Our Saviour Parish News, August-September, 2017

Our Saviour Lutheran Church
3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218

Aug/Sept 2017


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

These summer months have gone by very quickly. This coming Sunday will be our summer Vicar’s last Sunday with us here at Our Saviour. We will again hear him preach and there will be a farewell lunch following the Divine Service. Brett Witmer has been with us since the Feast of Pentecost, June 4th, and his presence among us has been a blessing. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him and I have heard from many of you how much you have appreciated his work here. After this coming Sunday he will be spend a week at his home in Pennsylvania and will then return to the Fort Wayne Seminary to begin his second year of study. Keep Brett in your prayers as he continues to prepare for the Office of the Holy Ministry. I am convinced that he will be a very fine pastor indeed.

 Speaking of Sunday worship, let me say how much I wish I could speak with each one of you after Divine Service whenever you are in church. I certainly do not intend to ignore anyone. But we do not have – what for lack of a better word I’ll call a – “receiving line” nor do I think that would be a practical thing here at Our Saviour. So I’ll continue to do the best I can; do know that I look forward to greeting and speaking with you on Sunday morning and on other occasions when we come together as a congregation. 

We have been using the “blue book,” Lutheran Worship, but will again use the “red book,” The Lutheran Hymnal, beginning in October. As I mentioned in the July Newsletter we will begin to consider the possibility of adopting the “new” hymnal published for our Synod in 2007, the Lutheran Service Book. There seems to be general agreement that it has the best of both the books we have been using. This topic will be introduced at the October Voters Meeting but no decision will be made until the January Voters Meeting. Copies of the new book will be available for you to examine between those two meetings. 

Through October 29th there is an exhibit at the Walters Art Museum, Uncertain Times: Martin Luther’s Remedies for the Soul. It is an exhibit in connection with the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation which occurs on October 31st of this year. Admission is free at the Walters Art Museum which is one of the great treasures of our City. If a number of us are interested in going, we can perhaps plan a visit for our members and friends. 

Also in connection with the Reformation Anniversary there will be a Joint Reformation Service of all the Missouri Synod congregations in Baltimore on the afternoon of Sunday, October 29th, at Emmanuel Church on Ingleside Avenue in Catonsville. There will be more about this in next month’s newsletter. 

Plans are also underway for a musical celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation here at Our Saviour on the afternoon of Sunday, November 19th. Mr. Matthew Gerhardt, a graduate of Concordia University in Wisconsin, will be the guest organist. He comes highly recommended, has studied in Germany, and has in fact played the organ at Saint Thomas Church in Leipzig where Johann Sebastian Bach was organist and choirmaster for many years. We plan to publicize this event through many channels as our own contribution to the celebration of this Anniversary.  

Family Day this year will be kept on the first Sunday in October. This is always a well attended and delightful occasion. There will be more information in the Sunday bulletins and in the October newsletter which will go in the mail during the week before October 1st. There will as usual be a guest preacher and a wonderful meal after Divine Service. 

Our Savour has received a bequest from the estate of David West in the amount of $5,716.26.  This will remain invested with Ameriprise Financial.  David and his family planned ahead and included Our Savour in his will. The same can be done in your personal estate planning. 

Progress continues to be made toward the placement of our Church on the City of Baltimore’s register of historic buildings. This has been a lengthy process but we are coming to what will almost certainly be a very happy outcome.  

In September confirmation class for young people will begin again. There are four young people in the class: Dominick and Elijah Carmichael-Myrie, Dymond Hawkins, and Ted Jones. Remember them in your prayers as they prepare to be confirmed and admitted to the Holy Supper of our Savior’s Body and Blood. 

Darlene Grant is now at home after continuing hospitalization. Keep her in your prayers. 

