Monday, June 1, 2015

June 2015

The Trinity in Person and the Unity in Substance,
of Majesty Coequal

During the early fourth century the Arian heresy was in its heyday, which denied that Jesus was the incarnate God and declared Him to be a mere creature.  As Arius himself put it, “there was a time before he (Jesus) existed.”  The bishops of the Church catholic saw the urgent need to confess the faith with clarity against this error, and so the Nicene Creed was crafted and modified through the course that century.  This is why the Nicene Creed says so much about the divinity of Jesus.  Liturgically, there also arose a special Mass in honor of the Holy Trinity.  This Mass was not originally assigned to a definite day, but was, rather a “votive Mass” the time of whose observance was open to the choice of whatever priest was celebrating it.  It was not until the ninth century on that various Western bishops began to promote a special feast of the Holy Trinity, usually on the Sunday after Pentecost. They used propers said to have been composed by Abbot Alcuin in 804.  The popularity of this custom became especially evident in northern Europe.  In 1334 if was finally received by Pope John XXII into the official calendar of the Western Church as the Feast to be held everywhere on the Sunday after Pentecost.
The Preface (used at Mass) for the Trinity which we still use today is the same one which was used by Saint Gregory the Great in the year 600: “who with Thine only begotten Son and the Holy Ghost art one God, one Lord, and in the confession of the only true God we worship the Trinity in Person and the Unity in substance, of majesty coequal. Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify Thy glorious name, evermore praising Thee and saying: Holy, Holy, Holy,” etc.
The Feast of the Holy Trinity now belongs among the great annual festivals of Christianity. Although it is not observed with additional liturgical services outside the Mass, its celebration quickly took root in the hearts and minds of the faithful, and in all countries of Europe popular traditions are closely associated with this feast.
Chief among the Trinitarian traditions is the sign of the cross, whose origin dates practically to apostolic times.  In the third century, Tertullian speaks of it as an early Christian practice:
In all our undertakings — when we enter a place or leave it; before we dress; before we bathe; when we take our meals; when we light the lamps in the evening; before we retire at night; when we sit down to read; before each new task — we trace the sign of the cross on our foreheads.
Our observance of this Feast today is no less important than it was in the fourth century, as we find attacks on the divinity of Christ every bit as prevalent now as they did then. 
+ Pastor Eckardt

This year the Feast of the Holy Trinity falls on Sunday, May 31st. The Octave of the Holy Trinity concludes on Sunday, June 7th. Resources for this article were taken from

Peter Eckardt Ordained
May 23rd

The members of St. Paul’s rejoiced with Rev. Peter Eckardt and his fiancĂ©e Allison Everett on the day of his ordination here, May 23rd. 75 people were in attendance for the service and reception, including visiting pastors David Gerke (Faith, Kewanee), Brian Feicho (Granite City, Illinois), Karl F. Fabrizius (Greenfield, Wisconsin), Kenneth Wegener (retired pastor of St. Paul’s, still living in Kewanee), and John Preus and Anthony Dodgers, both from Iowa. Pastor Eckardt ordained his own son, by permission from Southeastern District President John Denninger (Central Illinois District President Mark Miller sent his regrets).
Earlier in May, Fr. Peter Eckardt received his call to serve as Associate Pastor at Immanuel Ev. Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Alexandria is a suburb of Washington, D.C. The church, a member of the Southeastern District, also has a Christian dayschool; The Senior Pastor is Christopher Esget. Pastor Esget is well known to Pastor Burnell Eckardt as a solid confessional and liturgical ally. He and Peter Eckardt are expected to be kindred spirits, and friends at the seminary tend to agree that this is a very exciting call. Immanuel has a website ( that declares it to be a congregation having confessional doctrine and traditional liturgy. His installation date at Immanuel is set for the first Sunday in August.
            Rev. Peter Eckardt follows his own father in taking his first assignment in Virginia. Pastor (Burnell) Eckardt’s first parish was in Winchester, Virginia, some 70 miles from Washington, D.C., also in the Southeastern District. Both pastors also did their vicarage year in the Detroit area, and both received seminary training from two of  the most highly esteemed professors in American Lutheranism, Dr. David Scaer and Dr. William Weinrich, both of  whom have been Oktoberfest guests.
            Pastor (Peter) Eckardt and Allison Everett are to be married at the Fort Wayne seminary chapel on June 20th, with his father preaching and officiating at the rite of marriage while Pastor David Petersen serves as celebrant for the nuptial mass.

