Our Saviour Parish News, February, 2018

Our Saviour Lutheran Church
3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
410-235-9553

February, 2018

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Because Easter Day is early this year Lent begins already on February 14th. As always we begin the Lenten Season with Divine Service and Imposition of Ashes. A simple soup supper precedes worship.

My dictionary tells me that the word Lent is rooted in an old English word “lencten” which means spring. The word no doubt suggests the lengthening days which come in the springtime. But I want to suggest that it is very useful indeed to think of the holy season of Lent as a spiritual springtime, a time of new life and light. You may remember that in the ancient church the forty days of Lent were the time when the adult candidates for Holy Baptism received their final preparation for the reception of that Sacrament which took place at the Great Vigil which took place on Easter Eve. Since you and I have already been born again of water and the Holy Spirit, we – obviously! – cannot prepare to be baptized. Yet Lent is most certainly a time for returning to our Baptism, for again contemplating and rejoicing in the blessings of Baptism and through daily repentance and faith living as those who have been baptized into the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. We remember the words of Saint Paul: “We are buried therefore with Him by baptism into death so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

Few things are more foolish than supposing that God somehow needs our observance of Lent: God does not need Lent but you and I do! It is that season of the year which calls us to renewed faithfulness as those who through Baptism have been made one with the Savior in His atoning death and life-giving resurrection. It is a time for saying no to everything in our lives which contradicts Christ and His love. We need to hear God’s Word calling us to repentance, we need to hear God’s Word showing us the Lord Jesus in whose death our sins are dead and who calls us to follow Him in faith and hope and love.

If you have been negligent in hearing the Word of God and receiving the Holy Sacrament, Lent is the time to repent of that negligence and make a new beginning. Unless hindered by illness or by the need to care for someone who needs our care or – as sadly happens nowadays – our employer requires us to work on Sunday morning, no Christian should be absent from the Divine Service on the Lord’s Day which even in Lent is the weekly celebration of Christ’s resurrection. The Divine Service is not so much an obligation as it is a joyful privilege! During Lent we also have the Wednesday evening Lenten Vespers at which we again ponder our Lord’s saving passion and sing the beloved Lenten hymns.

Judy Volkman reminds us that soup suppers will be held during Lent at 6:30 P.M. each Wednesday before Vespers. The following people have volunteered their culinary skills: 2/14 – Judy or Bernie Knox, 2/21 – Julia Watson, 2/28 – the Ushers, 3/7 – Quilla Downs, 3/14 – Mary Techau, 3/21 – Gabe Purviance. There will be a free-will offering at each of these suppers. In the past this has helped fund the Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets. And here I must thank the ushers for their faithful service each Sunday and their willingness to help in so many ways. I must say that they are an example to us all!

Frank Ford recently reminded me that there was a time when the members of Our Saviour prayed each day at noon. We need to do that again – to pray for one another, for those in special need, and for this deeply troubled world. I think that Lent is a good time to begin to do this again. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy prayer at all, and when we pray privately we should with simplicity and “with all boldness and confidence ask [God] as dear children ask their dear Father” as Dr. Luther instructs us in the Catechism. The prayers prayed in Church, however, are not private but are prayers which Christians have in some cases prayed for more than a thousand years. They are hallowed by centuries of use and truly are a great treasure!

Remember in your prayers Christine and Lisa Watson who mourn the death of their father, Ulysses Bush. Remember Charles Dowdy was was hospitalized but is now at home again. Remember Terry Wiseman who was recently hospitalized and also Marian Purviance who is at home. Remember all those whose names appear each week in the bulletin.

Three fine young men are being prepared for confirmation: Dominick and Elijah Carmichael-Myrie and Ted Jones. I look forward to their day of confirmation which will take place in the late spring. Pray for them as they complete their confirmation instructions.

At the Voters Meeting on January 21st it was unanimously decided to acquire our Synod’s new service book and hymnal, the Lutheran Service Book, published in 2007. After months of reflection and discussion we have come to this decision as recommended by the Church Council. As I have mentioned before, the Lutheran Service Book preserves the best of The Lutheran Hymnal (the “red” book) published in 1941 and of Lutheran Worship (the “blue” hymnal) published in 1982. It includes both the forms of the Divine Service with which we are familiar. There are new hymns and hymns which may be older but are new to us. So how will we pay for these new books? Martini Church has sent us a very generous gift of one thousand dollars for this purpose: we thank Pastor Robertson and his people. Members may give one or more books as memorials. The cost is $30.00 each. We have decided to buy 130 books together with the books needed by the organist and the pastor. The Council and Voters have decided that any short-fall will be met through the use of some monies from the generous bequest David West left to our church in his will. Due and timely notice will be given as to the date when this new book will be used – probably quite late in the spring. I must also thank Julia Silver for providing a good lunch for those who attended the Voters Meeting. It was much enjoyed! And we all are in a much better mood when we’re not hungry!

