Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Another Oktoberfest Success

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped to make Oktoberfest another great event for our parish. We entertained over 100 guests on Sunday night, 62 on Monday, and 25 on Tuesday.

Dr. William Weinrich was our speaker for the second time in our history, and according to the comments of many who came, he did not disappoint. His insights on the Gospel of John were well worthy of hearing.

Our next major event is our Christmas retreat, which will be kicked off with our Epiphany choral vespers on Sunday night, January 8th (the Sunday after Epiphany), and will continue with two days of theological reflection Monday and Tuesday. Details are below, in this newsletter.

Our parish continues to struggle with membership losses (some had to move away for work or school, and some have died), and with the demographics of Kewanee being what they are, it is difficult to find new members. Nevertheless there seems to be among us an indomitable spirit of unity and a can-do attitude, the result of which is continued success with events like this. It is a testimony to the grace of God that we have continued with our efforts, as the psalmist says, ““Establish Thou the work of our hands, yea, the work of our hands, establish Thou it” (Psalm 90). Of course, that verse has to do in the first and primary place with the works of Jesus’ hands, since His holy incarnation has made His hands and our hands to be the same hands; and His work of atonement has been established for all eternity, for our salvation, by His mercy. But secondarily, our works begun, continued, and completed in Him are never in vain, but shall, by the same mercy, redound to whatever good He shall see fit.

Next year will be our 150th anniversary as a congregation. Our sesquicentennial committee has already met three times, and the observance of our anniversary has been determined as something that will be carried out in several ways, including among other things three anniversary services, with the heaviest emphasis on the third. The first will be on a Wednesday in January (the Conversion of St. Paul), the second will be the last Sunday in June (St. Peter and St. Paul the Apostles’ Day, and our church picnic), and the third will be Oktoberfest.

For Oktoberfest we have already arranged for our guest speaker to be Dr. Lawrence Rast, the President of our Fort Wayne seminary and a personal friend of your pastor. Dr. Rast is a historian, whose special area of expertise is American Lutheranism, so he should be able to flesh out the environment in which St. Paul’s was born in 1862.

Oktoberfest will be the second Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday in October. Mark your calendar now, for this, and for our other anniversary events. We have much to celebrate, and for which to be thankful for.

Soli Deo Gloria!

+ Pastor Eckardt

November Birthdays
11/10 Cassandra Krueger
11/13 Shannon Peart
11/14 Carol Robinson
11/15 Kami Boswell
11/19 Steve Kraklow
11/20 Jewneel Walker
11/30 Charlene Sovanski

November Anniversaries
11/5 Steve and Berniece Harris
11/11 Gayle and Phil Beauprez
November Ushers
Otis Anderson John Ricknell, Bill Thompson

Thanksgiving to be observed November 23rd

As usual, we will celebrate Thanksgiving the night before Thanksgiving Day, Wednesday, November 23rd, at our regular 7 pm hour. Come and worship, giving thanks to almighty God for His rich benevolence and grace.

Private Confession is always available to anyone between 6 and 6:30 pm on these Wednesdays, and also, as always, by appointment.

Shut ins

Mary Hamilton at home; Ruth Snider at home; Mark Baker at home, and Anna Baker at home. Mirilda Greiert at Kewanee Care; Elva Garrison at Abingdon Care Center.

All Saints Mass Nov. 1

Between our regular first Tuesday Altar Guild an Elders meetings this month, we will observe All Saints Mass at 7 p.m. Join us!

All Souls Mass Nov. 2

Our Wednesday Mass Nov. 2 will be the observance of All Souls Day (the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed), at our usual 7 p.m. time. Join us!

In Our Prayers

In addition to our shut-ins, our current list of prayer intentions at mass includes the names on the lists here following. Anyone wishing to update the lest by addition or subtraction, please inform the pastor.

