Monday, August 22, 2016

September 2016

Why We Are Doing It
           

Enormous efforts are being expended to get out church remodeled. Replastering, repainting, moving scaffolding around, setting up volunteers, moving pews, raising funds, giving funds, spending funds, etc. This is especially noteworthy considering the small size of our parish.

No doubt the question comes up from time to time: why are we doing all this? What’s the point?

The question has an answer that is worthy of remembering: we do this because we want to give our very best to our sacred space, from which the Gifts of God are so graciously given to us.

Our dedication to this project says something about where our heart is, it seems to me.

We believe in sacred space, because we believe in the Incarnation. God became flesh, has come down from heaven and become incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, he has adorned our earthly life with his divine Presence and mercy. This matters to us, and changes the way we think about life.

So, in the first place, we attend to the preaching of his Word and the administration of the Blessed Sacrament. In the second place, we seek to adorn this preaching and administration with a dignified use of the liturgy, as well as by dressing our minister and his assistants in sacred garments. We also dress ourselves fittingly for attendance at worship. We remember, when we enter the worship space, to behave reverently.

And, according to the same line of thought, we do what we can to keep our worship space itself looking decent. For a very long time we were obliged to put up with a lovely worship space that grew more and more needful of repair. Now at last we have embarked on the repairs, hopeful, prayerful, and looking forward to the completion of a worthy project by the grace of God.

We do it because, in short, it is the right thing to do, and we pray, as ever, that God will bless, for Christ’s sake.

+ Pastor Eckardt

Pews Going Back Soon

At this point we are optimistic that the project will be at the point at which we can put our team of volunteers back together to return the pews to the church, and move back there for worship. Mid-September is our target. This is good news, since Oktoberfest is right around the corner. Be ready for a call for volunteers!


Oktoberfest!

The Twenty-first Annual Oktoberfest! and Gottesdienst Central will be hosting the Rev. Benjamin Mayes, PhD, Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His topic will be 
“The Call and the Ministry according to Johann Gerhard”

Johann Gerhard has been called the “Arch-theologian of Lutheranism,” and was the most influential of seventeenth-century Lutheran theologians. He decisively influenced Protestant theologians to study the evangelical (i.e., Gospel-centered) character of pre-Reformation Christianity. Gerhard has been an area of particular interest for Dr. Mayes, who served until this fall as an editor of professional and academic books at Concordia Publishing House (CPH) in St. Louis. In particular he served as general editor for Gerhard’s Theological Commonplaces. Dr. Mayes still serves CPH as managing editor and co-general editor of Luther’s Works: American Edition.

The event begins Sunday the 9th with Vespers at 5 p.m. Following the service is our annual bratwurst banquet. When everyone has had their fill of brats and beer, Dr. Mayes will give a synopsis of his Monday seminar. Following the banquet is the after-the-party party, at Pastor Eckardt’s home.

On Monday, October 10th, Mass is at 9:00 a.m., with Rev. Fr. Michael Frese from Redeemer in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as our special guest preacher. Following Mass and a continental breakfast, Dr. Mayes will hold forth for the rest of the day, in two sessions running until about 2:45, followed by Vespers. 

On Tuesday, the conference will continue in the same format, with discussion of liturgical and theological ramifications of decisions made at this summer’s triannual convention of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, with Fr. Eckardt.

REGISTRATION: MEMBERS OF ST. PAUL’S GO FREE. For others, $50 per person, $70 per couple, students $25 — includes Sunday banquet and Monday continental; no charge for children with parents.
Pastor to Preach 50th Anniversary Service at Holy Trinity in Walnut

Pastor Eckardt has been honored to be the preacher for the 50th anniversary celebration on Sunday morning, September 25th, at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Walnut, where Rev. David Menet is the pastor. Pastor Menet has occasionally brought members to our Easter Vigil, and has used Pastor’s materials for his members over the past ten years.

In order to enable Pastor to be present at Holy Trinity, supply pastor Rev. Michael Bahr will again be serving here on September 25th. Holy Trinity will be covering the expense of this pulpit supply.

The members of St. Paul’s are invited to the celebration at Walnut, which opens with Divine Service at 10 a.m., followed immediately by a luncheon banquet. Pastor will be traveling on from Walnut from the luncheon to the annual St. Michael Conference in Detroit, for which see below.

