of great need.  It is greatly appreciated.
On Wednesday, January 23rd we learned that all the cards have been distributed to the 31 guardsmen/women, 75% of whom have families (one family has five children).  Our local Semper Paratus servants are extremely appreciative of this outpouring of generosity and concern.  Thank you for supporting our military in their time of great need.

 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 Third Sunday after the Epiphany (Baptism of Our Lord)
                              Dr. R. Benjamin Dobey, Music Director

Prelude                           Chorale Partita on All glory be to God on high    
                                                                                     Johann Gottfried Walther
Entrance Hymn 616         “Hail to the Lord’s Anointed”              
                                                                            Es flog ein kleins Waldvögelein 
Offertory Hymn 544        Jesus shall reign where’er the sun ”              Duke Street
Communion Motet          Eternal light, shine in my heart                 Samuel Scheidt
Communion Hymn 632    “O Christ the Word Incarnate”                              Munich
Closing Hymn 539           O Zion haste, thy mission high fulfilling              Tidings              
Postlude                          Carillon                                                   Herbert Murrill

Parish Notices:
§  Adult Formation: The Language of Faith: Class continues at 9:00 a.m. in St. Nicholas Hall, exploring the language of faith. What words do we use to describe faith? How do the words we use shape our own understanding? How do words we use present barriers to those who have no experience of faith, or whose experience is different? All are welcome.
§  Boy Scout Sunday: The Boy Scouts of America designates the Sunday that falls before February 8 (Scouting Anniversary Day) as Scout Sunday, to recognize the contributions of young people and adults to Scouting. Therefore, Grace Church will welcome Troop 801, Pack 3801 and their families on Sunday, February 3. Please greet our Boy Scouts and let them know how much we appreciate their service. If you are willing to bring extra coffee hour treats, please contact the office; there will be a larger than usual crowd.
§  Signing of the Tripartite Covenant: We need four lay members of the parish to attend mass on Sunday, February 3 at St. Dominic and St. Peter Lutheran Church (two members at each church) as representatives of Grace Church to sign the Tripartite Covenant. Mass at both churches begins at 10:30 a.m. Please call the parish office if you are willing to participate in this Ministry.
§  Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple: Please mark your calendars and plan to attend this Solemn Mass on February 6 at 6:00 p.m. This holy day is also known as Candlemas in which all the candles used for the year are blessed. You are welcome to bring in your own candles to be blessed during this service.
§  Candlemas Lasagna Supper: On Wednesday, February 6 after the Solemn Mass, there will be a shared supper in St. Nicholas Hall. Lasagna will be served; please bring a dish to pass and share in fellowship. A sign-up sheet is on the Narthex table.
§  Bible Challenge: Grace Abounds launched The Bible Challenge on Monday, January 4, 2016. If you take this challenge, you will find that in one year you will read all of the Bible! This will require less than an hour of your time, six days a week. A schedule of readings will be provided on the parish website, along with weekly study summaries and a weekly video summery of the readings. If you need a good study bible for the challenge, contact the parish office. When we immerse ourselves in Scripture, the mantle of the Lord does fall upon us. We are equipped to discern God’s will and to lead others to know and love and serve the Lord.
§  Coffee Hour Schedule: There is a new sign-up sheet for hosting coffee hour in 2016. If you would like to host, please sign up for either 8:00 a.m. or 10:15 a.m. If you have any questions, please see Mary Massey. Thank you so much.
§  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.
§  Flower Schedule for 2016: Giving the gift of flowers is a wonderful way to remember a loved one or to offer thanksgiving for your blessings. If you wish to sign up for a specific Sunday, the Flower Schedule is available on the table in the narthex. More than one person can sign up for each Sunday.
§  The 19th Annual Love Bowls event: benefiting Fresh Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County will be held at Sheboygan South High School on February 17 from 10 am to 3 pm. Featuring nearly 70 different soups, breads and cookies, as well as musical entertainment and a silent auction. Tickets can be purchased at the door the day of the event for $25 per person. Please call (920) 451-7011 for more information or visit www.freshmealsonwheel.org/love-bowls