Those who are sick:

in our parish:
Mark Baker, Ann Baker, Elva Garrison, Lorraine Mohr

David Dakin, Anna Rutowicz, Sara Bidni (mother of Svetlana Meeker), Julie Ross (Svetlana Meaker’s daughter), Caleb Cleaver (Ricknells’ grandson), Pam Mansnarus, Gary Skinner, Pastor Glenn Niemann, Kathy Swearingen, Christian Johnson, Madison Lindsay, Nina Hartz (Sharon’s mother), Richard Day (Kris Harden’s father), Louis Shreck (Diana’s father-in-law), Linda Anderson (Andersons’ daughter-in-law)

Those who are in the military:
John Eckardt, Brent Matthews, Michael and Melinda Fisa, Michelle Steuber, Kevin Thompson, Donny Appleman, Thomas Kim, Chaplain Michael Frese,
Jaclyn Harden

Those who are in trouble:
any unborn children in danger of abortion, the people in the midst of famine in Eastern Africa, and those suffering from persecution, genocide, and imprisonment in Nigeria, Iran, Laos, Egypt, Sudan, Syria, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, and elsewhere.

Altar Guild Notes

All Saints Day will be observed Tuesday, November 1, at 7 pm. Color is red.
All Souls Day, November 2nd (The Commemoration of the Faithful Departed), is scheduled for Wednesday 7 pm mass. Color is white. Thanksgiving is observed Wednesday night, November 23rd. Color is White.
First Sunday in Advent is November 27th. Color is Purple beginning on Saturday, November 26th.

First Tuesday Nov. 1

On Tuesday, November 1st, Altar Guild meets as usual at 6 p.m., and Elders at 7:45 p.m. Between them is All Saints Mass at 7 p.m., conveniently placed so both groups can attend. All members are invited to attend All Saints Mass.

Daily Prayer

For daily prayer in the homes of members, the following helps are offered:
Use your hymnal. The order of matins (morning) or vespers (evening) is easily adoptable for personal use.

A more brief form of prayer, as given in the catechism, is to say the Invocation, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and as a closing option Luther’s morning or evening prayer.

The hymnal is also a good resource for a schedule of daily readings. See page 161. These readings correspond with the material in Every Day Will I Bless Thee: Meditations for the Daily Office, my book of meditations for daily use.
+ Pastor Eckardt

Next Sesquicentennial meeting

Anyone who wants can be on the 150th anniversary committee. Our next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 15th, at 7 pm.


Feel free to join us every Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. for low mass. The service runs a little over a half hour.


Feel free to join us most Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m. for our recording of the weekly radio program, a study of Sunday’s Gospel.


Catechesis for new members is on Saturdays at 9 am, but anyone can come (and sometimes others do).

Looking ahead:

8-10 January 2011

An Epiphany retreat:

Two Days of Theological Reflection

opening with the

Annual EPIPHANY Choral Vespers

The January Days of Theological Reflection will begin with our annual Christmas Choral Vespers on Sunday night the 8nd of January, and then Monday and Tuesday, the 9th and 10th, from 8:30 – 3:30. This fourteenth retreat in the series is entitled,

“Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

It will focus on the Christology of Noah (Genesis 6 - 9), and, as ever, with an eye to finding Christ there, as He himself said of the Scriptures, “They testify of me.”

Sunday evening’s Choral Vespers, at 7 p.m., is always followed by our wine and cheese reception in the school cafeteria, another annual tradition. If there is inclement weather, a snow date is scheduled for Monday, January 9th, at 7 p.m.


This series, containing brief liturgical questions and Pastor Eckardt’s answers, began to appear in 1995, as a regular feature in this newsletter. It was then published, about ten years ago, as a Gottesdienst book.

Why is the Sacrament something we eat and drink?

The first answer to that question has to be the simplest one: we eat and drink the Holy Supper because Jesus told us to do so. He said, “Take, eat,” and, “Drink of it, all of you.” And again, “This do.” Therefore without question Christians learn to do this as a central ingredient of their most holy faith. No one can be forced, certainly; neither can one be forced to be a Christian. Christians learn to do what Christ wants them to do, especially in their worship of Him.