Pastor to Speak in Detroit

Every year Zion Church in Detroit holds its St. Michael conference on the last Monday of September, and Pastor Eckardt is always one of the speakers at the conference. This year’s conference will center on the holiness of time and space in the Divine Service. Keynote speaker. Rev. Dr. Joel Elowsky, a professor from our St. Louis seminary, provides this summary of his presentation:
"The Fathers of the Church did not "do" church. They lived it. They lived what they believed and believed what they lived. . . . From the earliest days the practice of the liturgy revolved around the two foci of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. The resultant life of prayer which the liturgy expressed drew from the unity the Fathers saw between the Old and New Testaments brought together by the cross and crucifixion, authored by the One divine Author who gave His life for the world. As such, the Fathers viewed the liturgy as sacred space, sacred time, sacred act honoring with sacred words and sacred music the Author and Perfector  of their faith and life."
For information on this conference consult Pastor.

GoFundMe Campaign Begun

An online fund raising campaign for our renovation effort began in August. Here is the description:

St. Paul's Lutheran Church is a traditional, liturgical, historical congregation, a place where, as the saying goes, "you know you've been to church."  We are truly a blessed family of believers who care for each other as we rejoice together in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. But we are small, and until now that has kept us from addressing the need for repairs and paint for our beloved, historic (1903) church’s ceiling. What has changed? We are still, as ever, a fragile congregation, whose funds, in spite of all our best efforts, are never quite able to keep up; a congregation that sometimes receives unexpected gifts just in the nick of time, it would seem.

We must now step forward in faith, because our poor building can no longer wait.

And as far as finances are concerned, two things have also emerged. First is the news that trustees and some members of the congregation met with a man, Mr. Bob Harrison, a drywall and plaster refinisher, who stated that the plaster in the nave is reparable, and that this work could be done in short, affordable steps, provided that we can set up our own scaffolding and planking, and do as much of the unspecialized work as we can, including especially cleanup; but possibly also even some painting. This is a breakthrough: the breaking of the project into steps prevents us from thinking it to be overwhelming and undoable. We can take as long as we need.

Secondly, the membership is now exhibiting a unified sense of urgency and purpose.  We are committed to the task of being a beacon of the Gospel in this place, and so we step forward in faith and with grit and determination, praying for our Lord’s continued blessing on us as we proceed.

We want to make our historic place of worship worthy of its name again, and a fit place to honor our Lord Jesus with worship and praise. If we can meet our goal, we have no doubt this house of worship can become one of the most beautiful of its (neo-Gothic) kind, We hope to restore this building in such a way that it complements our joyous worship and praise. We want the dignity of our building to say we are here approaching unto the dignity and beauty of the Gospel we confess, and our profession of faith in the mercy of God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Join us as we step forward in faith and love (and if you can, by all means, join us for worship if you ever happen to be anywhere near us when we gather for worship). We will certainly be thankful for your support, not only toward you, but toward our gracious God whose provision is always abundant.

Altar Guild News
Sundays during September, the color is green.

Wednesdays are varied:
September 7th is green.
September 14th is red (Holy Cross Day)
September 21st is red (St. Matthew)
September 28th is white (observance of Michaelmas) Color reverts to Green for the first Sunday in October

September Birthdays
9/1 John Ricknell
9/10 Jan Schoen         
9/15 Chuck Russell
9/17 Mary Beth Jones
9/18 DeAnne Anderson
9/19 Jaclyn Kraklow
9/19 Jamie Kraklow   
9/28 Allan Kraklow

September Anniversaries
9/18/1976 Tom and Sue Ann Wells
9/24/1977 Dennis and Janice Schoen

September Ushers: Allan Kraklow, Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells.

Shut ins

Mary Hamilton at home; Emmy Wear at Williamsfield Home in Williamsfield.
Choir Rehearsals
Regular choir rehearsals resume Wednesday evening, September 7th, as we prepare for Oktoberfest.  We’ll have some new music, and, as always, have lots of fun.

Our Web Site’s Description of Us

Here’s a bit of our web site’s information about St. Paul’s:

Who are we?

We are a Lutheran (Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod) parish of Christian people who rejoice in our salvation, and in having the Word of God among us.   When we hear the Gospel our hearts rejoice and are glad. We sing, and our choir sings, and our liturgy expresses our unspeakable gladness in the solemn dignity that befits holy joy.   The Lord Jesus Christ here lavishes us with His eternal gifts and mercy. The Master serves the servants, and this wondrous mystery delights and humbles us in His presence.    We welcome you to share this joy with us. 

What do we believe?

According to the Sacred Scriptures, and in the unity of the one, holy apostolic, Christian, catholic (universal) faith, we believe, teach and confess that the one true God is the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—who, created and sustains all things in heaven and on earth.  

Our faith is simply expressed in the catechism, and in the great Creeds of the Church, which state clearly that since the fall of Adam, all men are born with sin, and this condemns and brings eternal death upon those not born again through Baptism and the Holy Ghost.  

