Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2015

Volume 27                                                                    No. 3
The State of Our Church

Our February Council meeting, to which any interested members were invited, was a fruitful exchange of information. About twelve people were there, discussing primarily the financial straits in which we find ourselves as a congregation.

 Our regular bank accounts have been depleted as we have struggled to meet our obligations over the past 15 years. A look at our history over that period will reveal that our total indebtedness has not slipped much, and we have been meeting our obligations in a timely fashion. Our current situation, however, is that we have now reached a critical point that may require major restructuring of our finances.

Our mission and challenge is to be and remain a viable beacon of hope for the people of Kewanee and the area, through the unabashed and faithful preaching and confessing of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. The difficulty we face is that Kewanee, like so many communities in Illinois, is declining, but in a way perhaps more acutely felt than in many places, due to our past dependence on several local industries whose doors have closed over the past decade. We lost several faithful families who moved because they lost a job, or could not find a job, or both.

Nevertheless we are determined to meet the challenge with the hope and expectation of a better future.  I attended a community forum in which five new mayoral candidates expressed eagerness and determination to bring business back to Kewanee; I came away with a hope that the community’s decline can be inverted. I have meanwhile arranged a meeting with Rev. Joel Cluver, the district’s evangelism chairman, seeking new ideas for presenting the Gospel in Kewanee. We have been in contact with the Church Extension Fund to see if some restructuring of our loan might be in order. We are redoubling our efforts to be, by the grace of God, a place where the light of Christ shines clearly.

This congregation is united in our desire to succeed in these goals, and this is especially evident in the remarkable level of offerings received. It is clear to me that we have a unified desire to overcome our obstacles and thrive; and this ought to produce positive results.

In addition, I am also in contact with a highly recommended financial advisor who has suggested an intriguing and innovative way of offering estate planning to member families that has proven to have benefited people immensely, and meanwhile provided increased capability for them to give to charity (like the church) out of their increase in assets. The council determined that it would be best if I presented some of this material for consideration via this newsletter, to let you, the members, decide for yourselves whether this might be worth your consideration.

The man’s name is Bob Carillo, whose group is called Financial Independents of Minnesota. A two-page flyer from his group is included with this newsletter for your consideration. He saves people money, he says, by such things as shopping for better annuities, life insurance vehicles, etc., or moving their money into a trust that, while remaining in their own control, is legally safe from taxation. He has been in business for 36 years, and has been of particular help to Lutheran congregations, as a confessional Lutheran himself. He told me several stories of people whose nest-egg was increased in some very simple ways. For instance, a man and his wife had a life insurance policy that, when they simply shifted it to another company, increased their retirement nest-egg by $300,000.

His offer is simple: let him come talk to you and explain himself, perhaps in a Sunday afternoon seminar (complete with a spaghetti lunch, if you want!) and then offer to look at your financial situation with you (with your attorney if you wish) in strictest confidence (as required by law). And if everything looks good, he’ll suggest you leave it as it is; but, he says, “What if we can improve it? Make it better for you and your family, your church, Confessional Lutheran Evangelical Foundation, whomever?”

I am willing to be the first guinea pig; if he comes, I’ll eat his spaghetti, I’ll listen to his seminar, and I’ll even offer to let him look over my own finances and tell me what he thinks.

So, if at least listing to the seminar sounds at all plausible, all we would need is half a dozen families or so who would come, only to listen to the man, with no strings attached. I for one am convinced that this is certainly worth a try, because 1) there’s no risk, 2) there might be some very pleasing results, and 3) it might be of help to our congregation, when we need it most.

Anyone interested, please let me know.

+ Pastor Eckardt

Lenten Suppers

We are again having Lenten soup suppers on Wednesdays in March at 5 pm. Join your family of the faithful for this time together.  Convenient time too: midweek Lenten masses are at 7:00.

Every Wednesday in Lent except for Holy Week.