 New Bible Class Coming:
Q & A on the Bible and Jesus

Tuesday, August 18th, has been set as the first day for a new Bible class. Current members as well as prospective members are invited and encouraged to attend “Q & A on the Bible and Jesus.” As anyone who has been in my class knows, it will not be simplistic or boring even if you’ve been a lifelong Lutheran. I always strive to approach teaching in a fresh way each time, always driving at a greater understanding and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and his gifts. Class begins at 5:30 pm and will run about 50 minutes. Hopefully this will accommodate people who have working hours as well as people who won’t want to stay out too late. Bring your friends and neighbors, and tell them: No strings attached, and no pressures will be laid on you to continue or to join the church. Then again, if someone would want to join, we’d love it! – Pastor.

Gift to Rev. Peter Eckardt

The council voted to provide a gift to newly ordained Pastor Peter Eckardt, coming from the Kersten Fund. The Kersten Fund is a perpetual income generator, set up decades ago by Laura Kersten and her family as a way in which St. Paul’s can provide monetary assistance to men preparing for the Holy Ministry and for young women preparing to be deaconesses.  This funding does not come from our general budget, and has been supporting students from St. Paul’s, including Seminarian Peter Eckardt, over the years. The latest was a check in the amount of $500 presented to Pastor Eckardt at his ordination, to help cover his seminary expenses.

June Ushers
Allan Kraklow, Steve Kraklow, Tom Wells.

June Birthdays
6/5 Linda Rowe         
6/15 Jill Powers
6/16 Berniece Harris
6/29 Jim Watson

Church Picnic Postponed

After discussions in the church council and with the Kraklows (who had volunteered their farm), we have determined to postpone the annual church picnic. Since we just had a major gathering for the ordination, and the Kraklows will be otherwise occupied, we are looking at a date in August or early September. Stay tuned.
June Anniversaries:
6/17/1967 Robert and Mary Beth Jones
6/18/1960 Sandra and John Verplaetse
6/18/1977 Fr. Burnell and Carol Eckardt
6/18/1966  Don and Sue Murphy
6/19/1977 Dana and Carol McReynolds
6/19/1966 William and Judy Thompson
6/24/1989 Tony and Mindie Fisher
6/27/1954 Monroe and Lucille Kemerling
6/27/1981 Steve and Gail Peart
6/28/1958 Dale and Anna Baker

First Tuesday

First Tuesday activities will be held as usual, on the 2nd of June: Altar Guild, Vespers, and Elders, beginning as usual at with Altar Guild at 6 pm, Vespers at 6:45, and Elders at 7:15.

Shut ins

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

Altar Guild notes

·                   Altar color changes to WHITE for Trinity (May 30/31) through the Octave of Trinity (June 6/7).
·                   After Sunday mass June 7, Altar color changes to GREEN
·                   No mass on Saturday, June 20th.
·                   No mass on Wednesday, June 24th
·                   After Sunday mass June 28th, Altar color changes to RED for Wednesday
·                   Wednesday, July 1, color RED for observance of SS Peter and Paul

June Council Meetings

The Church Council has agreed to continue regular meetings on the third Wednesday, putting this month’s council on June 17th, at 5:30.