On Sundays in February and March we will be using the “blue book,” Lutheran Worship. On Wednesday evening we will use the familiar Order of Vespers from The Lutheran Hymnal.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that the stone sign in front of the Church has now been repaired and again is lighted after dark. I should also note the two fine lamps on either side of the main door of the Church: these too have been repaired and are again lighted after dark. I should thank Paul Techau who did so much work on this together with Joe Silver and William Hawkins.

Let me also note that for reasons of security the door near the parking lot to the east of the Church is now locked on Sundays at 11 o’clock. If you arrive after 11 you may enter the main entrance of the Church on The Alameda or the entrance through the beautiful porch on 33rd Street.

I hope that each and every member of our congregation will welcome the coming of Lent as an invitation to renewed faithfulness not only in attending worship but also in renewed faithfulness in living the Christian life. Although we daily sin much, our heavenly Father for the sake of His beloved Son daily showers us with His mercy and many blessings. Are you, am I grateful? That question must be answered not only with our lips but in our lives.

Affectionately in our Lord,

Pastor McClean

WORKS OF MERCY

On December 21, we delivered turkeys and food items to 9 families in our church community. Thanks to Thrivent, and our church family, we had ample food for the designated families with non-perishables left over.   We will deliver the remaining food to GEDCO’S Food Pantry.  Thanks to Mr. Hawkins, for his help with packaging and delivery, also thanks to all who consistently remember the poor with gifts of food. 

 On December 21, we made a delivery to Helping Up Mission.  This delivery was the most generous thus far.  The proceeds from the Poor Boxes was harvested to purchase needed items.  In addition, members continue to drop off items in the box next to the food donation box.   The box is now empty, and so we start over.  As you can see, small amounts of change can go far when consistently given.   Please continue to remember those less fortunate than yourselves.  The need is ongoing, washcloths, tooth paste, shaving cream, lotion socks, etc.  Menswear need not be new; clean, gently used items are acceptable.    Our next delivery is planned for March 2018.   Many thanks to all.

       -Quilla Downs

 A Message From “CARES”

In 2017, CARES responded to over 5,000 requests for assistance, and your support was very much needed and appreciated. Donations from the community help CARES keep opening its doors to those in need. In addition to emergency groceries, CARES offers financial assistance to prevent utility turn-offs and evictions, and helps clients pay for prescriptions. CARES Career Connection works with job seekers to find employment.

Our Saviour Parish News, January, 2018

Our Saviour Lutheran Church
3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
410-235-9553

January, 2018

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am writing these lines on Monday, December 26th, the second day of Christmas and the day when the Church remembers Saint Stephen the First Martyr (Acts 7:54ff). Tomorrow is the day of Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist and on the day after that we remember the martyred Holy Innocents, the young boys of Bethlehem who perished in King Herod’s futile attempt to kill the infant Savior (Matthew 2:13-23). Christ came down to earth that we, like St Stephen and St John and the Holy Innocents, might go to heaven. As we keep this blessed Christmastide we remember the dear members of our church who fell asleep in the Lord during this past year and who now with all saints celebrate the heavenly Christmas: Myrna Curtis, James Gray, David West, and Darlene Grant. May the Light perpetual that is Christ ever shine upon them! And as we sing in that wonderful Christmas carol, Now Sing We Now Rejoice: 

Oh, where shall joy be found?
Where but on heavenly ground?
Where the angels singing
With all His saints unite.
Sweetest praises bringing
In heav’nly joy and light.
Oh, that we were there!
Oh, that we were there!

Because New Year’s Eve falls on Sunday this year we will not have an evening service but only the usual 11 o’clock Divine Service of the First Sunday after Christmas Day. But we will in fact have Divine Service on the morning of New Year’s Day, a day which from ancient times has been kept in remembrance of the Circumcision and the Name of Jesus (Luke 2:21). 

The last of the twelve days of Christmas, January 5th, is the Eve of the Epiphany of our Lord (Matthew 2:1-12). There will be a festival Divine Service at 7:30 in the evening. Vicar Matthew Schettler of Immanuel Church at Loch Raven and Belvedere will be our guest preacher.  We will sing familiar Christmas carols which speak of the coming of the Wise Men: The First Nowell, What Child is This, We Three Kings of Orient Are, and that truly marvelous Epiphany hymn, As With Gladness Men of Old. Although in recent years a sadly neglected festival, Epiphany is in fact “the Christmas of the Gentiles.” In the coming of the Gentile wise men to worship the infant Lord, Christ is manifested as being not only the Savior of the Jews but also of those Gentile nations of which you and I are members. Following the Divine Service there will be a simple reception in the undercroft. Do plan on attending the Epiphany celebration if you possibly can. It will bring your observance of the Twelve Days of Christmas to a truly joyful conclusion. If you need a ride, do not hesitate to phone or email me (410.554.9994 or charlesmcclean42@gmail.com) and I will see to it that you get one.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped decorate the church for Christmas and also to thank you for your Christmas cards and gifts. Thank you very much and may God bless you for your generosity.