I think almost everyone will agree that we live in exceedingly troubled times. In such times there is great comfort in remembering our heavenly Father’s protection of us through His holy angels. When preaching on the Festival of Saint Michael and All Angels (which since ancient times has been kept on September 29th) the Father Founder of our Synod, Dr. C.F.W. Walther (1811-1887), had this to say of the holy angels: 

“They are God’s hands by which we are continuously led. They are our invisible companions, receiving us upon our arrival in this world and continuing to accompany us throughout our life. They never leave us alone. They are with us each night so we can sleep peacefully. They encamp around our home like an army, ready to defend us against all evil. They are with us when our path leads us over mountains, through dark forests, and over rushing ocean waves. They protect us from precipices and false ways, and they prevent the bottomless depths from devouring our little ships. Even in the hour of our death, the presence and service of the holy angels continue, giving us ample reason for comfort and reassurance. As the angels refreshed the Savior when He struggled with death in the Garden of Gethsemane, so Christians, according to Scripture, can expect to receive the aid of the angels in their final battle. They gather around the deathbed, and when the soul leaves its mortal body, they bear it up into the blessed dwellings of the heavenly Father. Oh, what love of God we thus see revealed in the doctrine of the holy angels!” 

Let us then rejoice in the protection of the holy angels and let us continue to remember one another in our prayers and to pray fervently “for the peace of the whole world, for the well-being of the Church of God, and for the unity of all.”

Do keep me in your prayers as you are in mine.

Affectionately in our Lord,

Pastor McClean

Works of Mercy

The August Free Flea Market was a rousing success.  Although it was a cloudy day, it was a good one for shopping!  46 people came to see us, including Mary Pat Clarke of the Baltimore City Council.  And we distributed 415 items.  The last Free Flea Market will be held September 9th.  Donations of household items are welcome, as well as winter coats.  Judy Volkman has been in touch with the social worker at Waverly School and is planning a coat distribution in November.  Many thanks for all the generous donations, sharing the bounty with which God has blessed us.  And we are reaching those in our neighborhood who need these items.
-Judy Volkman-

 On August 10, 2017, Vicar Brett, Mary Techau, and I visited Helping Up Mission. We delivered a wide variety of grooming items to the recovering men. Many thanks for the generosity shown by our Church members. We collected a good supply of men’s undergarments, socks, and tee shirts. Delivery also included deodorant, foot powder, toothpaste, mouthwash, and wash clothes. Please continue to remember the Mission in support of this very successful Christian centered recovery program.

In addition, the loose change which you drop in the alms boxes is designated to purchase grooming items for Mission residents. Many   thanks to all.
–Quilla Downs-


Our Saviour Parish News, July, 2017

Our Saviour Lutheran Church
3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
JULY 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When the mother of Jesus visited her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, Elizabeth greeted Mary with the words, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb…for when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” And Mary herself said, “from now on all generations will call me blessed, for He who is mighty has done great things for me.” This meeting of Mary and Elizabeth and of their yet unborn children, the Lord Jesus and Saint John the Baptist, has from ancient times been commemorated on July 2nd which this year falls on Sunday. And so this coming Sunday we shall joyfully celebrate the Festival of the Visitation. You can read about this at Saint Luke 1:39-56.

This past Sunday we celebrated the 487th anniversary of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession, the principle confession of the faith of the Lutheran Church. A booklet containing the Augsburg Confession was distributed to all who were in Church. If for some reason you were not able to be present and wish to have a copy of this booklet, I’ll be happy to see that you get one.

Vacation Bible School has begun and we are very grateful to everyone who is helping to make this possible: our summer Vicar Brett Witmer, Mary Techau, our good friend Pastor Roy Coats and his summer Vicar Simeon Cornwell, as well as Mr. Hawkins, our Sexton, who is always so willing to help. Having repainted the undercroft he is now painting the classroom in which the Sunday School meets. At this year’s VBS the children are learning about the wonderful “I am” sayings of Jesus as we find them in the Gospel according to Saint John: “I am the Bread of Life,” “I am the Light of the world,” “I am the good Shepherd,” “I am the Resurrection and the Life,” etc. Pray for God’s blessing on this effort to bring children ever closer to their Savior.

I wish to thank all who helped with the second of our free flea markets of this year on Saturday, June 10th, and especially Judy Volkman who has led this effort for several years. The next free flea market will be held on Saturday, July 8th, 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 Noon. We always need willing helpers. I think I can truthfully say that we have a good time doing this! It is a pleasure to meet our neighbors and indeed just to spend time with each other.