The Season of Lent 
(from various sources)
Our liturgical preparation for Easter takes place through three distinct periods or steps. The first was Pre-lent. The second is Lent which is the time between Ash Wednesday and Judica. The final step is Passiontide and Holy Week.
ASH WEDNESDAY takes its name from the ceremony of ashes. We began our journey by mourning for our sins and setting our faces toward Jerusalem. The Sundays are all given Latin names. Those names come from the first word or phrase of the Introit (“entrance” Psalm) assigned for the day.
The first Sunday is called INVOCABIT, which means “he will call.” It comes from Psalm 91: “He will call upon me and I will answer him. The Gospel is Our Lord’s temptation in the dessert and the Psalmist gives voice to Our Lord’s prayer as He faces Satan in order to deliver us from evil.
The second Sunday is called REMINISCERE, which means “remember.” It comes from Psalm 25: “Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your loving-kindnesses.” The Gospel is the account of the Canaanite woman’s terrible battle with Our Lord for her demon-possessed daughter. The woman holds Our Lord to His Word. She insists that He remember His promises and be the Messiah.
The third Sunday is called OCULI, which means “My eyes.” It also comes from Psalm 25: “Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net.” The Gospel recounts the healing of a deaf and mute man. His eyes were rightly on the Lord.
The fourth Sunday is called LAETARE, which means “rejoice.” It comes from Isaiah 66: “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her; all you who love her.” The Gospel is the feeding of the five thousand who had ample cause for rejoicing. The fifth Sunday, JUDICA, is the beginning of Passiontide.
In Lent, we continue to abstain from the “Alleluias” and Greater Gloria. The color is violet to signify mourning for a monarch. We also add the Collect for Ash Wednesday to every Service. As is the case with all fasting in Christendom, we give things up to subdue our flesh and to enhance our joy in them when they return. For the time comes, indeed, when we shall fast no more. This season is meant to order our hearts and minds upon not only on the terrible cost of Our Lord’s gracious sacrifice on our behalf but also on His willingness to be our Savior and to reconcile us to His Father. So also, the entire season, as even our entire faith and persons, is observed in the sure and certain knowledge of the Resurrection.
The final stage in our symbolic journey toward Easter is Passiontide, which begins with the 5th Sunday in Lent. The crosses are now covered and even the Gloria Patri disappears for a while. A common question is “Why do we drape and cover the crosses as we get closer to Good Friday, as our attention upon the last hours and the sufferings of Our Lord increases?” We do this because we don’t deserve to look upon the cross. We are not worthy of the Sacrifice. The cross is our greatest and most cherished symbol. So it is partially taken away from us for a short time, that we might better appreciate it when it returns. The crosses are not taken away completely. They are not removed. They are covered. We can see outlines of the crosses, but their beauty and details are fuzzy. This symbolizes the reality that our grief prevents us from seeing clearly until the Good Friday liturgy and, of course, Easter. This also reminds us of Our Lord’s actions in response to the violence of the people in this Sunday’s Gospel, the Lord “Jesus hid Himself.” That is why normally the crosses are veiled during the Service after the reading of the Gospel. The idea of removing the Gloria Patri is much the same. The Triune Name given at the Ascension is the fullest revelation of God’s Name given to men. To take away the Gloria Patri for two weeks is a bit jarring. It is particularly awkward not to sing it at the end of the Nunc Dimitis. Its short-term removal serves to draw attention to it. All of this is that we would learn to mortify our own flesh and to depend more and more upon the grace of God in Christ. For never, even in our most somber of ceremonies, is the Church in doubt about the end. Jesus died but is not dead. Jesus lives. Easter is coming. Our Alleluias, Gloria Patris, crosses, fatty foods, and the like shall all return, but even better than that, we shall have them forever in heaven when our own resurrections occur.
Passiontide extends through Holy Week and the Triduum (“three holy days”—which includes Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday). At the conclusion of the Maundy Thursday Service the Altar will be stripped, the Sanctuary decorations will be removed. All that will be left in the Sanctuary are the immovable pieces of furniture, laid bare.
On Good Friday, while all is bare, the normal responses and introductions are removed from the readings.
The intensity builds from now until the Great Vigil of Easter on Holy Saturday, when we finally arrive at the empty tomb but never at an empty Altar. He is always there for us with His life-giving, sin-forgiving, holy Body and Blood.
The Church is always prepared in the same way - through repentance. To prepare for her Easter celebration the Church marks off forty days of special preparation called “Lent” beginning with Ash Wednesday. It is a time reminiscent of Our Lord’s fasting in the desert and the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. During Lent, especially, the Church urges her members to fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. Even as true repentance is not simply feeling sorry, but is turning from sin and toward God, or is sorrow over sin and faith in Jesus, so likewise, Lent is not so much a time of “giving things up” as it is a time for adding things that increase our awareness of God’s mercy in Christ Jesus. Therefore you are encouraged to make use of Lenten customs that aid you in your devotion, and specifically to make an increased use of the Means of Grace. The Holy Communion is every Sunday at 8:30 a.m., Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m., and Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. During Holy Week mass is scheduled every night from Monday through Saturday at 7:00.  Come, and avail yourrself of what God wants to give.