Just before Christmas we received the very good news that the Mayor of Baltimore has signed the document placing our church building on the City’s register of historic buildings. And so this long process has finally come to a happy end! As soon as possible there will be an event to celebrate this outcome. Due and timely notice will be given.

Another project which has now come to completion is the restoration of the stone sign in front of the church. It now has an automatic device which brings the lights on every evening. This, too, has been a lengthy process. I must especially thank Paul Techau for his hard work which has made this happen.

On Thursday, January 4, there will be a Choral Vespers for Christmas and Epiphany at 7:00 P.M. at Martini Church, Sharp and Henrietta Streets. It will be sung by the Kantorei of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Martini Church has plenty of parking spaces. A reception will follow Vespers.

Our next Voters Meeting takes place after Divine Service on Sunday, January 21. We hope that at this meeting we can make a decision about acquiring our Synod’s new service book and hymnal, the Lutheran Service Book. It has the best of The Lutheran Hymnal published in 1941, the “red book,” and of Lutheran Worship, published in 1982, the “blue book.” Members who have borrowed copies of the Lutheran Service Book are reminded to bring them back so that others can examine them and so have an informed opinion about this publication.

The recently formed Maryland chapter of Lutherans for Life will participate in the annual March for Life in Washington on Friday, January 19. This is an important witness to the sanctity of life from conception until death. In an ancient prayer for Christmastide the Church speaks of God as having “wonderfully created and yet more wonderfully restored the dignity of human nature.” And so the Church has a solemn obligation to bear witness to “the dignity of human nature” and to oppose everything which opposes and degrades it especially in a time such as this when human life is seemingly very cheap indeed. If you are interested in going to the March do let me know. Arrangements are being made for getting there and back again.

Do remember that we have an adult class each Sunday morning at 9:45 A.M. Mary Techau teaches the little ones who come at that hour. In the adult class we have for a number of weeks been studying the Augsburg Confession, the principle statement of the Lutheran faith. In this era marked by indifference to truth, by what has been called “the dictatorship of relativism” – the notion that truth cannot be known and that every religion is more or less true – it is more than ever necessary to be firmly grounded in the truth revealed in Holy Scripture and confessed by the Church.

Affectionately in our Lord,

Pastor McClean

Our Saviour Parish News, December, 2017

Our Saviour Lutheran Church
3301 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
410-235-9553

December, 2017

 

How the year has flown by! And now we come to Christmas. But before Christmas comes there is Advent, the four weeks of preparation for the Christmas festival. Advent means Coming, and during Advent we reflect on the three comings of our Lord: His coming in great humility as the Child of Mary, His coming to us now in His Word and in the holy Sacrament of His Body and Blood, His coming again in glory at the Last Day to judge the living and the dead. Although the world is already celebrating its version of Christmas, the Church keeps these four weeks as a time of repentance, of prayer, of quiet expectation.

This year we have a situation which occurs about once in every seven years. The Fourth Sunday in Advent falls on December 24th; the Divine Service on the morning of that day is an Advent service. Strictly speaking, the Church should not be decorated for Christmas until the Fourth Sunday in Advent has been kept. But the fact of the matter, whether we like it or not, is that few people will come to church on the morning of the 24th. And so for this year only the Church will be decorated for Christmas after the Divine Service on the previous Sunday, December 17th. Yet the service on the morning of the 24th is an Advent service. And so the lights on the trees and in the windows and at crèche will not be lit. The altar paraments and vestments will be the purple of Advent. Only after the service will the altar frontal be changed to white and the poinsettias put in place

Our celebration of Christmas begins with the Festival Divine Service of Christmas Eve which will be held at 7:30 P.M. Our celebration of Christmas then continues on the First Sunday after Christmas Day, New Year’s Day which is the Festival of the Circumcision and Name of Jesus, and Epiphany which this year will be kept on Epiphany Eve, January 5th. That service will be at 7:30 P.M. The New Year’s Day service will be held at 10:00 A.M. We live in a secular age so absorbed in its frenzied activities that the Lord Christ and His Church are crowded out or fitted in “if possible”! I hope and pray that many of you will seize the opportunity to celebrate this holy season with its message of hope that can never be put to shame and joy which has no end. This is after all the Birthday of the Lord Jesus! Apart from dire necessity no Christian should absent himself or herself from the Christ Mass, the worship which in fact gives this feast its name! The shepherds found the Lord Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. We find Him in the hallowed bread and cup that are the Body born of Mary and His precious Blood. In preparation for your Christmas Communion, examine your conscience in the light of the Ten Commandments and their meaning as given in the Catechism; review the Christian Questions with Their Answers also found in the Catechism. Then come with a penitent and joyful heart to the altar which is our Bethlehem. “Bethlehem” means “House of Bread,” for us the hallowed bread of the Sacrament. 