The Son of God, Christ our Lord, bore the curse of the law and paid for all our sins.  Through Him alone we obtain forgiveness of sins through faith, are freed from death and all the punishments of sin, and are saved eternally.  He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.   Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Triune God, is true God and true man, and therefore our Redeemer and Lord.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the express image of the Father, as He said, “I and the Father are one.” Christ assumed His human nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, that He might reconcile the Father unto us by this sacrifice. Christ also descended into hell, and truly rose again the third day; afterward He ascended into heaven that He might sit on the right hand of the Father, and forever reign and have dominion over all creatures, and sanctify them that believe in Him, by sending the Holy Ghost into their hearts. The same Christ shall openly come again to judge the quick (the living) and the dead.

The Holy Ghost, whom Christ sent, creates and sustains the Holy Christian Church on earth by the Gospel.

What do we regard as our greatest treasure?

Christ Jesus our Lord is our greatest treasure, revealed to us by the Holy Ghost in the Gospel.  The eternal truths of the Holy Gospel are therefore our very life and salvation, and we regard the preaching of the Gospel and its attendant Sacraments as our highest need and joy.

What are the Sacraments?

Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and Absolution, which is the Sacrament of Repentance, are truly Sacraments. For these rites have God's command and the promise of grace.


Where do we find these truths?

We have learned of our gracious Lord and Master Jesus Christ by the proclamation of His Word, and faithful teaching of the Sacred Scriptures. The Bible is the only true norm according to which all teachers and teachings are to be judged.  Since it is the Word of God, no human being's writings dare be put on a par with it, but everything must be subjected to it.  We know that the Scriptures will not lie to us.

In Our Prayers

Our current list of prayer intentions at mass includes the names on the lists here following.  To update the list please inform the pastor.

in our parish:
Denny Schoen, Sandra Verplaetse, Emilie Ricknell, Linda Rowe, Don Murphy, Sue Murphy, Kris Harden, Joyce Long, Mary Hamilton, Emmy Wear
      and also:
Anna Rutowicz [granddaughter of Harrises]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter]
Jill Matchett [at request of Diana Shreck]
Lorene Foglesong [at request of the Kraklows]
Cathy Van Wassenhove [re Sandra Verplaetse]
Maria Thorndike [at request of the Murphys]
Annie Eastman [at request of Svetlana Meaker]
Emily Corzine [Sarah’s sister]
Nancy Popejoy [relative of Sharon Hartz]
John Molburg [friend of Sandra Verplaetse]
Dave Colgron [friend of Tom Wells]
Shannon Watson [Jim’s daughter]
Maxine Bitting [relative of Thompsons]
Noah Muske [relative of Kraklows]
Jonna Dougherty [friend of Chris Erickson, stroke]
Steve Draminski [friend of Jim Watson]
Kathy Nussear [Joyce Long’s daughter, cancer]
Ray Zarvell [friend of Steve Harris and Fr Eckardt]
Theresa Lewis [niece of Carol Eckardt]
Pastor Kenneth Wegener in the military
John Eckardt
Donny Appleman [at request of the Ricknells]
Thomas Kim [at request of the Shrecks]
Michael Creech [at request of the Murphys]
Katherine Creech [at request of the Murphys]
Richard Heiden [at request of the Eckardts]
Carter Wills [grandson of the Thompsons]
Luke Van Landigan [grandson of Dick Melchin]
Jaclyn Alvarez [daughter of Kris Harden]
  in trouble
any unborn children in danger of abortion
those suffering from unrest, persecution, and imprisonment in Yemen, Iran, North Korea, and elsewhere.
Details on Persecution:

YEMEN: Christian Witness in the Midst of Civil War
Source(s): The Voice of the Martyrs USA, The New York Times
18 August 2016

The civil war in Yemen has created a humanitarian crisis, leaving the Christian minority vulnerable to increased persecution by various militant groups. A mission is delivering food and water supplies to a small community of Christian families who have no source of income. Nearby Muslim families are witnessing the love and unity that's taking place among these believers.

Since the war began in early 2015, tens of thousands of people have been killed or injured, and millions displaced from their homes. Compounding the severity of the situation, the coalition's bombing campaign has been "among the deadliest and most indiscriminate in the region's recent history," according to a report by The New York Times.

IRAN: Christians Arrested at Engagement Event
Source(s): Middle East Concern, Mohabat News
18 August 2016

The families of three Azerbaijani Christian men, who have been detained for almost two months in Iran, recently appealed for help. Eldar Gurbanov, Yusif Farhadov, and Bahram Nasibov were arrested on June 24th at an engagement party in Tehran. No charges have been filed against them, nor have they been allowed access to a lawyer.