Tuesday, September 24, 2013

July - August 2013


The end of the eleventh chapter of St. Luke’s Gospel contains a poignant account of Jesus’ visit to the home of Mary and Martha, in Bethany.  Mary sits at Jesus’ feet, listening to his word, as Martha is distracted and troubled with serving.  Finally Martha can take it no longer.  She calls out to Jesus, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.”  It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to get the sense that Martha is beside herself.  She has so much on her mind, so many things to do, no doubt to make the occasion as perfect as she can for so great a guest as Jesus himself.  Martha is irked, even angry; one almost gets the sense that she is almost angry with Jesus himself for failing to notice the failure of her sister to help with this gargantuan task of getting everything ready.  Imagine the scene: Mary is just sitting there, doing nothing! 
It is at this point that Jesus uses the occasion itself to teach: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”  There is a gentleness in these words toward Martha, who needed correction, as well as an unwavering defense of Mary, who needed support.
            So much we can learn from this account about life!  It is easy to suppose that the ‘part’ of Mary is pointless.  She is sitting idly, her hands are still.  And this is precisely the point of praying hands at worship: hands help palm to palm are ostensibly hands that are not working.  But Mary is not altogether idle here: she is listening carefully, intently.  She “sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.”  Would that we might all learn such stillness!
            Just what were  those reasons you had for staying away from worship?  Work?  Family?  The need to do something else, or to rest because you have been doing something else?  But who was right here, Martha, or Mary?  Answer this question and you will know where you belong when it is time for worship.
            I am convinced that Mary of Bethany is herself none other than Mary Magdalene.  If this is so, it means she is the very person out of whom Jesus had driven seven demons.  No wonder she is so intent on hearing Jesus’ word! She had been delivered from the devil and from her own sins.  She had received mercy in abundance.
This Gospel says Martha was “cumbered about much serving.”  One might say she was distracted.  But now consider Mary: it appears to me that she was actually just as distracted.  That is, it is likely that she failed to notice her sister’s plight, for the simple reason that she was overcome with the delight of having Jesus in her home.
            We need to be distracted in the way that Mary was, and not in the way that Martha was.  Come: sit at Jesus’ feet.  Hear his word.  Listen.  Learn of him.  And that good part will not be taken from you.

+ Pastor Eckardt
Congregation Decides to Roof School; Makes Budget Changes

In a special voters’ assembly held on May 26th, the congregation voted to have a new roof put on the school.  The roof had been leaking, and the trustees informed the congregation that after three failed attempts to patch, it seemed necessary to take the step of re-roofing, at the cost of approximately $30,000. 

Part of the discussion had to do with the importance of keeping the school in good condition for our tenants, Head Start.

A new loan has been taken out to pay for this, and steps are being taken to cut out expenses, so that we can meet the payments and pay back the loan.

The new roofing began on Tuesday, June 25th and was finished the next day.

Chief among the steps taken to reduce expenses was the shift of Pastor’s health care plan to a consumer-directed high-deductible plan (CDHD), accompanied with a Heath Reimbursement Arrangement Plan.  This change will lower premiums significantly while at the same time assisting Pastor in paying the high deductibles in this new IRS-approved plan.  Concordia Plan Services advised us in June that we have been approved to begin this new plan immediately rather than waiting until the new year as is the usual case.  The total savings to the congregation should be at least $7,000 annually.

Nevertheless our budget was already strained significantly, even before making this change, and now we are seeking to do all we can to pay our bills, hoping and praying that we can manage our new arrangement.

Elders meeting

July’s meeting is moved to the second Tuesday (July 9th), and back to first Tuesday for August.

July, August Anniversaries

7/1/1951 John and Emilie Ricknell
7/23/1955 Donald and Carol Kegebein

8/1/2009 Chris and Trista Dooley
8/2/1975 Raymond and Carol Robinson
8/21/1998 Daniel and Jill Powers

July and August Birthdays

7/2 Jean Russell         
7/2  Dana McReynolds
7/4 Sarah Kraklow
7/4 Jacki Boswell       
7/5 Sandra Verplaetse
7/7 Stephen Harris     
7/10 Otis Anderson   
7/10 Dale Baker        
Filename: j0430775.jpg7/13 Gayle Beauprez 
7/14 Pastor Eckardt
7/16 Robert Schoen
7/20 Julie Janik
7/23 Donna Harlow
7/20 Anna Baker
7/30 Peggy Janik

8/2 Shania Kraklow
8/2  Joyce Long
8/9  Donald Kegebein
8/11  Sam Fisher
8/11  Judy Thompson
8/13  Donald Murphy
8/16  Trista Dooley
8/17  Steven Peart
8/21  John Sovanski
8/24  Becky Russell
8/27  Steve Peart

Save Your Metal

Linda Rowe is collecting metal to take for cash, to help pay for the new propers books.  Please save yours, and let her know.
Robert Bock Memorial Held June 27th
Faithful member Robert Bock passed away on June 18th in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and was given Christian burial on Monday, June 24, in a family plot near Oshkosh.  At the family’s request a memorial mass was also held at St. Paul’s on Thursday, June 27th.
Crystal Stoll Funeral Held June 29th
Faithful former member Crystal Stoll passed away on June 25th in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Christian burial was set for Saturday, June 29th, at St. Paul’s.
Choir Rehearsals
Regular choir rehearsals will resume Wednesday evening, August 14th, as we prepare for Oktoberfest.  This gives us a mere month and a half to get ready, so all choir members are urged to mark your calendars and do your level best to make all rehearsals.  We’ll have some new music, and, as always, have lots of fun.
Altar Guild News
Several of us went to the Quad Cities in early June to choose material for a new frontal.  This will be discussed at our next meeting, scheduled for the second Tuesday in July (July 9th).