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 ddition or subtraction, please inform the pastor.

            in our parish:
Sarah Corzine
Jean Russell
Emilie Ricknell
Linda Rowe
John Sovanski
Ann Baker
Dale Baker
and also:
Anna Rutowicz [granddaghter of  Harrises]
Julie Ross [Svetlana Meaker’s daughter, cancer]
Jill Matchett [re Shrecks]
Lorene Foglesong [re Kraklows]
Corbin Gonzales [re Russells]
David Wexell [re Verplaetses]
Cathy Van Wassenhove [re Verplaetses]
Emily Corzine [Sarah’s sister]
Shelly DeBord [re Watsons]
Lois Hopkins [re Kemerlings]
Liam Hampton [re Murphys]
Anthony Strand [re Murphys]
Maria Thorndike [re Murphys]
Cindy Davenport [re Kemerlings]
Ben Brown [re Eckardts]
Kenneth Yarger [re Erickson]
Annie Eastman [re Meaker]
Keith Ruggles [Barb Kraklow’s brother, cancer]
David Fowler [heart condition, re Murphys]
Pastors  Don Chambers [Manito]
Glenn Niemann [Pekin]

in the military:
John Eckardt
Donny Appleman [re Ricknell]
Thomas Kim [re Shreck]
Michael and Katherine Creech [re Murphy]
Richard Heiden [re Eckardt]
Carter Wills
Luke Van Landigan [grandson of Dick Melchin]
Jaclyn Alvarez [daughter of Kris Harden]

In trouble:
Unborn children in danger of abortion, and those suffering from unrest and persecution in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Nigeria, North Korea, Burma, and elsewhere. Details, back page.

March Anniversary

3/19/1977 Jeff and Diana Shreck

March Ushers

Allan Kraklow   Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells

Altar Guild Notes

·         The paraments color for the month of March is VIOLET, except:
·         Wednesday, March 18th, we will observe St. Joseph’s Day.  Color is WHITE.
·         Wednesday, March 25th, is the Annunciation.  Color is WHITE.
·         Since March 29th is Palm Sunday, there is no mass on Saturday evening, March 28th.
Next meeting is Tuesday, March 3rd.

First Tuesday Vespers, etc.

March 3rd, Altar Guild is at 6 pm, Vespers is
at 6:45, and Elders is at 7:15, as usual.

March Birthdays:
3/1      Barbra Kraklow
3/2      Joseph Eckardt
3/8      Carol Kegebein
3/25    Carol Eckardt

Shut ins

Mary Hamilton at home; Anna Baker at  home; Emmy Wear at Williamsfield.

Private Confession is always available to anyone between 6 and 6:30 pm on these Wednesdays (and also, as always, by appointment). Pastor is usually available as well on Saturdays, from about 4 pm until Mass.

Robin Sighting Contest

This year’s winner for the contest is Carol Eckardt, who saw a huge flock of robins right in the backyard, on February 13th. Earlier sightings were reported in other states, which, of course, were ruled inadmissible. Congratulations to Carol!

Persecution details

LIBYA: Abducted Egyptian Christians Beheaded by Militants

The Christian community in Egypt is in mourning after 21 Egyptian Christians who had moved to Libya for employment were brutally murdered by members loyal to the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group. Those involved with ISIS posted a video on February 15th showing the savage decapitation of the victimized men. The video makes it clear that the men were targeted because of their faith. Although analysts have recently reported that the video may have been staged, or at least enhanced to look more gruesome, it does appear to be clear that at the very least the 21 Christians were murdered, most likely by beheading. We know their names: Milad Makeen Zaky, Abanub Ayad Atiya, Maged Solaiman Shehata, Yusuf Shukry Yunan, Kirollos Shokry Fawzy, Bishoy Astafanus Kamel, Somaily Astafanus Kamel, Malak Ibrahim Sinweet, Tawadros Yusuf Tawadros, Girgis Milad Sinweet, Mina Fayez Aziz, Hany Abdelmesih Salib, Bishoy Adel Khalaf, Samuel Alham Wilson, Worker from Awr village [name unknown at this time], Ezat Bishri Naseef, Loqa Nagaty, Gaber Munir Adly, Esam Badir Samir, Malak Farag Abram, Sameh Salah Faruq.

BURMA: Christian Workers Fatally Attacked in Buddhist Village

A village school in Burma (Myanmar)
Two young women were tragically attacked and killed on January 19th because of their Christian work in a Buddhist village. The women, who were serving as volunteer schoolteachers in a village located within Kachin State, had earlier been threatened because of their efforts in sharing the Gospel. Local officials had told them to leave the area because they did not want Christians in the village. Shortly thereafter, the young women were reportedly raped and killed by soldiers.

SOURCE(S): VOM USA, various others

Sponsors Sought
for St. Paul’s on the Air

Every $20 donation would support our radio program for a Sunday (AM radio: WKEI at 7:30), so if anyone wants to become a sponsor, either on a one-time basis, or monthly, or quarterly, let Pastor know.

If we had, say, 13 sponsors, at $20 per quarter, the program would pay for itself.

If you have a business or honoree you’d like mentioned, Pastor will gladly do so

“I listen to your program every Sunday.”
“I always enjoy hearing you on the radio.”
“Great program!”

We routinely hear comments like this. People know, because of St. Paul’s on the Air, that this church is busy, and that’s a good thing.

Food Pantry donations

Remember, the box in the hallway is for non-perishable food goods for poor people who come by for help.

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

   Kewanee, IL 61443

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