Secondly, as the ancient fathers have taught us well, it was by eating that sin entered into the world, so it is most fitting that by eating salvation should be given. The first eating brought death, the second brings life. The first eating was sinful, the second eating is for the forgiveness of sins.

Sacrament means “mystery.” We participate in the mystery of God here, and partake in His eternal feast of salvation. Our participation is by eating and drinking because it is a feast.

It can also be said that eating and drinking are very simple things, very down-to-earth things. Therefore God in this way demonstrates His simple desire to have us know in no uncertain terms that our sins are forgiven. As surely as we eat and drink this, knowing it to be Christ’s Body and Blood, so confident may we be that our sins are forgiven.

Why do we come to the altar to commune?

In churches of the Reformed or Baptist tradition, one commonly finds communicants staying in their pews as the trays are passed down the line, in much the same fashion as the offering plates. Communicants take a piece of bread, and hold it until all have received theirs, and then when the minister says, “Take, eat,” all eat at the same time. Then comes the tray containing cups of wine (or grape juice!), after which the tray is passed again, to receive the empty cups.
In Lutheran churches, by contrast, communicants come forward to receive at the altar, as is also the case among Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglicans or Episcopalians. Why?

This custom reflects our understanding of our participation in the Sacrament, that it is not a symbolic gesture. It truly is Christ, and therefore we, according to ancient custom, receive Him with the reverence that befits this faith.

Interestingly, many (though not all) of the churches who have the practice of staying in the pews for Communion also have the custom of “altar calls.” Altar calls are invitations to come forward and “accept Christ” into one’s life. But those who come forward receive nothing. They might get “slain in the Spirit,” falling down as if in a trance, or, in the less emotion-driven settings, they might simply stand at the front while prayer is said. They might get a hug.

What a telling comparison: in the latter case, people come forward to give their lives to Jesus, while in the former, they come forward to receive their lives from Jesus—for in the Sacrament we receive the forgiveness of sins, where, according to the Catechism, “there is also life and salvation.” Here is a stark contrast between what essentially amounts, on the one hand, to doing something (accepting Christ) to “get saved,” and on the other, doing something (coming forward for the Sacrament) because of what you already believe, namely, that Christ is giving Himself to you there.

Why do we sing hymns during the Distribution?

It is fitting that the faithful who gather to await the coming of the Lord should sing: as St. Paul says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16). Gladness is universally expressed by singing, and therefore it is right that the faithful who gather for the Holy Sacrament (wherein the Lord comes to us) should also sing. The Apostolic Church did so, as it is written, “They ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God” (Acts 2:47). St. Augustine says, “To sing belongs to lovers,” and we, as lovers of God in the Holy Feast, rightly sing to Him in connection with our reception of Him.

Why do we sing “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace” after communing?

This post-Communion canticle, called the Nunc Dimittis (Latin for “now dismiss,” the opening words of the canticle), is also called the Song of Simeon, for it is his response to receiving the Christ Child in his arms (Luke 2:25-32). For it had been revealed to him by the Holy Ghost that he, though we assume him to have been advanced in years, should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Thus when he at last sees the Child, with the words “My eyes have seen Your salvation” he is in effect saying, Now I can die in peace. Likewise we Christians, when we receive this same Christ at the altar, appropriately say the same thing as he. For we do not see the flesh of His Body, but we do see His Body all the same, for this bread is, as the Apostle says, the Communion of the Body of Christ, which means that the bread and Christ’s Body have communed together and become one substance. Thus, beholding the bread, we behold Christ’s Body; for they are the same thing. And we do not take Him into our arms, but receive Him by mouth, for He said, “Take, eat; this is My Body.” Hence we, in as authentic a way as did Simeon, behold and receive Christ at the altar, and so we, according to the same faith as he expressed, say the same words, in effect meaning, Now I can die in peace. That is, now I can face anything and everything which the world, the flesh, and the devil may cast in my path, for my eyes have seen God’s salvation; I have received my Christ here.

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