I am sure that everyone who attended the Choral Vespers on Sunday, November 19th, was truly uplifted by this wonderful service in celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, the 125th Anniversary of Our Saviour, and Dr. Luther’s birthday (November 10). Our guest organist, Matthew Gerhardt, showed himself to be a wonderfully talented musician not least in his thrilling accompaniment of the hymns. We were also fortunate to have three singers from the Peabody Conservatory – our own organist Marie Herrington, Emma van Zuyle, Adam Eydelson, together with our own cantor Paul Techau. We are truly blessed with Marie Herrington as our organist and occasional soloist. She is a truly gifted musician and we are fortunate indeed to have her. God gives us many blessings. I must also thank Mr. Hawkins, Mary Techau, and all who helped with the delightful reception following the service. 

Do remember in your prayers those whose names appear each Sunday in the bulletin. I ask your prayers especially for Marian Purviance who is beginning a new course of treatment, also for Judy Volkman who has had her elbow replaced after a fall. Helen Gray was briefly hospitalized but is at home again. 

Peter James Buchanan, the husband of Bertha Buchanan, fell asleep in the Lord on Tuesday, November 28th, at Union Memorial Hospital. There will be a visitation on Tuesday, December 5th, from 4:00 to 8:00 P.M. at the Chatman Harris Funeral Home West at 5240 Reisterstown Road. On Wednesday, December 6th, the funeral service will be held at 11:00 A.M. at the Edgewood United Methodist Church, 1434 Bellona Avenue, in Lutherville. A wake will be held at 10:30 A.M. May our risen Lord comfort all who mourn his departure with the sure and certain hope of the resurrection. May the Light perpetual ever shine upon him! 

We continue our works of mercy. On November 2 coats, hats, and scarves were distributed to needy families connected with the Waverly School. Elsewhere in this newsletter is information on other works of mercy.  

The Ednor Gardens/Lakeside Association had its meeting for elections and a delightful potluck supper on Tuesday, November 21st. The Association has for some years met here. 

The process of having our Church placed on the register of historic buildings should soon come to its happy conclusion – perhaps by Christmas. 

At the Choral Vespers on November 19th the meditation included some wonderful words from the sermon which Dr. Luther preached in Saint Mary’s Church in Wittenberg on the afternoon of Christmas Day 1530: 

“In my sin, in my death, I must take leave of all created things. Sun, moon, stars, all creatures…cannot help me. When I die I shall see nothing but thick darkness, and yet that light, ‘To you is born this day the Savior [Luke 2:11], remains in my eyes and fills all heaven and earth. The Savior will help me when all have forsaken me. And when the heavens and the stars and all creatures stare at me with terrible mien, I see nothing in heaven and earth but this Child…For, if it is true that the Child was born of the virgin and is mine, then I have no angry God and I must know and feel that there is nothing but laughter and joy in the heart of the Father and no sadness in my heart. For, if what the angel says is true, that He is our Lord and Savior, what can sin do against us? ‘If God is for us, who is against us?’ [Romans 8:31].” 

As we again approach Christmas we are painfully aware of the reality of human sin and the malice of Satan, and so more than ever we need to take to heart the good news of the Child in whom there is forgiveness of sins and deliverance from death and the devil. In faith we embrace Him. 

God bless us in this Advent season and bring us to a joyful Christmas!

Affectionately in our Lord,

Pastor McClean

Works of Mercy

On November 21, we delivered turkeys and thanksgiving provisions to seven families in our church community. We were prepared to deliver baskets to two additional families, but were unable to locate the families. Looking forward to our Christmas food drive, we have one turkey, and enough food for two families. In order to take care of our Christmas families we need the following items: canned yams, mac and cheese, string beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, etc. The bulk of the cost of Thanksgiving food came from donations from our soup supers. Many thanks to all of our food contributors, and to Mr. Hawkins for his invaluable assistance with packing and delivery.

We plan to deliver grooming items to the men at Helping Up Mission during the week of December 17. To the extent that you are able, please bring gift items, such as, socks (any size), underwear, t-shirts, washcloths, deodorant, soap, toothpaste, shaving cream, and lotion. These items are always needed and they will be greatly appreciated. In addition to new wearing apparel, the Mission will gladly accept clean, gently used men’s wear.

 – Quilla Downs