Do remember our continued efforts to support the Helping Up Mission and the community food cupboard at GEDCO. The Helping Up Mission is always in need of personal grooming items and GEDCO is always in need for food for the poor and needy.

The process for gaining historic designation for our beautiful church is progressing. The last meeting before the City Council will be July 17. Anyone may attend this meeting as our church history is presented before the council and a landmark designation is read and voted on. Once this process is complete we will be able to continue with maintenance and beautification projects around the church building knowing it will always remain a treasure in the city.

I must thank everyone who helped with the delicious luncheon we had on Sunday, June 4th, the Feast of Pentecost, to welcome our summer Vicar. I am very glad that he is here! We got to hear him preach a fine sermon on Sunday, June 18th; he’ll also be preaching on July 16th and August 20th. It is a real treat for me to listen to someone else’s voice! The Vicar has been helping with calls on our shut-in members and has been helping with the confirmation class and the Sunday adult study group and in general making himself useful.

And speaking of shut-in members, Darlene Grant has been able to return to her home after more than six months in and out of hospitals and nursing homes. Pray for her continued recovery. And we are all very glad that Gabe Purviance is again with us after a long course of treatment.

Our dear brother in Christ, David West, fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, May 28th, after a brief illness. His funeral was held at the Church on Thursday, June 1st. He will certainly be missed here at Our Saviour and in the neighborhood where he was such a friendly and cheerful presence. May the Light perpetual ever shine upon him! And may our Savior comfort all who mourn his departure with the sure and certain hope of the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.

In 2016 not one member of our congregation died. But in the first half of this year we have mourned the death of three faithful members: Myrna Curtis, James Gray, and now David West. Ours is the loss but theirs is only gain. Says Saint Paul, “I have a desire to depart and to be with Christ which is far better” (Philippians 1:23).

Those of you who regularly attend Divine Service will have noticed that we have two new acolytes in addition to Kai Hawkins and Jamera Lewis-Hawkins who are so very faithful in serving week after week after week. They are an example to us all! Jamera will be out of town this summer. Our two new acolytes are Ted Jones and Dominick Carmichael-Myrie. I am very happy that our young people want to serve at the Lord’s altar.

On Sunday, July 9th, we will begin using the “blue book,” Lutheran Worship, and will continue to do so for several months. Since Palm Sunday we have been using the “red book,” The Lutheran Hymnal. Both of these books have been authorized for use in our Synod, the red hymnal in 1941, the blue hymnal in 1982. In 2007 a new hymnal, the Lutheran Service Book, was authorized for use in the congregations of our Synod. It in fact incorporates the best both of the red and of the blue hymnal, including the liturgies we use from both books.  I think the time has now come to consider the possibility of introducing this book. Nothing will be done quickly! Instead the possibility of using the Lutheran Service Book will be formally introduced to the congregation at the October Voters Meeting, but no action will be taken until the January Voters Meeting. This will provide time for members to familiarize themselves with the new book – several copies will be available for borrowing – and for discussion among ourselves. I repeat, nothing will be done quickly! I am happy to answer any questions you may have.

In a recent sermon Pastor Christopher Esget, who preached for the 125th anniversary of our congregation, had this to say: “The walls of Western Civilization are collapsing. And with that collapse, so also the church is shattered, splintered, fragmented. Many of our members have a weak or nominal commitment to Christianity. The children we spend so much time catechizing will go out into a world deeply hostile to everything we have taught them.” These words certainly have the ring of truth! Yet if we find ourselves despairing, we have clearly lost sight of the one true and living God, the God who creates out of nothing, the God who Himself joined us in our death and then rose triumphant from the grave. To be sure, there is no promise that Western Civilization will be saved, but there is Christ’s promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church – that this “only holy Church shall be and remain forever” (Augsburg Confession, Article VII). Our part is to live lives of repentance and faith nourished by Christ’s Gospel and holy Sacraments in which week by week, every Lord’s Day, He is present to pardon us, to renew us, and to strengthen our hope in His coming again to make all things new.