No mass Saturday, June 29th (unity service June 30th): SS Peter and Paul (color: Red)

Color reverts to Green after July 1st.  Green throughout the rest of July.

No mass Wednesday, July 3rd.

No mass Saturday, July 20th, Wednesday, July 24th, or Saturday, July 27th (pastor on vacation)

During August, all is Green, except that Wednesday, August 14th is white (Domition of the B.V.M.), and August 28th is red (The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist).  St. Laurence (Aug. 10th) and St. Bartholomew (Aug 24th) will not be observed.

July Ushers: Steve Peart, Grant Andresen, Larry Campbell

August Ushers: Otis Anderson, John Ricknell, David Ricknell, Bill Thompson
Shut ins

Mary Hamilton at home; Mark Baker at home; Anna Baker at home; Mirilda Greiert at Kewanee Care; Ruth Snider at Hillcrest Home in Geneseo; Emmy Wear at Williamsfield Home in Williamsfield.

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 pastor. 
In our parish:
Emilie Ricknell, Linda Rowe, Don Murphy, Sue Murphy, and our shut-ins: Mark Baker, Ann Baker, Ruth Snider, Mary Hamilton, Emmy Wear..

Outside our parish:

David Dakin [re Harris]
Anna Rutowicz [re Harris]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter, cancer]
Caleb Cleaver [re Ricknells]
Pam Mansnarus [re Ricknells]
Christian Johnson [re Kemerlings]
Madison Lindsay [re Andersons]
Tom Fornoff [Jean Russell’s brother-in-law]
Rev. Don Chambers [from Manito]
Stacie Liese [wife of Rev. Michael Liese]
Lisa Gustafson [with Thyroid cancer - Harlow]
Michelle Steuber [re Fischer]
Marilyn Johnson [relative of the Kemerlings]
Richard Day [re Harden]
Jill Matchett [re Shreck]

in the military:

John Eckardt

Donny Appleman [re Ricknells]

Thomas Kim [re Shreck]

Jaclyn Harden Alvarez

Michael Creech [re Murphys]

in trouble: especially any unborn children in danger of abortion, and those suffering from unrest, persecution, and imprisonment in India, North Korea, Pakistan, and elsewhere.

For details of this persecution, see back page.

Persecution details (from prayer list). Website: www.persecution.net.

INDIA: Christian Beheaded for Refusing to Renounce Faith
            It is reported that a Christian man was beheaded in Teliamura town, West Tripura, India, on May 25th for refusing to renounce Christ. According to reports, Tapas Bin, 35, had been under heavy pressure from his father-in-law to abandon Christianity. According to police, Tapas married Jentuly, the daughter of 55-year-old Gobinda Jamatiya, three years ago. Prior to this, the Christian man had been a private tutor of Gobinda's daughter.
Since the marriage, Gobinda had been pressuring Tapas to abandon Christianity and join his tribal religion. When Tapas persistently refused, Gobinda decided to kill his son-in-law with the help of a shaman, Krishnapada Jamatiya (no relation). Police arrested the 42-year-old shaman but were unable to find Gobinda who works at the West Tripura Science and Technology Department and is thought to be on the run.
Jentuly, now the widowed mother of a one-year-old child, told police that her father did not recognize their marriage and had pressured Tapas to convert. What is more, "My father might kill me and my son too," she fearfully admits. Commenting on the incident, an area church leader states, "Christians in Teliamura are facing discrimination and problems because of their faith in Christ. We have ceased all kinds of Christian activities in the area."

NORTH KOREA: Christian Humanitarian Sentenced for "Hostile Acts"
North Korea has found U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae guilty for "hostile acts" against the state, sentencing him to 15 years of hard labour. The verdict was handed down on April 30th. A press release from North Korea's "Korean Central News Agency" reported on May 15th that he has now begun serving his sentence within a "special prison."
Kenneth, described as a devout Christian, is the owner of a North Korea tour company. He was in the country with official permission when detained by North Korean authorities on November 3rd. Human rights activist Rev. Robert Park says one thing is certain. "Bae, a humanitarian who had compassion for North Korea's starving and abandoned orphans, is not indictable for any crime. Rather, he is a hostage being held to accommodate yet undetermined North Korean agenda."

PAKISTAN: Christian Teenager Dies in Police Custody
Thousands of Christians in Punjab had recently taken to the streets in protest at the alleged torture and murder of a teenager who was held in police custody. Eighteen-year-old Adnan Masih died at Sharaqpur Sharif city police station in the district of Sheikhupura on June 10th, after being detained for six days. More than 4,000 Christians staged road blocks on the day of his death, demanding justice and the immediate arrest of the police involved. Three police officers have since been arrested.
Adnan, a fridge and air-conditioning mechanic who worked in nearby Lahore, was arrested on June 4th over the alleged kidnapping of a young Muslim woman. His family say he did not even know the woman and was entirely innocent. They also state that Adnan was brutally tortured during the six days of his detainment and then killed. The police are reportedly claiming that Adnan committed suicide.
The Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) was summoned by villagers to help them register a case with police against Adnan's alleged attackers. They believe that Adnan was targeted because of his faith as other non-Christian suspects were released within a day.

St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church
   109 S. Elm Street

   Kewanee, IL 61443

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