Supreme Court to Rule on Same-Sex Marriage

From LCMS President Rev. Matthew Harrison:

In June, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the legality of same-sex marriage in America. How can you prepare?
In the face of another radical cultural shift — a denial of God and His creation, a rejection of Christ, the Ten Commandments and God-given natural law (Romans 1) — a great Lutheran responded with truths that are also true for our times:
The lie is the death of man, his temporal and his eternal death. The lie kills nations. The most powerful nations of the world have been laid waste because of their lies. History knows of no more unsettling sight than the judgment rendered upon the people of an advanced culture who have rejected the truth and are swallowed upon in a sea of lies. Where this happens, as in the case of declining pagan antiquity, religion and law, poetry and philosophy, life in marriage and family, in the state and society — in short, one sphere of life after another falls sacrifice to the power and curse of the lie. Where man can no longer bear the truth, he cannot live without the lie. Where man denies that he and others are dying, the terrible dissolution [of his culture] is held up as a glorious ascent, and decline is viewed as an advance, the likes of which has never been experienced. (Hermann Sasse, Union and Confession, 1936)
Prepare to discuss what marriage will look like in the future. Will LCMS pastors eventually be forced, as agents of the state, to perform same-sex marriages? And if so, what will their response be?

Here is an appropriate prayer:
Our Lord Jesus, You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Give the pastors and people of Your Church strength to face these challenging times with courage and compassion. Keep our witness faithful to Your revealed truth and filled with divine hope. Protect us from the temptations of despair or capitulation to the ways of the world. We join in Your great prayer: Thy will be done. Hear us, for we pray in Your saving name.

Pentecost Gospel Read by Both Pastors Eckardt

On Pentecost this year, both Pastors Eckardt participated in the reading of the Gospel.
Following our tradition of portraying the “other tongues” of Pentecost (see Acts 2), the opening verse of Pentecost  Sunday’s Gospel were read in six languages before the entire Gospel is read in English.  The six languages were Latin, Greek, Swedish, Spanish, French, German, and Russian. Next the entire Gospel was read in English by Pastor Peter Eckardt, his first time reading the Gospel at mass. Western tradition requires that the Holy Gospel be read by an ordained deacon or pastor. Pastor Eckardt had been ordained the previous day.

Thanks to tireless volunteers!

Setting up and cleaning for the ordination
Preparing meals for the ordination reception
Cleaning after  the ordination
Vacuuming, Dusting, Sweeping church
Emptying trash
Fixing candles
Arranging (for) altar flowers
Polishing altar-ware and offering plates
Preparing bulletins
Counting and recording offerings, managing finances
Preparing finance sheets for the council
Seeing to the maintenance of the building
Cleaning gutters and window-wells
Preparing Sunday breakfasts
Preparing Gottesdienst
Assisting on Sunday mornings
Liaison with Head Start
Gardening, Mowing, Weeding, Trimming, etc.

A hearty thanks to all who participate! Remember, we hope and pray that so many tasks will not continually fall to so few people, though they generally never complain. Please, if you can, help out! Not only is every volunteer needed; volunteering together is enjoyable: often Saturday mornings are a good time for this.

In Our Prayers

In addition to our shut-ins, our current list of prayer intentions at mass includes the following.  To update the list, please inform pastor. 
in our parish:
Sandra Verplaetse, Sarah Corzine, Emilie Ricknell, Linda Rowe, Ann Baker, Sharon Hartz and all of our shut-ins.
     And also:
Anna Rutowicz [granddaghter 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 [at request of Sandra Verplaetse]
Shelly DeBord [at request of the Watsons]
Liam Hampton [at request of the Murphys]
Maria Thorndike [at request of the Murphys]
Annie Eastman [at request of Svetlana Meaker]
Keith Ruggles [Barb Kraklow’s brother]
David Fowler [at request of the Murphys]
Robin Hampton [at request of the Watsons]
Melissa Hayword [at request of the Kemerlings]
Will Johnson [at request of the Kemerlings]
Emily Corzine [Sarah’s sister]
Barb Corzine [Sarah’s sister]
Dennis Hoag [at request of Diana Shreck]
Nancy Popejoy [relative of Sharon Hartz]
Pastors Don Chambers [Manito]
Glenn Niemann [Pekin]
in the military:
John Eckardt
Donny Appleman [at request of the Ricknells]
Thomas Kim [at request of Diana Shreck]
Michael and Katherine Creech [at request of the Murphys]
Richard Heiden [relative of the Eckardts]
Carter Wills [son of Michelle Armstrong]
Luke Van Landigan [grandson of Dick Melchin]
Jaclyn Alvarez [daughter of Kris Harden]
in trouble:
suffering from the earthquake in Nepal
suffering from wildfires in Siberia
unborn children in danger of abortion
suffering from unrest, persecution, and imprisonment in Ethiopia, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Pakistan, China,  North Korea, and elsewhere.