Do keep me in your prayers as you are in mine.

Affectionately in our Lord,

Pastor McClean

Lutherans for Life – Maryland Chapter

Maryland Lutherans for Life held a formation meeting at Our Saviour this past March and representatives from nine Lutheran churches in the greater Baltimore area were in attendance. You may have heard of the national organization, formed in 1976, in connection with the March for Life held each January in Washington DC. This certainly is part of the Maryland chapter’s mission, peacefully marching on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision which overturned state laws regarding abortion. But Lutherans for Life includes all life issues, from conception to natural death. The gift of life is from our Creator and we uphold the sanctity of human life because all people are created and redeemed by God who intends they bear His image for time and for eternity (John 10:10).

As a chapter we will work to be a Gospel-motivated voice for life in our community. What does this look like for us? Each of us might meet someone who needs a listening ear, a hot line number, a tract or a counseling center address. Our chapter will begin compiling this information including adoption, bioethics. end of life issues, family living and many more topics, and educate ourselves that we might help our neighbor.

Our next meeting will be at Our Saviour, Saturday, November 18th, at 10:00 A.M. All are welcome to find out about this outreach.

– Mary Techau


Our Saviour Parish News, May-June, 2017

3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
May-June 2017

Thursday, May 25
Festival Divine Service
7:30 p.m.


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 Forty days after His glorious resurrection the risen Lord ascended into heaven to prepare a place for us so that where He is we might also be. And so on Thursday, May 25th, we celebrate the great festival of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we sing in one of the hymns for Ascension Day: “On Christ’s ascension I now build the hope of mine ascension…” Surely it is not a burden but a joyful privilege to celebrate the festivals on which we rejoice in God’s mighty acts whereby we are saved. I hope that you will come to worship on this happy feast day.

On Tuesday, May 2, the risen and ascended Lord called out of this world to Himself in heaven our dear brother in Christ, James Gray. He loved the Lord Jesus and He loved this House of God for so many years. Now he rests in the nearer presence of his Savior. May the Light Perpetual ever shine upon him! We pray that our Lord would comfort Helen and the whole Gray family and all who mourn. Nowhere in Holy Scripture are we told that it is wrong to mourn the loss from this world of those we love. Holy Scripture does not say that we should not sorrow, but rather that we should not “sorrow as others do who have no hope” (I Thessalonians 4:13). The Lord Jesus Himself wept at the grave of his dear friend Lazarus. God has given us tears for healing. 

The month of April was certainly a busy one here at Our Saviour: Holy Week, Easter Day, the second annual Saint Mark’s Conference, and the celebration of the one hundred twenty-fifth anniversary of this congregation. I must thank everyone who worked to make all of this happen! I fear that we sometimes take for granted the work of our sexton, William Hawkins. So here I want especially to thank him. As you may know, the Saint Mark’s Conference is not paid for from our congregation’s funds: it is supported by Conference registration fees and generous gifts from friends. This year we had a substantial sum left after all expenses had been paid and this sum will be used for next year’s Conference.

And speaking of finances, at the Voters Meeting following Divine Service on May 21st, the budget for Fiscal Year 2018 will be approved and other matters discussed. A slate of officers for the Church Council will be presented:

              President: Gabriel Purviance
  Secretary: Judy Volkman
              Treasurer: Bernice Knox
              Director of Stewardship:
              Director of Evangelism:
              Director of Worship: Merton Masterson
              Director of Youth:
              Director of Property: Paul Techau
              Director of Education: Mary Techau
              At Large Member: Richard Brown
              At Large Member: Gary Watson

We do not have candidates for all the positions of the Council. This is in part due to the fact that the constitution and bylaws of our Church presuppose a very much larger congregation. And this is true in many congregations of our Synod. Marie Herrington has continued to serve as organist. The Council will recommend to the Voters that we ask her to become the organist of this Church. She is very talented and a joy to work with. As you know she is a student at the Peabody Conservatory. 