And for our own church

Persecution details:

CHINA: Church Building Demolished in Zhejiang

More than 425 churches have been affected by Zhejiang’s persecution campaign since early 2014.
Shendong Church in Zhejiang was forcibly demolished on April 28th in continuation of the province-wide "Three Rectifications and One Demolition" campaign. Authorities reportedly claimed that the land on which the church was built belonged to the government. The church had previously submitted requests to the local religious affairs bureau and other government agencies, requesting that their location be approved and finalized. However, the contacted governing officials never responded to these requests.

ETHIOPIA: Christians Charged After Baptismal Service SOURCE: WORLD WATCH MONITOR

Seven Christians were recently charged with holding "illegal meetings in secret locations" -- a charge they deny with the explanation that they have fulfilled the legal requirements. The men were released on bail after a court hearing on May 11th. Local church leaders worked together to pay the necessary bail charge of 5,000 Birr (approximately $300 CAD) each, after police were granted another week to conclude investigations.

PAKISTAN: Victimized Christian Facing Life Imprisonment SOURCE: VOM USA

The family of Imran Ghafur, a Christian man who has been in jail since 2010 on blasphemy charges, is requesting continued prayer for Imran's release. The imprisoned believer is currently serving a life sentence on the conviction of burning a Quran. Imran's brother, Naveed, told VOM contacts that the entire family was able to visit him before Easter. He further shared that Imran continues to read his Bible, fast and pray. The attorney representing the imprisoned believer has filed an appeal with the Pakistan High Court, but no hearing date has yet been set. VOM has regular contact with Imran’s family, offering prayer and encouragement.

For more information, see

SS Peter & Paul Observed July 1

Our church’s feast of title will be observed on Wednesday, July 1st, at our regular midweek mass, at 7 p.m. The feast day of SS Peter and Paul is June 29th, but we are moving our mass to Wednesday to accommodate more members. Members of St. Paul’s, come join us on St. Paul’s Day!

Pastor and Carol travel plans

We have a busy couple of months coming up, including several road trips. First to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, for a brief visit to Pastor’s mother, June 4-6. Next to Fort Wayne, for Peter and Allison’s wedding in the middle of June (18-22). Then we turn right around and leave Wednesday the 24th for a trip to Missouri to see John and Alissa and to attend a wedding in Kansas City, returning Saturday the 27th. On Monday the 28th I must go to St. Louis for a Gottesdienst conference on Tuesday. In July we may take another couple days to Sheboygan for Mother’s birthday and the 4th, and then our family vacation begins on 12th. During this time some (but not all) Saturday services will be cancelled: on June 20th, June 27th, and July 4th. Pastor Wegener will be filling in on June 21st and on July 12th and 19th. Saturday mass will also be cancelled on the 18th of July but not on the 11th. Please consult the calendar.    
- Pastor

Financial Seminar and Mission Sunday Postponed

Scheduling conflicts have forced to postponement of a Sunday for a missions preacher, Rev. John Fehrmann, and a financial consultant Mr. Bob Carillo to come. We look toward August for rescheduling.

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