This year three of the four Sundays in June are festivals. June 4th is the Feast of Pentecost, June 11th is Trinity Sunday, and June 25th is the Anniversary of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession. Pentecost is with Christmas and Easter one of the three great feasts of the Church Year. The Holy Spirit was poured out on Pentecost which is the fiftieth day after Easter Day – “Pentecost” means fiftieth – and the tenth day after our Lord’s ascension. From Advent through the Day Pentecost we celebrate what God has done for our salvation, on Trinity Sunday we celebrate the mystery of who God is: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: one God.

Less familiar than Pentecost and Trinity Sunday is the Anniversary of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession on June 25th. After the Three Ecumenical Creeds – the Apostles, the Nicene, the Athanasian – the Unaltered Augsburg Confession is the principle statement of the faith of the Lutheran Church. So important is this Confession that the letters U A C are carved in stone on the cornerstone of this church building right after the name of the Church, and there was a time when our congregation’s Constitution required that all the voting members of the congregation be familiar with it. . In fact at the dedication of this church building on the 12th Sunday after Trinity in 1930 “Confessing Christ in Augsburg in 1530 and in Baltimore in 1930” was the title of the sermon preached by the Rev. William Dallmann, the Pastor who had helped the twelve laymen from Immanuel Church to organize this congregation.

So how did this Confession come about? In 1530 Emperor Charles V summoned the princes and free imperial cities of the German nation to a diet (meeting) in the City of Augsburg to plan a united defense against the invading Turks who had already reached the gates of Vienna. He hoped that at this meeting the religious controversy which had arisen between those remaining loyal to the Pope and those who had embraced the faith as taught by Dr. Luther and his coworkers might be resolved. As their contribution to the resolution of the conflict the Lutheran princes and two free imperial cities presented the Confession of their doctrine to the Emperor on the afternoon of June 25th. The Confession was based solidly on Holy Scripture and showed how “Lutheran” doctrine was not an innovation but none other than the doctrine of the ancient Christian Church. The faithful Lutheran Church continues to propose this Confession as a unifying Confession. And so on the anniversary of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession we give thanks for this treasure of truth and we pray for the unity of sadly divided Christendom. Nothing is more precious than the truth of Christ’s saving Gospel. And that is why we cherish this wonderful Confession of that saving Gospel whereby we live and die in the peace of Christ

On June 5th, the great Feast of Pentecost, our summer vicar Brett Witmer will be with us and will participate in the Divine Service. There will also be a lunch to welcome him. He will have completed his first year of study at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Having already met him I am confident that he will be a blessing to us all. Do come to church on Pentecost and warmly welcome him.

In conclusion I wish to share with you the closing paragraphs of the wonderful sermon Pastor Esget preached on Sunday, April 30th, the Sunday known as “Good Shepherd Sunday” in the Calendar of the Church Year. As Regional Vice-President of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, Pastor Esget brought us the greetings of the President of Synod, Pastor Matthew Harrison. Here is what Pastor Esget had to say:

We rejoice that you are 125 years old. But you are not old, you are young, you’re new. In the kingdom of God, things do not grow old, but they are ever new. Last Sunday we all heard that we are newborn babes, drinking the milk of the Word to grow by. Even now, Jesus is making you new, and teaching you to live a new kind of life. “Christ also suffered for you,” we heard St. Peter say, “leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” And again, “[Christ] himself bore our  sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”

So rejoice and be glad this day. All these years God has cared for you, and for Our Saviour Lutheran Church. Your Jesus is your Good Shepherd. He will be your rock through all the storms of life. He will guide you and protect you from danger. And when the last hour comes, your Jesus will pick you up and like a Shepherd lead you home.

So sing and be glad this day, for Jesus lives, and His Church will never die! Clap your hands and laugh, for Jesus lives, and you will live forever. Play the trumpet and clang the cymbal, for Jesus Christ is risen today!

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Our congregation has so many reasons for giving thanks. Let us continue to be truly thankful Christians and also pray for one another, also for the whole Church and the whole world, so desperately in need of the fervent prayers of faithful Christians.

Affectionately in our Lord,

Pastor McClean